Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is poised for a second straight triple-digit drop, dragged lower by lackluster earnings from global retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). In addition, Wall Street is taking the glass-half-empty approach to the latest batch of economic reports. Homebuilder confidence fell to a 12-month low in May, the National Association of Home Builders reported, while industrial production in April unexpectedly fell 0.6%. That data has overshadowed a seven-year nadir in weekly jobless claims, a rebound in New York manufacturing activity in May, and an in-line rise in consumer prices last month. Against this backdrop, the Dow is down 189 points, or 1.1%, while the 10-year Treasury yield is struggling to stay atop the psychologically significant 2.5% mark.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The advance/decline ratio on the New York Stock Exchange stands at 0.30, with declining stocks more than tripling the advancing issues.
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges is currently perched at 1.07, with puts slightly outpacing calls. So far today, 4.2 million calls have changed hands, compared to 4.5 million puts.
- One name seeing heavy put trading today is retailer Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS), which is down 3% at $52.39 in the wake of a poorly received earnings report and subsequent price-target cuts at Deutsche Bank and Sterne Agee. So far, more than 76% of today's option volume has traded on the put side.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 1.6 points, or 12.9%, at 13.74. The market's "fear gauge" is on pace to end atop its 10-day and 20-day moving averages for the first time since April 15.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 0.76, with call volume outpacing put volume so far. The ETN has rallied 2.8% at midday to trade at $38.07.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).