Retail Earnings, Trump Trade Doubts Highlight Shaky Trading Week

Trade fears dampened investor sentiment toward the end of the week

Managing Editor
May 18, 2018 at 2:05 PM
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Although the Dow is on track to eke out a win today, it was a relatively quiet week on Wall Street. Continued trade talks with China dulled investor confidence toward the end of the week, as President Donald Trump made it clear that he was doubtful a successful agreement would be made. The blue-chip index snapped its eight-day winning streak on Tuesday, and is currently on track for a weekly loss -- as are the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 Index (RUT), meanwhile, was a big winner, hitting an all-time highs. Elsewhere, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), is set to snap its five-week losing streak, supporting this volatility signal that is flashing for the first time in nearly a decade. 

FAANG Stocks Make Waves Again

It was another noteworthy week for FAANG stocks, as high-profile investors adjusted their positions on the group. Meanwhile, Apple threw up a bullish signal of its own. Alphabet (GOOGL) made its big YouTube Music announcement, while analysts continue to cheer the Amazon and Whole Foods team-up. 

Valeant, Teva Stocks in Focus

Drug stocks also made big moves. Upgrades provided more tailwinds for Valeant (VRX) stock. Encouraging HIV vaccine data had Inovio (INO) stock buzzing, while options traders hedged their bets on Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (ARWR). Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway doubled its stake in Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), and Galectin (GALT) cheered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its liver disease drug.

SCOTUS Ruling Sparks Rally In Casino Stocks

Casino stocks got a boost earlier in the week, after a Supreme Court ruling cleared a path for legal sports gambling in all states. Video game stocks got a lot of attention this week as well. Both Electronic Arts (EA) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) stocks are surging, and their options are a bargain to boot. GameStop (GME), on the other hand, is on shaky ground following a hedge-fund call-out. Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive's (TTWO) mixed earnings report drew a bevy of analysts and options traders alike.

Elsewhere, amid the ongoing trade talks with China, President Trump's tweet about saving Shenzhen-based tech firm ZTE jolted these three tech stocks. And speaking of tech stocks, Square (SQ) and PayPal (PYPL) seem poised to duke it out in the future, while software giant NetApp (NTAP) continues to reward options traders. Many chip names also made headlines this week. Analysts set a lofty target for Micron (MU) stock, while Cowen waxed bullishly on several semiconductor names, a familiar theme for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). 

Dow Stocks Make Big Moves; Energy Stays Hot

Looking at Dow stocks, Coca-Cola (KO) raced higher after an upgrade, while call buyers rushed to participate in Nike's (NKE) ascent to record highs. Traders should be wary of potential headwinds for DowDuPont (DWDP) stock, though. Elsewhere, Home Depot (HD) bucked its trend of muted earnings reactions.

Energy stocks continue to be a hot topic thanks to fast-rising oil prices. This energy exchange traded fund (ETF) locked up its longest winning streak since 2006 on Thursday. Meanwhile, it may be time to bet on Callon Petroleum (CPE) stock's next leg higher, as well as Whiting Petroleum (WLL) stock, both of which boast cheap options.

Retail Again In Focus Next Week

Fresh off the heels of Macy's (M) surprisingly impressive same-store sales numbers and J C Penney's (JCP) not-so-surprising lowered guidance, retail stocks will be in focus again next week. Target (TGT), Sears (SHLD), and Kohl's (KSS) all will step into the earnings confessional. The Fed minutes will also be released, with investors digging for clues about future rate hikes. Looking ahead, these two dates will be critical for the stock market as the summer starts to heat up. 


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