Vaccine Optimism Pushes S&P 500, Nasdaq To Fresh Intraday Highs

This week is so far proving to be much better than the last one, as the three major indexes look to extend yesterday's gains. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) Covid-19 vaccine has helped to abate some variant-relates fears, with travel stocks enjoying this newfound optimism. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPXare sporting solid gains this afternoon, after earlier nabbing fresh intraday highs, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) sits firmly in the black midday. 

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Crowdstrike Holdings Inc (Nasdaq: CRWDis seeing a surge of options activity today, ahead of its Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) debut. So far, 70,000 calls and 20,000 puts have crossed the tape, with options volume running at six times what is typically seen at this point, and call volume pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range. The weekly 8/27 270-strike call is the most popular by far, with new position being opened there. The equity is bouncing off the 100-day moving average, last seen up 8.1% at $265.81, which is just shy of its July 23 record high of $272.63. Longer term, CRWD boasts a 140.4% year-over-year lead.

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Nearing the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Triple-S Management Corp (NYSE: GTS), up 50.3% to trade at $35.16 at last check, after news that insurance name GuideWell will acquire the managed care company for $36 per share, in a deal valued at around $900 million. The shares are now trading at their highest level since 2018, and are up 63.9% year-to-date.

Elsewhere, Theravance Biopharma Inc (Nasdaq: TBPH) is plummeting, after its experimental inflammatory bowel disease treatment, izencitinib, failed to meet the main goal of a mid-stage study. To follow, the security received a downgrade from Cowen and Company to "market perform" from "outperform," with a hefty price-target cut to $14 from $42. No fewer than five other analysts slashed their price objectives as well. The shares are down 31.3% to trade at $9.73 at last check, after earlier dropping to a record low of $9.47. Year-over-year, TBPH has shed over 48%.

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