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Holding gains, but off their highs

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The major indexes have taken on a bit of mixed trade just after the bond market's 03:00 PM EST close as a bit of a defensive move has taken place into the weekend.

Technology stocks have started to give back the bulk of their late-afternoon gains, with the Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) 270 -1.16% finding resistance at the 275 level, which looks to have come from retracement set from the daily pivot levels of S2 and R2. While action looks to be technically drive, undoubtedly today's news from Applied Materials (AMAT) $11.76 -9% found sellers as the SOX also filled its morning gap lower.

The late-afternoon renewed weakness in the semiconductors has the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 981 -0.43% slipping back into negative territory by 4-points, while the QQQ $24.37 -0.65% falls lower by 17-cents.

Shares of Internet auctioneer eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) $75.09 +1.11% announced this afternoon that it has formed a strategic relationship with Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, which is expected to have eBay becoming Kelly's exclusive auction-style partner. eBay has been a popular source of market exposure for individuals to sell/buy used cars ranging from "gets you to the grocery store" to higher-end "get you there in style" automotive auctions, and today's announcement give the popular auctioneer further exposure to the used-car segment.

Shares of OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) $7.81 +25.96% are among NASDAQ's biggest gainers after the manufacturer/marketer of oral fluid testing devices received CLIA waiver for its OraQuick HIV-1 test, which is perhaps deemed "safer" than conventional blood testing for the HIV virus.

Banker Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) $53.16 -1.28% has broken to a session and new 52-week low despite the company's attempts late in the day to update investors regarding potential regulatory action against the company by the SEC. Based on preliminary discussions with regulators, FITB said it believes some form of regulatory action will be taken against the company, but believes that the resulting agreement with the supervisory agencies will be formal and contain commitments to third-party reviews of certain functions regarding its previous accounting policies and how acquisitions had been accounted for.

Outdoor clothing manufacturer Columbia Sportwear (NASDAQ:COLM) $35.75 -15.58% are getting the "cold shoulder" from investors as the stock gaps lower and breaks below its 200-day SMA on extremely heavy volume of 4.6 million shares. Late yesterday, the company reported Q4 earnings (December) of $0.72 per share, which was 9-cents better than consensus estimates. I've seen little news other than a downgrade by DA Davidson to "underperform" from "buy," but today's technical action with large volume below the 200-day is technically bearish. A quick look at the p/f chart has the bullish support trend providing support at the $34 level. I haven't priced options on this stock, but a March $35 straddle may be in order, using today's large volume and what may be a critical level of support for bounce or further decline if broken giving the stock volatility in the coming weeks.

Jeff Bailey

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