Stocks quoted in this article:
U.S. equities are continuing their trek into uncharted waters, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) tagged a new all-time peak of 16,970.17 moments ago. At last check, the blue-chip index was 43.4 points, or 0.3%, higher at 16.967.70. Also exploring new territory is the S&P 500 Index, which recently rallied as high as 1,955.43. Absent any economic or earnings reports to focus on, market participants are reflecting on data points from overseas, such as trade surplus numbers from China (the world's second-largest economy). Additionally, investors are turning their attention to upcoming remarks from Fed officials.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The advance/decline ratio on the Nasdaq Exchange stands at 2.73. Advancing stocks are currently outpacing declining issues by a margin of nearly 3-to-1.
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges currently checks in near 0.68, with call volume handily outpacing put volume. So far today, 3.21 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.21 million puts.
- One equity seeing unusual option volume today is financial services name H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB), which is preparing to unveil its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results before the open on Wednesday. Analysts are projecting a per-share profit of $3.23, a notable pop from the $2.54 earned in the year-ago period. In today's trading, option volume is running at twice the normal pace, with more than 98% of the action taking place on the call side of the fence. HRB shares are trading 0.8% higher today at $30.57.
- After dipping to a seven-year low on Friday, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gapped higher out of the gate today, even with equities on the upswing. The market's "fear gauge" is currently up 0.3 point, or 2.8%, at 11.03.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 0.75, with call volume trumping put volume at midday. The ETN hit a new all-time low of $29.90 earlier, and is currently off 1.5% at $29.91.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).