Stocks quoted in this article:
With earnings season (unofficially) under way, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,317.55) is down 67 points, or 0.5%, as analysts' predictions for lackluster corporate growth for the fourth quarter have some investors on edge. Even so, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said its small-business optimism index arrived at 88.0 in December, up from the previous month's reading of 87.5. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 14.11) is 0.3 point, or 2.3%, higher after five days in negative territory.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 0.98, with 2.88 million calls changing hands so far today, versus 2.85 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-skewed activity is Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG - 89.62), which has gained about 4.5%, and touched a new all-time high of $89.66. The stock was upgraded to "overweight" from "neutral" at Piper Jaffray this morning, after CELG revealed successful late-stage study results of its psoriasis drug, Apremilast. Currently, calls account for 60.1% of the biotech firm's intraday option volume. Meanwhile, Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO - 40.96) is seeing 96.2% of its option volume trading on the put side of the aisle, despite an intraday rise of nearly 2%. The shares lost nearly 5.5% yesterday after a downgrade from Howard Weil.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 27.49) -- which tagged a record low of 27.19 earlier in the session -- sits at 1.69, with puts comfortably outnumbering calls.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.66, with the number of downward movers easily outstripping the advancers.
- Among the NYSE's major decliners is GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME - 23.61), which has shed around 4.6% in intraday trading. The video-game retailer reduced the high end of its fourth-quarter outlook after holiday same-store sales fell by 4.4%. GME also warned of a 4%-to-7% decline in same-store sales for the quarter.