Stocks quoted in this article:
After touching a five-year high of 14,081.58, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,949.64) is down 51 points, or 0.4%, paring earlier gains triggered by exit poll results out of Italy that favored pro-reform Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani. Meanwhile, the Chicago Fed said its national activity index fell to negative 0.32 last month, disappointing economists who were expecting a reading of 0.02. Also of note, the Dallas Fed revealed that its manufacturing index arrived at 2.2 in February, down from a reading of 5.5 in January. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.13) is 1 point, or 6.8%, higher.
Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:
- The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 1.01, with 3.63 million puts traded so far today, compared to 3.59 million calls.
- Among the equities with heavy put activity is Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA - 4.43), which has shed almost 1% during the course of the session. Currently, puts account for 98.3% 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 - 22.75) is docked at 0.77, with calls outnumbering puts.
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.65, with the number decliners outpacing the upward movers.
- Among the NYSE's major advancers is Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS - 14.69), which has jumped roughly 9% in intraday trading. The company's chairman, Leonard Riggio -- who is also its founder and biggest shareholder -- confirmed rumors that he is interested in buying out the firm's retail business. BKS said in a statement that a committee of directors will evaluate his proposal.