Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,137.53) is down 174 points, or 1.3%, as a setback in fiscal-cliff negotiations has reignited anxieties throughout Wall Street. On the economic front, the Commerce Department said consumer spending climbed by 0.4% in November, besting consensus estimates for a rise of just 0.3%. Meanwhile, personal incomes spiked by a better-than-anticipated 0.6% last month, marking its largest increase in nine months. Also of note, November durable goods orders surged by 0.7%, topping economists' expectations for a 0.1% drop. Contrasting this bevy of upbeat data was the final December reading of the Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which tumbled to 72.9 from its initial reading of 74.5. This latest figure marked a five-month low and fell short of economists' projections for a final reading of 75.0. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 19.60) is 1.9 points, or 10.9%, higher.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges sits at 1.03, with 4.6 million puts crossing the tape so far today, versus 4.5 million calls.

  2. Among the equities with call-slanted activity is KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY - 8.46), despite falling 1.2%. Currently, calls represent 67.2% of the banking concern's intraday option volume. On the other side of the trading aisle, Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS - 11.42) is down almost 3%, with puts making up 94.3% of the retailer's option activity.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 32.85) stands at 0.88, with calls outnumbering puts.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.27, with the number of downward movers more than tripling the advancers.

  5. Among the NYSE's major decliners is Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG - 36.27), which has declined about 3.4% in intraday action, after reporting weaker-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings ahead of the open.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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