U.S. Bans Oil Imports From Russia; Stock Selloff Gains Steam

The U.S. announced it will ban Russian oil imports today, as President Joe Biden looks to punish Russia for its continued attacks against Ukraine. The black gold market is expected to see more volatility, with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak threatening to shut down a gas pipeline to Germany, and warning oil prices could reach $300 per barrel. As a result, the U.S. is seeing major price spikes at the pump, with the national average now hovering around $4.173 per gallon.

In response, the major benchmarks are pacing for their fourth-straight daily loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIis down more than 196 points at midday, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is extending its worst day since October 2020, and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is well into bear market territory.

Midday Market Stats March 8

Options traders are piling on Transocean LTD (NYSE: RIGtoday. The company provides offshore contract drilling services for oil and gas wells, so the increased interest could be related to the sanctions placed on Russia. So far today, RIG's options pits have seen 129,000 calls and 13,000 puts exchange hands, or six times what is typically seen at this point. The most popular is the January 2023 10 call, followed by the weekly 3/11 5.50-strike call, with positions being opened at both. Transocean stock was last seen 10.5% at $5.43, and is pacing for its highest close in two years. Year-to-date, RIG boasts a 98.9% rise.

RIG Chart March 8

PBF Energy Inc (NYSE: PBFis sitting near the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today, last seen up 24.4% at $24.68. Scotiabank hiked its price target on the oil stock to $15 from $12, as the energy sector remains in focus amid the war in Ukraine. PBF Energy stock earlier hit a two-year high of $25.75, and sports an 86.7% year-to-date lead.

At the bottom of the NYSE is Barnes & Noble Education Inc (NYSE: BNED), last seen down 22.8% at $3.70. This negative price action comes after the company posted wider-than-expected fiscal third-quarter losses, as well as revenue miss. Currently trading at its lowest level since December 2020, BNED has shed more than 48% in the last 12 months.

Disclaimer: Schaeffer's Investment Research ("SIR" or "we" or "us") is not registered as an investment adviser. SIR relies upon the "publishers' ...

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