McDonald's, Chevron Pressure Dow Jones Industrial Average

McDonald's Corporation's (NYSE:MCD) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) have both shed more than 3%

Dec 8, 2014 at 11:43 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is sitting 0.1% below breakeven at midday, pressured by big drops in blue-chip components McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), as well as a continued slide in the energy sector. Meanwhile, amid an empty economic calendar, an early afternoon speech from Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart could garner some attention, ahead of next week's two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Looking elsewhere on the Street, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is down 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is outpacing its peers with a 0.03% lead.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable put volume is drugmaker Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CBST), which is up 35.6% to $100.83 -- and earlier hit a record peak of $101.03 -- after agreeing to be purchased by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK). In the stock's options pits, puts are trading at 63 times the intraday average, and are outpacing calls by a nearly 4-to-1 margin. New positions are being initiated at the equity's January 2016 95-strike put, where, according to Trade-Alert, there has been a mix of buying and selling activity.

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

One of the major Nasdaq advancers is semiconductor concern Vimicro International Corporation (ADR) (NASDAQ:VIMC), which is up 13.2% at $6.50, after taking a sharp bounce off its 140-day moving average. Today's bullish gap is just more of the same for a stock that's more than tripled in value since the start of the year, and a continued rise could shake some of the weaker bearish hands loose. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), option traders have bought to open 14.45 puts for every call during the past 10 sessions. Meanwhile, short interest surged 41.5% over the last two reporting periods, and now accounts for a healthy 9.9% of the stock's available float. Going forward, a capitulation from these skeptical traders could create a fresh wave of buying power for VIMC.

Daily Chart of VIMC Since January 2014 With 140-Day Moving Average

Over on the Big Board, lumber manufacturer Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX) is one of the day's biggest gainers. The stock is up 10.9% to $17.19, amid speculation Norbord Inc.'s acquisition of Ainsworth Lumber Co. could be a positive development for LPX. On the charts, it's been a tough go for LPX -- which abandoned its own bid for Ainsworth in May -- and was off more than 16% year-to-date heading into today's trading. Not surprisingly, sentiment has been skewed toward the skeptical side. In the options pits, LPX's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 2.95 ranks just 2 percentage points from an annual bearish peak. Elsewhere, nearly 18% of the stock's float is sold short, and would take more than a week to cover, at average daily trading volumes.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 1 point, or 8.2%, to 12.79, but has run into resistance at its 20-day moving average, currently located at 13.05.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.57, with puts having the edge over calls. SPY is down 0.1% at $207.85.



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