• Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Feb 23, 2016, 9:17 AM

    The Iceman Selleth

    The Iceman Selleth

    Sometimes it's worth letting something simmer on the stove a while to get impressive results, or in this case it's more like letting something ferment in earthenware pots buried in a forgotten location. But the feast five months later is worth the wait and the worry! Back in September I asked an offhand question of my fellow trader, @Option_Iceman, and received no offhand reply; I quickly forgot about the matter and didn't revisit it again until an answer emerged just a few days ago. The curiosity[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Feb 17, 2016, 3:43 PM

    VIX Front Month - Second Month Backwardation Streak Ends at 30 - So Now What???

    VIX Front Month - Second Month Backwardation Streak Ends at 30 - So Now What???

    For the first time in 2016 the front month VIX future closed at a discount to the second month.  This brings the recent streak of backwardation to an end at 30 days.  The table below shows the 10 longest first month versus second month backwardation streaks with the recent run coming in a solid fourth place. So now what?  Anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s, but I did some quick historical analysis.  The table below shows the 30, 90, 125, and 250[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Feb 14, 2016, 1:07 PM

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/8 - 2/12

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/8 - 2/12

    Three out of the four S&P 500 volatility oriented indexes were higher last week.  The shortest dated one, VXST, dropped a little.  We attribute this to the three day weekend impact that puts pressure on VXST, but also usually results in VXST rising the day after a holiday weekend.  For example on Friday VXST dropped 17% while VIX was down 9.74%.  I guess what I’m getting at here is that we should focus on the longer dated volatility indexes on the chart below to get[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Strategy | Trade Ideas | Feb 6, 2016, 3:50 PM

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/1 - 2/5

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/1 - 2/5

    VIX rose last week as did the rest of the volatility indexes that based their levels on S&P 500 Index (SPX) option pricing.  Usually in times of panic VXST (9-day volatility) rises above VIX (30-day volatility), but that was not the case this past week.  You can read this two ways – traders think stocks will rebound or traders are mentally prepared for more downside in the market.  I’m leaning toward the latter. I decided to leave the year to date numbers[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Jan 30, 2016, 4:20 PM

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 1/25 - 1/29

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 1/25 - 1/29

    The equity market came to life last week and avoided what could have been the worst January in most of our lifetimes for stocks.  In response the four volatility indexes that are based on SPX option pricing were lower, but all four are also well above where they were to end 2015. I included a year-to-date performance column in this week’s table.  A big part of the motivation was to show the stellar performance of VXX and UVXY (along with the comparable funds) for 2016. [...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Nov 15, 2015, 9:09 AM

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 11/9 - 11/13

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 11/9 - 11/13

    The S&P 500 took a dive last week in what turned out to be the second worst weekly performance of 2015.  As of Friday the S&P 500 is down 1.7% for the year which would be the first noticeable loss (2011 was down less than 0.01%) since 2008.  The four volatility indexes that use S&P 500 as the underlying all shot higher.  What stands out to me is the high levels for VXV (3-month) and VXMT (6-month) on the chart below.  We are in the midst of high SPX implied volatility[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Nov 7, 2015, 11:22 AM

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 11/2 - 11/6

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 11/2 - 11/6

    The S&P 500 quietly rose just under 1% last week and VIX worked lower.  Across the board S&P 500 focused volatility indexes dropped with the possibility that any threat of increased volatility in the markets has been pushed out to 2016.  Of course back in August those same indexes dropped as the economic calendar was light and Labor Day was around the corner.  Note what happened on August 21st and August 24th when complacency started setting in. On the table below[...]

  • Put the Short Premium in the Bag

    Put the Short Premium in the Bag

    The tale of October happens to be the tale of my friend, "Mr. G," and what he did to turn $39,727.47 on September 30th into $56,239.25 on October 31st.  How's that for some trick-or-treat plunder? Here is the breakdown, separated by types of trades, of which there were only a few.  I'll number the types and show the dates and entry and exit points. 1. The greatest number of trades were made by selling short shares of TVIX on different dates between September 22nd and October 23rd,[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 19, 2015, 3:40 PM

    Closing a Volatility Short + Selling an Inverse Volatility Strangle

    Closing a Volatility Short + Selling an Inverse Volatility Strangle

    Let's check back on the progress of a trade last mentioned two posts ago.  This could be described as one of my favorite games ever, formally called "shorting the ultra-long volatility."  I've dabbled in both TVIX and UVXY recently, and the October 6th post illustrated some meat carved off the bone from the eleven-ish level on TVIX down to $9.48, when I just could not resist taking a bite.  To the tune of $651. Never one to be happy with a clean plate, I loaded the plate[...]

  • Market News | Oct 6, 2015, 11:31 AM

    Book It While It's Hot

    Book It While It's Hot

    When we last left off, I wrote in detail about the long calls I bought for SVXY.  I still have those, and the update is that while they traded for only $4.64 each at the time last mentioned (versus my $8.50 buying price), the bid/ask on those has risen to $7.00/$8.30 as of this writing, with the last trade recorded at $7.49.  I keep under consideration the idea (translated: I can't wait) of getting out of these calls as soon as I can do so for even money.  All right; it's not really[...]

  • Market News | Oct 3, 2015, 7:24 AM

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 9/28 - 10/2

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 9/28 - 10/2

    Those that casually watch VIX may not be aware of the variety of volatility indexes published by CBOE.  On at least a weekly basis I take a look more than VIX and try to gain a little insight into the mind of the market.  The curve below shows the relationship of four volatility indexes that represent consistent measures of implied volatility as indicated by S&P 500 (SPX) index option prices.  What has been catching my eye since excess market volatility started to commence on August[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Education | Sep 19, 2015, 5:42 AM

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 9/14 - 9/18

    The Week in Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 9/14 - 9/18

    All four of the S&P 500 oriented volatility indexes dropped last week as we finally got the September FOMC meeting behind us.  At this point there are two more meetings in 2015.  What I find interesting is VXV, which is a measure of 3 month expected volatility held up more than the other three indexes.  It just so happens that 3 months from this week is also the final FOMC meeting of the year. In the ETN space, VXX, UVXY, and TVIX gave up more of the recent gains despite the VIX[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Aug 31, 2015, 6:24 PM

    Easy Trading Before the Hurricane Came Through

    Easy Trading Before the Hurricane Came Through

    As someone pointed out two posts back, I did tell everyone: "Follow along for a less wordy (because I've already explained it all) installation documenting the conclusion to this story pretty soon, as the story must end before the dates stamped on my only two current positions: Friday the 21st." So here it is, minus lots of words, because there's not a ton to say other than when I opened, when I closed, and the prices (and the way I dodged being assigned a lot of shares at the associated[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Strategy | Aug 25, 2015, 6:21 PM

    Trade in Which I Get a Black Eye, but Escape a Worse Black Eye

    Trade in Which I Get a Black Eye, but Escape a Worse Black Eye

    It was a black eye I gave myself, of course.  If this blog were all sunshine and lollipops - well, that would be great.  I'll work on it.  For now, it's not happening. So last week I got it into my head to sell some UVXY 55 calls, thinking that strike was unlikely to hit.  Under "normal" market conditions, that would be a reasonable belief.  As everyone and their kid's kindergarten teacher knows by now, the market has had a "correction."  I got sent[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Aug 17, 2015, 7:29 PM

    The Bull Market Lives! Long Live the Bull Market...

    The Bull Market Lives!  Long Live the Bull Market...

    ...or at least through the end of this week.  After that I'll be ready for anything else, but please - whatever is keeping volatility low - stay stable for a few more days. My escapades this month started on August 3rd, when I thought I'd draw a line in the sand for UVXY.  See chart below. UVXY was in the $25 range that day and its fraternal twin VIX was in the low 12s. I calculated that UVXY was unlikely to sink as low as $24 during the next two weeks, and wrote puts at that strike for[...]