Stocks Gain Steam Ahead Of Powell Speech

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIis up over 200 points midday, on track for its fourth-straight win. All eyes are on the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting -- where no change to interest rates is widely expected -- and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give virtual remarks on monetary policy at 2:30 p.m. ET. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are modestly in the black as well, the former also on track for its fourth straight win and the latter brushing off lackluster Big Tech performance. In the meantime, investors are unpacking U.S. retail sales, which rose for the third month in August, up 0.6% but slightly below expectations. 

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MMC Sep 16

One stock seeing notable options activity is AMC Networks Inc (Nasdaq: AMCX), up 21% at $25.13 at last check, after announcing a $250 million share buyback plan. So far, over 9,000 calls and 8,500 puts have crossed the tape -- 52 times what's typically seen at this point. The two most popular options by far are the November 30 call and November 30 put, with new positions being opened at both. 

Soaring towards the top of the Nasdaq today is Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc (Nasdaq: ARWR), up 50.8% at $47.59 at last check, after successful phase two liver disease treatment results. While ARWR is on track for its best day since 2010, the biotech stock is still down 20% year-to-date.

Meanwhile, dropping lower on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is ADT Inc (NYSE: ADT), last seen down 13.8% at $9.31 after its secondary public offering of common stock. Falling below its 60-day moving average for the first time since late April, the stock is nearing the $9 region, home to long-term resistance before its August bull gap. Year-to-date, the equity is down 17.2%. 

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ADT Sep 16

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