Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,148.41) is down 22 points, or 0.2%, as leaders in Washington continue to haggle over the looming fiscal cliff with no notable progress to date. Meanwhile, the Labor Department revealed that its consumer price index (CPI) fell by 0.3% last month. Economists, on average, had predicted a decline of just 0.2%. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 16.81) is 0.3 point, or 1.5%, higher.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges stands at 0.77, with 3.3 million calls traded so far today, versus 2.5 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with call-skewed activity is Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:INFI - 30.10), which has gained about 5% and tagged a new record high of $30.50 today, extending Thursday's gains after a well-received stock offering. Currently, calls make up 68.4% of the security's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 30.41) checks in at 0.74, with calls outpacing puts.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.87, with the number of downward movers outstripping the advancers.

  5. Among the NYSE's major decliners is VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE:PAY - 29.30), which has shed around 12% in intraday trading after reporting an 86% drop in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and offering a weak outlook for the current quarter.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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