Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,901.72) is down 31 points, or 0.2%, despite a round of upbeat economic reports. Specifically, weekly jobless claims declined by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000, surpassing analysts' expectations for a drop to just 370,000. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department revealed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $41.5 billion in September, reflecting a 5.1% decrease from August's downwardly revised figure of $43.5 billion. This latest number -- which bested Wall Street's forecast of $45.1 billion -- marked the lowest level in almost two years, thanks to a 3.1% rise in exports. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 18.21) is 0.9 point, or 4.6%, lower.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges stands at 0.96, with 3.0 million calls crossing the tape so far today, compared to 2.9 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-heavy activity is Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB - 50.24), despite edging 0.1% lower today. Currently, calls account for 99.5% of the entertainment company's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 36.73) sits at 0.41, with calls more than doubling puts.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.73, with the number of downward movers outpacing the advancers.
- Among the NYSE's major decliners is Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS - 51.90), which has shed around 4.5% in intraday trading after issuing a weaker-than-anticipated current-quarter guidance this morning.
- Optimism rose during the week ended Nov. 7, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks increased to 38.5% from 35.7%, while the percentage bearish dipped to 39.9% from 41.0%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral fell to 21.6% from 23.3%.