Wall Street Brushes Off Upbeat Retail Data as Stocks Sink

The VIX, meanwhile, continues to grind higher

Deputy Editor
Feb 17, 2021 at 12:21 PM
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The markets remain volatile this afternoon, as Wall Street continues to look beyond this morning's surging retail numbers for January. At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is down roughly 70 points, following a brief climb into the black. Similarly, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also firmly entrenched in the red. The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), however, keeps distancing itself from the 20 mark, after dropping below it last week.

Many investors fear last month's retail growth will only add to inflation expectations and increase bond yields -- fears that are being further stoked by the Labor Department's producer price index (PPI), which saw its biggest pop since the index's inception in 2009. 

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

  • What's dragging down Shopify stock after its revenue beat. 
  • The solar energy name bringing in the post-earnings analyst notes
  • Plus, PRMW slammed by option traders; CLPS doubles after deal with digital payment platform; and PXS tumbles from three-year peak. 

midday stats feb 17

Primo Water Corp (NYSE:PRMW) is seeing a massive influx in option activity this afternoon. At last check, 27,000 calls and 686 puts have been exchanged, which is 156 times the intraday average. The most popular by far is the March 17.50 call, followed by the April 17.50 call, with new positions currently being opened at both. The stock is down 6.7% at $15.95 at last check, and while the catalyst for this negative price action remains unclear, PRMW did receive a price-target hike from Canaccord Genuity to $20 from $18 last night. Nonetheless, the equity is now trading back below its 10-day moving average, which helped keep some wind at its back last week, when the shares scored a Feb. 8, 15-year high of $17.85.

prmw chart feb 17

One of the best performing stocks on the Nasdaq today is CLPS Inc (NASDAQ:CLPS). The equity has more than doubled after it announced a vendor deal with a "well-known" U.S. digital payment platform, for which it will provide IT services, including payment risk management and data analysis. The equity was last seen up 206.5% at $15.02, blasting past long-time pressure at its $6 level. CLPS earlier hit an all-time high of $19.78, and is now set for its biggest one-day jump ever. 

Meanwhile, Pyxis Tankers Inc (NASDAQ:PXS) has taken its place as one of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq, down 33.8% at $1.96 at last check. The company said earlier it regained compliance with the Nasdaq's minimum closing bid price rule, it was notified in early June of its noncompliance with the minimum bid price of $1. Pyxis Tankers also announced a $25 million private placement of its common stock, and plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes. The equity has had an extremely volatile run on the charts this week, surging to a three-year high of $4.60 during yesterday's trading, before giving back most of those gains. Despite today's dip, PXS remains up over 130% this year. 

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