Dow Jones Industrial Average Choppy With Fed in Focus

3 Ice-Cold Cybersecurity Stocks; Plus, An Undiscovered Gem

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Oct 12, 2016 at 12:09 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is sitting slightly higher at midday, as stocks chop amid an oil slide and ahead of the latest Fed meeting minutes. A stronger U.S. dollar and persistent doubts over a production cut among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and other major producers continue to weigh on oil prices, with crude futures for November last seen down 1.4% at $50.09 per barrel.

But cautious traders are largely waiting on the sidelines ahead of this afternoon's release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) September meeting. Clues on rate-hike timing will be at the forefront, particularly after this morning's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Labor Department showed new job openings in August dropped by more than expected from July's record highs.

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

Midday Market Stats October 12

Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) is among the stocks with unusual options volume at midday. The shares have slid 1% to $153.89 on a mixed bag of news from sector peers, and put options are picking up steam in the stock's options pits. At last check, PANW puts were changing hands at triple the average intraday rate, with over 2,600 on the tape. Weekly options are also particularly popular, with the 10/14 series accounting for half of the stock's 10 most active strikes today.

Among the top performers on the New York Stock Exchange so far today is data protection stock Barracuda Networks Inc (NYSE:CUDA). The shares have added 12.8% to $26.32 -- just off a new annual high of $26.69 -- bucking the downbeat sector trend after reporting better-than expected quarterly earnings, which were met with a round of bullish brokerage attention.

CUDA Daily Chart Oct 12

Among the worst performers on the Nasdaq at midday is Sweden-based telecommunications specialist Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), which was last seen down 20.3% at $5.58. The company issued a profit warning, which sent the stock to a seven-year low of $5.56 earlier in the session.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has added 0.5 point, or 3.3%, to 15.87

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.47, with puts comfortably outnumbering calls. SPY was last seen up 0.3 point, or 0.1%, at $213.73.

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