Stocks quoted in this article:
Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading modestly lower at midday, following a day that saw each index notch record closing highs. Not even a better-than-expected reading on factory orders (and an upwardly revised reading for March), or a third consecutive month of strong auto sales have been able to push buyers to the table, with the DJI off 34.1 points, or 0.2%, at 16,709.56. Meanwhile, the broader SPX was flirting with a 3.5 point, or 0.2%, drop to trade at 1,921.47. Looking ahead, Thursday's highly anticipated meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council, as well as Friday's domestic payrolls number, could stoke some volatility in the equities markets.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The advance/decline ratio on the Nasdaq stands at 0.38, with declining stocks more than doubling the advancing issues.
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges is currently perched at 0.78, with calls outpacing puts. So far today, 3.11 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.45 million puts.
- Among the names seeing heavy call activity is Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR), despite being down 1% to $12.88 in the wake of this morning's pair of price-target cuts from Nomura and Susquehanna. At last check, overall options volume was running at nearly seven times the intraday average, and 96.3% of the action had occurred on the call side.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is 0.4 point, or 3.5%, higher at 11.98 this afternoon. Although continuing to churn south of the 12 level, the market's "fear gauge" is on track to notch its first daily close north of its 10-day moving average since May 20.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 0.25, with calls outpacing puts by a 4-to-1 margin. The ETN has tacked on 0.4 point, or 1.1%, this afternoon to trade at $33.74.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).