Stocks quoted in this article:
After dropping roughly 135 points shortly after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has managed to edge into positive territory, up 2.5 points at 16,515.53. The initial selling was sparked by lackluster earnings from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), worse-than-expected manufacturing data from China, and mounting concerns over the worsening situation in Ukraine.
Helping cheer investors, however, was the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index for April, which inched higher from March and exceeded economists' expectations. The reading was the 52nd consecutive one north of 50, indicating steady expansion in the services sector.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The advance/decline ratio on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands at 0.80. Declining stocks are currently outpacing advancing names by a margin of 5-to-4.
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges currently checks in near 0.82, with call volume outpacing put volume. So far today, 2.73 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.26 million puts.
- One name seeing unusual option volume today is B/E Aerospace Inc (NASDAQ:BEAV), which tagged an all-time high of $100.25 this morning. The stock is now up 11.3% at $99.01 on news that a strategic alternative -- such as a sale of the business or a merger -- is being discussed. Option volume has more than quintupled the average pace today, and more than 82% of the action has transpired on the call side.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has moved higher today following five consecutive closes in the red. At midday, the market's "fear gauge" is up 0.54 point, or 2.9%, at 13.29.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 0.62, with call volume exceeding put volume by a healthy margin. After hitting a new all-time low on Friday, the ETN has shed 0.2% today to $39.90.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).