Fed Rate Hike, Net Neutrality, GOP Tax Bill Highlight Busy Week

Bitcoin also continued to make waves, after futures launched on the CBOE

Managing Editor
Dec 15, 2017 at 1:41 PM
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There was no shortage of headlines on Wall Street this week, as a flurry of market-moving events captivated investors. Bitcoin made big noise, with the cryptocurrency's first day of futures trading sparking a brief outage for the CBOE. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), to little surprise, raised interest rates -- and economic growth projections -- following its meeting on Wednesday, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality, as expected, on Thursday. Updates on the Republican tax plan continued to impact markets, too, with the final GOP tax bill set for release any minute. Amidst all of this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are all aiming for weekly wins, with the benchmarks notching new record highs.

Benchmarks Nab Record Highs

The Dow is on track to secure a fourth straight weekly win. The index shook off the news of a Times Square bombing earlier in the week, and ultimately delivered four straight record closes before dipping on tax reform concerns Thursday. The S&P 500 is also pacing for a fourth straight weekly win, and enjoyed a streak of record closes of its own. The Nasdaq joined in on the fun, too, securing an all-time high on Friday. Meanwhile, keep an eye on these Nasdaq-100 (NDX) rejects, after the Nasdaq's annual rebalancing.

Bitcoin Continues to Be a Lightning Rod

Bitcoin remains as intriguing as ever, after its futures launch on the CBOE last Sunday. The headline-grabbing cryptocurrency continued to demonstrate its volatility, soaring to another record high this week, before pulling back.

Overstock (OSTK) announced plans to up the bitcoin ante, while CME Group (CME) prepares for its own futures launch this Sunday. Xunlei Ltd (XNET) stock was another bitcoin winner, while silver appears to be a surprise casualty of the cryptocurrency, although the commodity is signaling an upcoming rebound.  For those sick and tired of hearing about the digital currency, check out these 6 currency trades that aren't bitcoin.

Fed Rate Hike Offers Buying Opportunities

As expected, the Fed raised interest rates at its meeting on Wednesday -- typically a boon for many bank stocks and the financial sector. Although the move was widely anticipated and mostly priced in, we outlined several stocks to buy after a rate hike, and other stocks to avoid. These blue-chip stocks also look intriguing after the Fed's decision, but it could spell trouble for Cisco (CSCO) stock in the coming month, if past is prologue.

Tech, Telecom Stocks In Focus

Among the tech names that made noise this week, Adobe Systems (ADBE) is soaring after an upbeat earnings report, while an Electronic Arts (EA) options bull placed a risky bet. Finisar (FNSR) scored a huge deal with Apple (AAPL), and this Apple supplier signaled a key buying opportunity. Looking forward to 2018, analysts are expecting big things out of social media stocks Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR).

However, the bigger tech story of the week was the net neutrality vote. Keep an eye on these FAANG stocks following the controversial decision, as well as this telecom giant.

Drug Stocks Make Big Moves

It was a busy week for drug stocks and the biotech sector. Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) burned short sellers after announcing restructuring plans, while a downgrade stalled rallying Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX).

Several lesser-known drug names also made waves. Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN) was pummeled, suffering its worst session ever, while bluebird bio (BLUE) soared after upbeat drug data. Proteostasis Therapeutics (PTI) broke through with its cystic fibrosis treatment, and Sarepta (SRPT) scored a bullish analyst note.

GDP, Housing Data Ahead of Holiday Slowdown

Along with CME's own bitcoin futures launch next week will feature gross domestic product (GDP) and housing data. Retail giant Nike (NKE), tech name BlackBerry (BB)and semiconductor Micron Technology (MU) will take their long-awaited turn in the earnings confessional as well. With the holidays fast approaching, markets are expected to slow down, although any updates on the Republican tax bill are sure to sway stocks.

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