Dow Jones Industrial Average Fights for 18K

The Dow is just south of a key millennium level at midday

by Elizabeth Harrow

Published on Feb 20, 2015 at 11:46 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) has lost its footing above the 18,000 level today, but has battled back from early losses to add 11 points at 17,997.65. The unfolding debt drama overseas is keeping traders on pins and needles, as Greece continues to haggle with international lenders over the terms of a bailout extension. Elsewhere, it's a mixed bag, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) lower by a couple of points and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) just north of breakeven -- attempting to extend its recent outperformance relative to its fellow benchmarks. On a weekly basis, meanwhile, all three indexes are on track to finish not too far from where they settled last Friday.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable option volume is Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), with activity running at 1.63 times the intraday norm. Most of the volume can be traced back to a sizable spread in the July series, where matching blocks of 10,000 contracts traded simultaneously at the 3-strike call and put. AMD is up 0.8% at $3.08 at last check.

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

Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS) is one of the Nasdaq's biggest decliners at midday, down more than 28% to $19.86 following a major earnings disappointment. NDLS has tumbled well below its 80-day moving average, and is now on pace for its lowest daily close since early October.

NDLS since June 2014 with 80-Day Moving Average

On the other end of the spectrum, Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) is among the big winners on the Big Board today, rallying 5.9% to $25.91 as traders cheer last night's earnings results. However, not everyone is high on NEM in the wake of its fourth-quarter figures, as Cowen and Company this morning dropped its price target by a fraction to $28.37 (from $28.64).

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.4 point, or 2.8%, at 15.71. For the week, the "fear index" has tacked on more than 7% so far.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.81, with puts not quite doubling calls at midday. SPY is churning near breakeven, off 0.2% at $209.59.

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