Stocks quoted in this article:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,875.01) is down 53 points, or 0.4%, as it feels the weight of some downbeat unemployment data. Specifically, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000 last week, disappointing economists who had forecast an increase to just 350,000. Meanwhile, a separate report showed the consumer price index (CPI) remained unchanged in January, falling short of the 0.1% rise expected by economists. Also of note, the Conference Board's leading economic indicators index climbed by 0.2% last month. Economists, on average, had projected a gain of 0.3%. Concurrently, the Philadelphia Fed revealed that its manufacturing index fell to negative 12.5 in January, a stark contrast to consensus estimates for a surge to 3.0. Rounding out the bevy of economic data is existing home sales, which -- according to the National Association of Realtors -- edged 0.4% higher last month, besting economists' predictions for a decline of 1%. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.49) is up 0.8 point, or 5.5%, and tagged a new year-to-date high of 15.77 earlier in the session.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges is docked at 1.02, with 4.2 million puts changing hands so far today, compared to 4.1 million calls.
- Among the equities with put-slanted activity is Polypore International, Inc. (NYSE:PPO - 35.21), which has surrendered almost 12% during the course of the session, after reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings post-close yesterday. The results also triggered a downgrade to "neutral" from "outperform" at Wedbush Securities, who also lowered its price target to $38 from $46. Currently, puts represent 72.6% of the security's intraday option volume.
- The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 23.52) checks in at 0.82, with calls outnumbering puts.
- The Nasdaq shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.52, with the number downward movers almost doubling the advancers.
- Among the Nasdaq's major decliners is Skyworks Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:SWKS - 20.86), which has shed about 11.7% in intraday trading after being downgraded to "outperform" from "strong buy" at Raymond James this morning.
- Bullish sentiment declined last week, according to the latest Investors Intelligence survey. The percentage of financial advisors with a bullish view on stocks dropped to 48.4% from 52.6%, while the percentage bearish rose to 22.1% from 21.1%. Meanwhile, the percentage of advisors expecting a market correction climbed to 29.5% from 26.3%.