• Market News | Trader Talk | Feb 25, 2017, 5:22 PM

    Update on The Warren Buffett Put Trades

    A few years ago, I was asked to co-author the study guide that accompanies the 3rd version of The Warren Buffett Way.  While doing research for this project I came across a discussion of a handful of index put options that Berkshire Hathaway had sold between 2004 and 2008.  Every year when the Berkshire Hathaway annual report comes out, I dig in to see how these trades are doing.  Here’s the update as of the end of 2016. Back in 2008, as the financial world was falling apart,[...]
  • Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 25, 2017, 2:54 PM

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - 2/21 - 2/24

    Large cap dominance continues as the Russell 1000 (RUI) gained 0.77% last week and the Russell 2000 (RUT) was down 0.38%.  For the year RUI is now outpacing by over 3%. Small cap risk remains high relative to large cap risk as the CBOE Russell 2000 (RVX) premium to VIX remains are elevated levels.  First thing Friday, with RUT under a bit of pressure down about 10 points around 1383 one trader came in with a bull put spread that has a ton of room for error.  They sold the RUT Apr[...]
  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 25, 2017, 2:14 PM

    Weekend Review of Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/21 - 2/24

    VIX was the only S&P 500 related volatility index that lost value last week.  VXST rose, probably getting a boost from coming off a long weekend.  The longer dated volatility indexes mirrored the action in longer dated VIX futures by moving to the upside.  April seems to be the next month of concern among volatility players with the pending election in France.  Other pockets of volatility are showing up in the table below.  SKEW finished the week near recent highs and[...]
  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Feb 25, 2017, 10:46 AM

    Weekend Review of VIX Futures and Options - 2/21 - 2/24

    To say that volatility was flat last week is misstating the facts.  Sure, VIX was lower, but wow, look at the rest of the curve.   All contracts were higher with April and May futures leading the way at up over 6%.  For this we will blame France, which I will explain after the VIX Table / Term Structure below. VSTOXX is basically VIX for the European markets.  Specifically, it is an index that calculates a consistent measure of implied volatility as indicated by options[...]
  • Earnings | Feb 24, 2017, 10:23 AM

    Earnings Week of 2/27 - 3/3

    As always the data below is based on the last three years of earnings results unless the ticker is in italics.  The columns show the biggest rally, biggest drop, average move, and what the stock did last quarter in reaction to earnings.  Finally, double check the earnings dates as not all were confirmed.
  • What's Trading Today - OTM RUT Bull Put Spread

    Today’s What’s Trading focused on a Bull Put Spread using Russell 2000 (RUT) quarter end options expiring on March 31st. For 2017, as of mid-morning today, the S&P 500 (SPX) is up about 3% more than RUT, which is a reversal of year end price action that saw small cap stocks as represented by RUT out performance the SPX by over 10% from election day to December 31st.  Note the elevated level of RUT implied volatility of RUT options as represented by the CBOE Russell[...]
  • Feb 21, 2017, 9:30 AM

    The Old Four Horsemen Are Riding High

    The four horsemen of the Apocalypse were so named in the New Testament of the Bible. They are a symbolic prophecy of the subsequent history of the Roman Empire.  In today's market world we often talk of the leading technology names, or 'horsemen' being Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet (Google), which form the acronym FANG for which Jim Cramer and I together named this group back in 2013 on an episode of Mad Money.  These are the growth names of the present and future, the best of[...]
  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 20, 2017, 7:30 PM

    Weekend Review of Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/13 - 2/17

    VXST and VIX managed gains last week while the longer dated volatility indexes (VXV and VXMT) both lost value.  The curve created by charting out VXST, VIX, VXV, and VXMT has been steep for most of 2017 as the shorter dated indexes have been at very low levels.  The price action last week narrowed the angle to more normal levels.  Last week the S&P 500 was up just over 1.5% and VIX rose over 5%.  More on that after the table below.  I ran some numbers and this is[...]
  • Feb 19, 2017, 3:00 PM

    The Weekly Options News Roundup - 2/19/2017

    The Weekly News Roundup is your weekly recap of CBOE features, options industry news and VIX Index and volatility-related articles from print, broadcast, online and social media outlets.      A Historical View of Histograms In recent weeks, investor interest in strategies that protect portfolios from large losses has begun to rise.  One of the strategies that can be used to manage downside risk, is the iron butterfly strategy, which is benchmarked by the CBOE S&P[...]
  • Market News | VIX | Strategy | Trade Ideas | Feb 19, 2017, 9:29 AM

    Weekend Review of VIX Futures and Options - 2/13 - 2/17

    We’ve experienced several twists in the volatility markets this year where the futures don’t move in sync or in line with spot VIX.  This occurred again last week as VIX rose almost 6% while the futures markets moved lower.  Part of this may be attributed to February going off the board, at least with respect to March, but the farther date futures had been a bit elevated this year, but with the lack of any sort of volatility event appear to have started to weigh on the farther[...]
  • Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - 2/13 - 2/17

    The Russell 1000 (RUI) gained about 1.5% last week and is now up over 5% for the year while the Russell 2000 (RUT) was up 0.8% and is trailing RUI up a tad more than 3% for 2017. The relative implied volatility of Russell 2000 options dropped to a historically more normal level last week after spending most of this year at the top end of the historical range. On Wednesday RUT managed to close over 1400 which bought out at least one trader with a short term bearish outlook.  With about 30[...]
  • Earnings | Feb 17, 2017, 8:26 AM

    Earnings Week of 2/21 - 2/24

    As always the data below is based on the last three years of earnings results unless the ticker is in italics.  The columns show the biggest rally, biggest drop, average move, and what the stock did last quarter in reaction to earnings.  Finally, double check the earnings dates as not all were confirmed.
  • VIX | Trader Talk | Strategy | Trade Ideas | Feb 16, 2017, 10:49 AM

    Block Trade Analysis - Large Bullish 1 x 4 VIX Option Trade

    I’m on the road today playing an academic, but regardless of how far I am from CBOE I still am fortunate that I’m constantly keep in the loop about big trades.  I got a heads up this morning that a VIX Mar 15 – 22 1 x 4 Call spread traded in the VIX pit a few minutes after the open.  My assumption was the trader bought the 15’s and sold the 22’s (I was wrong) mainly because all the big trades seem to be based on a low volatility outlook.  Also, my incorrect[...]
  • Market News | Trader Talk | Strategy | Trade Ideas | Feb 15, 2017, 7:40 PM

    Block Trade Analysis - Large RUT Bear Call Spread

    As the Russell 2000 (RUT) continues to move into uncharted territory at least one trader believes 1500 is not achievable.  At least not through standard March (3/17) expiration.  Early today when RUT was around 1393 (much lower than today’s close) a pretty big trade came into the RUT post.  Specifically, they was a seller of 37,601 RUT Mar 1490 Calls at 1.42 who then purchased 37,601 RUT Mar 1510 Calls for 0.95.  The result is a net credit of 0.47 and a payoff at RUT AM[...]
  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 14, 2017, 5:18 PM

    VIX and Three Day Weekends

    Another three-day weekend is sneaking up on us.  The result for those of us that have an unhealthy obsession with VIX is to talk about how a three-day weekend provides a headwind for VIX performance.  It has been awhile since I looked at the impact of holiday weekends so I downloaded data and got to work.  The reason we believe in the three-day weekend effect stems from how VIX is calculated.  VIX is a calendar day measure, so when we are approaching a day where the markets[...]