Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,096.32) is down 43 points, or 0.3%, as Democrats and Republicans prepare to go back to the fiscal-cliff drawing board on Thursday, after an abbreviated Christmas break. Meanwhile, although the S&P Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped a non-seasonally adjusted 0.1% in October, it notched a year-over-year gain of 4.3% -- besting economists' forecast for an increase of just 4.1%. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 19.55) is 1 point, or 5.2%, higher.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 0.89, with 2.3 million calls exchanged so far today, versus 2.0 million puts.
- Among the equities with heavy call activity is Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD - 1.41), which has trekked about 8% higher despite a lack of notable news drivers. Currently, calls represent 96.3% of the drugstore chain's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 33.61) sits at 2.90, with puts almost tripling calls.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.55, with the number of downward movers easily outpacing the advancers.
- Among the NYSE's major decliners is Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M - 36.41), which has declined almost 3% in intraday action, after preliminary data reflected weak holiday sales within the retail sector.