Chicago PMI Drops, Shows Economy Contracting

Slowdown blamed on tariff uncertainty. The Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index decreased by 4.5 points to 49.7 in June. That’s in contrast to a read of 54.2 in May. The index is structured to show growth over 50, and a decline under 50. This marks the first sub-50 reading since January 2017. Businesses surveyed also showed a 13 percent drop in confidence in the economy going forward, with the average dropping to 52.2, just a hair above the 50 level that also indicates growth. This is yet another piece of economic data that indicates a potential slowdown in the economy is underway. ...
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Economy Hits 3.1 Percent Growth Rate in First Quarter

Revised numbers still show strong economy. The U.S. economy grew at a 3.1 percent rate in the first quarter of 2019. That information is based on the latest recalculation to the gross domestic product (GDP) by the department of Commerce. The rate of growth suggests a reasonably strong economy, but the final numbers coming in ended up revising earlier estimates downward on consumer spending. Although consumer spending still rose, it did so at a slower-than-expected rate. This view is in line with more recent macroeconomic data that suggests that, while the economy is still growin...
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Unusual Options Activity: Altria (MO)

Trader bets on more downside for tobacco giant. Tobacco companies have had a rough year, amidst long-term sales declines and a decision to pass on major investments in the growing cannabis industry. One trader sees some more downside, with a large put option trade on Altria (MO). On Thursday, over 9,500 contracts of the July 12th $49 put options traded, a 57-fold increase in volume on the option. This option, with shares at $48, is already in-the-money. So while it expires in 15 days, the option can be exercised as long as shares are under the $49 strike price. Any big down d...
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Insider Activity: Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company (BHVN)

Two insiders buy over $600,000 in shares. Insiders still remain incredibly bullish across the biotech and pharmaceutical space. On Wednesday, two insiders bought shares at Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company (BHVN). CEO Vlad Coric bought 5,000 shares, shelling out just over $201,000. And director John Childs bought 10,000 shares, paying just over $403,000. This marks the first insider buys at the company in over two years, following insider sales last year in the $50-60 range. With shares in the low $40’s, the insider buys look like a response to the steep selloff in shar...
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Oil Inventory Faces Largest Drawdown in Nearly Three Years

Inventories drop 10 million barrels more than expected. On Wednesday, oil prices surged nearly three percent after new EIA data. The data shows that domestic stockpiles plunged 12.8 million barrels for the week ending June 21. This is the largest drawdown since the 14.5 million barrel decline in September 2016. Analyst consensus was for a drawdown of about 2.8 million barrels, or about one-fifth as much. The move sent oil higher by about 3 percent to nearly $60 per barrel. This supply and demand data for oil comes as prices have been already rising in the past week as geopolitic...
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Unusual Options Activity: Micron Technology (MU)

Traders bet on drop following big earnings beat. Shares of Micron Technology (MU) surged over 14 percent on Wednesday thanks to a massive earnings beat. But some traders think the stock has rallied too much. On Wednesday, a large number of contracts with unusual options activity centered around put options on Micron, with many expiring on Friday, just two trading days away. One further out, the August 2nd $32 put options, has over a month to play out. This option had over 1,600 contracts on Wednesday. With shares of Micron hitting $37.50, the $32 puts imply a 15 percent pullb...
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Insider Activity: MGM Resorts International (MGM)

Fund manager makes big buy after merger announcement in the sector. Money manager Keith Meister continues to be bullish at MGM Resorts International (MGM), the casino firm where he already owns 20 million shares and has a board seat as a director. On Tuesday, Meister picked up 380,651 additional shares, at a cost of about $10.59 million. This news comes after a big announced merger in the gaming space between Eldorado Resorts and Casears Entertainment. Typically, casinos can be a bit volatile, as many folks scale back plans to gamble during times of economic stress. And while ga...
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Bitcoin Drops 16.7%

Cryptocurrency tanks after big rally. Since hitting a low of $3,200 per coin earlier this year, bitcoin prices have been accelerating higher in recent days. Last Friday, bitcoin cracked $10,000—and went as high as $13,500 before a big drop on Thursday. Despite the large drop, the cryptocurrency is still on track to have its best performing month since 2017, the last time shares started to go parabolic. These kinds of wild swings can be pretty normal for cryptocurrencies, although Bitcoin has taken some time to gradually head higher in the last few months before taking off in the...
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AbbVie Agrees to Buy Allergan With $63 Billion Offer

Merger would combine two of the industry's largest players. On Tuesday, AbbVie (ABBV) announced a plan to buy Allergan PLC for about $63 billion. Allergan is best known as the manufacturer of Botox and other beauty-related drugs, where it has a sizeable amount of market share. The offer for Allergan came in at $188 per share in a mix of cash and stock, a 45 percent premium over where Allergan shares closed on Monday. Shares had already been rallying on the rumor that Allergan was looking to unlock value by breaking up the company. Shares had already been rallying on the rumor that...
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Insider Activity: Stoke Therapeutics (STOK)

Insiders buy millions of shares of genetic disease research firm. Insiders continue to be bullish on the pharma and biotech space at current prices. One of the latest buys is in Stoke Therapeutics (STOK). RWT Investments, a partnership that already owns more than 10 percent of shares, picked up 555,556 shares last week, increasing their stake by $10 million. Then, this week, another big insider trade occurred. Director Seth Harrison bought 1,388,889 shares via his holding company, Apple Tree Partners IV. This increased his stake to 17.7 million shares and represents a $25 milli...
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