Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,417.20) is up 26 points, or 0.2%, as investors digest a round of economic reports. Specifically, the Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 155,000 last month, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 7.8%, after November's rate was upwardly revised from 7.7%. The latest figures edged past consensus estimates for an increase of 152,000 payrolls. Meanwhile, November factory orders remained unchanged from the month prior, disappointing economists who were expecting a modest rise of 0.1%. On a brighter note, however, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) non-manufacturing index climbed to 56.1 last month from November's reading of 54.7 -- tagging its highest level in 10 months. Economists, on average, had projected a decline to 54.0. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.76) is 0.8 point, or 5.5%, lower.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 0.82, with 3.6 million calls traded so far today, versus 2.9 million puts.
- Among the equities with call-slanted activity is Vringo, Inc. (NYSEAMEX:VRNG - 3.62), which has tacked on around 3.4% despite a lack of notable news drivers. Currently, calls account for 80.1% 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 - 27.56) checks in at 1.26, with puts outnumbering calls.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.91, with the number of upward movers almost tripling the decliners.
- Among the NYSE's major advancers is Harvest Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE:HNR - 10.41), which has surged about 13% -- and touched a new annual high of $10.83 -- in intraday trading after announcing a new offshore oil discovery near Gabon, West Africa.