Stock market averages are holding modest gains, as stock news and economic data continue to take a backseat to headlines about fiscal cliff talks. The Labor Department reported this morning that jobless claims increased by 17,000 to 361,000 last week and to more than the 345,000 that was expected. However, third quarter GDP was at a surprisingly improved 3.1 percent rate, from 2.7 percent and better than the 2.7 percent that was expected. Phili Fed Index for December was also better-than-expected at +8.1, compared to forecasts of -1.3. Lastly, the List of Leading Indicators dropped .2 percent for November and worse than the +.2 percent that was anticipated. Stock market averages opened steady on the mixed data, but any rally attempts were held in check by uncertainty over fiscal cliff talks. Boehner’s Plan B proposal is set to face a vote in the Senate, but President Obama said it would get vetoed in the White House. Still, Boehner said he was willing to keep working with the President and investors seem hopeful that a deal will be reached before we all fall off the cliff. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has traded in an 84-point range and is up 31. With 90 minutes left to trade, the NASDAQ is up 5 points.
Overall options volumes are running at a good pace due to the expiration and projected to top 20 million contracts. Heavy ex-dividend trading in a number of exchange-traded funds is also driving volumes. Excluding ex-div trades, 5.8 million calls and 4.4 million puts have traded across the exchanges. CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) is up .2 to 17.56 amid active trading in the VIX pit, with about 306,000 calls and 177,000 puts traded on the index so far.
Among the individual names with increasing options activity, NYSE Euronext (NYX) is up 33.4 percent and 56,000 options traded on the stock after Intercontinental Exchange (ISE) made a bid the stock exchange. Heavy trading is being seen in both the iShares Gold Fund (GLD) and iShares Silver Fund (SLV) on the heels of recent losses in the metals market. Gold is down another $20 to $1647.5. KB Homes (KBH) and Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBBY) are seeing high post-earnings flow. Meanwhile, Research In Motion (RIMM) January 12 – 16 bearish risk-reversals are seeing interest ahead of its profit report. Nike (NKE) also reports after the close and Walgreen (WAG) reports tomorrow morning. Data on incomes/spending, durable goods, and sentiment could shake things up on expiration Friday as well, before trading slows to a crawl next week due to the holidays.
SWC – Bullish flow detected in Stillwater Mining with 6678 calls trading, or 6x the recent avg daily call volume in the name. Shares near $12.39 (0.11) with ATMIV lifting by 2.86 point and 64% of todays call premium trading offer side. (Trade-Alert) 13:01
ENOC – Bearish activity detected in EnerNOC Inc with 2465 puts trading, or 123x the recent avg daily put volume in the name. Shares near $12.49 (0.2) with ATMIV lifting by 2.88 point and 83% of todays put premium trading offer side.
TASR – Bullish flow detected in Taser International Inc with 2974 calls trading, or 3x the recent avg daily call volume in the name. Shares near $8.705 (0.555) with ATMIV lifting by 7.47 point and 60% of todays call premium trading offer side. (Trade-Alert) 12:41
High options volume is being seen in XLF, GLD, XLU, SLV, MO, XLB, XLE, XLI, XLY, HLF
Daily Open Interest Update
Wednesday’s total option volume of 19.0 million contracts resulted in net open interest growth of 663k calls and 1.25 million puts. Williams Companies Inc (WMB), Alpha Natural Resources Inc (ANR), United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL) and Apple Inc (AAPL) saw the greatest growth. Top five new positions opened include 51k Phillips 66 (PSX) Jan-13 55 calls, 43k Alpha Natural Resources Inc (ANR) Jun-13 11 calls, 39k Oracle Corp (ORCL) Jun-13 35 calls, 33k Nokia Corp (NOK) Jan-13 4.5 puts and 27k Williams Companies Inc (WMB) Feb-13 40 calls.
Symbol Last Change %Change StdDevs
FOLD 3.13 -2.64 -45.8% 11.51
NYX 32.12 +8.07 +33.6% 45.03
SQNS 2.71 +0.43 +18.9% 1.81
UNXL 10.81 -2.49 -18.7% 1.67
SCS 13.20 +1.67 +14.5% 10.05 Post-Earnings
MDRX 9.16 -1.52 -14.2% 5.04
WGO 16.07 +1.99 +14.1% 8.46 Post-Earnings
RLOC 12.74 +1.55 +13.9% 4.50
QUIK 2.43 +0.28 +13.0% 4.93
ALXA 6.17 +0.68 +12.4% 2.27
Shakers (Implied volatility Movers)
Symbol IV[30d] IVChg IVChg% SkewAdjChg Last Change
GBX 57.8% +23.7 +69.6% +11.1 $18.16 -2.44
PAYX 16.4% -9.5 -36.7% -8.8 $32.52 -0.53 Post-Earnings
FMCN 18.6% -9.2 -33.1% -7.3 $25.81 +0.29
IVR 23.5% +5.8 +32.7% +nan $20.33 -0.19
BBBY 25.2% -11.4 -31.1% -11.0 $56.19 -4.09 Post-Earnings
KMX 26.6% -11.7 -30.6% -7.6 $37.76 +2.92 Post-Earnings
ACN 19.8% -5.9 -23.0% -6.2 $68.58 -1.82 Post-Earnings
CAG 15.2% -4.2 -21.9% -3.5 $30.12 +0.16 Post-Earnings
MDRX 61.3% -15.5 -20.2% -14.3 $9.16 -1.52
DFS 26.4% -6.2 -19.0% -6.6 $38.30 -1.47 Post-Earnings
181 new highs: AAMRQ ACAS AEG AEGN AEGR AHT AINV AKAM AMT APH APO ARMH ARRS ASH ASML ATK AWR BAM BANR BC BDC BECN BK BKH BLL BRS BSMX C CADX CAG CAR CCG CCOI CFN CFNL CMCSA COBZ COG CP CPTS CRAY CROP CSGP CSL CSU CVD CVI CVLT CX CYMI DIN DISCA DISCK DLX DPZ DYAX DZK EFA EFG EFV EGOV ELD EMN EOG EV EWD EXP EXR FAA FAS FBRC FDP FEZ FFIN FIW FR FSS FXO GSIT GVA GZT HCC HERO HFC HMA HON HOV HPP IBN ICUI IEX IFF ILMN INFI INGR IP IPGP KMX LBTYA LGND LHCG LIFE LII LLL LMCA LPX LYG MA MCHI MCO MD MDY MFG MPW MSG MTD MTX MTZ NHI NMR NRF NTI NTRS NX NYX OAK PEI PHG PHH PIE PJC PKG POWR PPG RAX RBS RMD ROG RS RSE RTN RWX SAH SATS SCHF SCS SCZ SEIC SHAW SIRO SLRC SMA SMFG SNTS SSS SSYS SWM SYRG SYY TEL TGI THC TM TRP TV TVL UN UNF UNS UTEK UYG V VBR VFH VOE WGO WOR WPPGY WXS XLF YAO
29 new lows: .SKA .VXEEM AU AZK BAA BBBY CERP DPK EDZ EEV EFZ EGLE FAZ FSG FXP GMED GSE HLF JO MIDZ MZZ SATCQ SCOK SEF SGY SKF SMDD SYX THM
Top Equity Blocks
6.78m CIM 2.60 -0.04 -1.5% FINRA-ADF 10:18:11 – Burst
4.00m CIM 2.60 -0.02 -0.8% FINRA-ADF 09:51:41 – Derivatively Priced
4.00m CIM 2.60 -0.02 -0.8% FINRA-ADF 09:51:26 – Derivatively Priced
3.49m USB 32.12 -0.08 -0.2% FINRA-ADF 11:07:17 – Burst
2.83m CIM 2.60 -0.04 -1.5% FINRA-ADF 10:18:11 – Burst
2.11m ALU 1.40 -0.05 -3.2% FINRA-ADF 11:41:55 – Average Price Trade
2.05m XLF 16.58 +0.12 +0.7% FINRA-ADF 10:16:09 – Average Price Trade
2.00m EEM 43.47 FINRA-ADF 10:04:53 – Average Price Trade
1.93m EWJ 9.72 +0.05 +0.5% FINRA-ADF 11:29:59
1.85m NOK 4.19 -0.04 -0.8% FINRA-ADF 11:54:16 – Average Price Trade
Category: Market Update
About the Author (Author Profile)
Frederic Ruffy is a well-known trader, writer, and strategist who has spent years educating investors and creating intelligent, insightful, unbiased market observations that are frequently cited by the Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. As senior analyst, Fred provides frequent and regular notes and daily updates for activity of interest.