The Nasdaq has taken the lead over the other major U.S. markets in terms of bullishness, having had seven straight winning sessions while continuing to make new highs.  The S&P 500 and the Dow have stubbornly held off breaking to new highs, but are within very close striking distance.  Market sentiment is only moderately positive.  Certain stocks and sectors were negatively affected by comments made by Donald Trump in his press conference.  For example, when Trump suggested that drug companies were charging too much for their drugs, nearly every major drug company stock dropped on high volume.  The Biotech sector was similarly affected.  However, these negative effects are usually temporary, as Trump has been critical of many businesses (automobiles, appliances, aerospace, technology, etc.), but at the same time optimism for U.S. jobs creation has been stimulated.


Financials continue to lead the way, with technology beginning to rise.  Most sectors are basically flat, and there is at least some “risk off” sentiment beginning to emerge as evidenced by a lower bond yields and a strong day for utilities stocks.  Options traders, of course, can trade every sector effectively…even ones that are not decidedly bullish.  For the best and most comprehensive options training, go here:

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has remains at extreme lows having slipped below 12 once again.  The six-month sentiment (according to AAII) shows continued bullishness overall, which could keep the VIX mostly at low levels.  Seasonality for post-election years suggests there could be significant chops along the way, though.  Did you know that you can trade options on volatility?  To learn more, click here:


OVERSEAS:  Asian and European markets were all broadly bearish in overnight sessions.  Tensions remain in the South China seas and near Taiwan as the Chinese navy continues to make its presence known.

OIL:  Oil prices have bounced around actively this week, but within a tight range.  After all of that action, and a report showing increasing inventories, oil has ended up right where it was a week ago, near $53 per barrel.  Want some input from a commodities expert?  To hear what Courtney Smith has to say about oil and other opportunities, click here:

JOBS:  Jobless claims figures came in lower than expected at only 247K versus an expectation of 255K.  This was, however, 12K higher than the previous week.  The JOLTS report on new job openings also was positive this week with over 5.5 Million new job opportunities.

BIOTECH INSIDER: After a rough outing on the heels of political tweets, price gouging, and threats of industry regulation, biotech remains in positive territory in 2017. Prior to Trump’s press conference, the NASDAQ Biotech Index (NBI) had rallied 7%, while the S&P 500 Index only up 1%.  Also, just 12 days into 2017, we’ve already seen $6.9 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions, up $1.1 billion from the same time last year, and $322 million in 2015.  Just this week, Takeda unveiled plans to buy Ariad Pharmaceuticals in a $5.2 billion deal to strengthen its oncology portfolio.  Merrimack Pharmaceuticals announced that its selling the rights to its cancer drug to Ipsen in a deal valued at $1.025 billion. In addition, 14 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies are sitting with more than $220 billion in cash, ready to act.  Much of that could be unlocked if Donald Trump permits the repatriation of offshore cash and reduces corporate income taxes.  In short, the opportunities in biotech are just beginning anew.  For more information on how we’re trading biotech and pharmaceutical names this year, click here.  2016 was our best year yet for Biotech Options with nearly 90% success.

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