Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures are trading modestly above fair value ahead of today’s quadruple witching expiration — when futures and options on indexes and stocks simultaneously expire. Also on the radar are housing starts, which fell for a third straight month in May, and a mid-morning update on consumer sentiment. Plus, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan will speak this afternoon, following Wednesday’s Fed rate hike.
Oil prices are bouncing in advance of today’s weekly rig count, with July-dated crude futures up 0.8% at $44.84 per barrel. Nevertheless, crude oil is on track for a fourth straight weekly loss, its longest stretch since August 2015.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- Weekly options traders doubled their money on this booming Dow stock.
- Breaking down the $1.77 million bearish options trade on Nike stock.
- This spiraling steel stock could have further to fall.
- Plus, Amazon’s big buyout; the hits keep on coming for Kroger stock; and Alphabet’s $1 billion headache.
5 Things You Need to Know Today
- The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 864,450 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 692,107 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio jumped to 0.80 — its highest perch since April 13 — and the 21-day moving average rose to 0.64.
- Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) will buy Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) for $13.7 billion in cash, including debt, with the unanimous approval of the Amazon board. The deal — which values WFM at $42 per share, compared to last night’s close at $33.06 — carries a $400 million breakup fee.
- Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) shares are down 1.8% in electronic trading — set to open at their lowest level in almost three years — after an onslaught of negative analyst notes, including downgrades to “neutral” at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Securities. This follows yesterday’s bear gap, prompted by the grocer’s dismal forecast.
- The European Union (EU) is reportedly looking to fine Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) more than $1 billion — a record — following an investigation over the tech company’s role in manipulating its search engine results. GOOGL is fractionally higher ahead of the bell, following a tough week for FAANG stocks.
- Kaplan’s speech today comes ahead of next week’s busy slate of Fed speakers.
It was a mixed close for Asian stocks. Traders digested the latest policy decision from the Bank of Japan, which kept its stimulus efforts unchanged, as most expected. The Nikkei managed a 0.6% gain, thanks in part to a rebound in prominent Tokyo-listed tech names. Plus, a weaker yen helped prop up exporters. China’s Shanghai Composite closed out an ugly week with a 0.3% drop, as blue-chip stocks continued to underperform. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, however, closed up 0.2%. Rounding out the region, South Korea’s Kospi closed fractionally higher.
In Europe, stocks are posting broad gains, following news that Greece’s creditors agreed on the next payment in its bailout fund. Meanwhile, shares of Nestle are gaining thanks to recent reports the company is exploring the sale of its candy business. Automakers are also outperforming, after new car sales in the European Union rose sharply in May. France’s CAC 40 has added 0.7% so far, London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.5%, and the German DAX has gained 0.3%.
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