Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,056.18) is up 22 points, or 0.2%, as discussions regarding the impending fiscal cliff continue in Washington. Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims fell by 25,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 370,000. Economists, on average, had projected a decline to just 375,000. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 16.33) is 0.1 point, or 0.8%, lower.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges sits at 0.83, with 3 million calls traded so far today, versus 2.5 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with heavy call activity is MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM - 10.65), which has gained about 7% today, thanks to reports that the company will launch a $4 billion refinancing credit at a lender meeting tomorrow. Separately, MGM announced a cash tender offer for its outstanding senior secured notes -- totaling about $3.1 billion -- due between 2013 and 2020. Currently, calls account for 87.1% of the casino operator's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 30.25) stands at 0.36, with calls almost tripling puts.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 1.16, with the number of upward movers slightly outstripping the decliners.

  5. Among the NYSE's major advancers is Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY - 18.26), which has added around 4.6% in intraday trading, after its board revealed plans to pay a quarterly cash dividend of about $0.18 per share on Dec. 31, instead of in January.

  6. Optimism increased during the week ended Dec. 5, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks climbed to 42.2% from 40.9%, while the percentage bearish inched up to 34.6% from 34.4%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral fell to 23.2% from 24.7%.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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