Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 14,276.76) -- which tagged a record high of 14,286.37 earlier in the session -- is up 149 points, or 1.1%, thanks to an encouraging economic report. Specifically, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) non-manufacturing index climbed to a better-than-expected 56.0 in February.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The CBOE Market Volatility Index (INDEXCBOE:VIX - 13.31) is 0.7 point, or 5%, lower. The "fear gauge" is on pace to close a second consecutive session below its 20-day moving average, which had previously served as support.
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 0.94, with 4.0 million calls changing hands so far today, compared to 3.7 million puts.
- Among the equities with heavy call activity is Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR - 20.20), which has tacked on about 0.4% since the opening bell. Currently, calls make up 90.9% of the network infrastructure provider's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 22.27) checks in at 0.88, with calls outstripping puts.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.81, with the number of upward movers almost tripling the decliners.
- Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD - 46.94), which has gained more than 6% in intraday trading. A regulatory filing revealed that Edward Lampert, the company's CEO, purchased 1.2 million of SHLD's shares for $44.36 each yesterday.