Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,986.08) is just fractionally higher, thanks to comments made by House Speaker John Boehner, who noted that little progress has been made regarding the fiscal-cliff impasse. On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index rose 5.2% last month -- notching a near six-year high, and topping economists' expectations for a 1% rise. Meanwhile, the Labor Department revealed that weekly jobless claims fell by 23,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 393,000. Also of note, gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a rate of 2.7% in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department, up from earlier estimates of 2.0%, and marking its fastest pace in almost three years. However, this latest figure fell slightly short of the 2.8% rate projected by economists polled by Reuters. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.44) is 0.1 point, or 0.5%, lower.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges sits at 0.81, with 4.0 million calls exchanged so far today, compared to 3.2 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-slanted activity is Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS – 46.76), despite shedding about 8.6% today. The company reported that same-store sales dropped by 5.6% in November, versus an expected rise of 1.9%. Nevertheless, calls account for 75.1% of the retailer's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 29.45) -- which touched a new all-time low of $28.93 earlier in the session -- stands at 2.84, with puts almost tripling calls.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.43, with the number of upward movers outstripping the decliners by a margin of more than two to one.
- Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is Research In Motion (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM - 11.76), which has gained around 6% in intraday trading, after receiving some bullish brokerage attention ahead of the open.
- Optimism jumped during the week ended Nov. 28, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks rose to 40.9% from 35.8%, while the percentage bearish fell to 34.4% from 40.8%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral climbed to 24.7% from 23.4%.