Benchmarks Pivot Higher Ahead of Volatile Week's End

This week's Federal Reserve's meeting minutes is still fueling speculations

Assistant Editor
Aug 20, 2021 at 12:21 PM
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The major indexes rebounded from their pre-market slide soon after the open, with help from big-name tech names including Apple (AAPL) and Salesforce.com (CRM), though all three are still on track for weekly losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are both eyeing triple-digit gains at midday, while the S&P 500 (SPX) is in the black as well. The Covid-19 delta variant is still weighing on investors' minds, however, fueling continued speculation regarding the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy. 

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

  • Bull notes boost Macy's stock to two-year highs. 
  • Pet retailer extends post-earnings gains on analyst praise
  • Plus, options traders run to FL; GOVX soars on vaccine news; and FATE drops despite positive data.

MMC 0820

The New York Stock Exchange's (NYSE) Foot Locker Inc (NYSE:FL) is seeing a surge in options activity today, after its second-quarter earnings report blew past Wall Street's estimates. So far, 45,000 calls and 15,000 puts have crossed the tape, or 19 times what is typically seen at this point, with overall volume pacing for the top percentile of the last 12 months. The August 60 call is the most popular, where positions are being bought to open. These traders are expecting additional upside for FL by the end of the day, when contracts expire. At last check, FL is up 9.1% at $59.34, breaking through overhead pressure from the 40-day moving average.

FL MMC 0820

GeoVax Labs Inc (NASDAQ:GOVX) is soaring to the top of the Nasdaq today, up 48.1% to trade at $6.37 at last check, after the biotech company's Covid-19 vaccine candidate, GEO-CMO2, showed promise in an animal study. Surging out of penny stock territory and past long-term resistance at the $6 level, the equity is now up 91.1% year-to-date. 

Conversely, Fate Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:FATE) is sinking, down 19.3% at $69.12 this afternoon, despite strong interim clinical data for its experimental treatments, FT516 and FT596, for patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell lymphoma. Most analysts are also bullish towards the stock, with 11 of the 14 in question carrying "strong buys." Year-over-year FATE remains up 91.5%. 

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