The Dow is up over 155 points midday
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is up over 155 points midday, as bank stocks pop after the Federal Reserve announced that banks could resume buyback programs and raise dividends by the end of June if they pass this year’s stress test. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is also modestly in the black, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is making a midday turnaround, though its still on track for a weekly loss.
Investors are also poring over economic data to end the week. U.S. consumer spending saw a wider-than-expected drop last month. However, the final U.S. consumer sentiment reading showed a rise to 84.9 in March from 76.8 in February, as the vaccine continues to roll out. Furthermore, the core personal consumption expenditure price index matched expectations at a 0.1% rise for the month. Meanwhile, gold is on track for its first weekly loss in three.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- Tobacco stock inches higher after upgrade.
- Tesla rival slipping after temporary production suspension.
- Plus, options traders blast BIDU; MX jumps on M&A buzz; and VIZU falls after stock offering.
One stock seeing a surge in options volume today is China-based Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU). So far, 115,000 calls and 76,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is seven times what’s typically seen at this point. The weekly 3/26 180-strike put is the most popular, followed by the weekly 3/26 220-strike call. New positions are being opened at both of these contracts, which expire at the end of the day today. BIDU is down 5.2% to trade at $193.93 at last check, extending its recent drop as investors grow wary of potential Chinese regulators and threats from the U.S. about a potential delisting.
Meanwhile, one stock surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is MagnaChip Semiconductor Corp (NYSE:MX). The stock is up 28.8% to trade at $26.29 at last check, on news that the company is to be taken private by Wise Road Capital in an all-cash deal valued at around $1.4 billion. Gapping to a new record high, the equity is up 94.3% year-to-date.
Elsewhere, Vuzix Corp (NASDAQ:VUZI) is dropping lower, last seen down 18.6% to trade at $21.41. This negative price action comes after the Augmented Reality (AR) eyeglasses maker announced the pricing of an $85 million common stock offering. However, it looks like former support at the 20-day moving average could be reemerging, and the security is still up 138% year-to-date.