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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was down 148 points at its intraday low, following President Obama's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 (G-20) conference, but has since reversed course to add 40.7 points, or 0.3%, to 14,978.22. While Obama is considering "limited" military action against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, Putin reportedly warned that Russia would "assist" Syria if the U.S. attacks. Meanwhile, on the home front, 169,000 new jobs were created in August, representing the 42nd consecutive month of private-sector job growth. Economists were expecting payrolls to increase by 175,000. Moreover, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% from 7.4% in July; however, the labor participation rate also fell during this time frame to a 35-year low of 63.2%.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges stands at 0.81, with 4.2 million calls, compared to 3.4 million puts, crossing the tape so far.
- Among the names with call-heavy trading activity today is Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG), which has seen almost 90% of its intraday options volume change hands on the call side. On the charts, the drugstore chain is staggering a mere 0.3% lower today at $50.04, despite its $5 price-target hike to $57 at Citigroup this morning.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.08, as the advancing stocks on the Big Board more than double the declining.
- A notable leader on the NYSE today is Quiksilver, Inc. (NYSE:ZQK), which is up 30.2% to trade at $6.76 this afternoon, following yesterday's turn in the earnings confessional. The brand name announced stronger-than-expected adjusted earnings of 10 cents per share, blowing away analysts' bottom-line expectations of 4 cents per share.
- The 10-week moving average of bearishness -- as measured by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) survey -- is inching higher. Historically speaking, this has been a bearish indicator. Still, overall sentiment levels were little changed from a week ago. The percentage of bulls and bears increased to 35.5% and 31.3%, respectively, from 33.5% and 30.8%. On the other hand, the percentage of those with a neutral outlook dropped slightly to 33.2% from 35.7%.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is trending in the red for the fourth day in a row, down 0.3 point, or 1.8%, at 15.49.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- which is 0.2% lower today at 15.82 -- stands at 0.64, with call volume outstripping put volume by a margin of more than 3-to-2.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) 2 Minute.