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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has spent the session close to breakeven, with the blue-chip barometer last seen 7.3 points, or 0.05%, lower at 15,319.29. After a recent run into the black -- which sent the Dow to three straight triple-digit advances -- investors are taking a breather ahead of next week's highly anticipated Fed meeting. In the meantime, Wall Street is watching Syria-related talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's foreign minister, and is digesting the latest round of employment figures. Specifically, weekly jobless claims fell to a more than seven-year low last week, though amid reports of faulty data from two states.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 12 options exchanges rests at 0.72, with 3.2 million calls and 2.3 million puts crossing the tape so far today.
- One of the names with heavy call activity today is Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRA). Despite sinking to an all-time low of $17.27 on the heels of a disappointing earnings forecast, almost three-quarters of the handbag maker's intraday option activity has transpired on the call side. At last check, VRA has pared its deficit to 3.3% to trade at $18.82.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.76, with decliners outpacing advancers.
- Among the NYSE's major decliners is Goldcorp Inc. (USA) (NYSE:GG), which -- along with most mining stocks -- has followed gold futures into the red. At last glance, GG has surrendered 5.3% to $26.31.
- Bullish optimism among financial advisors remains at its lowest level since June 2012, at 37.1%, according to the most recent Investors Intelligence survey. The percentage of bears declined to 22.7% from 23.7%, while the percentage of advisors expecting a market correction rose to 40.2% -- its highest level since May 2012 -- from 39.2%.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is poised to snap its three-session losing streak, up 0.7% at 13.92.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- which has given up 0.4% to 14.42 -- stands at 0.96, with calls slightly outnumbering puts.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) 2 Minute.