Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is waffling around breakeven at midday, thanks to the latest round of mixed economic data. On the plus side, housing starts and building permits increased more than forecast last month; however, the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for May unexpectedly declined. At last check, the DJI was a slim 4.7 points lower at 16,442.12.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The advance/decline ratio on the Nasdaq registers at 0.62, with decliners outpacing advancing names.
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges checks in at 0.99, with calls and puts running neck and neck. Currently, 3.66 million calls have changed hands, compared to 3.64 million puts.
- Among the equities with notable call volume is Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (NYSE:ALU), which has seen 99.5% of its options volume trade on the call side. ALU is off 3.3% at $3.85 today, after S&P Capital IQ downgraded the stock to "sell" from "hold" this morning, and Point72 announced last night it has decreased its stake in the network-equipment company.
- In the latest American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) poll, the percentage of bulls increased to 33.1% from 28.3% the week prior. The percentage of neutral investors rose to 44.3% from 43%, while the percentage of bears dipped to 22.6% from 28.7%.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.3 point, or 2.1%, at 12.89, after closing above the 13 level yesterday. As such, the market's "fear gauge" remains below the 13.50 mark, which hasn't been toppled on a daily closing basis since May 6.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- currently 1.4% lower at $36.89 -- is 0.55, with calls nearly doubling puts.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).