Midday Market Check: Dow Jones Industrial Modestly Lower; Oil Plummets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX:DJI) and crude futures are in the red

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

After a brief period north of breakeven, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX:DJI) is 30 points lower, as traders weigh the latest big-cap earnings reports and economic data while awaiting tomorrow's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Blue chip Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) kicked off a week chock-full of earnings reports; after initially pointing higher ahead of the bell, the pharmaceutical concern reversed course on a revenue miss and downwardly revised guidance, with the stock last seen 1.5% lower. Outside of earnings, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales were relatively flat in September, while Goldman Sachs slashed its 2015 oil outlook, sending black gold plunging beneath $80 per barrel.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • The beleaguered drugmaker spooking option bulls
  • The blue chip extending last week's quest for new highs
  • Plus ... Checking in on the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and other noteworthy stats at midday.

Midday Market Stats

Across the 12 major options exchanges, calls are outpacing puts by a slim margin. One name seeing heavy call trading today is Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SRPT), which is down 32.6% at $15.87, after a drug application setback. At last check, SRPT calls are trading at 11 times the intraday norm -- and outpacing puts by a 7-to-1 margin -- and it looks like January 2015 20-strike call holders are liquidating their losing positions.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2.

Among the 80 equities hitting new 52-week peaks on the Big Board is Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG), which touched a record $86.48 amid an extended post-earnings celebration. No fewer than six brokerage firms have upped their price targets on PG -- which last week announced plans to spin off Duracell -- and Bernstein, CLSA, and BMO all underscored "outperform" endorsements. At last check, the equity was 1.5% higher at $86.44.

Daily Chart of PG since January 2014

Like the major market indexes, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is also sticking close to the flat line today. At last look, the "fear gauge" is 3.3% higher at 16.64.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) stands at 1.87, with put volume nearly doubling call volume so far. The ETF has surrendered 0.3% to 195.89, but remains 6% higher year-to-date.

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