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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has traded in a slim 58-point range today, and at last check, was up 29.8 points, or 0.2%, at 16,438.30, thanks to acquisition-related buzz for Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE). Today's lukewarm price action comes as traders take a wait-and-see approach ahead of this week's onslaught of earnings reports from tech names and blue chips. Kicking things off on the tech side will be Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), which reports after tonight's close. Meanwhile, a trio of Dow components -- including McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) -- will step into the confessional ahead of tomorrow's open. On the economic front, the Conference Board's index of leading indicators rose by a better-than-expected 0.8% in March.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges currently stands at 0.80, with call volume outpacing put volume. So far today, 3.57 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.49 million puts.
Among the names seeing heavy call activity today is Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN), which is up 3.9% at $22.20. Earlier, the wholesale power producer tagged a five-year high of $22.47, after announcing on Friday the all-cash sale of six power plants to LS Power Equity Advisors, LLC, for roughly $1.57 billion. The news was met over the weekend by a round of price-target hikes from ISI Group, Barclays, and Macquarie. At last check, nearly 99% of the day's overall options activity has occurred on the call side.
- The advance/decline ratio on the New York Stock Exchange stands at 1.42, with advancing stocks having the edge over declining issues.
One of the biggest gainers on the Big Board today is AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN), which has jumped 6.1% to $67.36. As touched upon, PFE is reportedly continuing to pursue a takeover of AZN, even though the latter rejected the former's previous $101 billion bid.
After shedding nearly 22% last week, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.0.3 point, or 0.2%, at 13.39. However, the market's "fear gauge" is in danger of notching a second consecutive close south of 13.50.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 1.30, with puts outstripping calls. The ETN is 1.5% lower today at $41.06.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).