Big-Cap Earnings, Healthcare Woes Headline Holiday-Shortened Week

Several pot stocks also made noise this week

by Patrick Martin

Published on Apr 18, 2019 at 1:25 PM
Updated on Apr 18, 2019 at 2:39 PM

Sure, it was a holiday-shortened week, with Wall Street taking a breather for Good Friday. But there was plenty of action leading up to the break, with the Dow alternating between red and black all week as investors digested various blue-chip corporate earnings reports. The healthcare sector sold off amid concerns over recent policy proposals, while the late-week release of the Mueller report did little to move stocks. The Dow is cruising toward a weekly win, but the S&P and Nasdaq are on track for weekly losses, halting their weekly winning streak at three.

Blue-Chip Earnings in Spotlight; Apple Settles With Qualcomm

Options traders braced for a bigger-than-usual post-earnings bounce from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), while UnitedHealth (UNH) was unable to capitalize on an impressive beat-and-raise. And even though Cisco Systems (CSCO) didn't report earnings, the stock stayed red-hot after yet another bull note

Looking at FAANG names, Netflix (NFLX) flashed a bullish signal ahead of its earnings release. Amazon.com (AMZN) is throwing its name into the streaming services game, much to the chagrin of Spotify (SPOT). Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) gave the semiconductor sector a mid-week boost, after the two sides reached a settlement, but that so far has spelled trouble for sector peer Skyworks Solutions (SWKS).  

Healthcare Uncertainty, FDA News Weigh on Drug Stocks

As alluded to above, the healthcare sector was rattled this week, amid policy proposals from legislators, including Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan. Of note, eHealth (EHTH) and Tenet Healthcare (THC) saw frenzied options activity amid the sector uncertainty. Elsewhere, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rulings boosted these two medical stocks, but the same can't be said for Boston Scientific (BSX), which is in hot water after the FDA demanded it withdraw one of its flagship products.

2 Retail Stocks for Bulls; Plus, Citron Sets $1 Price Target for Pot Stock

Among other happenings on Wall Street, the retail sector was in focus after strong March retail sales, and these two stocks are flashing buy. And among restaurant stocks, Morgan Stanley seems to prefer pizza over burritos. Tiger Woods' big Masters win sent Callaway (ELY) stock streaking earlier this week, while Skechers (SKX) plummeted after a late-week earnings miss, to the delight of one options bear.

And it wouldn't be a week on Wall Street without mentioning weed stocks. A dismal earnings report sunk Aphria (APHA) and had shorts cheering. Notorious short seller Citron Research came out firing against Village Farms (VFF), issuing a $1 price target. Bank of America is bullish on Aurora Cannabis (ACB) and Canopy Growth (CGC), but Cronos Group (CRON) wasn't so lucky, with analysts skeptical of the cannabis name's valuation.

Earnings Season In Full Swing Next Week

Next week, earnings season will hit high gear, and blue-chip Caterpillar (CAT) has run into a trendline with bearish implications ahead of its event. Elsewhere, investors should keep an eye on this VIX level. Plus, we broke down the best and worst stocks to own the week after Easter.

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