Benchmarks Move Higher Following Yellen's Comments

An upbeat start to the earnings season is also boosting sentiment

Digital Content Manager
Jan 19, 2021 at 12:30 PM
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Stocks are higher Tuesday afternoon, on track to bounce back from a dismal week as investors remain hopeful additional stimulus and a faster vaccine rollout are coming. Their hopes were reinforced by incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's comments at the Senate Finance Committee hearing, in which she noted the benefits of further economic relief will far outweigh the costs. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is up roughly 70 points at midday, while both the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are registering significant gains. 

Elsewhere, investors are celebrating an upbeat start to the earnings season. According to Bank of America, 88% of the S&P 500 companies that reported over the past week exceeded earnings per share (EPS) estimates -- a historically high percentage. 

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

  • One buzzed-about renewable energy stock gearing up for earnings.
  • Analysts foresee more highs for AMD amid strong demand for stay-at-home devices.
  • Plus, options bulls blast Gilead Sciences stock; lithium stock surges on final mine approval; and FVRR tumbles following downgrade.

MMC 0119

One stock seeing notable options activity today is pharma giant Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), last seen up 7.1% to trade at $67.85. The positive price action came after the security received an upgrade from Morgan Stanley to "overweight" from "equal-weight," as well as a price-target hike to $83 from $67. In addition, the company got a boost from the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting Merck's (MRK) appeal to revive a $2.54 billion jury verdict it won against GILD for infringing a patent in a dispute over a hepatitis C treatment. So far, 112,000 calls and 21,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is five times the intraday average. Most popular is the weekly 1/22 68-strike call, followed by the 70-strike call in the same series, with positions being opened at both. The security has struggled over the past year, falling to a Dec. 31, eight-year low of $56.56. Year-to-date, however, GILD has added 16.5% and just hit a four-month high of $68.15 earlier in the session.

Near the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is Lithium Americas Corp (NYSE:LAC), up 28.2% at $26.31 at last check, after earlier hitting an all-time high of $28.75. The impressive bull gap came after the company received final approval from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on its Thacker Pass lithium mine in Nevada, in a move that will boost the domestic output of lithium for electric-vehicle batteries. LAC has been roaring up the charts since late December, with support from the 10-day moving average. And in the last nine months, the security has added a jaw-dropping 821.7%.

Near the bottom of the NYSE today is Fiverr International Ltd (NYSE: FVRR), last seen down 8.9% to trade at $243.20, after the company received a downgrade from UBS to "sell" from "neutral," as well as a price-target hike to $190 from $148. The firm noted the stock is "emblematic of a market that values growth over any semblance of valuation that can be justified on a multiple-year view." Prior to today's drop, the stock had been carving a channel of higher highs on the charts, culminating in a Jan. 15 all-time high of $285.56. The 20-day moving average looks poised to contain this pullback, however, and longer term FVRR still sports an impressive 807.6% year-over-year lead.

FVRR 20 Day

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