Recession Fears Spark Roller-Coaster Week on Wall Street

Retail and chip stocks were in focus this week

by Karee Venema

Published on Aug 16, 2019 at 2:40 PM
Updated on Aug 16, 2019 at 2:48 PM

It was another volatile week on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) exploring a more than 1,000-point trading range. Most of the action occurred to the downside -- creating a profitable environment for SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) straddle traders -- after a rare yield curve inversion of the 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes sent recession fears rippling through markets. A batch of dismal economic data from overseas only stoked concerns of a slowing global economy, sending the Dow, S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) to a third straight weekly loss.

Walmart Soars on Tariff News, Earnings

Retail stocks were in focus, after President Donald Trump delayed tariffs on a number of Chinese goods ahead of the holiday season -- good news for Big Lots (BIG) and Target (TGT), which Telsey Advisory warned could take a notable hit from these new taxes. The news sent Walmart (WMT) stock soaring, and the positive price action continued after the retailer's blowout earnings report. Canada Goose (GOOS) wasn't so resilient after the outerwear maker's turn in the earnings confessional, while Nordstrom (JWN) was slapped with a bear note ahead of its upcoming earnings report.

AMAT Sits Out Chip Stock Surge

The semiconductor sector was in the spotlight this week, Micron Technology (MU) brushed off an early week bear note, and is on track to log a 4.4% weekly win. Nvidia (NVDA) is also set to score an impressive weekly gain after the chipmaker posted strong quarterly result, though Applied Materials (AMAT) slumped after a dire warning from the company's CEO offset a fiscal third-quarter revenue beat.

GE Sinks After Fraud Accusations

Among one of this week's biggest movers was this cannabis name, which sank further into penny-stock territory. General Electric (GE) stock also had a volatile week, and is headed toward a nearly 5% weekly drop after the Bernie Madoff whistleblower leveled fraud accusations against the company. Meanwhile, an election shocker sent Argentinian stocks spiraling, but J.P. Morgan Securities thinks the sell-off created a buying opportunity in this name. Elsewhere, weed stock Tilray (TLRY) spiraled on a wild analyst note, while this drug stock nearly doubled on upbeat data.

How to Trade Short-Term Volatility

Looking ahead, Wall Street will be tracking the Fed next week, with the central bank hosting its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Plus, the minutes from the July Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting will hit on Wednesday, which could give insight into the Fed Chair Jerome Powell's seemingly hawkish post-meeting comments.

The market is terrified ahead of these events, according to a number of sentiment signals we track, which could create a more volatility for stocks. Those looking to play short-term volatility should consider options, with Schaeffer's Senior V.P. of Research Todd Salamone noting, "you are able to put less money in the market to deal with the enormous uncertainty, but the leverage allows you to realize meaningful profits."

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