Benchmarks Pare Losses on Upbeat Earnings Outlook

Chinese GDP data disappointed investors

Assistant Editor
Oct 18, 2021 at 12:20 PM
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The major benchmarks are paring earlier losses at midday, fresh off of their best week in months as earnings season kicks off. Overseas news, namely a weaker-than-expected third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) reading out of China, as well as lackluster U.S. industrial production data, put pressure on the indexes out of the gate. However, Wall Street is betting on more upside from positive earnings releases, with 80% of the S&P 500 Index (SPX) components that have reported turning in upbeat results, sending the index toward its third-highest quarterly growth rate since 2010.

At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is down just 17 points, the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is sitting comfortably in the black, and the SPX is hovering just above breakeven. Meanwhile the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) is set to snap a four-day losing streak, while the 10-year Treasury surged back above 1.61%.

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

  • Goldman Sachs dished out a bear note for this tech stock.
  • Options bulls blast retail traders' favorite energy name.
  • Plus, calls pop for OXY after upgrade; Nasdaq newbie soars on the charts; and Omeros stock tumbles on FDA update.

Midday Market Stats October 18

One stock seeing a healthy amount of call activity today is Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY), with nearly 46,000 calls crossing the tape already today, double the amount typically seen at this point. By far, the most popular contract is the weekly 10/22 34-strike call, where new positions are being bought to open. At last check, Occidental Petroleum stock is up 6.6% at $33.75, after Truist upgraded the security to "buy" from "hold," with a price-target hike to $50 -- which would be a two-year high for the stock. Year-over-year, OXY is up 235.3%.

OXY Chart October 18

At the top of the Nasdaq is Aerovate Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:AVTE), last seen up 18.1% at $16.73 although the catalyst for the breakout is unknown. The Nasdaq newbie went public back in late June, surging to $29.43 on its first day of trading before falling back to $11.40 by late-August. Up 5.8% over the last three months, Aerovate Therapeutics stock is seeing support from the newly formed 60-day moving average.

The Nasdaq's worst performing stock so far today is Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER), last seen down 26.6% to trade at $5.68, earlier touching an eight-year low of $5.45. This comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it needs more information for the regulatory approval of Omeros's treatment narsoplimab, which is used for hematopoietic stem cell transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy. Omeros stock has suffered on the charts of late, with its most recent bear gap in a late-September. Year-to-date, the security is down 61.4%.

Trader: Sell These 8 Stocks in 2021

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