Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,567.42) is up 10 points, or 0.1%, as a pair of positive earnings reports from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV) have slightly tempered some downbeat unemployment data. According to the Labor Department, weekly jobless claims increased to 388,000 last week, disappointing analysts who had projected a rise to just 365,000. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 14.93) is 0.1 point, or 0.9%, lower.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges stands at 0.75, with 3.5 million calls exchanged so far today, versus 2.6 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-skewed activity is eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY - 50.30), which has added around 4.4% today after reporting quarterly earnings that topped consensus estimates. The news also triggered a slew of price-target hikes this morning. Currently, calls make up 74.1% of the stock's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 32.91) sits at 0.81, with calls outweighing puts.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.66, indicating the number of downward movers is overshadowing the advancers.
- Among the Nasdaq's major decliners is Select Comfort Corp. (NASDAQ:SCSS - 29.66), which has shed more than 8% in intraday action, despite revealing stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings after yesterday's close. Instead, investors are focusing on the company's sequential slowdown in volume growth from the two previous quarters.
- Optimism declined during the week ended Oct. 17, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks dropped to 28.7% from 30.6%, while the percentage bearish jumped to 44.5% from 38.8%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral fell to 26.8% from 30.6%.