The U.S. stock market is mixed, as the Senate shows no signs of passing a budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown. Though the CBOE Volatility (VIX) is lower, non-cyclical consumer goods stocks are seeing notable buying, and gold futures are on the rise — hinting at strong demand for “safer” assets. One bright spot has been the retail sector, led by strong gains from blue chip Nike (NKE), which just hit fresh highs on an upgrade. This has helped to make up for IBM’s earnings reaction, with Big Blue coming in as the worst Dow stock thus far. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is trading modestly lower at midday, the S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are up thanks to a rally in chip stocks.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- Blockchain stock flashes “buy” signal.
- Analyst thinks Square stock will surge nearly 60%.
- Plus, Valeant puts pop; Siriux XM stock could be breaking out; and Fabrinet hits fresh lows.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) is among the stocks seeing unusual options trading today. The shares have slumped 3.7% to trade at $21.29, after Cantor Fitzgerald and Wells Fargo expressed skepticism over competition from Cosmo Pharma. VRX put options are trading at three times the expected intraday pace, already surpassing the average daily volume of 21,000. The March and April 20 puts are seeing the heaviest trading, and anyone buying to open the contracts is betting on VRX stock falling back below the $20 level in the coming months.
One stock outperforming on the Nasdaq today is satellite radio specialist Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI). The shares are up 2.2% at $5.59, after Deutsche Bank’s big upgrade.
Over on the New York Stock Exchange, Fabrinet (NYSE:FN) earlier touched an almost two-year low of $27.35, down 3.7% at $27.63 at last check. There’s no specific news behind the drop, but the shares have been falling fast since getting a lift in the summer months from an Amazon partnership. In the last six months alone, FN stock is down 40%.
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