Jobs Data Results In Nasdaq Record High

Markets also benefited from seemingly improving diplomatic relations with North Korea

Mar 9, 2018 at 2:56 PM
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It was a strong week for U.S. stocks, with the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) rallying to record highs and set to extend its daily win streak to six. These gains weren't missed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) or S&P 500 Index (SPX), which are both ready to notch solid weekly wins, as well. It wasn't always smooth sailing for stocks, with trade war fears lingering throughout the week as President Trump continued his push for import tariffs -- resulting in the departure of economic advisor Gary Cohn. But Friday's blowout nonfarm payrolls report sparked a strong round of buying and sent the major benchmarks rallying.

Stocks Shrug Off Tariff News

After much build-up and uncertainty, President Trump on Thursday officially signed steel and aluminum tariffs, though he excluded NAFTA members Mexico and Canada. The White House encouraged other individual countries to negotiate their own trade agreements with the U.S. Meanwhile, investors were gravitating toward these aluminum stocks during all the tariff talk, as well as this Mexican ETF. Other companies like Harley-Davidson (HOG) assured investors retaliatory tariffs would damage their business.

Also on the political front, markets got a jolt early in the week when North Korea said it was open to discussions about denuclearization. That wasn't the last we heard on the rogue nation, either, as reports surfaced by week's end that President Trump is willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Tech and Healthcare Behind Big Nasdaq Run

A surge in tech stocks was to thank for the Nasdaq's record-breaking push. Chip stocks were front and center, with Nvidia (NVDA) shares bouncing from familiar support and Micron (MU) stock soaring to fresh highs. Options traders were also targeting fellow semiconductor concern Marvell Technology (MRVL), while volume popped on these other two industry peers.

Outside of chipmakers, China's Baozun (BZUN) continued to impress thanks to a quarterly earnings beat, and these rallying tech stocks could be attractive targets for options traders. BlackBerry (BB) made waves on the heels of its latest licensing agreement, and Apple (AAPL) may have new headphones in the works. It wasn't all good news in the tech space, though, as this FAANG stock got downgraded and a "sell" rating wrecked this other tech stock.

In healthcare the biggest story was Cigna purchasing Express Scripts, but a number of lesser-known stocks made notable moves, too. One of the biggest winners was Clearside Biomedical (CLSD), which exploded higher on upbeat drug data. PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) continued its impressive performance on the charts, and Jefferies thinks this drug stock has more upside potential. Data suggested it's an opportune time to buy Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) options, and bulls were already swarming EpiPen maker Mylan (MYL).

There were some major losers, too. Few suffered bigger losses than biotech Vascular Biogenics (VBLT), and GlycoMimetics (GLYC) also got crushed. Fate Therapeutics (FATE) joined them at the losers' table, but this drug stock found chart support after its pullback.

Another Week of Retail Earnings

Put traders were licking their lips for another week of earnings from retailers, taking aim at Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Kroger (KR). Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) also saw an uptick in options activity, while Target (TGT) tested a key trendline. Elsewhere, Big Lots (BIG) and Costco (COST) both fell after their quarterly results, but analysts are citing "competitive advantages" for this sector peer. Still, the sector continues to play catch-up with red-hot Amazon stock.

Options Traders Bet On Huge Tesla Stock Sell-Off

Checking in on some other stocks that made headlines this week, Exxon Mobil (XOM) took another dive after its corporate update, and this smaller energy name got a boost from reports of an asset sale. Oprah was even back in the news after she sold some Weight Watchers (WTW) shares, and these two casino stocks surged higher. Cree (CREE) stock also enjoyed more upside -- even if analysts have yet to realize it -- while options traders are predicting a huge Tesla (TSLA) sell-off.

2 Gloomy Stock Market Signals

The Fed should stay in focus next week with important inflation data due to hit the Street. But before you make any decisions, make sure you check out our research on two stock signals that just appeared -- one that flashed before the Great Depression, and another that sounded before Black Monday and the Great Recession.


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