Dow Jones Industrial Average Bucks Overseas Trend Higher, Flat at Midday

United Technologies Corporation sinks after management shake-up

Nov 24, 2014 at 12:03 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is clinging to the flat line around midday -- up less than 2 points -- failing to follow its overseas peers decisively higher during the holiday-shortened week. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) isn't much better off, up just 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is easily outpacing the DJI and SPX, tacking on a solid 0.6%.

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

  • This morning's bullish brokerage note has Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) exploring uncharted territory.
  • Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner explains why all data is not created equal.
  • 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 Dow component United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX). The stock is down 1.1% to trade at $109.11, following the retirement of CEO Louis Chenevert. The decision, which was not expected, will be effective immediately. In the options pits, calls are trading at 25 times the typical intraday rate. Most of this activity can be traced to the February 2015 115-strike call, where 17,738 contracts are on the tape. With 89% crossing at the ask price, and fewer than 2,000 contracts in open interest, it appears speculators are buying to open the contracts, expecting the shares to trend higher over the next several months.

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

One of the major Nasdaq advancers is cancer drug developer Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA), which has soared nearly 8% to hover around $7.04 on Australian approval of leukemia treatment Iclusig. The move higher has ARIA finally back in the black on a year-to-date basis, and north of recent congestion in the $6.40-$6.70 range. Likely helping to power some of today's gains is covering activity among short sellers, as 30.4% of the stock's float is dedicated to short interest -- an amount that would take nearly nine sessions to buy back, at ARIA's typical trading volume.

Daily Chart of ARIA Since June 2014

Meanwhile, for-profit educator ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI) is up 5% at $9.28, making it one of the Big Board's biggest winners around midday. Short-covering activity may account for some of the gains here, as well. In fact, a brow-raising 70.3% of ESI's outstanding float is sold short -- not surprising, considering the stock is down about 72% on a year-to-date basis.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.2 point, or 1.2%, at 12.74, putting the market's "fear gauge" on track for a second straight close below 13.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.60, as puts outpace calls. SPY is up 0.3 point, or 0.2%, at $206.99.


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