Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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Despite morning gains in the banking sector, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,508.49) is down 26 points, or 0.2%, as The Boeing Company's (NYSE:BA) Dreamliner drama drags on the blue chips. On the economic front, the Labor Department said its consumer price index (CPI) remained flat in December, while core prices -- which exclude food and energy costs -- climbed by 0.1%. Although the overall figure matched economists' projections, core prices were expected to rise 0.2%. Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index was unchanged at 47 in January. However, this latest reading still reflects the index's highest level in almost seven years. Also of note, the Fed reported that industrial production rose 0.3% in December -- hitting a multi-year peak -- while capacity utilization edged up 0.1%. Economists, on average, had forecast a gain of 0.3% and a decrease of 0.2%, respectively. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.26) is 0.3 point, or 2.1%, lower, and tagged a multi-year nadir of 13.20 earlier in the session.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges sits at 0.79, with 3.7 million calls traded so far today, versus 3.0 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with call-skewed activity is Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS - 53.07), despite falling 2.3%. Currently, calls make up 65.1% 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 - 25.58) -- which touched a record low of 25.53 this morning -- stands at 1.00, with puts equaling calls.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.65, with the number of downward movers outpacing the advancers.

  5. Among the NYSE's major decliners is General Motors Company (NYSE:GM - 29.03), which has shed more than 5% in intraday trading. The automaker forecast a modest rise for its full-year operating profit yesterday, which some speculate will prompt analysts to lower their projections.

  6. Bullish sentiment increased last week, according to the latest Investors Intelligence survey. The percentage of financial advisors with a bullish view on stocks rose to 53.2% from 51.1%, while the percentage bearish fell to 22.3% from 23.4%. Meanwhile, the percentage of advisors expecting a market correction dropped to 24.5% from 25.5%.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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