An 85-Point Drop in Futures Pulls the Dow Below 12,800


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is set to add to last week's 1.7% slide, with futures mired in red ink. Investors are bracing for an ugly day on the Street, with the S&P 500 Index ( SPX ) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) poised to participate in today's broad-market bloodshed.

Among equities in focus, Yahoo (YHOO - 15.19) announced a management shake-up; Silver Wheaton (SLW - 26.46) shorts may climb back on board post-earnings; and InterOil's (IOC - 57.61) quarterly results may please options players.

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,408,909 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 1,251,843 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.89, while the 21-day moving average was 0.60.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index is marching higher this morning, with the greenback up 0.3% at $80.51.
  • Crude oil continues to swoon , with June-dated crude down 1.8% at $94.76 per barrel.
  • Gold futures are falling in step with oil, with the malleable metal 1.4% lower at $1,562.40 an ounce.

Currencies and commodities

Yahoo, Inc. (YHOO - 15.19)

In earnings news, Silver Wheaton Corp. (SLW - 26.46) said its first-quarter profit rose 20% to $147.2 million, or 41 cents per share, while revenue rose 26% to $199.6 million. The results fell short of analysts' expectations for earnings of 44 cents per share on $202 million in sales. Short sellers reduced their bearish bets by 23% in the latest reporting period, and short interest now accounts for a slight 0.9% of SLW's float. SLW is down 1.7% ahead of the bell.

InterOil Corporation's (IOC - 57.61) first-quarter profit swelled to $9.5 million, or 19 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, jumped 39% to $338.2 million. The results easily beat the Street's forecast for a per-share profit of 5 cents on revenue of $310.8 million. Near-term calls were popular ahead of earnings, with the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) docked at 0.26. IOC is set to start the session with a 0.7% lead.

Earnings and Economic Data

There are no major economic reports scheduled for today. Agilent Technologies ( A ) and Groupon ( GRPN ) are all due to step up to the earnings plate.

Overseas Trading

Asian markets ended mostly lower today, as Beijing's latest policy-easing maneuver failed to boost investor sentiment. The People's Bank of China unveiled plans to lower its reserve-requirement ratio for banks at the end of this week, marking the third such reduction since November. However, ongoing political uncertainty in Greece kept equities under pressure. In Japan, meanwhile, financial stocks helped tip the scales in the bulls' favor, as the sector bounced back from Friday's steep JPMorgan-inspired losses. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.2%, China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.6%, South Korea's Kospi declined 0.2%, and Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.2%.

European equities are wallowing in red ink at midday, as Greece seems no closer to forming a coalition government today than it was one week ago. With the fate of the cash-strapped country still up in the air, traders were further rattled by data showing an unexpected decline in euro-zone factory output in March. At last check, the French CAC 40 is down 2.3%, the German DAX is off 2.1%, and London's FTSE 100 has lost 2%.

Overseas markets

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our Education Center topics on Option Volume and Open Interest Configurations .

Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: A , CBOE , GRPN , SPX

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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