This Thursday morning, the US Senate voted to begin drafting the legislation that will repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The move is historic not only because of the huge repercussions it will have on healthcare and health insurance, but because it indicates that the President Elect has an unprecedented ability to get what he wants from Congress, and to get it quickly. Unprecedented, most strikingly, due to his not yet even being the President.
Stocks are lower across the board, at least in part because the Street still doesn’t know what the Obamacare “replacement” will look like, an uncertainty that just became much more urgent. The Initial Unemployment Claims number for last week was 247K, well below the expected 255K. Steel is in trouble today, as US Steel (X) is down 6% and AK Steel (AKS) is down 7%.
Here are your Thursday morning market metrics. Industries doing well today include personal products, food products, and tobacco. Industries showing weakness include semiconductors, diversified consumer services, and auto components. The VIX is up 10.75% to 12.47 after closing on Wednesday at 11.26. The most heavily traded options this morning are for the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM), with 18,128 March 135 puts and 18,000 March 129 puts on the board. The total put/call ratio as of 10:00 AM was 1.31 (242,208/317,627). NYSE Adv/Dec 753/2,076. Nasdaq Adv/Dec 566/1,929.