Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Midday Market Stats: Dow Jones Industrial Average Retreats After Record High

Altera Corporation rallies after a positive analyst note, while Barnes & Noble, Inc. swoons after a key investor cut its stake

by 4/3/2014 12:02 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

After tagging an intraday record at 16,604.15 right out of the gate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) performed an about-face, and is now on pace to snap its four-session winning streak. At last check, the Dow is down 14.5 points, or 0.1%, at 16,558.46. Likewise, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) touched another all-time high, topping out at 1,893.80, but has since reversed course as traders take profits and digest the surprise resignation of Fed Governor Jeremy Stein. On the economic front, weekly jobless claims rose by more than expected last week -- sparking caution ahead of tomorrow's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report -- while the ISM's non-manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rebounded by less than forecast in March. The U.S. trade gap, meanwhile, widened by more than expected in February.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges is currently perched at 0.85, with calls outpacing puts. So far today, 3.02 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.58 million puts.

  2. One name seeing heavy call trading today is semiconductor concern Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR), which is 2.3% higher at $36.94, after a fresh "outperform" endorsement at FBR Capital Markets. So far, nearly 98% of today's option volume has traded on the call side.

  3. The advance/decline ratio on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands at 0.65, with declining stocks outnumbering the advancing issues.

  4. One of the biggest downward movers on the Big Board today is Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), which has surrendered 13.3% to $19.18. Liberty Media Corp (NASDAQ:LMCA) this morning announced that it's cutting its stake in BKS by 90%.

  5. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is 0.9% higher at 13.21. However, the "fear barometer" is still on pace for a weekly loss of 8.3%.

  6. Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 1.40, with put volume outpacing call volume so far. The ETN has added 0.2% at midday to $41.11.

View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) 2 Minute.

Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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