Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is up 36.2 points, or 0.2%, at 16,215.81, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is on pace for a record closing high. Investors are cheering an encouraging housing report, after the Commerce Department reported an unexpected rise in new home sales last month. Specifically, sales of new homes rose 9.6% from December to January, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 -- the fastest in more than five years.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges is currently perched at 0.73, with calls outpacing puts. So far today, 3.71 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.74 million puts.
- One name seeing heavy call trading today is fuel cell producer Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG), which is up 14.5% at $4.48 after inking a contract with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). So far, more than 87% of today's option volume has traded on the call side.
- The advance/decline ratio on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands at 2.24, with advancing stocks more than doubling the declining issues.
- One of the biggest upward movers on the Big Board today is Examworks Group, Inc. (NYSE:EXAM), which touched a record high of $36.85 after reporting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and issuing an upbeat current-quarter forecast. At last check, EXAM has trimmed its lead slightly to 16.8% to trade at $35.74.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.3 point, or 2.4%, to 14.00. However, the "fear gauge" is on pace to end a second straight session beneath its 80-day moving average.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 1.05, with put volume slightly outpacing call volume so far. The ETN has gained 0.4% at midday to $42.84.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).