Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Midday Market Stats: Dow Jones Industrial Average Stumbles on Mixed Economic News

The Pep Boys - Manny Moe & Jack plunges on earnings outlook; EMC Corporation sees heavy call trading ahead of its earnings report

by 4/15/2014 12:03 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was earlier trying to extend Monday's positive momentum, and helping toward this goal were Dow components The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), which remain in the black on well-received earnings reports. At last check, however, the blue-chip index had surrendered early gains and was down 68.1 points, or 0.4%, at 16,105.32.

News has been mixed on the economic front, with New York's Federal Reserve reporting an unanticipated drop in manufacturing activity, while the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index came up short of expectations in April. Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported a 0.2% increase in the consumer price index (CPI) last month, edging past economists' estimates. The core CPI (which excludes the food and energy variables) also ticked up 0.2%.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges currently stands at 0.97, with call volume and put volume near parity. So far today, 3.90 million calls have changed hands, compared to 3.79 million puts.

  2. One name seeing notable options trading today is EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), which has slipped 0.5% today to rest at $26.63 after beginning the day with gains. Option volume is running at almost three times the usual pace, and the lion's share of the action has transpired on the call side. EMC is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings ahead of the open next Wednesday.

  3. The advance/decline ratio on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stands at 0.58. Declining stocks are currently outpacing advancing names by a margin of nearly 2-to-1.

  4. Among today's biggest decliners on the Big Board is The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE:PBY), which has tumbled nearly 14.6% to $10.22 and earlier hit a new annual low of $10.06. The auto parts retailer posted a decline in fourth-quarter revenue, and warned that the upcoming two quarters' results would be negatively impacted by weak pricing.

  5. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has edged higher today, up 0.8 point, or 5%, to trade at 16.91.

  6. Today's put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) stands at 0.73, with call volume easily exceeding put volume. The ETN has gained 3% today to $45.70.

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

Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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