Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,314.96) is up 80 points, or 0.6%, amid speculation that Democrats and Republicans are getting closer to hammering out a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that its housing-market index climbed to 47 in December -- notching an eighth consecutive monthly increase, as well as its strongest reading in over six years. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.67) is 0.7 point, or 4.1%, lower.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges sits at 0.72, with 4.9 million calls changing hands so far today, versus 3.5 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with heavy call activity is Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HTZ - 16.46), which has tacked on about 1.7% today. Currently, calls account for 81.3% of the car rental company's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 28.26) -- which tagged a new all-time low of $28.10 earlier in the session -- stands at 1.21, with puts outstripping calls.

  4. The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.01, with the number of upward movers more than doubling the decliners.

  5. Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD - 14.27), which has gained around 4% in intraday trading after issuing a fourth-quarter earnings outlook that bested analysts' projections.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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