Stocks quoted in this article:
In the wake of the latest nonfarm payrolls data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) approached record highs in early trading, but has since pulled below breakeven. Specifically, the Labor Department reported that payrolls added a better-than-anticipated 288,000 jobs last month, and unemployment fell more sharply than expected to 6.3% -- the lowest level in more than three years. Elsewhere, however, March factory orders increased more slowly than economists had projected. At last check, the Dow was down 18.7 points, or 0.1%, at 16,540.22.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges checks in at 0.89, with calls outpacing puts. Currently, 3.72 million calls have changed hands, compared to 3.34 million puts.
- Among the equities with notable call volume is Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (USA) (NYSE:AEM), which has seen nearly 80% of its options volume exchanged on the call side. The gold producer scored a $2 price-target hike to $41 from Credit Suisse last night, after reporting stronger-than-expected top- and bottom-line numbers for the first quarter. At last check, AEM was 8.2% higher at $32.02.
- In the latest American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) poll, the percentage of bulls fell to 29.8% from 34.5% the week prior. The percentage of neutral investors rose to 40.8% from 39.5%, while the percentage of bears jumped to 29.5% from 26.0%.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.03 point, or 0.2%, to 13.22, putting it on pace for its fifth consecutive daily losses.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- currently 0.3% lower at $40.08, after hitting a new record low of $39.73 -- is 0.79, with calls outstripping puts by a roughly 5-to-4 margin.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI).