Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,975.41) is up 2 points, or 0.01%, as Wall Street digests a bevy of economic data. The Empire State Manufacturing Index arrived at 10.04 in February, besting economists' forecast for a reading of negative 3.0. Meanwhile, the Fed revealed that industrial production slipped 0.1% in January, and capacity utilization declined to 79.1%. Economists, on average, had projected a rise of 0.2% and a wider retreat to 78.9%, respectively. Also of note, the preliminary February reading for the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters Consumer Sentiment Index climbed to 76.3, versus an expected reading of just 75.0. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.31) is 0.4 point, or 2.8%, lower.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges sits at 0.77, with 4.8 million calls exchanged so far today, versus 3.7 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-slanted activity is Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST - 50.98), which has gained around 7% on the heels of Wednesday night's report that the company is changing its labeling to say "Nutrition Facts" rather than "Supplement Facts." Currently, calls represent 62.3% of the energy drink giant's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 22.02) -- which touched another record low of 21.84 earlier this morning -- checks in at 1.15, with puts outpacing calls.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 1.13, with the number upward movers outstripping the decliners.
- Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is Pharmacyclics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCYC - 85.39), which has spiked about 6.5% -- and tagged a decade-plus high of $85.55 -- in intraday action, after reporting better-than-anticipated quarterly earnings post-close yesterday. The results also triggered price-target hikes at RBC and Credit Suisse ahead of the open.
- Optimism edged lower during the week ended Feb. 13, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks slipped to 42.3% from 42.8%, while the percentage bearish also dropped to 28.7% from 29.5%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral rose to 29.0% from 27.7%.