• Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Cboe Benchmark Indexes | Jul 5, 2018, 8:06 AM

    Portfolio Protection with Cboe’s S&P 500 Options: Overview of Basic Concepts

    Portfolio Protection with Cboe’s S&P 500 Options: Overview of Basic Concepts

    Many investors are asking questions about how to protect their investment portfolios in light of a number of developments, including (a) the potential for global trade wars, (2) low interest rates for fixed income investments and high price-earnings ratios for key stocks, and (3) the most severe peak-to-trough drawdowns a decade ago were down 51% for the S&P 500 Index, down 62.7% for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and down 81% for the S&P GSCI Index.    Strategies using S&P[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Mar 17, 2018, 3:40 PM

    Weekend Review of VIX Options and Futures March 16th 2018

    Weekend Review of VIX Options and Futures March 16th 2018

    VIX gained a bit (about 8%) last week as the S&P 500 was under pressure.  The curve shifted in a pretty uniform manner with March adding just over 3% as contango was fairly steep on Friday the 9th.  As a friendly reminder, March contracts settle on the open this coming week.  Short volatility has gotten bad rap lately due to recent price action.  However, short volatility, when done in a risk controlled manner, can be a viable trading strategy all types of markets. [...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Mar 11, 2018, 11:44 AM

    Weekend Review of VIX Options and Futures March 9th 2018

    Weekend Review of VIX Options and Futures March 9th 2018

    The 25% drop in VIX last week may seem extreme, but it isn’t even in the top 10 of weekly losses for VIX (it is 11th).  The all-time record was the last week in June 2016 with a 42% week over week loss.  Note the big drop in futures along with a return to contango.    And now a whale update.  Before getting into this trade here’s a little background. The first part of the story begins on Friday July 21st when a trade was initiated that sold 1 VIX Oct 12 Put for[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Mar 11, 2018, 10:33 AM

    Weekend Review Russell 2000 Options and Volatility March 9th 2018

    Weekend Review Russell 2000 Options and Volatility March 9th 2018

    Stocks had a great week last week with the Russell 2000 (RUT) gaining over 4% and Russell 1000 (RUI) rising about 3.5%.  For the year RUT is up 4.01% while RUI is up 4.16%.  As you can see below small caps took the 2018 performance lead for a day last week.  The magnitude of the gain of over 4% for RUT this week is becoming commonplace.  Four of the nine weekly moves for RUT in 2018 have been outside of +/- 3% while there were no moves greater than +/-3% in 2017.  Welcome[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Mar 3, 2018, 2:52 PM

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - March 3, 2018

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - March 3, 2018

    Small cap stocks are playing catch up by not losing as much as large caps.  Last week the Russell 2000 (RUT) was down about 1% while the large cap focused Russell 1000 (RUI) lost just under 2%.  RUI’s lead has narrowed to 0.75%.  Since RUT stocks are more domestic in nature, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the trade war rumblings put more pressure on RUI that RUT last week. We have experienced an unprecedented run in the relationship between the Cboe Russell 2000[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Mar 3, 2018, 12:34 PM

    Weekend Review of VIX Futures and Options - March 3, 2018

    Weekend Review of VIX Futures and Options - March 3, 2018

    The S&P 500 was down just over 2% last week and VIX does what it does (rose) when the S&P 500 is under pressure.  VIX was up over 18% and to a lesser extend the futures markets followed higher.  Worth noting above is the settlement price for March futures on Friday at 19.025.  This contract does not expire until the 21st, so there’s plenty of time for VIX to come back down a bit.  Usually when VIX moves up like it did and there’s this much time left to expiration[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 12, 2018, 8:23 AM

    Weekend Review of VIX Options and Futures Feb 10 2018

    Weekend Review of VIX Options and Futures Feb 10 2018

    For the past few months writing this weekend review has been a difficult task.  How many different ways can I say VIX is low and reflecting low realized volatility in the S&P 500?  The past couple of weeks it has suddenly gotten much easier to talk about VIX.  Last week was the first one week drop of greater than 5% since early January 2016.  The weakness actually began two weeks ago and the S&P 500 has given up 8.8% in the past two weeks is the biggest two week drop[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 12, 2018, 8:08 AM

    Weekend Review of Volatility Indexes and ETPs Feb 10 2018

    Weekend Review of Volatility Indexes and ETPs Feb 10 2018

    We experienced the biggest one week drop in two years last week for the S&P 500.  The result was the type of moves we haven’t seen in S&P 500 related volatility indexes since August 2015.  We got a 67% gain for VIX last week, with VIX3M gaining 46% and VXMT was 32% higher.  The result was steep backwardation that is normally associated with near term concerns about the direction of the stock market.  There’s lots to talk about on the table below. [...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 10, 2018, 1:26 PM

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility Feb 10 2018

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility Feb 10 2018

    Stocks were under pressure last week, which was actually the second week of the biggest two week drop in broad based indexes since August 2011.  Small cap stocks did hold up a bit better than large cap with the Russell 2000 (RUT) giving up 4.49% while the large cap focused Russell 1000 (RUI) lost 5.14%.  Both are in the red for 2018 with RUT down 3.76% and RUI down 2.17%.  The relationship between the Cboe Russell 2000 Volatility Index (RVX) and VIX hit previously uncharted territory[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 3, 2018, 11:33 AM

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility Feb 3 2018

    Weekend Review of Russell 2000 Options and Volatility Feb 3 2018

    The Russell 2000 (RUT) lost 3.78% last week while the Russell 1000 (RUI) was down 3.82%.  I have a hard time recalling a big weekly drop in the stock market where small caps and large caps lost about the same amount of ground.  For the year RUI maintains a nice lead based on outperformance in January. The RVX premium to VIX took a dive on Friday based mostly on gains in VIX.  The ratio finished the week at just over a 16% premium which is slightly lower than the 2017 low. [...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 3, 2018, 10:14 AM

    Weekend Review of Volatility Indexes and ETPs Feb 3 2018

    Weekend Review of Volatility Indexes and ETPs Feb 3 2018

    Of the four volatility indexes on the term structure chart below two have been around the longest.  Of course VIX with the other being VIX3M (formerly known as VXV).  The relationship between the 1-month volatility index and 3-month version usually has VIX at a discount to VIX3M.  Friday this relationship flipped for the first time since April of last year.  It is considered a sign of fear being ‘overdone’ when VIX is higher than VIX3M.  We shall see next week[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 3, 2018, 7:33 AM

    Weekend Review of VIX Futures and Options Feb 3 2018

    Weekend Review of VIX Futures and Options Feb 3 2018

    Last week VIX gained over 50% for the first time since August last year.  We all know most of this came Friday with the S&P 500 losing just over 2% on the day.  The obituaries being written about VIX after a historically tame year last year may have been a bit premature.  Friday was a huge day for VIX option trading as volume records were smashed.  At the end of the day over 4.3 million contracts had changed hands in the VIX pit.  Of course a good portion of Friday’s[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Jan 31, 2018, 8:51 AM

    Vol 411 Follow Up More on the VIX3M / VIX Ratio

    Vol 411 Follow Up More on the VIX3M / VIX Ratio

    Yesterday on Volatility 411 I spoke about the VIX3M / VIX ratio.  For old school volatility traders VIX3M is the relatively new ticker for VXV and this is a 3-month volatility index based on S&P 500 Index Option pricing.    VIX3M tends to close at a premium relative to VIX, but that spread narrows when there’s a bit more short-term panic in the markets.  Full blown market concern is attributed to a condition where VIX3M is at a discount to VIX.  Over the[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Jan 29, 2018, 7:48 AM

    VIX Options and Futures Weekend Review for January 27 2018

    VIX Options and Futures Weekend Review for January 27 2018

    VIX was lower last week, but that’s the only thing that lost value on the table / term structure chart below.  All the futures moved higher despite VIX moving lower, but also shaking off a very bullish week for the S&P 500.  We live in unusual times and there is much being written about the VIX behavior which seems to be ignoring record S&P 500 moves.  Usually this disconnect rights itself with either stock prices dropping or VIX finally giving into the reality of a higher[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Jan 29, 2018, 7:11 AM

    Volatility Indexes and ETPs Weekend Review for January 27 2018

    Volatility Indexes and ETPs Weekend Review for January 27 2018

    Three out of four volatility indexes that based their levels on SPX option trading were higher last week.  VIX was the lone loser with 9-day, 3-month, and 6-month volatility indexes all moving higher.  The long volatility linked ETPs, based on US volatility, were all higher last week.  Note things were different in Europe as EVIX was lower and EXIV gained.  Also, I continue to keep an eye on TYVIX which is showing signs of life as the talk of the end of the bull market in bonds[...]

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