Major Benchmarks Push Higher On Stimulus Advancement

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is up triple digits at midday, extending its early morning surge. At last check, the blue-chip index is up around 155 points, as negotiations for another economic relief package remain underway, investors cheer Apple's (AAPL) plans to ramp up iPhone production in the first half of 2021, and vaccine rollouts continue across the U.S. Meanwhile the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are higher as well. Further, after weeks of delay, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially recognized Joe Biden as president-elect, following the Electoral College's Monday certification.

Midday Market Stats December 15

Baidu Inc (Nasdaq: BIDU) is one stock seeing a surge in options activity today, thanks to reports that the company is in talks to produce electric vehicles. The equity was last seen up 9.8% to trade at $179.93, and so far today, 89,000 calls and 22,000 puts have already crossed the tape -- seven times the intraday average and volume pacing in the 100th percentile of its annual range. Most popular by far is the December 180 call, followed by the 185 call from the same series, with new positions being opened at both. Longer-term, Dropbox stock has added 41.8% year-to-date.

Meanwhile, one stock standing at the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is Lydall, Inc. (NYSE: LDL), last seen up 14.7% at $33.80, earlier hitting a two-year high of $35.12, though the catalyst behind the surge is unclear. In the last nine months, Lydall stock has added over 270%.

At the other end of the NYSE, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NYSE: NCLH) is down 6.1% to trade at $23.86, after announcing a proposed offering of senior notes. The cruise line industry is has notably been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and Norwegian Cruise Line stock has been no exception. The equity's 10-day moving average today has emerged as pressure on the charts once again, and NCLH has shed 58.9% in 2020.

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