Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Midday Market Stats: Dow Jones Industrial Average Tags the Elusive 14,000 Level

Positive quarterly earnings results buoy CTRP shares

by 2/1/2013 11:55 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,995.69) is up 135 points, or 1% -- and managed to claim a more than five-year high earlier in the session -- thanks to a bevy of upbeat economic data. Specifically, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index spiked to 53.1 last month, surpassing economists' expectations for a rise to just 51.0. Meanwhile, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment reading for January climbed to 73.8. Economists, on average, had projected a slight increase to 71.5. Also of note, construction spending swelled by 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted yearly rate of $884.98 billion in December, according to the Commerce Department -- marking its highest level since August 2009, and topping Wall Street's forecast for an uptick of just 0.6%. Last but not least, the Labor Department said employers created a lower-than-forecast 157,000 jobs in January, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged one-tenth of a percentage point higher to 7.9%. However, the blow is being cushioned by upwardly revised readings for the final two months of 2012. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.76) is 1.5 points, or 10.6%, lower.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges sits at 0.77, with 4.3 million calls crossing the tape so far today, compared to 3.4 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with call-heavy activity is The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL - 44.79), which has tacked on about 2% -- and touched a new multi-year high of $44.99 -- despite a lack of notable news drivers. Currently, calls represent 96.8% of the insurance firm's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 23.07) stands at 0.87, with calls outnumbering puts.

  4. The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 2.48, with the number of upward movers more than doubling the decliners.

  5. Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is International, Ltd. (ADR) (NASDAQ:CTRP - 20.90), which has gained about 5.5% in intraday trading after reporting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings post-close yesterday. The well-received results also sparked some bullish analyst attention this morning, as Brean Capital upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold," while Raymond James lifted its price target to $28 from $26.

  6. Optimism declined during the week ended Jan. 30, according to the latest survey by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of investors with a bullish view on stocks fell to 48.0% from 52.3%, while the percentage bearish remained unchanged at 24.3%. Meanwhile, the percentage neutral rose to 27.7% from 23.4%.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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