Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,577.59) is down 18 points, or 0.1%, as downbeat guidance from Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is overshadowing solid earnings from General Electric Company (NYSE:GE). Adding insult to injury, the preliminary January reading for the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index arrived at 71.3, down from December's final reading of 72.9. This latest figure -- which marked the index's lowest level in over a year -- disappointed economists, who were expecting a rise to 75.0. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.05) -- which touched a multi-year low of 13.00 earlier in the session -- is down 0.5 point, or 3.8%.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 0.67, with 5.2 million calls changing hands so far today, versus 3.5 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with call-heavy activity is Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT - 12.75), which has tacked on about 2.8% after receiving a price-target hike to $12.50 from $11.50 at UBS this morning. Currently, calls represent 81% of the security's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 25.35) sits at 1.68, with puts outstripping calls.

  4. The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.69, with the number of downward movers outpacing the advancers.

  5. Among the Nasdaq's major decliners is Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ:FNSR - 14.34), which has surrendered around 8% in intraday trading. The security was downgraded to "underperform" from "hold" at Jefferies ahead of the opening bell.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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