Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen reiterated her remarks from Tuesday to the House Financial Services Committee today, but Wall Street yawned, having already digested the news on Tuesday.
What did push the market higher initially was the January new U.S. single-family home sales report, which fell 0.2% to 481,000, but was better than the 470,000 expected by the Street. The supply of new homes also rose to the highest level since 2010.
But the little bit of enthusiasm wore off by 3 p.m. and the markets drifted lower for the remainder of the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.1%, the Nasdaq Composite was basically flat and the S&P 500 finished down 0.1%.
Very few sectors were strong today, but healthcare, energy and cyclical consumer goods showed modest gains. Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR), Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) and Second Sight Medical Products Inc (NASDAQ:EYES) were three stocks with very interesting story lines and were three of today’s best stocks.
Caesars Entertainment Corp (CZR)
Although there was no “news” coming out about Caesars, the scuttlebutt on the street was that the call to put option ratios were heavily weighted toward call buying contracts during the last trading session. Calls were outnumbering puts by about a 7:1 margin. When word came out, the stock shot up by 7%.
Large increases in call option buying are often a strong sign that the stock will begin moving higher. Today it was simply a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it will be interesting to see if today’s action has more follow-up through the remainder of the week.
Sprint Corp (S)
Sprint rose over 7% on 30 million shares amid news that it is now taking pre-orders on new G Flex2 cell phones. These phones are made by LG, with a curved design that has reduced size and weight, and increased durability. This new phone will sell for just over $500 and is expected to nicely add to Sprint’s bottom line.
S stock has been steadily moving higher since mid-December, when it bottomed at $3.81. Sprint stock closed just under $5 today.
Second Sight Medical Products Inc (EYES)
Traders had their eyes all over EYES stock today as it blistered up 24% amid word that three French healthcare centers have now successfully implanted Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System into patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness and overall vision impairment.
Second Sight is a California-based maker of implantable visual prosthetics. The Argus II implants were funded by a French government healthcare reimbursement program called Forfait Innovation, at no cost to the patients.
The Argus II is a fairly recent innovative procedure, with treatment at approved centers throughout the U.S. and most of Europe. In the past, patients with retinitis pigmentosa had no real treatment and could only postpone their vision loss through Vitamin A supplements.
The Argus II gives patients new hope for a cure.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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