Stocks Volatile Amid Drama-Fueled Memorial Day Week

Trade tensions, jobs data, and political turmoil in Europe made for a volatile week

Managing Editor
Jun 1, 2018 at 1:36 PM
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There was no shortage of drama on Wall Street this holiday-shortened week, with the major market indexes on a virtual roller coaster. Political turmoil in Spain and Italy triggered a sell-off early in the week, prompting a spike in the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX). Energy tailwinds helped stocks rebound -- until re-emerging fears of a global trade war sent stocks reeling once more. While stocks are furiously climbing back today following upbeat jobs data, it likely won't be enough for the Dow to join the S&P 500 and Nasdaq with a weekly win. Still, May was the best month for the three benchmarks since January, while the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) locked up its best month since September. 

Retail Stocks Front-and-Center Once Again

Retail stocks were once again in focus this week. We profiled Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Ulta Beauty (ULTA) before the retailers stepped up to the earnings plate. Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) impressed investors with an upbeat earnings report that had the stock scaling the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The same cannot be said for Sears Holdings (SHLD), which is sinking toward its worst week since January after earnings. Target (TGT) stock received a critical upgrade following its post-earnings bear gap last week, while GrubHub (GRUB) was compared to Amazon and Uber.

Tech Stocks, Chip Names Make Waves

Square (SQ) stock remains red-hot following the company's revenue guidance, and could keep climbing. Seagate Technology (STX) flashed some contrarian signals, and Salesforce (CRM) soared to record highs after better-than-expected earnings. Optical stock Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI) is set for its best week since 2014, sending shorts scurrying in the process. In big-cap news, Microsoft (MSFT) locked in fresh record highs on its way past Alphabet (GOOGL) in market share.

Chip stocks once again grabbed headlines. Ahead of next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple (AAPL) gave Universal Display (OLED) stock a boost after reports of using its OLED screens in the next iPhone. Micron Technology (MU) stock was stunned by a Morgan Stanley downgrade, while one analyst forecast multi-year highs for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). What's more, MU, AMD, and this chip stock could have a wild summer, if past is prologue.

The Drug Sector Had Several Big Winners This Week

A CFO shake-up sent these two biotech stocks moving in opposite directions. Wall Street analysts grew more bullish on this new UnitedHealth partner, as fellow healthcare name Centene (CNC) scored big gains for Schaeffer's subscribers. Biogen (BIIB) and Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (MDGL) stocks both skyrocketed, but it was the latter's halo lift that powered Viking Therapeutics (VKTX) to multi-year highs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also provided a catalyst for several biotechs. Specifically, the FDA helped TherapeuticsMD (TXMD) stock nab a big win, and its clearance of T2 Biosystems' (TTOO) bacteria detection test sparked upbeat analyst attention. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society's recent PSA on colonoscopies lifted Exact Sciences (EXAS) stock.

Oil, Steel, and Bank Stocks In Focus

The mid-week bounce in oil prices gave a boost to these bargain-bin energy stocks. And while President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs are stirring the pot, they briefly boosted AK Steel (AKS). Elsewhere, options bears piled on this bank exchange traded fund (ETF) ahead of the June 13 Fed statement, and circled struggling Deutsche Bank (DB).

Best And Worst Stocks to Own In June

June is finally here, so we outlined the best stocks to own this month, historically. But steer clear of these stocks if you want to avoid a June swoon. Next week will feature more jobs data, along with the aforementioned Apple WWDC.



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