Stocks quoted in this article:
In a shortened and relatively light trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,141.45) is down 49 points, or 0.4%, as investors continue to fret over whether Washington can strike a deal ahead of the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 18.61) is 0.8 points, or 4.3%, higher.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 0.77, with 2.0 million calls changing hands so far today, compared to 1.6 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-skewed activity -- despite falling around 1.2% -- is Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX - 5.75). Currently, calls represent 60.3% of the medical device manufacturer's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 32.19) checks in at 0.49, with calls more than doubling puts.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.62, with the number of downward movers easily outstripping the advancers.
- Among the NYSE's major decliners is Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF - 25.60), which has declined about 6% -- and tagged a new multi-year low of $24.24 -- in intraday trading. The health-products supplier said it will repurchase more than $50 million worth of its shares in the coming quarters. Those shares will come much cheaper to the company now -- HLF has plunged almost 40% since last Tuesday, after fund manager William Ackman began heavily shorting the stock and accusing the company of "pyramid scheme" conduct.