Tech Turns Higher as "Fear Gauge" Cools

The Nasdaq is up triple digits thanks to outperforming semiconductor stocks

Managing Editor
Jan 18, 2024 at 11:48 AM
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The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is the big winner today, sporting a triple digit lead at last check thanks to a resurgent tech sector. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is also modestly higher midday, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) flat and as the only underperformer among the major indexes.

After jobless claims indicated a tight labor market, bond yields are elevated and Fed fatigue remains a factor, with CME FedWatch Tool pricing in a roughly 56% chance of a quarter percentage point rate cut in March. Nevertheless, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) is lower for the first time in five days.

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

  • Finally some good news for Apple stock.
  • Meet the chip stock spearheading today's tech rally.
  • Plus, BTU bulls set bottom; FAST breaks out after earnings; and HUM drags sector.

MMC Stats Jan 18

Options traders are loading up on Peabody Energy Corp (NYSE:BTU) today. At last check, over 36,000 contracts have changed hands, volume that's seven times the average intraday amount. The most popular contract is the January 17, 2025 18-strike, with new positions being sold to open. BTU is up 8.6% to trade at $25.27, after the coal miner was added to the S&P 500 SmallCap 600 (SPCY). Year-over-year, the stock is down 8%. 

Fastenal Co (NASDAQ:FAST) stock is pacing the SPX today, last seen 8.3% higher to trade at $68.62, and earlier hitting a record high of $68.68. The industrial machinery company reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped expectations thanks to higher demand. FAST is now up 45% year-over-year, with long- and short-term support at its 50-day and 200-day moving average, respectively.

MMC Stock Chart FAST

Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) stock is in the basement, meanwhile, after the healthcare company reduced its fiscal 2023 adjusted guidance due to higher medical costs. Sector peers UnitedHealth (UNH) and CVS Health (CVS) are lower in response. Last seen down 11.1% to trade at $397.99, HUM is on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list. The shares earlier hit a two-year low of $390.50, and are now down 17.8% year-over-year.

 

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