• Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 3/28 - 4/1

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 3/28 - 4/1

    Don’t fight the Fed. That’s a rule we must all live by and long volatility is a fight that isn’t winning these days. Note the drop in the week over week curves below and keep in mind that on March 24th there was a three day weekend in front of VXST which makes that drop even more dramatic. The curve is steep, which can be taken as longer term concerns prevail, but for the near term those looking for higher volatility have stopped fighting. The long funds on the table[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Education | Strategy | Trade Ideas | Mar 25, 2016, 9:19 AM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 3/21 - 3/24

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 3/21 - 3/24

    The S&P 500 was slightly lower last week, ruining a five week winning streak.  This gave three of the four volatility indexes on the chart below a chance to rebound from 2016 lows.  The exception is VXST, but we give this one a break since three day weekends are always tough on VXST. The choppiness in the volatility space last week, along with the front month future actually losing a little value did no favors for the VIX related ETPs.  UVXY was up almost 9% for the week early[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Mar 19, 2016, 4:29 PM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 3/14 - 3/18

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 3/14 - 3/18

    I’m honestly surprised and admitting that I have been very wrong in trying to guess at the VIX action lately.  I never would have expected a 13 handle for VIX, but low and behold that’s what we got on Friday.  When I return to work on Monday I will spend a little time on the wall of shame. Even the longer dated volatility indexes have given up the fight with VXV and VXMT closing near the respective 2015 averages after remaining at elevated levels for most of 2016. VXX[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Blogging Options | Trader Talk | Education | Strategy | Mar 12, 2016, 8:40 AM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs 3/7 - 3/11

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs 3/7 - 3/11

    Three out of the four S&P 500 based volatility indexes dropped last week with the longer term focused VXMT rising slightly.  I went on a data fishing expedition with respect to weeks where VXMT and the S&P 500 rose, but couldn’t find a definitive patters.  I even looked at the predictive power going out as far as six months and got nada.  I did find out that both the S&P 500 and VXMT have risen in sync 52 times since 2008, which is interesting and a bit surprising,[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Strategy | Trade Ideas | Mar 6, 2016, 8:36 AM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/29 - 3/4

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 2/29 - 3/4

    The S&P 500 rose about 2.7% last week and shorter term volatility took it on the chin with VXST and VIX both down over 14%.  The longer dated volatility indexes were lower as well, but as show below, remain elevated compared to their respective averages last year.  You can read that as the market still bracing for higher volatility over the balance of 2016 (or at least until 6 months from now). The long and long leveraged VIX realted ETPs were down last week with VXX dropping[...]

  • 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 | 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 | Jan 8, 2016, 7:30 PM

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 1/4 - 1/8

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 1/4 - 1/8

    The S&P 500 experienced the second worst week in performance since 2011.  For those with short memories, the worst week came about four months ago in late August.   What both these weeks have in common is China which continues to experience financial market woes and, despite their leader’s best efforts, there seems to be no end to the volatility coming out of that part of the world for the foreseeable future. The market action pushed all four S&P 500 related volatility[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Education | Futures | Trade Ideas | Dec 19, 2015, 9:46 AM

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 12/14 - 12/18

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 12/14 - 12/18

    Finally, the Fed raised rates.  I’m reading Ben Bernanke’s book and it is interesting that this was being debated when he was still the chairman.  The equity market loved it and then hated it with the result being a roller coaster of a week.  The VXST – VIX – VXV – VXMT curve was on heightened alert this time last week and returned to normal to end the week.  It is rare, but we seem to have experienced an earnings like volatility crush in SPX volatility[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Nov 29, 2015, 4:29 PM

    Keeping My End of the Put Selling Deal

    Keeping My End of the Put Selling Deal

    Let's follow up on a strategy started on August 25th, which is a day that can be labeled by any one of a number of epithets, as it was the day Mr. Market fell off his barstool.  Actually, August 24th was the day he clawed and struggled all the way down, and the 25th was the day he really went "thud" on the floor. In this linked post from early October, I detailed some sold puts that got assigned to me; soon after, I disposed of 100 of the 300 resulting shares and kept 200.  The[...]

  • 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[...]

  • Trader Talk | Education | Oct 13, 2015, 1:37 PM

    Option Assignment is Not Always Bad

    Option Assignment is Not Always Bad

    If anyone remembers (and even if you don't), back in early September I griped a little about my booked gains/losses for the month of August not showing the premium I received for puts I wrote which were then assigned.  The brokerage incorporates the premium received into the cost basis for the shares upon assignment.  I may not have liked that then, but I sure do like it now.  See illustration below on the transactions and the outcome in my account as of today: That's the transaction[...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 2, 2015, 12:29 PM

    I'm Way Out on the Ice

    I'm Way Out on the Ice

    Let me get right down to numbers, since there will be a lot of numbers amongst the words. In the last post I detailed a bunch of long calls, and an update on those is overdue.  In review:  I had allocated a large (to me) (when it is a risky proposition) amount of money toward seven of the December SVXY calls at the 40 strike, paying about $12.30 each for them (translated to real cost:  $1,230.00 each or $8,610 in total - I'm rounding and ignoring commissions here) when SVXY was about[...]

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