Opening View: DJIA Bulls Pulling to Retake 10,000; VIX Up 73 Percent in May


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The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( DJIA ) was hammered below the 10,000 level in the final minutes of trading on Wednesday, marking the blue-chip barometer's first daily close below this psychologically important level since Feb. 8. The S&P 500 Index ( SPX ), however, is still holding firm above key support at the 1,060 level, though resistance in the 1,090 region appears to be gaining strength. That said, it appears that the bulls are ready to put yesterday's sell-off behind them, as futures on the DJIA and the SPX are trading 158 points and 18 points above fair value, respectively. Finally, the CBOE Market Volatility Index ( VIX ) closed below its 10-day moving average for the first time since May 13. However, the VIX is still up more than 73% for the month.

In earnings news, Tiffany & Co. ( TIF ) said that its first-quarter profit surged to $64.4 million, or 50 cents per share, as sales jumped 22% to $633.6 million. Comparable-store sales rose 10%. Looking ahead, the company said it expects full-year earnings of $2.55 to $2.60 per share, up from a previous projection for a profit of $2.50 per share. Analysts were looking for first-quarter earnings of 36 cents per share, and full-year earnings of $2.49 per share.

Elsewhere, NetApp Inc. ( NTAP ) reported fiscal fourth-quarter income of $145.1 million, or 40 cents per share. Revenue rose to $1.17 billion from $879.6 million. Adjusted income was 50 cents per share. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 44 cents per share on revenue of $1.08 billion.

Finally, Big Lots Inc. ( BIG ) posted first-quarter net income of $55.9 million, or 68 cents per share, as sales rose 8% to $1.24 billion. The company also upped its earnings and sales estimates for the fiscal year, seeing continuing operations income from $2.75 to $2.85 per share on comparable-store sales growth between 3.5% and 4.5%. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 67 cents per share for the quarter and $2.78 per share for the year.

Earnings Preview

On the earnings front, Costco Wholesale Corp. ( COST ), H.J. Heinz Company ( HNZ ), Guess?, Inc. ( GES ), J. Crew Group Inc. ( JCG ), Novell Inc. ( NOVL ), and OmniVision Technologies Inc. ( OVTI ) are slated to release their quarterly earnings reports. Keep your browser at for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar


Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 1,510,503 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 803,358 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.53, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.67.

Volatility indices

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

**The volume data shown above is from the Nasdaq and NYSE exchanges only. It does not include regional volume activity, which means that other daily volume quotes you see may be higher.**

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

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Overseas Trading

Overseas trading looks impressive for a second consecutive session this morning, as all 10 foreign indexes that we track are in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a gain of 1.56%. In Asia, stocks closed higher, as bargain hunting helped to pull indexes out of early losses. Markets also rebounded after the Chinese government denied that it IS reviewing its euro zone bond holdings, helped to calm nerves. Meanwhile trading in Europe is higher, after Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero won parliamentary approval for the government's 15 billion euro austerity package. Overseas market information comes to you courtesy of Schaeffer's Daily Bulletin .

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

Improving investor sentiment in the euro zone continues to apply pressure to the U.S. dollar this morning. As such, the U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.76% at 86.46 in electronic trading. Crude futures are taking advantage of the weakness in the greenback, rallying $1.83 to $73.34 per barrel. Finally, gold futures have lost some of their oomph as a safe-haven investment, and have slipped 30 cents to trade at $1,215 an ounce in London.

Currencies and commodities

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

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