Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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On the heels of yesterday's observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,654.70) is up 5 points, or 0.04%, as investors await this week's bevy of quarterly earnings reports. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales decreased by 1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million last month, disappointing economists who were expecting a 2% rise. Nevertheless, December's reading was the second highest since late 2009, and reflected a year-over-year increase of 12.8%. Also of note, the Chicago Fed revealed its National Activity Index arrived at 0.02 last month, down from November's reading of 0.27. This latest figure was well below the reading of 0.67 noted at this time last year. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.02) is 0.6 point, or 4.5%, higher.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 0.83, with 3.8 million calls exchanged so far today, compared to 3.1 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with heavy call activity is Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (NYSE:BZH - 17.40), which has added about 1%. Currently, calls account for 93.1% of the homebuilder's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 24.21) checks in at 0.83, with calls outnumbering puts.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 1.23, with the number of upward movers outstripping the decliners.

  5. Among the NYSE's major advancers is Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX - 35.22), which has jumped nearly 5% in intraday action after reporting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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