Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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As investors await the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest rate decision later this afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is down 57 points, or 0.4%, to 14,783.20, as it feels the weight of a poorly received earnings report from blue-chip component Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK). Adding insult to injury, payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) said the private sector added 119,000 jobs in April, falling considerably short of economists' projections. Meanwhile, the ISM's manufacturing index fell to a slightly weaker-than-expected reading of 50.7 last month, marking its lowest level since December.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges is docked at 0.98, with both calls and puts seeing about 3.2 million contracts cross the tape so far today.

  2. Among the equities with heavy call activity is Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL), which has tacked on around 1.2% today. Currently, calls account for 95.9% of the security's intraday option volume. At last check, MRVL was trading at $10.89. At the other end of the trading spectrum is Apollo Group Inc (NASDAQ:APOL), which has declined nearly 3% to hover at $17.85, despite a lack of notable news drivers. About 91.6% of the stock's options activity has transpired on the put side of the fence.

  3. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.48, with the number of downward movers more than doubling the advancers.

  4. Among the NYSE's major decliners is SolarWinds Inc (NYSE:SWI), which has shed about 10% in intraday action. The firm revealed softer-than-anticipated quarterly revenue yesterday, and issued a current-quarter outlook that failed to meet analysts' expectations. The results also prompted a round of price-target cuts at Evercore Partners, J.P. Morgan Securities, BMO, Northland, and Needham Research earlier this morning. SWI is presently trading at $45.79.

  5. The CBOE Market Volatility Index (INDEXCBOE:VIX) is 0.6 point, or 4.4%, higher, to linger in the 14.11 neighborhood.

  6. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) -- currently perched at 19.23 -- sits at 0.32, with calls more than tripling puts.
View a real-time chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:.DJI).

Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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