Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog
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Following last night's State of the Union address, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,964.47) is down 54 points, or 0.4%, as investors sort through the latest round of earnings and economic reports. Regarding the latter, the Commerce Department said retail sales inched 0.1% higher in January to a seasonally adjusted $416.6 billion, matching economists' expectations. Meanwhile, a separate report showed that business inventories climbed 0.1% in December -- again, falling in line with consensus estimates. Also of note, the Labor Department revealed that import prices rose 0.6% last month, while economists, on average, were expecting an increase of 0.8%. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.12) is 0.5 point, or 3.8%, higher.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 0.84, with 3.7 million calls changing hands so far today, compared to 3.1 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with heavy call activity is Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:MPEL - 20.95), which has tacked on around 2% during the course of the session, despite a lack of notable news drivers. Currently, calls account for 98.6% of the casino operator's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 22.78) -- which tagged a record low of 22.09 earlier this morning -- sits at 1.67, with puts easily outnumbering calls.

  4. The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.97, with the number of decliners slightly outpacing the upward movers.

  5. Among the Nasdaq's major advancers is, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN - 265.44), which has added about 2.6% in intraday trading. The Internet marketplace inked a deal with CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) to provide more content for Amazon's Prime video-streaming service.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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