Stocks are rising with authority this Friday morning as investors digest yet another spectacular monthly employment report. The economy gained 255,000 non-farm jobs in July, and although the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%, that’s not entirely a bad thing as it is a sign of the long hoped for increase in participation in the labor pool. It is odd to see the US labor situation doing so well even as US economic growth dwindles away to nearly nothing, and the market still has a messy valuation problem to deal with, but this morning, investors are choosing to put those concerns aside and focus on the positive.
There’s huge news in the big pharma world this morning, as Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) announced a clinical trial failure of its cancer drug Opdivo. The trial involved patients with lung cancer who had received no prior treatment, and the failure was a big surprise because the drug has already been approved to treat lung cancer patients who have had prior chemotherapy. BMY shares are down a vertiginous 17%, while shares of rival drug maker Merck (MRK) are up 7% on the news.
Here are your Friday morning market metrics. Industries doing well today include capital markets, airlines, and banks. Industries showing weakness include pharmaceuticals, multi-utilities, and metals & mining. The VIX is down 7% to 11.54 after closing on Thursday at 12.42. The most heavily traded options this morning are for Bank of America (BAC), with 8,252 August-5 14.5 calls changing hands. The total put/call ratio as of 9:00 AM was 0.77 (420,257/324,832). NYSE Adv/Dec 1,902/795. Nasdaq Adv/Dec 1,590/639.