Stocks are rallying following a day of gains in Europe and a round of mixed economic news Thursday. Stock benchmarks across Europe were led higher by a 2 percent gain in France’s CAC 40 Index on diminishing worries about the European Debt Crisis. The euro also rallied, gaining .0101 to 1.2081 against the buck. Gains across the Atlantic helped set a positive tone for morning trading on Wall Street. The domestic news was mixed. The latest weekly jobless claims data showed filings down to 456K last week, from 459K the week before and not as much as the 450K that economists had expected. Separately, it was reported that the US Trade Balance was $40.3 billion in April, up from $40 billion the month before and less than the $41.3 billion deficit expected by economists. Stability in Europe overshadowed the economic news, however, and after falling 41 points Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 236 points late Thursday. With less than an hour left to trade, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 3.06 to 30.66. Option action is picking up a bit. With an hour left to trade, about 6.9 million calls and 5.4 million puts traded so far.
Discover Financial (DFS) shares have been climbing and bullish flow is detected in DFS options, with 3,600 calls traded or 4X the recent average daily. The stock is up 64 cents to $13.21 and Jun 13 calls are the most actives. 2590 traded (61 percent Ask). Another 1690 July 15s changed hands (89 percent Ask). Implied volatiilty is down 7 percent to 52.5, as shares try to battle back from a 22.7 percent slide suffered since mid-April.