Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Midday Market Stats: Ahead of FOMC, Dow Jones Industrial Average Falters on Mixed Housing Data

A weak quarterly earnings report pushes GRMN into new-low territory

by 2/20/2013 11:54 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 14,003.40) is down 32 points, or 0.2%, as investors mull over the latest round of economic reports. The Commerce Department said housing starts fell 8.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 in January. Economists, on average, had expected a drop of just 3.1%. Conversely, building permits rose 1.8% to an annual rate of 925,000 -- notching their highest level since mid-2008, and besting economists' projections for a rate of 920,000. Meanwhile, the Labor Department's producer price index climbed 0.2% in January, marking its first increase since September. Nevertheless, last month's reading fell short of economists' forecast for a rise of 0.5%. Also of note, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is due to release its January meeting minutes at 2:00 p.m. ET. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.22) is 0.9 point, or 7.4%, higher.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges stands at 1.02, with 3.4 million puts crossing the tape so far today, versus 3.3 million calls.

  2. Among the equities with put-skewed activity is Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN - 35.13), which has shed about 10.5% -- and tagged a new multi-year low of $34.65 -- during the course of the session. The navigation device manufacturer reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and projected lackluster full-year figures ahead of the open. Currently, puts account for 69.6% of the security's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 21.71) sits at 0.56, with calls almost doubling puts.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.56, with the number downward movers outpacing the advancers by a margin of nearly 2-to-1.

  5. Among the NYSE's major decliners is Harvest Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE:HNR - 5.78), which has plummeted almost 37% in intraday action amid reports that the company's deal to sell its Venezuela interests to Indonesia-based PT Pertamina fell through. The news also sparked a downgrade to "neutral" from "buy" at Global Hunter Securities.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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