SPX, Nasdaq Log Intraday Records on Stimulus Hopes

Jobless claims hit their highest level in months, capping major index's gains

Deputy Editor
Dec 17, 2020 at 11:50 AM
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Stocks are higher this afternoon, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) already logging intraday records on hopes of additional fiscal stimulus coming through before the end of the year. The former was boosted by gains in the utilities and materials sectors, while the major indexes all benefited from Congress coming closer to agreeing on a $900 aid package that would include stimulus checks for Americans. Elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) has tacked on 94 points at midday, thanks to a pop in Apple (AAPL) stock. Still, jobless claims hit their highest level since early September, which kept a lid on gains.

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

  • Rite Aid stock records annual high on heels of surprise beat.
  • With 2020 nearly over, this restaurant stock is looking for a win.
  • Plus, why LEN options are flying off the shelves; one power stock surging on the NYSE; and SMP is trading at two-month lows.

Midday Market Stats December 17

One stock seeing notable options activity today is Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), after the home construction company reported stellar fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue. The equity was last seen up 7.4% to trade at $79.75, and so far today, 13,000 calls and 9,997 puts have already exchanged hands -- seven times the intraday average and volume pacing in the highest percentile of its annual range. Most popular is the January 2021 75-strike put, followed by the 72.50-strike put from the same series. Year-to-date, LEN has added 43%.

Meanwhile, one stock hovering around the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is Korea Electric Power Corporation (NYSE:KEP), last seen up 12.1% at $12.11, a chip-shot from annual high territory. Longer-term, the equity has seen an impressive 84.7% bump over the last nine months. Over the last three months, the equity's 50-day moving average has helped move the equity higher.

Near the bottom of the NYSE, Standard Motor Products, Inc. (NYSE:SMP) is down 16% to trade at $45.28. Though the reason is unclear, SMP is trading at its lowest level since early October, despite being just one session removed from hitting its annual high of $55.29. Additionally, the equity looks poised to close below its 100-day moving average for the first time since the beginning of the 2020. Speaking of 2020, Standard Motor stock has shed 13.8% on the year.

SMP Chart December 17


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