Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has blazed a steady path higher today, and was last seen with a lead of 90.5 points, or 0.6%, at 16,539.79. A relatively well-received round of big-cap earnings, as well as a slew of M&A activity -- particularly in the pharmaceutical sector -- has bolstered optimism about the collective corporate pocketbook. In addition, the National Association of Realtors said its gauge of existing home sales fell 0.2% in March, representing a narrower-than-expected month-over-month decline. Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is on pace for its sixth straight finish in the black.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges is currently perched at 0.80, with calls outpacing puts. So far today, 3.38 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.72 million puts.
- One name seeing heavy call trading today is home improvement retailer The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD), which is up 2.7% to $80.05. Bolstering the blue chip was an upgrade to "outperform" from "market perform" at BMO, which also lifted its price target on the equity to $90 from $82. So far, more than 93% of today's option volume has traded on the call side.
- The advance/decline ratio on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands at 2.60, with advancing stocks more than doubling declining issues.
- One of the biggest upward movers on the Big Board so far today is motorcycle guru Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG), which is up 7.5% at $72.57 after issuing stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Earlier in the session, HOG touched a seven-year peak of $73.50.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.3 point, or 2.2%, at 12.96. A daily close south of 13 would be a first for the "fear barometer" since Jan. 22.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 2.92, with put volume nearly tripling call volume so far. The ETN has shed 0.4% at midday to $40.77.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) 2 Minute.