Stocks quoted in this article:
Stocks turned solidly higher this morning, following remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who opined that the central bank's "extraordinary commitment" to propping up the economy "will be [needed] for some time." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is sitting with a triple-digit gain of 103 points, at 16,426.01. On the data front, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) Chicago business barometer slipped in March to its lowest reading since August, falling notably short of economists' expectations. Also, the Dallas Fed's manufacturing survey increased to 4.9 this month from 0.3 in February.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges currently stands at 0.81, with call volume outpacing put volume. So far today, 3.19 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.60 million puts.
- Insurance concern CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI) has seen its option volume run at nearly triple the normal pace today. What's more, over 91% of today's options trading on CI has occurred on the call side. The stock is up 3.5% to $82.11, following a vote of confidence from J.P. Morgan Securities, which upped its price target for CIGNA to $96 from $93.
- The advance/decline ratio on the New York Stock Exchange stands at 3.05. Advancing stocks are currently outpacing declining names by a margin of roughly 3-to-1.
- Among today's top performers on the NYSE is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), which has zoomed up 4.5% to $51.67, hitting a new three-year high of $52 along the way. UBS upped its price target on the drugmaker to $50 from $40, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the company's appeal regarding patent protection of multiple-sclerosis treatment Copaxone.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is modestly lower today as stocks stage a rally. The "fear gauge" is currently off 2.9% at 14.00, but has not closed south of 14 since March 5.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 2.01, with put volume more than doubling call volume. The ETN has shed 1.7% today to 42.80.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).