Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,507.86) is down 63 points, or 0.5%, as it feels the weight of some lackluster blue-chip earnings and economic reports. Specifically, weekly jobless claims jumped by 78,000 to 439,000 last week, due in large part to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. This latest figure -- which marked an 18-month high -- disappointed economists, who were expecting a rise to just 380,000. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia-area manufacturing sector also felt the sting of Sandy's wrath, as the Philly Fed's manufacturing index fell to -10.7 this month from 5.7 in October. Economists, on average, had predicted a reading of 3.0. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 18.29) is 0.4 point, or 2.1%, higher.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges checks in at 1.15, with 4.0 million puts traded so far today, compared to 3.4 million calls.
- Among the equities with heavy put activity is Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL - 37.50), which has lost about 0.9% today. Currently, puts make up 95.2% of the cruise liner's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 36.59) stands at 0.78, with calls outstripping puts.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.62, with the number of downward movers easily outpacing the advancers.
- Among the Nasdaq's major decliners is Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMND - 15.52), which has shed more than 20% -- and tagged a new multi-year low of $14.50 -- in intraday action, after restating its financial results for the first three quarters of 2012. The report showed a loss of $2.46 per share in the January-to-September period, thanks to charges incurred by the company's accounting scandal earlier this year.
- Optimism plummeted during the week ended Nov. 14, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks fell to 28.8% from 38.5%, while the percentage bearish jumped to 48.8% from 39.9%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral rose to 22.4% from 21.6%.