Fed Chatter, Tech Earnings Drive Bumpy Finish to Record Week

Stocks nabbed record highs early in the week, but finished slightly lower

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jul 19, 2019 at 3:44 PM

Somebody forgot to tell Wall Street that these are supposed to be the summer doldrums. Record highs for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were had early in the week, and the kickoff of earnings season was the predominant storyline the last five days. Trade tensions still lingered too, and investors scrounged for every scrap of information about a possible Fed rate cut. All three major equity indexes snapped their winning streaks, and ultimately finished the week in the red. 

Microsoft Stakes Claim as Top Dow Stock

Several Dow names took their turn in the earnings confessional. Options traders ramped up their bets on Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Microsoft (MSFT) before their respective quarterly reports. And what a quarterly report it was for MSFT; the Dow component roared to a record high and trillion-dollar market cap. 

Fellow blue chip UnitedHealth (UNH) pulled back after its report, after a company executive offered tepid guidance. Put traders blitzed American Express (AXP), and it appears a long put spread was initiated. Oil stock Exxon Mobil (XOM) was hit with a bear note amid macro headwinds, while options bulls pounced on Boeing (BA) later in the week.

Peaks (Skechers) & Valleys (J C Penney) for Retail Stocks

Several retail names made big noise this week, for better and for worse. Restructuring reports triggered a short sale restriction for beleaguered retailer J C Penney (JCP), but shoe stock Skechers (SKX) and online marketplace eBay (EBAY) had big weeks, with the former nabbing an annual high after a blowout earnings report, and the latter climbing amid StubHub sale rumors. Dillard's (DDS) rally hit a speed bump, and options traders are eyeing a key trendline.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs says to sell these two retail stocks right now, while Macy's (M) throws up a sell signal of its own. Rounding out the group, Tiffany (TIF) picked up two bear notes this week, and plenty of attention from options traders to go with it.

FAANG Stocks: Prime Day Shines, Netflix Stumbles

A surprise subscriber loss raised eye brows across Wall Street, and sent Netflix (NFLX) barreling toward its worst day in 2016. And earlier in the week, Amazon.com (AMZN) flaunted its Prime Day, earning several nods from analysts as a result.

Over in the broader tech world, cybersecurity stock Symantec (SYMC) fell apart after its Broadcom (AVGO) deal was nixed.

Lastly, Roku (ROKU) remained red-hot, and options bulls started to get in on the fun. For more on Roku, check out this week's Stock Market Podcast.

Drug Stocks Move on Data, Analyst Notes

Deutsche Bank set lofty goals for two biotech stocks. But on the other end of the spectrum, analysts dished out sell ratings to these three healthcare names

On the data front, Avrobio (AVRO) toasted upbeat data for its investigational gene therapy, and Capricor (CAPR) more than doubled after an encouraging Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) treatment mid-stage trial. Among other big moves made, here's how podcast mentions for a key drug helped send Australia-based Immuron Limited up over 150% on Tuesday.

Amazon Earnings On Deck Next Week

Next week, earnings season will keep on trucking, with Amazon one of the heavier hitters due up. As we wrap up the first half of 2019, here's what the S&P 500 trajectory could mean for the second half of the year. Meanwhile, check out what this rare bond signal could mean for the stock market going forward.

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