• 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 | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 4, 2016, 6:09 PM

    Block Trade Analysis - Bearish SPX Trade in Front of Employment Report

    Block Trade Analysis - Bearish SPX Trade in Front of Employment Report

    Tomorrow we get the first look at how the economy fared in January.  This insight comes with the release of the January Non-Farm Payrolls number.  I went searching for a trade or two executed late Thursday that may indicate a bullish or bearish market outlook in front of the number. I didn’t have to look too much to find an interesting trade..  Just before the SPX option market closed at 3:15 pm Chicago time there was a buyer of about 500 SPX Feb 26th 1920 Puts at 41.70. [...]

  • Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Feb 4, 2016, 5:03 PM

    Earnings Next Week - 2/8 - 2/12

    Earnings Next Week - 2/8 - 2/12

    Earnings season is approaching the end of the heavy period, but there are plenty of companies left to report.  The numbers below represent three years of history with a couple of exceptions which have not been around long enough to provide a full three years of history.  In those cases the data appears in italics.   After the ticker the columns show the biggest gain, biggest drop, average move (non-directional) and stock price reaction last quarter.

  • Education | Trade Ideas | Feb 4, 2016, 9:46 AM

    Open Interest for Options on MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) Tops 600 Contracts

    Open Interest for Options on MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) Tops 600 Contracts

    This last week the open interest for options on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) rose above 600 contacts for the first time. Over the past year several institutional investors have expressed interest in the potential for a liquid MXEF options contract, particularly because the MXEF options contract is cash-settled and has a notional size that is about 24 times larger than options on the EEM ETF. VOLATILITY SKEW FOR MXEF OPTIONS The volatility skew chart below shows that Bloomberg has estimated[...]

  • Strategy | Trade Ideas | Feb 1, 2016, 9:51 AM

    Trading Tactics: How to Deal With a Slump

    Trading Tactics:  How to Deal With a Slump

    Self-realization is a good place to start in breaking a trading slump.  I know it seems obvious that when you're in a slump and trading poorly your results and account balance will reflect it.  Streaks work both ways of course, and when we are winning it is just as notable as when we are losing.  Understanding what is happening to you is awareness that may help you change some habits, which may also change your fortunes. When in a slump I will often take a break from trading, a 'timeout'. [...]

  • VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Jan 31, 2016, 4:48 AM

    Weekly Review - VIX Futures and Options - 1/25 - 1/29

    Weekly Review - VIX Futures and Options - 1/25 - 1/29

    The VIX term structure is approaching contango which many VIX watchers will consider a green light for the equity markets, but the February contract stubbornly remains elevated relative to the March contract.  Although on Friday this premium was down to 0.30.  My feeling is February may stay up a bit until we get the employment number behind us this coming Friday.  At that point I guess VIX will be just like the Fed (data dependent). The shorter term curve flattened out[...]

  • 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 | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Jan 29, 2016, 7:54 AM

    Earnings Next Week - 2/1 - 2/5

    Earnings Next Week - 2/1 - 2/5

    Earnings season peaked this past week, but there are plenty of companies left to report.  The numbers below represent three years of history with a couple of exceptions which have not been around long enough to provide a full three years of history.  In those cases the data appears in italics.   After the ticker the columns show the biggest gain, biggest drop, average move (non-directional) and stock price reaction last quarter.

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Jan 28, 2016, 7:29 PM

    Block Trade Analysis - Two VIX Trades from Today

    Block Trade Analysis - Two VIX Trades from Today

    We had two big trades come through the VIX pit today and about the only thing they have in common is that they both used March VIX options. First, there was an out of the money bull call spread.  With spot VIX around 22.60 there was a buyer of 80,000 VIX Mar 27 Calls at 1.95 who then sold 80,000 VIX Mar 35 Calls at 0.91 for a net cost of 1.04.  A spike to just over 28.00 gets this trade to the point of profitability.  This requires a closing high for 2016 in VIX since that current[...]

  • Paper by Professor Bondarenko Has Intriguing New Analysis of the Premiums, Returns and Volatility of PUT and WPUT Indexes

    Paper by Professor Bondarenko Has Intriguing New Analysis of the Premiums, Returns and Volatility of PUT and WPUT Indexes

    A new 10-page study examines both the CBOE S&P 500 PutWrite Index (PUT) and the CBOE S&P 500 One-Week PutWrite Index (WPUT), comparing their performances with that of traditional benchmark stock and bond indexes. This is the first comprehensive published study that examines the performance of a benchmark strategy index that incorporates WeeklysSM options. Written by Oleg Bondarenko, professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the study -- “An Analysis of Index Option[...]

  • Weekly Review - Russell 2000 Index and Options - 1/18 - 1/22

    Weekly Review - Russell 2000 Index and Options - 1/18 - 1/22

    Investors got a slight reprieve from what has been a difficult start to the year as both the Russell 1000 (RUI) and Russell 2000 (RUT) rose last week.  RUI gained 1.36% while the small cap focused RUT was up by 1.28%.  There has been nowhere to hide in 2016, but large cap stocks have held up pretty well versus small caps.  RUI is down just over 7% in 2016 while RUT is down a little more than 10%.  The chart below indexes RUI and RUT to 100 as of December 31st 2015 for comparison’s[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Jan 23, 2016, 6:37 PM

    Weekly Review - VIX Futures and Options - 1/18 - 1/22

    Weekly Review - VIX Futures and Options - 1/18 - 1/22

    The stock market rally on Friday put pressure on VIX and pushed the spot index down enough that the front month February future closed at a slight premium.  This is the first premium for the front month VIX futures relative to spot since January 4th.  I’ll discuss this a bit more toward the end of this blog. The generic short dated curve flattened out which I’m learning is the normal shape using the five consecutive weekly VIX futures contracts. As mentioned above,[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Jan 23, 2016, 8:58 AM

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 1/18 - 1/22

    Weekly Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 1/18 - 1/22

    The S&P 500 rebounded by about 1.4% last week and SPX option volatility moved a bit lower.  The VXST – VIX – VXV – VXMT curve shifted lower and flattened.  However for a bit of perspective I show where we ended 2015.  I think the comparison is a good indication that we may not be completely out of the woods, at least based on the expectations indicated by the various S&P 500 oriented volatility measures. The rebound in the stock market put some[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Futures | Trade Ideas | Jan 22, 2016, 2:40 PM

    TYVIX Weekly Report - January 22, 2016

    TYVIX Weekly Report - January 22, 2016

      VIX Indexes Moderate Despite Little Closure on Global Economic Outlook The bleak outlook for world economic growth, oil prices and low inflation drove equity markets lower for most of this week, although stock prices trimmed losses Friday on a bounce in oil prices and talk of possible central bank easing in Europe and Japan. VIX benchmarks for volatility in equity, fixed income and currency rates moderated (with the exception of JYVIX). Figure 1.  Statistical update   Looking[...]

  • Market News | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Jan 22, 2016, 10:23 AM

    Earnings Week of 1/25 - 1/29

    Earnings Week of 1/25 - 1/29

    Next week is the heaviest part of earnings season as you can see on the table below.  It is a holiday shortened week next week, but there’s plenty going on in the world of earnings as we start to move into the heavier part of earnings season.  The numbers below represent three years of history with a couple of exceptions which have not been around long enough to provide a full three years of history.  In those cases the data appears in italics.   After the ticker the columns[...]

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