Vaccine Data, Speculative Trading Drama Sink Stocks

Poorly received Covid-19 vaccine results dampened sentiment

Digital Content Manager
Jan 29, 2021 at 12:23 PM
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Stocks are falling once again on Friday afternoon after Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) one-dose Covid-19 vaccine results failed to impress investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was down roughly 400 points at midday, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) were also suffering considerable losses. Traders are still concerned about ramped up speculative trading activity, with shares of GameStop (GME) surging back up after Robinhood allowed limited buying of heavily shorted stocks -- just a day after drawing criticism for restricting them. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would investigate the online brokerage firm's actions to determine whether or not it harmed investors. 

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

  • Analyst says NVAX's Covid-19 vaccine is "best-in-class."
  • Caterpillar stock gets a boost from its Q4 earnings beat.
  • Plus, options bulls target BIIB on FDA extension; ALUS pops after combining with clean energy developer; and golf stock plummets on underwritten public offering.

MMC 0129

One stock seeing notable options activity today is Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB),  up 10.4% to trade at $295.75 at last check, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended the review period for the company's experimental Alzheimer's treatment by three months from March. So far, over 13,000 calls and over 7,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is seven times the intraday average. Most popular is the monthly March 300 call, followed by the 275 put in the same series. The security has experienced significant volatility over the past year, surging to a Feb. 5 three-year high of $374.99 before falling to a Nov. 9 annual low of of $223.25. Quarter-to-date, though, BIIB has added 20.9%.

Surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is Alussa Energy Acquisition Corp (NYSE:ALUS), up 20.5% at $12.40 at last check, after earlier hitting a record high of $13.18. The massive bull gap came after the security combined with FREYR, a clean energy developer, and announced plans to accelerate up to 43 million Gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean battery cell by 2025. Prior to today's pop, the equity had been trading mostly sideways on the charts, near its initial public offering (IPO) of $10 per share. Longer term, ALUS sports a 24.5% year-over-year lead. 

Near the bottom of the NYSE today is Drive Shack Inc (NYSE:DS), last seen down 18.2% to trade at $2.57, after the golf name announced the underwritten public offering of more than 20 million shares of its common stock at $2.40 per share. The security has had a volatile run on the charts over the past year, surging to the $3 level earlier this week before quickly reversing course. The equity is now slipping below the formerly supportive 40-day moving average, too, though it still sports a 117.4% nine-month lead. 

DS 40 Day

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