Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJI - 13964.73) is sitting modestly below breakeven at midday, as global economic concerns creep back into the limelight. However, the day's bearish bias is being tempered by domestic data that showed jobless claims fell by a wider-than-expected 27,000 last week, while continuing claims reached their lowest level since July 2008. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.83) has shed 0.15 point, or 1.2%.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 10 options exchanges stands at 0.75, with 3.4 million calls changing hands so far today, compared to 2.6 million puts.
- Among the stocks seeing heavy call activity today is Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z - 44.37). The online real estate issue jumped to a new annual high of $47.85 today after last night's stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter results prompted a bevy of bullish brokerage notes this morning. Specifically, Barclays raised its price target to $37 from $32, while Canaccord Genuity upped its outlook by $3 to $45. Calls currently make up almost 71% of Z's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 22.34) sits at 0.71, with calls beating puts as the options of choice.
- The advance/decline ratio on the NYSE arrives at 0.82. In other words, stocks that are falling in today's session are outpacing those that are rising.
- Among the NYSE's major decliners is Intrepid Potash, Inc. (NYSE:IPI - 21.81), with the stock more than 7% lower at last check. Despite besting analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter, the fertilizer firm reported a year-over-year drop in profit on weakening global potash prices.
- Optimism declined during the week ended Feb. 8, according to the latest survey by Investors Intelligence. The percentage of financial advisors with a bullish view on stocks slipped to 52.6% from 54.7%, even as the percentage bearish held steady at 21.1%. The percentage bracing for a market correction ticked up to 26.3% from 24.2%.