Stocks quoted in this article:
As fiscal-cliff negotiations continue to dominate the headlines, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,287.62) is up 118 points, or 0.9%, boosted by gains in the tech sector, as well as some upbeat data out of the euro zone. On the domestic economic front, the Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit expanded by 4.9% to $42.2 billion in October, due to a 3.6% drop in exports. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) small business optimism index arrived at 87.5 in November, down from the previous month's reading of 93.1. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.60) is 0.5 point, or 2.8%, higher.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges checks in at 0.69, with 3.6 million calls traded so far today, compared to 2.5 million puts.
- Among the equities with heavy call activity is Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA - 15.13), which has added about 2% today. Currently, calls make up 99.1% of the security's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 29.03) sits at 2.51, with puts outstripping calls by a margin of more than two to one.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.70, with the number of upward movers almost tripling the decliners.
- Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN - 38.91), which has climbed more than 5% in intraday action after issuing a better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter sales update post-close yesterday. The news triggered price-target hikes at Janney Capital (to $46 from $42) and UBS (to $39 from $37) ahead of today's open.