The Week that Was: June 21 to June 25
A concise weekly overview of the U.S. equities and derivatives markets
Last week (June 21 – June 25), the broad market shook off any Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concerns. The S&P 500 Index popped Monday morning and continued to grind higher throughout the week, establishing new all-time highs. Over just the past week, the small cap Russell 2000 Index led, moving higher by about 4.2%. The annual Russell Reconstitution was completed on Friday’s close. Energies (+5.4%) and Financials (+4.9%) led sector performance last week, while Utilities (-0.4%) and Consumer staples (+1.1%) trailed. Value slightly outperformed relative to Growth names. The Dollar Index was lower week-over-week and Commodities generally moved higher, led by industrial metals (copper) and Crude Oil, which is trading at the highest levels since October 2018.
- U.S. Equity Indices all moved higher last week. Small caps led the charge, while Big Technology lagged. Quarter-to-date, the Nasdaq 100 Index is up more than 12%, the S&P 500 Index is up 9.5%, the Russell 2000 Index gained 7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 5.7%.
- S&P 500 Index (SPX®): Increased by 2.8%, moving into the last days of the second quarter. The large cap index measured in a wider 2.9% range relative to the previous Friday’s close. 1-month at-the-money (ATM) SPX implied volatilities are measuring at 10.1%, the lowest levels since mid-January 2020.
- Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX): Gained 2.1% last week. Big Tech reached new highs on Thursday but slipped during the end of the week.
- Russell 2000 Index (RUT℠): Increased 4.2% last week, measuring in a 5% range during the week.
- Cboe Volatility Index™ (VIX™ Index): Moved between 21.82 and 14.19 last week and closed at 15.62, down more than five vols, compared to the previous week.
- SPX options average daily volume (ADV) was about 1.26 million contracts, which was lower than the week prior. The one-week ATM SPX options straddle (4280 strike with a 7/2 expiration) settled at around 38, which implies a +/- range of about 0.9%.
- VIX options ADV was about 320,000 contracts last week, down from the previous week’s ADV of 580,000 contracts. 1.58 VIX options calls traded for every put.
- RUT options volume decreased week-over-week to an ADV of 40,000 contracts, compared to an ADV of about 48,000 contracts the previous week. The 1-week ATM straddle implies a range of 1.8% ahead of the 7/2 weekly expiry.
Across the Pond
- The Euro STOXX 50 Index gained 0.4% on the week.
- The MSCI EAFE Index (MXEA℠) increased 1.5% week-over-week and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF℠) increased 1.4% week-over-week.
Charting It Out
Observations on VIX futures term structure
- The VIX futures term structure fell across the board last week as equities climbed. In effect, the curve shifted back toward levels from the week ending June 11, plus a small rolldown.
- The July/August VIX futures spread widened from 0.85 on Friday, June 18, to 1.90 as of Friday, June 25.
- The July VIX futures declined by 3.80, while the August VIX futures fell 2.75 and September VIX futures lost 2.25.
- The VIX Index closed at 15.62 on June 25, compared to15.65 on June 11.
VIX Futures Term Structure
Source: LiveVol Pro
- The 10-year U.S. Treasury Yield Index climbed last week, moving back to 1.54% on June 25 after closing at 1.45% the previous Friday.
- The S&P GSCI (Commodity) Index gained 2.9% on the week. Weakness in the U.S. dollar, as well as weather (natural gas/grains) and reopening demand, arguably boosted commodities.
- Copper added 2.6% and crude oil is at multi-year highs.
- Gold and silver were relatively rangebound.
- The Big Tech companies were almost all higher last week. Amazon fell 2.5% but Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Tesla all added value on the week. Tesla briefly traded above $700 but closed the week near $670.
- Microsoft joined Apple in the $2 trillion club. They are the first two companies in the U.S. to reach a valuation of $2 trillion.
- Bitcoin (BTC) was trading around $36,000 on Friday, June 18. Bitcoin prices fell below $30,000 during early U.S. trading hours on Tuesday, June 22, as market participants reacted to fears of further restrictions in China. Bitcoin prices rebounded later in the week.
- The $30,000 level has generally been supported in 2021. The global cryptocurrency market has lost about 50% of its peak values from early May.
- Ethereum (ETH) fell another 15% between June 18 and June 25. ETH ranged between $2,260 and $1,750. As of Friday afternoon, the second largest crypto was trading around $1,800.
- Last week the Chinese government told the primary financial institutions they should not deal in cryptocurrency, which rattled the market.
- An estimated 65% of all the computing that drives crypto occurs in three Chinese provinces.
- The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) came out against cryptocurrencies in general last week. It described crypto in unflattering terms but did not dismiss the potential for central banks to develop digital currencies.
- The 7-day average infection rate in the U.S. continues to fall and COVID-19 metrics in the U.S. are at the lowest levels since testing became broadly available.
- Missouri, Nevada and Arkansas are dealing with small hot spots.
- 46% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 55% have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among those 18 years and older, the rates are 56% and 66% respectively.
- Global infection numbers crept higher last week. Contagious variants are spreading rapidly in Africa, and Brazil surpassed 500,000 deaths.
COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.
Source: The New York Times
Tidbits from the News
The chart below illustrates historical sector allocation averages and the current asset manager allocations according to an Evercore ISI study. The Tech and Health Care sectors continue to be favored over Utilities, Real Estate and Consumer Staples.
Evercore ISI Equity Sector Allocation Survey
The WTI Crude Oil futures curve remains inverted (backwardated) and energy prices are trading at 2.5-year highs. In October 2018, front month WTI Crude Oil futures traded just below $80. WTI hasn’t consistently traded over $80 since October of 2014. Long-dated crude futures point toward energy prices well below the current level of around $55 per barrel.
NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures Curve
Source: S&P Global Indices
- According to a recent poll (994 respondents*), on average, 40% of people have taken on debt to invest. 80% of Gen Z respondents said they have used debt to fund investments. By comparison, only 28% of Gen X respondents and 9% of Baby Boomers had used debt to invest. Personal loans (38%) were most prevalent, followed by family or friends (23%), credit cards (14%) and tapping into home equity/lines of credit (11%).
Taking on Debt to Invest
Source: Magnify Money
The Week Ahead
- Data to be released this week: New York Fed on Monday; Case Shiller Home Price Index and Consumer Confidence Index on Tuesday; ADP Employment Data, Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) and Pending Home Sales on Wednesday; Weekly Jobless Claims and ISM Manufacturing on Thursday; Nonfarm Payrolls, U.S. Unemployment Rate and Trade Deficit on Friday.
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