Major Indexes Backpedal as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Approach Record

There is still no agreement on further stimulus

Digital Content Manager
Oct 23, 2020 at 11:48 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is drifting deeper into the red at midday, backpedaling from this morning's gains. The pivot worsened after data from Johns Hopkins University showed the U.S. reported over 71,600 new cases of coronavirus yesterday -- nearing a record high -- while hospitalizations continue to rise. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are lower as well, after chipmaker Intel's (INTC) mixed quarterly report added pressure to Big Tech and semiconductors. Elsewhere, investors are still waiting for stimulus news while weighing last night's U.S. presidential debate with positive COVID-19 treatment news from Gilead Sciences (GILD).

Continue reading for more on today's market, including: 

  • Mattel's earnings beat attracts options bulls.
  • Is this apparel retailer a winning or losing bet?
  • Plus, American Express stock blasted by call traders; beer stock surges after slew of bull notes; and delivery stock drops after third-quarter miss.

Midday Market Stats 1023

One stock seeing notable options activity today is American Express Company (NASDAQ:AXP), down 2.4% at $102.23, after the credit card concern reported a third-quarter earnings miss as well as a 40% profit slump. So far, 18,000 calls and 17,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is seven times the average intraday amount. Most popular is the weekly 10/30 110-strike call, followed by the 108-strike call in the same series, suggesting traders are speculating on a comeback for AXP by the time these contracts expire at the end of the month. Year-to-date, the stock is down 18.1%. 

Surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Boston Beer Company Inc (NYSE:SAM), up 16.1% at $1,065.66, after earlier hitting an all-time-high of $1,077.28. Today's impressive surge came after the beer company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings, and raised its profit outlook. As a result, SAM earned no less than nine price-target hikes, including one from Guggenheim to $1,354 from $1,142. The security has been soaring up the charts since April, nabbing records on a nearly monthly basis to quadruple off this year's March low near the $290 level, with support from the 40-day moving average. This year, SAM is 181.2% higher.

SAM 40 Day

Meanwhile, dropping lower is US Xpress Enterprises Inc (NYSE:USX), last seen down 18.9% at $7.57. This sizeable bear gap came after the company's third-quarter earnings and revenue fell below analysts' estimates. As a result, the security received two price-target cuts, including one from JP Morgan to $9 from $10. Prior to these disappointing results, the security had been going through a volatile patch. USX carved its way to an Aug. 17, two-year high of $11.34, but it is now dropping beneath the 20-day moving average once more after its October rally. Longer term, the stock is still up 51.7%.

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