Central Bank Surprises Have Dow Jones Industrial Average In Uncharted Territory

Ross Stores, Inc. and Autodesk, Inc. are rallying in the wake of their quarterly earnings reports

Nov 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM
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It's a day for the record books, as traders cheer a round of upbeat central bank news from overseas. Specifically, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit all-time intraday peaks of 17,894.83 and 2,071.46, respectively, right out the gate after China announced a surprise interest-rate cut. Not to be outdone, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) tagged a new 14-year high of 4,751.60. Although the indexes have since pulled back from these technical milestones, all three are poised to finish the session with solid gains, and notch a fifth consecutive weekly win.

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

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  • 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

Among the stocks with notable call volume is discount retailer Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST). The stock has soared 6.8% -- and tagged a fresh record peak of $89.48 -- after its better-than-expected third-quarter earnings report was met with no fewer than nine price-target hikes. Most optimistic among the bunch was SunTrust Robinson, which boosted its target price by $7 to $101 (and reiterated its "buy" rating), representing expected upside of 13.7% to ROST's current perch at $88.85. In the options pits, calls are trading at eight times the average intraday pace. Buy-to-open activity has been detected at the security's November 90 call, as speculators roll the dice on an extended trek into all-time-high territory through tonight's close.

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

One of the major Nasdaq advancers is application software issue Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK), which has rallied 7.4% to its current perch at $62.72, and notched a new record high of $63 along the way. ADSK received a fresh batch of bullish brokerage notes after its stronger-than-forecast turn in the earnings confessional last night, including one from UBS, which raised its price target to $69 from $65, and underscored its "buy" opinion. Year-to-date, ADSK has tacked on more than 24%, and a continued rise could shake some of the weaker bearish hands loose. In fact, at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the equity's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.28 sits just 5 percentage points away from an annual pessimistic peak.

Over on the Big Board, online real estate concern SouFun Holdings Ltd (NYSE:SFUN) is one of the day's biggest gainers, as Beijing's unexpected rate cut helps lift Chinese firms. At last check, the security was up 16% at $9.16 -- edging closer to the double-digit territory Monday's option bulls were eyeing -- and on pace to close north of its 20-day moving average for the first time since Oct. 23. Amid today's rally, call volume has soared to almost five times what's typically seen at this point in the day, and a number of speculators are gambling a strong start to the new year. Specifically, the equity's weekly 1/2 12-strike call is most active, and appears to be seeing buy-to-open activity.

Daily Chart of SFUN Since October 2014 With 20-Day Moving Average

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.1 point, or 0.9%, and is on pace to log a nearly 3% weekly gain.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.03, with puts having a slight edge over calls. SPY is up 1.2 points, or 0.6%, at $206.79, and earlier notched a record high of $207.84.


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