With the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls looming, and
another week chock-full of earnings ahead of us, futures on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
S&P 500 Index (
are hovering just below breakeven. However, as Senior Options
Strategist Tony Venosa contends, "Today is the last day of the
month, so possible window dressing could help with a continued push
upwards." Also generating buzz,:
- Senior VP of Research Todd Salamone highlights several
the major market indexes have tackled recently.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
slid 6.4% last week. Will the "fear gauge" continue to march
- after the SPX enjoyed its first daily close above 1,400 since
April 3, Venosa projects
the next possible move higher
for the broad-market barometer.
Among equities in focus, options players preferred
Humana Inc.'s (HUM )
near-term calls ahead of earnings, while short sellers may be
LDK Solar's (LDK )
And now, on to the numbers...
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (
) saw 1,247,216 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to
747,281 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio
arrived at 0.60, while the 21-day moving average was 0.62.
From the Trading Floor
Venosa remarked, "On Friday, the
pushed above that round-number
. We will get plenty of economic data this week, including Friday's
employment report for April. We may visit the 1,422 level on the
SPX, which represents the high for the year, as well as multi-year
Currencies and Commodities
U.S. dollar index
is higher this morning, with the greenback last seen up 0.2% at
has pulled back from
last week's gain
, with the front-month contract 0.8% lower at $104.14 per
are churning south of breakeven, with the malleable metal
hovering near $1,664 an ounce.
In earnings news,
Humana Inc. (HUM - 87.82)
said its first-quarter profit fell 21% to $248 million, or $1.49
per share, while revenue rose 11.2% to $10.22 billion. The
bottom-line results fell short of Wall Street's estimate for a
per-share profit of $1.53 on $10.12 billion in sales. HUM's
short-term calls were popular ahead of earnings, with the stock's
Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) docked at 0.32. HUM
is down 3.2% ahead of the bell.
LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK - 2.96)
swallowed a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $588.7 million, or $4.63
per American depositary share (
), while revenue dropped 54% to $420.2 million. The results fell
far short of analysts' expectations for a per-share loss of 85
cents on $431.6 million in sales. For the current quarter, LDK
forecast sales of $190 million to $230 million, well below Wall
Street's call for revenue of $397.2 million. Short sellers reduced
their bearish exposure by 3.6% in the most recent reporting period,
but short interest still accounts for a lofty 28% of the stock's
float. LDK is looking at an 11.2% plunge right out of the gate.
Earnings and Economic Data
The week kicks off with personal income and spending, as well as
Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI)
. We'll hear earnings results from
Anadarko Petroleum (
, Sourcefire (FIRE), and
Veeco Instruments (VECO)
Asian markets ended modestly higher today, with banking stocks
leading the rally in Hong Kong in the wake of a solid earnings
season. Meanwhile, shipping issues paced the advancers in Seoul,
bolstered by well-received first-quarter results from Samsung Heavy
Industries. By the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.7%, while
South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3%. Markets in mainland China and Japan
are closed for holiday.
European equities are churning south of breakeven at midday,
following yet another negative note from Standard & Poor's.
After downgrading Spain's sovereign debt late last week, the agency
today lowered its rating on 16 of the country's financial firms.
Additionally, government data showed Spain's GDP falling 0.3%
during the first quarter, confirming that the nation is in a
recession. At last check, the French CAC 40 is off 1%, London's
FTSE 100 has lost 0.6%, and the German DAX is down 0.2%.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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Open Interest Configurations
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