Stocks Spring Higher As "Fear Gauge" Sputters

Stocks have reversed their morning losses and now sit firmly higher midday, as Wall Street awaits the Federal Reserve's meeting minutes. Today's busy docket of economic data is in focus as well, with U.S. new home sales rising to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 632,000 in October from September's 588,000 -- far surpassing analyst expectations of a drop to 570,000. Elsewhere, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) is heading toward its sixth-straight loss and lowest close on Aug. 19. 

MMC Nov23

Autodesk Inc (Nasdaq: ADSK) is seeing an options surge today, after the software company's lowered current-quarter revenue guidance and subsequent 11 price-target hikes. So far, 11,000 calls and 12,000 puts have crossed the tape. The weekly 11/25 200-strike call is the most active contract, with new positions opening there. ADSK is down 5.5% at $197.40 at last look.

The New York Stock Exchange's Carvana Co (NYSE: CVNAis staging a much-needed bounce today, up 14.1% at $7.77 at last glance, after yesterday nearing its recent Nov. 8 record low of $6.50. CVNA is getting a boost after a company officer purchased $1 million worth of shares. Year-to-date, the stock is still down roughly 96%. 

Meanwhile, Nordstrom Inc (NYSE: JWN) is down 6.9% at $21.09, after the retailer lowered its annual profit forecast, noting sales have slowed over the past couple months. On the charts, the stock has been chopping higher since its late September lows, with today's pullback caught by a trendline connecting higher lows. Year-to-date, the equity is down 6%. Nordstrom stock is also one of the most popular stocks in the options pits at midday. 

JWN Nov23

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