Energy, Disney Drive Dow Jones Industrial Average Sharply Higher

Why the Latest VIX Pop is Abnormal

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:49 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is red-hot at midday, amid the kickoff of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Specifically, the Dow has soared triple digits, as a bounce in crude futures lifts components Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), while "Star Wars" buzz has Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) sharply higher. These big gains are helping to offset heavy losses for 3M Co (NYSE:MMM), which cut its full-year profit guidance. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is attempting to break out above the round 5,000 level.

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It's been a busy day on the economic front. The core consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.2% for the third straight month, the Empire State manufacturing survey improved slightly more than expected (but remained in contraction mode), and the NAHB housing market index surprisingly slipped.

Among the stocks with notable call volume is broker E*TRADE Financial Corp (NASDAQ:ETFC), as the contracts are crossing at 22 times the usual intraday clip. Most active is the January 2016 30-strike call, where traders are buying to open positions, according to Trade-Alert. Currently, ETFC is up 3.4% at $29.99, after the company said it added nearly 27,700 new accounts in November, and daily average revenue trades rose 3% from October.

Among the noteworthy winners on the New York Stock Exchange is flooring expert Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL), after a prominent short seller covered his bearish position. At last check, the stock is about 20% higher at $16.96.

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One of the notable gainers on the Nasdaq is Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), with the semiconductor stock up 4.6% at $14.29. In so doing, the shares are shrugging off a pair of price-target cuts.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is off 1.4 points, or 6.3%, at 21.31.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 0.93, with calls outstripping puts. At last check, SPY is 1.1% higher at $205.09.


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