Dow Soars To Record Highs On Stimulus Hopes, Vaccine Optimism

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) jumped to record highs, with investor sentiment boosted by COVID-19 vaccine optimism and hopes of lawmakers nearing an agreement on additional fiscal stimulus. At last check, the blue-chip index is up nearly 100 points, after Reuters reported that a bipartisan stimulus plan had a chance to be introduced as soon as today. To improve its chance of passing, the $908 billion plan would be split into two parts, with $748 billion going toward jobless and small business while another part would go toward the controversial measures including liability protections and state aid.

Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are higher as well, after the U.S. began shipping out doses of Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech's (BNTX) coronavirus vaccine. Additionally, Moderna's (MRNA) vaccine candidate is slated to be assessed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week.

Midday Market Stats December 14

Dropbox Inc (NASDAQ: DBX) is one stock seeing a surge in options activity today, though the catalyst remains unclear. The equity was last seen up 4.5% to trade at $23.51, and so far today, 58,000 calls and 6,141 puts have already crossed the tape -- six times the intraday average and volume pacing in the 100th percentile of its annual range. Most popular by far is the December 24 call, followed by the 25 call from the same series, with new positions being opened at both. Longer-term, Dropbox stock has tacked on 31% year-to-date.

Meanwhile, one stock surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is Silvergate Capital Corp (NYSE: SI), last seen up 9% at $43.00, after landing a price-target hike to $50 from $26 at Compass Point. In response, SI is now well on its way to recapture its Dec. 7 all-time high of $45.50, and year-over-year has added 168.3%.

At the other end of the NYSE, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC) is down 15.8% to trade at $3.30. The pandemic has been unkind to plenty of industries this year, and movie theaters are a big part of that group. AMC is off 55.4% in 2020, and following today's drop looks poised to face overhead pressure at its 20-day moving average.

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