The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is on pace to pare most of Wednesday's losses, with the blue-chip barometer pointed modestly higher ahead of the bell. All eyes will be on Washington today, as U.S. lawmakers head back to D.C. to resume budget negotiations.
Elsewhere, "There's been a big spike in the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) over the past week or so," pointed out Schaeffer's Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp. "It shows people are scared about the upcoming fiscal cliff. This could be a sign that a lot of this fear has already been priced in, should we go over the proverbial cliff."
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are more than 21 points above fair value.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 590,139 call contracts traded on Wednesday -- the fewest in a full session since Nov. 23 -- compared to 436,280 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio jumped to 0.74, while the 21-day moving average improved to 0.65.
From the Trading Floor
"The S&P 500 Index (SPX) broke below 1,420 yesterday," continued Sapp. "Below that, I'll be watching the 1,411 area -- which is the low from Dec. 14 -- as well as the 50-day moving average, currently located at 1,413. Additionally, I've got a close eye on the $500 region for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)."
Currencies and Commodities
Earnings and Economic Data
While there are no major earnings reports on today's calendar, the slate of economic data includes weekly jobless claims, new home sales, and the Conference Board's consumer confidence index.
The Case for Big Moves in IWM and QQQ
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