Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,331.03) is up 227 points, or 1.7%, as Democrats and Republicans have finally hammered out a deal regarding the fiscal cliff. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported its manufacturing index climbed to 50.7 in December from 49.5 in the month prior, besting economists' expectations for a rise to just 50.3. Conversely, the Commerce Department said construction spending slipped 0.3% to a yearly rate of $866 billion in November, notching its first decline in eight months. This latest figure disappointed economists, who had predicted a gain of 0.6%. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.88) is 2.1 points, or 11.9%, lower.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 0.74, with 5.4 million calls changing hands so far today, versus 4.0 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-slanted activity is Zipcar Inc (NASDAQ:ZIP - 12.25), which has soared roughly 49% amid reports that Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR) will be acquiring the car-sharing service for $12.25 per share -- a 49% premium to Monday's closing price of $8.24. Currently, calls make up 76.9% 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 – 29.12) sits at 1.32, with puts outnumbering calls.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 10.06, with the number of upward movers outstripping the decliners by a 10-to-1 margin.
- Among the NYSE's major advancers is The Valspar Corporation (NYSE:VAL - 65.45), which has gained nearly 5% -- and tagged a new record high of $66.38 -- in intraday trading. The paint manufacturer was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at KeyBanc Capital Markets ahead of the opening bell.