Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,481.05) is fractionally higher, as it feels the effects of intraday losses from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) and The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA). On the economic front, the Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened by 15.8% to $48.73 billion in November, disappointing economists who were expecting a decrease to $41.20 billion. The latest figure was impacted by a 3.8% rise in U.S. imports, versus a 1% climb in exports. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.54) is 0.1 point, or 0.4%, higher.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 0.89, with 3.4 million calls crossing the tape so far today, compared to 3.1 million puts.
- Among the equities with heavy call activity is Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX - 37.98), which has added nearly 2% -- and tagged a new annual high of $38.45 -- on an upgrade to "neutral" from "sell" by Goldman Sachs. Currently, calls account for 96.9% of the security's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 26.66) sits at 1.47, with puts outstripping calls.
- 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 Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO - 12.53), which has shed around 5.4% in intraday action. The teen apparel retailer was hammered with bearish attention this morning after reporting an 8% decline in holiday same-store sales, which prompted ARO to reduce its fourth-quarter earnings outlook. Specifically, RBC lowered its price target to $24 from $30, while Jefferies, Keybanc, and Imperial Capital also issued downward price-target adjustments.