Dow Rebounds; Nasdaq Drops Triple Digits

Weighed down by tech stocks, including highly-valued Nvidia (NVDA) ahead of tomorrow's earnings report, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) is off 167 points midday. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is sitting in the red as well, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) hovers above fair value after paring premarket losses.

Investors' attention is already on tomorrow's Fed meeting minutes from the January policy meeting. This morning, data showed the leading economic index fell for the 22nd straight month, though six of the 10 leading economic indicator components point to a positive past six months, building the case that a recession could still be avoided.  

MMC Febr20

Options traders are blasting Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMTtoday, as the stock climbs to record highs after upbeat fourth-quarter earnings. The retail giant also announced a strong forecast and its acquisition of Vizio for $2.3 billion. So far, 137,000 calls and 61,000 puts have been exchanged, which is already 3.6 times the average daily options volume. The weekly 2/23 180-strike call is the most popular, where new positions are being bought to open. At last check, WMT was up 3.9% at $177.01, earlier hitting an all-time peak of $181.35, and breaking above pressure at the $170 level. Since last February, the equity is up 20.9%. 

WMT Feb20

The New York Stock Exchange's Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCSis surging today, up 12.2% to trade at $8.37 at last glance, after the lender announced a costly operational overhaul. On track for its best day since November 2020, today's bull gap has BCS at its highest level since July 2023. Still sporting a minor year-over-year deficit, the shares are up 6.7% in 2024. 

Meanwhile, Rapt Therapeutics Inc (Nasdaq: RAPT) is the worst performer on the Nasdaq today, last seen down 62.7% at $9.69, and earlier hitting a record low of $8.14. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) put two mid-stage trials of the company's drug, Zelnecirnon, which is being tested for treatment of eczema and asthma, on hold after liver failure was observed in one of the patients. 

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