Stocks Struggle for Direction Ahead of Powell, Yellen Comments

All eyes are on Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's economic comments, out this afternoon

Assistant Editor
Mar 23, 2021 at 12:18 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is down over 40 points midday, as stocks succumb to a bout of profit-taking. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) have both been struggling for direction amid the one-year anniversary of the pandemic lows. The former was last seen registering modest losses, while the latter is flat. Meanwhile, new home sales data came in much lower than anticipated, with sales occurring at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 775,000 last month, compared to the 879,000 expected. 

However, all eyes are on the House Financial Services Committee. Investors are awaiting the first joint appearance from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and the economic insight that will come from today's testimony. Ahead of the event, gold prices are on the decline. 

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

  • Microsoft stock makes moves on buyout talks. 
  • DISCA downgraded after long-term rally on the charts. 
  • Plus, Options traders eye a new carbon storage project; DLPN soars on NFT division; and FREQ plummets after trial results. 

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One stock seeing a surge in options volume today is oil name Baker Hughes Co (NYSE:BKR). So far, 8,226 calls and 638 puts have crossed the tape, which is nine times what's typically seen at this point. The April 25 call is the most popular, followed by the 25 call in the same monthly series. BKR is down 1.7% to trade at $21.92 at last look, amid news that the company is teaming up with Horisont Energi to explore the possibility of storing more than 100 million metric tons of carbon under the Barents Sea in the Arctic. Now pulling back to support at the 100-day moving average, the equity is up 135.5% year-over-year. 

The top performer so far on the Nasdaq today is Dolphin Entertainment Inc (NASDAQ:DLPN). The equity is up an impressive 174.8% to trade at $14.98 at last check, after the company launched a non-fungible tokens (NFT) creation and marketing division. Before shooting higher today, the stock was seeing pressure at the $6 level. In the past six months, DLPN has gained 312%. 

On the other hand, Frequency Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:FREQ) is hitting a record low, down 72.4% to trade at $9.98, after the company reported disappointing results in a mid-stage trial of its lead hearing loss treatment candidate, FX-322. Before today's plummet, the stock was already steadily falling from its Feb. 8 record high of $58.37. Year-to-date, the equity is down around 71%. 

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