Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has explored both sides of breakeven today, and was last seen 24.2 points, or 0.2%, higher at 16,270.05, as investors await the unofficial start to earnings season this afternoon, when Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) reports. In economic news, the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that employers posted 4.2 million job openings in February -- 7.7% more than in January, and the highest since January 2008 -- and that there are currently about 2.5 unemployed Americans for each open position.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges checks in at 0.83, with calls outweighing puts. Currently, 3.69 million calls are on the tape, compared to 3.08 million puts.
- Among the equities with notable call volume is private mortgage insurer MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE:MTG), which is 5.2% higher at $8.43, after releasing its March operating statistics early this morning. Over 96% of MTG's options volume has crossed on the call side.
- The Nasdaq Exchange shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.09, with advancing stocks more than doubling declining issues.
- One of the Nasdaq's major advancers at midday is China-based Internet firm Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), which has gained 6.1% to trade at $152.33. BIDU's travel website, Qunar, is reportedly in merger talks with Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (ADR) (NASDAQ:CTRP).
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has dropped 0.5 point, or 3.2%, to 15.07, after briefly peaking above the 16 level earlier.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- off 1% at $42.36 -- is 0.54, with call volume nearly doubling put volume.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).