Stocks continue to knock out fresh record highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Nasdaq Composite (IXIC), and S&P 500 Index (SPX) all reaching all-time bests today. The robust ADP jobs report got the ball rolling this morning, helping push the Dow above 25,000 for the first time ever. Financial stocks are seeing some of the strongest gains — with American Express (AXP) the best Dow stock so far — and the energy sector is outperforming, as well, after U.S. crude inventories fell by more than expected last week. At last check, February crude futures were trading up 0.7% at $62.04 per barrel. Against this backdrop, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is pacing for a third straight loss.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- The bull note lifting this FAANG stock to record levels.
- Citigroup thinks this beaten down drug stock has bottomed.
- Plus, Macy’s options bear bets big; a soaring drug stock; and Tesla stock stumbles.
Among the stocks with unusual options volume is retailer Macy’s Inc (NYSE:M), and traders are targeting puts despite elevated volatility premiums. With the stock down 4.6% at $24.17, puts are trading at four times the expected pace, and the weekly 2/23 23-strike put is the most popular by a mile, after one trader likely bought to open a 13,000-contract block for $1.3 million (number of contracts * $1.02 premium paid * 100 shares per contract), in hopes of M shares falling below $23 before expiration on Friday, Feb. 23.
One of the top performers on the Nasdaq is stem cell stock Cellect Biotechnology Ltd. (NASDAQ:APOP). The shares have surged 53.1% to trade at $10.90, thanks to promising clinical trial results for blood cancer patients that received a stem cell transplant using the company’s ApoGraft technology. The move puts APOP stock on pace for its highest close since March.
Elsewhere on the Nasdaq, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is underperforming due to fresh Model 3 production woes. TSLA shares were last seen trading 0.04% lower at $317.13, and options volume is currently running at three times the pace expected today.
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