Oil Burns Dow Jones Industrial Average; VIX Hits 2-Month High

VIX Skyrockets; Plus, Should We Brace for a Sell-Off Next Week?

Dec 11, 2015 at 12:09 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is getting pounded at midday. The blue-chip index has dropped over 200 points, as oil futures test new multi-year lows after this morning's warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Also weighing on the index is the $130 billion deal between DuPont (NYSE:DD) and Dow Chemical Co (NYSE:DOW), with the former down more than 5%. Against this backdrop, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) -- or the market's "fear gauge" -- is flirting with two-month highs, and the major market indexes are facing steep weekly losses heading into next week's highly anticipated Fed meeting

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Among the stocks with notable call activity is Gorilla glass manufacturer Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW). The stock is up 2.8% at $18.18, in light of some fresh M&A buzz. Call volume is running at three times the normal pace, and it looks as though speculators are betting on additional gains before month's end. Specifically, buy-to-open activity is likely at GLW's weekly 12/31 19-strike call. 

Among the biggest gainers on the Nasdaq is healthy grocer Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), amid upbeat analyst attention and lingering buyout buzz. At last check, WFM has picked up 6.5% to hit $33.36. 

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One of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq is Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS), which got hit with a downgrade at BofA-Merrill Lynch. Shares of the office supply chain have given back 4.3% to trade at $9.53, and earlier tagged a 13-year low of $9.42. 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is 2.9 points, or 15.5%, higher to hit its steepest levels since Oct. 2. 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.69, with puts outnumbering calls. In fact, SPX put volume is running at twice the average intraday rate. SPY is 2.6 points, or 1.3%, lower today at $203.20. 

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