S&P 500 Logs Another Record High As "Fear Gauge" Dips

Stocks are modestly in the black midday, thanks to upbeat monthly jobs data that showed 850,000 jobs were added in June. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIis roughly 60 points higher, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) notched another record high earlier in the day. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) boasts a respectable lead as well, and all three major benchmarks are on their way to logging their second straight weekly wins. Amidst all this positive price action, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), is heading for its lowest close since February 2020.

Midday Market Stats July 2

One stock seeing an unusual amount of activity in its options pits today is Tesla Inc (Nasdaq: TSLA), down 0.2% at $676.90 at last check, despite the company meeting analysts' estimates concerning vehicle delivery amid a global semiconductor shortage. So far, 521,000 calls and 370,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is double times the intraday average. Most popular by far is the weekly 7/2 700-strike call, followed by the 690-strike call in the same series, with new positions being opened at both. This indicates options traders are expecting more upside for TSLA by the end of the day, when the contracts expire. The security is now up 181.2% year-over-year, and pacing for its fourth consecutive weekly win

At the top of the the Nasdaq today is Alector Inc (Nasdaq: ALEC), last seen up 81.1% to trade at a new all-time high of $40.58. This comes after the biopharmaceutical company struck a billion-dollar collaboration deal with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop drugs for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Today's positive price action represents the largest single-day percentage gain ever for ALEC. Longer term, Alector stock boasts a 155% year-to-date lead.

ALEC Chart July 2

Meanwhile, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ARWR) is towards the bottom of the Nasdaq today. The shares are down 24.8% at $63.88 this afternoon, after the pharma company halted a cystic fibrosis study. Now down 16.6% year-to-date, today's plunge is the biggest single-day percentage drop ever.

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