Stocks Lock in More Intraday Highs Before Reversing Course

The VIX is cutting some of its earlier losses short

Deputy Editor
Feb 16, 2021 at 12:20 PM
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Stocks are turning lower this afternoon, after a morning spent building on Friday's wild rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is still registering modest gains, up over 29 points at midday, while also locking in a fresh intraday peak. Both the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) gave back earlier gains, on the other hand, falling from fresh highs of their own.

Meanwhile, the Cboe Market Volatility Index (VIX) -- also known as Wall Street's "fear gauge" -- cuts some of its earlier losses. The index breached the 20 level on Friday, with many calling this tumble as a "risk on" signal that could lead to even more buying, though now it sits just north of this level. Elsewhere, West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than a year, thanks to extreme winter weather in the southern United States. 

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

  • The Bitcoin buzz giving MicroStrategy stock a boost.
  • Constellation Brands stock stumbles on hard seltzer lawsuit. 
  • Plus, option players continue to target QS; SCKT's iPhone 12 scanner gives it a major lift; and BLUE blasted after pausing sickle cell treatment trials. 

midday market stats feb 16

Quantumscape Corp (NYSE:QS) is seeing another surge in options activity today. This time, the equity is down 7.6% to trade at $50.37, stumbling from last Friday's rally, which was sparked by a Morgan Stanley bull note. The security is testing support at its 30-day moving average -- a level the shares just closed atop of for the first time since an early January bull gap. A closer look at QS' options pits shows 49,000 calls and 24,000 puts exchanged so far -- 1.7 the intraday average. The February 55- and 60-strike calls are seeing the most action, while the March 80 call is also popular, with positions being opened here. 

qs chart feb 16

Socket Mobile, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCKT) is the best performer on the Nasdaq today, up 709.6% at $26.23 this afternoon, and on pace for its biggest one-day jump on record. The company just unveiled its first enterprise-grade barcode scanner, which is called DuraSled™, to be used with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 12 series. Looking back, the equity has been chopping higher over the past several months, with guidance from its 60- and 80-day moving averages. SCKT now boasts an impressive nine-month lead of over 1,790%. 


Meanwhile, one of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq today is bluebird bio Inc (NASDAQ:BLUE). The security is down 32.7% at $30.80 at last check, after the firm paused early stage and late-stage trials for its LentiGlobin gene therapy in patients with sickle cell disease, following a serious adverse reaction in a patient treated more than five years ago. Piper Sandler chimed in with a price-target cut to $35 from $55. In turn, the security is trading at its lowest level since 2014, and now sports a 65.5% year-over-year deficit.

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