Dow Hits New High; Weak Dollar Boosts Commodities – Schaeffers Research (press release)

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U.S. stocks have seen whipsaw price action again today, as investors react to the latest corporate earnings reports. Specifically, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) briefly pared most of its triple-digit gain amid post-earnings volatility in Caterpillar (CAT) shares, but has since bounced back to trade near the record high it hit earlier. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are both holding in positive territory, as well, with tech and healthcare stocks leading the charge. Meanwhile, a number of commodities are tracking the equity rally, thanks to continued weakness in the U.S. dollar. Most recently, April-dated gold futures were up 0.3%, while the March oil contract was 0.7% higher.

Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:

  • 2 big earnings moves in healthcare.
  • The Alibaba buzz boosting Kroger stock.
  • Plus, MGM sees heavy call action; today’s big IPO; and Newell Brands melts to new lows.

One stock seeing unusual options activity today is casino operator MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), where call volume is running at two times the expected pace. This is due to huge interest in the weekly 2/23 37-strike call, where all signs point to buy-to-open activity. In other words, options traders are betting on MGM stock — last seen down 1.8% at $36.97 — to push back above the $37 level over the next month or so. MGM Resorts is scheduled to report earnings on Feb. 20, something to keep in mind since casino stocks have been hot.

One of the best Nasdaq stocks is Menlo Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:MNLO) on its first day of trading. The biotech firm, which specializes in treatments for dermatologic conditions, had its initial public offering (IPO) priced at $17, and the shares opened for trading at $20.50. MNLO stock was up 39.6% at $23.73 at last check.

Sharpie maker Newell Brands Inc (NYSE:NWL) is one of the worst stocks on the New York Stock Exchange today, after the company said it’s considering selling some of its businesses amid stagnant sales growth. NWL shares were last seen trading down 22.3% at $24.26, earning a spot on the short-sale restricted list and earlier touching a nearly five-year low of $23.85.

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