Stocks are modestly higher at midday, as the major equity benchmarks attempt to dodge a third consecutive session of losses. Post-holiday trading volume remains light, with little in the way of economic news to steer the market — though investors are largely brushing off a steeper-than-forecast drop in the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index, which cooled this month after hitting a 16-year high in November.
Meanwhile, oil prices have eased in the wake of Tuesday’s big gains. February crude futures are fractionally lower at $59.71 per barrel, backing down from yesterday’s test of the round $60-per-barrel level. Against this backdrop, Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) are among the handful of Dow stocks trading in the red today.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- One small-cap stock is pacing the Nasdaq rally after a landmark FCC ruling.
- Why Tesla’s on track for a third straight down day.
- Plus, a bitcoin stock diverges from the cryptocurrency, while one downgrade victim clings desperately to trendline support.
Among the stocks with unusual options volume is railroad operator Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP), with approximately 114,000 calls traded so far — representing 19 times the intraday norm. Most active is the in-the-money March 130 call, where 90,951 contracts have been exchanged, and Trade-Alert reports some apparent profit-taking at this strike today. At last check, UNP is up 1% at $136.06 — and just off a record high of $136.27 — bringing its year-to-date gain to 31.2%.
One of the big movers on the Nasdaq today is Longfin Corp (NASDAQ:LFIN), as the volatile ride continues for bitcoin stocks. LFIN has rallied about 8.8% to trade at $59.20 — even as bitcoin itself trades lower on the day, paring a big overnight rally.
A notable laggard on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Callaway Golf Co (NYSE:ELY). The shares have slipped 5.6% to $14.22, as Compass Point downgraded the stock to “sell” from “neutral” following last night’s disclosure by ELY of an additional $20 million investment in Topgolf. Today’s sell-off has ELY clinging to support at its 80-day moving average, which has cushioned the stock’s lows since March.
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