• Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Election & VIX | Oct 24, 2016, 4:58 PM

    "Election Certainty" Not Showing Up In SPX Options Market

    "Election Certainty" Not Showing Up In SPX Options Market

    So we keep hearing that the market is unconcerned with respect to the upcoming election or stated another way the stock market is discounting a victory by Hillary Clinton.  I am always skeptical when being told that the market thinks one thing or another without some sort of numbers to back up the statement.  With respect to the market discounting a pending event as being a non-event I always turn to volatility.  Specifically, implied volatility. If stock market participants are discounting[...]

  • Trader Talk | Strategy | Oct 24, 2016, 9:13 AM

    The Time to Listen to Market Prophets? Not EVER!

    The Time to Listen to Market Prophets?  Not EVER!

    With so much uncertainty in the world most investors/traders get anxious and worried over losing money and start listening to market sages and so-called prophets.  That is typical and quite natural, yet when the underwear starts getting tight and we begin to sweat because the markets are misbehaving, well we tend to reach for whatever (or, whomever) makes the most sense.  To top the list of uncertainties include the upcoming election, which many are starting to believe is to be a Hillary[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 23, 2016, 8:04 AM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 10/17 - 10/21

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 10/17 - 10/21

    In a bear market we refer to market bounces as ‘relief rallies’.  The drop in volatility last week may be attributed to some sort of relief, whether with respect to expectations around the coming election or that a good part of earnings season has passed without any catastrophic results.  Whatever the reason the curve moved lower as the S&P moved up slightly and the shape is a little less steep. The long volatility funds had a tough time last week with VXX losing[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 22, 2016, 3:39 PM

    Weekend Review - VIX Futures and Options - 10/17 - 10/21

    Weekend Review - VIX Futures and Options - 10/17 - 10/21

    VIX worked lower as we all survived, endured, or got through the final debate on this Presidential election.  The stock market moving up a little probably helped the cause as well.  November took over as the front month contract and finished the week at 15.575 or a spread of just over 2.20 when compared to the spot index.  This is actually a pretty narrow spread relative to how steep the VIX curve has been over the past few months. On Friday one trader came in with the[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 22, 2016, 3:10 PM

    Weekend Review - Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - 10/17 - 10/21

    Weekend Review - Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - 10/17 - 10/21

    Last week the Russell 1000 (RUI) and Russell 2000 (RUT) both gained a little ground, with RUI rising 0.41% and RUT winning the week by a nose by moving higher by 0.49%.  For the year RUT is about 3.4% higher than RUI. Both VIX and the Russell 2000 Volatility Index (RVX) were lower last week as the equity markets survived (and we endured) the final debate before the presidential election.  The RVX / VIX ratio gained a bit with the drop in volatility but is still off 2016 highs. On[...]

  • Market News | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 20, 2016, 3:40 PM

    Earnings Week of 10/24 - 10/28

    Earnings Week of 10/24 - 10/28

    This week is by far the busiest of earnings season with over 100 companies with  Weeklys available for trading reporting results.   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.

  • Trader Talk | Oct 17, 2016, 10:56 AM

    Bullish Trade for National Pasta Day

    Bullish Trade for National Pasta Day

    In honor of National Pasta Day, I went searching for a trade that is bullish on a restaurant that serves its share of Italian food.  One Friday, I guess in anticipation of a surge in the consumption of food at Olive Garden, someone put on a bull call spread using options on Darden Restaurants (DRI).  When the stock was trading at 62.62 someone came in a purchased the DRI Nov 18th 62.50 Calls for 1.53 and sold the DRI Nov 18th 65.00 Calls for 0.55 and a net cost of 0.98.  A payoff at[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 16, 2016, 10:43 AM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 10/10 - 10/14

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 10/10 - 10/14

    On a percentage basis VIX was the big winner among the four S&P 500 related volatility indexes.  VIX gained just over 19% while VXST was up about 13%.  The longer end of the curve is often less responsive to drops in the stock market.  VXV and VXMT behaved as they normally do and rose about 6% and 4% respectively. The long ETPs had a nice week with the unleveraged funds gaining over 5% and the leveraged funds putting up gains of over 10%.  As I like to say, the[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 15, 2016, 9:37 AM

    Weekend Review - Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - 10/10 - 10/14

    Weekend Review - Russell 2000 Options and Volatility - 10/10 - 10/14

    The finish line for 2016 performance is starting to appear in the distance. It was starting to look like small cap stocks would rule the year, but in the past couple of weeks, large cap stocks have started to play a little catch up. Last week the Russell 2000 (RUT) dropped just over 2% while the Russell 1000 (RUI) was down just over 1%. The spread is narrowing with RUT maintaining about a 2.4% lead going into the final stretch that is 2016. When volatility moves up in the form of a higher[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 9, 2016, 8:00 AM

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 10/3 - 10/7

    Weekend Review - Volatility Indexes and ETPs - 10/3 - 10/7

    The VXST – VIX – VXV – VXMT changed a little last week with the wings (VXST & VXMT) losing a little value and the middle section (VIX & VXV) rising slightly.  I find the drop on Friday in VXST a little perplexing as I was hearing concern with respect to a potential market reaction to the Sunday night debate.  People may have been thinking it, but VXST was not reflecting short term concerns. VIX was higher last week, but all the standard futures contracts[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 8, 2016, 2:31 PM

    Weekend Review VIX Futures and Options - 10/3 - 10/7

    Weekend Review VIX Futures and Options - 10/3 - 10/7

    The only thing that rose last week on the VIX curve below was spot VIX.  The steep contango managed to influence the futures pricing versus spot and even with a small gain in VIX, all standard futures lost value last week.   Despite the divergence in performance between VIX and the futures, we are still in pretty steep contango as the market seems to be braced for some sort of fourth quarter surprise. One trade popped up on Friday that appears to be looking for a spike[...]

  • Market News | VIX | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 7, 2016, 6:48 PM

    Weekend Review - Russell 2000 Options and Volatility

    Weekend Review - Russell 2000 Options and Volatility

    Large cap stocks held up relative to small caps with the Russell 2000 (RUT) losing 1.30 last week while the Russell 1000 (RUI) was down only 0.77%.  RUT still holds the 2016 lead by a fairly wide margin up 8.86Z% versus up 5.43% for RUI. Low VIX usually results in a higher RVX / VIX spread.  That contributed to the spread reaching 2016 highs this week, but I have to believe that the RUT underperformance has a part in it as well. I went searching for a RUT option trade from[...]

  • Trader Talk | Education | Oct 5, 2016, 7:02 AM

    59 Years Ago the Russians Won the Space Race - Why Being First is Not Being Best

    59 Years Ago the Russians Won the Space Race - Why Being First is Not Being Best

    Fifty-nine years ago today everyone in the United States was a bit freaked out.  It had nothing to do with the stock market or economy.  It was due to something unseen that was floating over our heads.  The Russians had launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit earth.  The Russians had beaten the United States to being the first in space.  The reaction in the US was a combination of fear (does this mean we are behind the Russians militarily as well?) to let’s[...]

  • Keeping a technical eye on LULU

    Keeping a technical eye on LULU

    I have a setup I'm stalking in LULU via a weekly chart.  Now I say that I'm stalking this one because I do NOT see any official buy triggers yet that tells me it's worth placing a bet on this stock.  I am however anticipating a possible buy trigger if LULU tests one of the two key support zones I'm looking at on this weekly chart.  The first zone comes in at the 57.91-59.02 area.  The second zone comes in at 52.92-54.95.  These price cluster decisions include some 100% projections[...]

  • Market News | Trader Talk | Trade Ideas | Oct 3, 2016, 11:25 AM

    Earnings Week of 10/3 - 10/7

    Earnings Week of 10/3 - 10/7

    It's the quiet before the storm this week and third quarter earnings start hitting next week.  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.