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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has been all over the map this morning, rising to within 30 points of its all-time high, then dipping to a 50-point loss. At last check, the blue-chip index was little changed, up 1.3 points at 16,582.09.
This fickle price action is being driven by a number of headlines today, and cautious positioning ahead of tomorrow morning's nonfarm payrolls report. The ISM manufacturing index inched higher in April to edge past economists' estimates, while weekly jobless claims rose by 14,000, surprising economists who were expecting the seasonally adjusted number to decline. Investors are also digesting earnings reports from Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA), and other high-profile names.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges currently stands at 0.73, with call volume outpacing put volume. So far today, 3.52 million calls have changed hands, compared to 2.58 million puts.
- Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) is active in the options pits today, as total option volume is running at nearly a five times what's typically expected. What's more, almost 90% of the activity has transpired on the call side, as the stock earlier touched a new all-time high of $70.07. At last check, WAG shares were up 2.7% to $69.75.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has continued its retreat today, down 0.2 point, or 1.3%, to trade at 13.24. Week-to-date, the market's "fear gauge" has given back 5.8%.
- Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 1.16, with put volume narrowly exceeding call volume. The ETN has slipped 0.6% today to $40.01.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).