Employment Data Boosts Dow, S&P 500 To Fresh Highs

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIis up 120 points at midday, after earlier scoring a fresh intraday high alongside the S&P 500 Index (SPX), on the heels of an upbeat jobs report. The U.S. Labor Department said 943,000 new jobs were added in July, which is far above the 845,000 jobs analysts anticipated. Plus, the unemployment rate fell to a better-than-expected 5.4%. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) isn't faring as well today, though, sitting firmly in the red as tech stocks falter.

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One stock seeing a surge of options activity today on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Hecla Mining Co (NYSE: HL). So far, 26,000 calls have crossed the tape, which is six times the intraday average. Most popular is the August 6.50 call, followed by the September 7 call, with new positions being opened at the former. At last check, HL is down 2.9% to trade at $6.15, after getting a price-target cut from Cannacord Genuity to$7 from $7.50. The security is now continuing its path lower since its June 1, 10-year high of $9.44.

Beyondspring Inc (NASDAQ: BYSIis one of the best-performing stocks on the Nasdaq today. Shares are up 11.1% to trade at $24.11 at last check, recovering from yesterday's trough after tripling in the previous session, thanks to positive results for the company's lung cancer drug. Plus, Evercore ISI just awarded the stock a lofty price-target hike to $95 from $30. Over the past month, the security has added a whopping 150%.

Elsewhere, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc (Nasdaq: DRNAis sinking towards the bottom of the Nasdaq, down 36.3% to trade at $24.18 at last check, after disappointing trial data for its genetic disorder drug. In turn, Truist Securities downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy," with a price-target cut to $32 from $45, while Cowen and Company cut its rating to "market perform" from "outperform." Four other analysts chimed in with price-target cuts as well. While the equity is now trading at its lowest level since March, the $24 level seems to be containing today's pullback. 

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