Low Volume Fails to Slow Dow Jones Industrial Average Momentum

Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR) is soaring amid M&A news

Dec 22, 2014 at 11:40 AM
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True to form, markets are starting Christmas week in the green, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) up 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively, at midday. In the wake of last week's volatile price action, volume during this holiday-shortened week is expected to be low. Additionally, outside of Tuesday's busy day, economic and earnings calendars are fairly light. Today, however, traders are digesting a bigger-than-expected slide in existing home sales, as well as a handful of fundamental developments throughout the biopharmaceutical sector.

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

  • Good news for short-term Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) option bulls.
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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 oil-and-gas issue EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ:EVEP). The stock is down 4.8% at $22.86 amid a sector-wide retreat, bringing its year-to-date deficit to 32%. In the options pits, calls are trading at 21 times what's typically seen at this point in the day. Today's activity is not of the traditional bullish variety, however, as most of the day's action is a result of one speculator selling to open a block of March 27 calls. In other words, they expect EVEP to churn south of the $27 mark through March options expiration.

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

Mortgage loan specialist Ocwen Financial Corp (NYSE:OCN) is getting crushed on the Big Board. The stock is down 25% at $16.48 -- and earlier hit a two-year low of $16.21 -- following news the company's CEO William Erbey will resign as part of a $150 million settlement with New York's financial regulator. Heading into today's session, the stock was already staring at a 60% year-to-date deficit, and option traders were rolling the dice on more downside. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), OCN's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.22 ranks in the bearishly skewed 61st percentile of its annual range.

Casino concern Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR) is one of the biggest gainers on the Nasdaq, up 16.5% to trade at $15.71, as traders cheer the company's acquisition announcement. The equity is now closing in on its 200-day moving average -- currently located at $16.03 -- a trendline that has led CZR lower since March, and swiftly rejected the security's advances throughout November. On the sentiment front, short sellers could be feeling the sting of today's bullish gap. More than 42% of the stock's float is sold short, and it would take 13 sessions to cover these shorted shares, at average daily trading volumes.

Daily Chart of CZR Since March 2014 With 200-Day Moving Average

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.7 point, or 4.2%, at 15.80, and on pace to close south of its 50-day moving average for the first time since Dec. 9.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.31, with puts having the edge over calls. At last check, SPY is up 0.3 point, or 0.1%, at $206.79.


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