Stocks looked ugly today after the weekend did not solve anything in either Gaza or the Ukraine. The POTUS threatened unilateral action against the tax inversion meisters and that seemed to get things going on a dumpy note. By midday all was forgotten. The dream merger between to social media darlings did not hurt.
Sometimes customers do really weird things. Sometimes its because they have a strange stock position. Sometimes its because they ahve been given bad advice by a cruddy broker. There are cases where the customer just has a strange idea on how to trade or has no idea how to trade. To be honest I do not know what this customer is doing in MU. Check out the volume and open interest in MU ITM call options in september.
I am going to skip the double whammy of the VIX up, SPX up today. Chalk that up to airplanes falling out of the sky and freaking folks out, which it should. All those overseas tragedies add up when it comes to volatility. I for one would like to see them end soon.
This day kind of reminds me of the anticipation before walking on a trading floor some mornings. Something is going to happen but you just don’t know what. The first instinct is to raise the bid in the options a little bit and do some price discovery. The corporate earnings news and economic data has been pretty good lately so the heeby geebies are not from there.
So that was fun while it lasted, but in truth it did not take volatility very long to realign itself right back to where it was. Take a look at the curve today and take a look at where it was 6 days ago on Wednesday the 16th.
With 4 ½ weeks to go in the VIX Aug cycle, there is not a lot of enthusiasm for the August VIX future. Is it cash too high or futures too low or just a combination of them both? There was an average mark up in VIX due to the weekend but not much more than that. Stocks sold off but really did not have a lot of gas to keep going down.
Step into the Wednesday time machine and not much happened between then and today. Traders have been so lulled into a stupor with the lack of movement that they bid volatility up to 15% yesterday when it looked like there was another crisis brewing. As of today no crisis, as holders of GOOG and other earnings reporters rejoice in the upside surprises.
Today the SPX finally broke its streak of not closing up or down 1%. While that is certainly important to note, it is not the most important thing that happened today. What most important is how flat footed a few trader got caught. While the S&P moved, the VIX exploded. The VIX moved from the low 11's to almost 15% in one day, in what turned out to be an exceptionally short period of time.
More Yellen testimony hurt the RUT and VIX today as both those indexes made some pretty good size drops. With a lot of old tech like MSFT and especially INTC, starting to trade at multiples out of the single digits what is volatility to do. A client wrote me today and asked if CSCO is next? All of a sudden establish companies are doing something not many thought possible a year ago and that is deliver some growth.
Goldman blew the door off earnings today and now is starting to threaten 170 again on move of about 1.5% today. On the heels of this, traders absolutely demolished GS implied volatility today. While GS is not at its all time high, the IV of the options is at its lowest level post 2008 crisis: