Stocks Nab Fresh Midday Records as Optimism Grows

Biden's vaccine rollout and Bitcoin's big bounce are also on Wall Street's radar

Deputy Editor
Feb 8, 2021 at 12:29 PM
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The major indexes are all trading at higher records this afternoon, as investors grow increasingly optimistic over additional Covid-19 stimulus and a swift economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is up roughly 103 points at midday, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also considerably higher. The S&P 500 and Dow are both looking to extend their longest winning streaks since August, each eyeing six straight, while the Nasdaq is heading into its third-consecutive daily win.

Some of this stimulus optimism is stemming from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's comments on Sunday, which called on Congress to pass President Joe Biden's stimulus proposal. She added that doing so could put the U.S. back at full employment by 2022. Meanwhile, Bitcoin's massive surge following Tesla's (TSLA) $1.5 billion investment is also capturing Wall Street's attention today, though the focus remains fixed on Biden's vaccine rollout, after he warned that it will be difficult to achieve herd immunity by the end of the summer. 

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

  • Target stock set to extend win streak after bull note. 
  • Analyst says Hershey stock is ready to take on the competition.
  • Plus, options bulls eye OXY as crude surges; OCGN announces $23 million stock offering; and ERYP drops on pancreatic cancer drug update.  

midday market stats feb 8

One New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stock seeing unusual activity in its options pits today is Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY). The oil company is surging with many of its sector peers, after Brent crude topped the $60 a barrel mark, bolstered by recent supply cuts as well as economic recovery optimism. The stock is trading at its highest level in close to a year, up 11% at $25.04 at last check. Circling back to OXY's options pits, the security has 54,000 calls across the tape so far -- nearly double the intraday average. The weekly 2/12 26-strike call is the most popular, followed by the monthly February 25 call, with new positions currently being opened at the latter. 

The top performer on the Nasdaq today is Ocugen Inc (NASDAQ:OCGN), after the pharmaceutical company announced a $23 million stock offering. The company will sell 3 million shares of its common stock at a purchase price of $7.65 per share. As a result, the shares are up 170.9% at $14.22 at last check, after earlier touching a two-year high of $14.94. Looking back, the equity has been making moves to break out of penny stock territory since December, with solid support from the 40-day moving average keeping the wind at its back. 

Meanwhile, one of the worst performers on the Nasdaq is biotech concern Erytech Pharma SA (NASDAQ:ERYP). The equity was last seen down 16.3% to trade at $9.69, after announcing its Trybeca-1 Phase 3 trial in patients with 2L pancreatic cancer will continue to final analysis. The drop has ERYP set for its first close below the formerly supportive 40-day moving average in over three months. Year-over-year, the security remains up 41.6%.

ERYP Chart Feb 8

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