Vaccine Data, Speculative Trading Drama Sink Stocks

Stocks are falling once again on Friday afternoon after Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) one-dose COVID-19 vaccine results failed to impress investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIwas down roughly 400 points at midday, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPXwere also suffering considerable losses. Traders are still concerned about ramped up speculative trading activity, with shares of GameStop (GME) surging back up after Robinhood allowed limited buying of heavily shorted stocks -- just a day after drawing criticism for restricting them. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would investigate the online brokerage firm's actions to determine whether or not it harmed investors. 

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One stock seeing notable options activity today is Biogen Inc (Nasdaq: BIIB), up 10.4% to trade at $295.75 at last check, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended the review period for the company's experimental Alzheimer's treatment by three months from March. So far, over 13,000 calls and over 7,000 puts have crossed the tape, which is seven times the intraday average. Most popular is the monthly March 300 call, followed by the 275 put in the same series. The security has experienced significant volatility over the past year, surging to a Feb. 5 three-year high of $374.99 before falling to a Nov. 9 annual low of $223.25. Quarter-to-date, though, BIIB has added 20.9%.

Surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is Alussa Energy Acquisition Corp (NYSE: ALUS), up 20.5% at $12.40 at last check, after earlier hitting a record high of $13.18. The massive bull gap came after the security combined with FREYR, a clean energy developer, and announced plans to accelerate up to 43 million Gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean battery cell by 2025. Prior to today's pop, the equity had been trading mostly sideways on the charts, near its initial public offering (IPO) of $10 per share. Longer term, ALUS sports a 24.5% year-over-year lead. 

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