Happy "Year of the Sheep" to those following the Chinese calendar. One astrologer said  markets might be volatile this summer but would stabilize by the end of the year.  We'll see.  Option volume decent this morning, as ~9.6 mm contracts trade.  SPX with ~540K, VIX options 140K, AAPL clocked 400K. Stocks hit a new intra-day record (S&P 500) before giving up those gains. CAT, XOM, WMT & AXP all drop more than $1, while IBM and BA more than $1 to the plus side.  Philly FED February economic #'s very disappointing.

Wal-Mart (WMT) is down $2.23 to $84.06 after lowering Q1 EPS 95c-$1.10, compared to consensus $1.14. February weekly call option implied volatility is at 17, March is at 15, June is at 14; compared to its 26-week average of 16.

Priceline (PCLN) is higher by $88.65 to $1,211 on ~1.9m shares after earnings beat and a new $3B buyback authorized. February weekly call option implied volatility is at 23, March is at 22, April is at 21; compared to its 26-week average of 27.

Barrick Gold (ABX) is up $0.64 to $12.87 after reporting Q4 adjusted EPS, management's focus on lowering debt and production targets. February call option implied volatility is at 65, March and April is at 43; compared to its 26-week average of 42.

Active calls @ CBOE; MCP 9/18/15 1 KO 5/15/15 44 PBR 3/20/15 8 & 9

Active puts @ CBOE: MCP 9/18/15 0.50 ABX 2/20/15 12.5 VXX 1/15/16 17 AAPL 2/20/15 128 PBR 7/17/15 6


Options with increasing volume @ CBOE: TMUS JWN AMAT KING VDSI

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) up 1c to 15.46, high 16.22, low 15.36, March 18 and 23 calls are active on total volume of 78K cboe.com/VIX

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures (VXX) is recently down 8c to 30.74

CBOE S&P 500 Short-Term Volatility Index (VXST) is recently up 3.7% to 12.86; compared to its 50-day moving average of 17.03 stks.co/r0CS2

S&P 100 Options (OEX) down 2.44 to 920.76 with energy shares leading the way lower.