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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is down 5 points, or 0.03%, to 15,301.84, pressured lower by lackluster data out of Japan and China, as well as concerns regarding the Fed's economic stimulus plans. According to the meeting minutes released by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) yesterday afternoon, some officials could be ready to scale back current monetary easing measures as soon as next month. On a more upbeat note, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by a larger-than-expected 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 340,000. Additionally, the Commerce Department revealed that new home sales climbed by 2.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 454,000 -- trumping economists' projections, and marking the second-highest level since July 2008.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 0.95, with 4.6 million calls traded so far today, compared to 4.3 million puts.
- Among the equities with heavy call activity is Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO), which has gained around 4.3% since the opening bell, after the biopharmaceutical company said David Ramsey will replace Kurt Gustafson as CFO. Currently, calls make up 88.1% of the security's intraday option volume. At last check, HALO was trading at $7.48.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.66, with the number of downward movers easily outpacing the advancers.
- Among the Nasdaq's major decliners is Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS), which has plummeted about 15.3% in intraday action, amid news that the firm has reworked its business model to reflect a weaker gross margin outlook. What's more, the tech concern said its fiscal-year sales will likely be hampered by an anticipated drop in average smartphone selling prices. CRUS is presently trading at $18.70.
- Bullish sentiment swelled for a fourth consecutive week last week, according to the latest Investors Intelligence survey. The percentage of financial advisors with a bullish view on stocks climbed to 55.2% from 54.2%, while the percentage bearish fell to 18.8% from 19.8%. Meanwhile, the percentage of advisors expecting a market correction remained flat at 26.0%.
- The CBOE Market Volatility Index (INDEXCBOE:VIX) is 0.2 point, or 1.2%, higher, to rest at 13.98.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- which is currently hovering at 18.73 -- sits at 0.63, with calls outnumbering puts.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:.DJI).