On the heals of last nights complete and utter annihalation of the FB straddle I thought it would be interesting to follow a few of the other big earnings plays. AMZN, which had a straddle that was below the average straddle price over the last year, saw its straddle go out 23 dollars. As I write this the stock is up 36 dollars from the close, and really, if one was trading the straddle this morning, the 300.00 straddle went out a massive 24 dollar winner, a full 100% return on the straddle bet. Increadible.
FB announced earnings tonight. While we saw some decent fire works out of AAPL, we did not see the same thing out of FB. The market was pricing in a move of about 7%. As I write this the stock has barely budged. The short strangle/straddle is goign to pay out extremely tomorrow, Shorts will make about 4-5 hundred dollars a spread. The payout is pretty clear below:
The market did not like CAT or MSFT earnings today. It actually felt good to know stocks could sell off on bad news instead of the heroin induced QE state of suspended animation that has taken over equity prices for the last couple of years. I don’t think the MSFT earnings were 10% bad but the market did not agree with me. We are not talking MSFT, we will talk AAPL.
The weekend provided little real excitement as the Greek elections turned out worse than expected and no one cared. The leftists are in power but what they are going to realize is they have little choice. That seems to be the consensus from the reaction in European and US stocks. VIX managed to turn in a new short term low to close 15.58.
The news out of Russia is worse. The civilian population is suffering in the Ukraine again and Standard and Poor’s downgraded Russian Debt. In March of 2014 this news out of Russia would have tanked the market and sent the Russian equities into the tank. VIX could care less but the RSX did sell off after a recent rally.
Stocks made a little run down today on bad UPS earnings and some worries about the weekend vote in Greece. If folks are paying up for SBUX coffee, things cannot be that bad so we will blame the Greeks. Even after the ECB made their made policy announcement the Euro continued to sell off. I guess the question is why would you buy European sovereign debt? Spain yields nothing, you have to pay the Germans and Greece is always on the brink of default. The 10 year Treasury is still looking pretty good even after the dollar rally.
The ECB finally announces a bond buying program of their own. We will call it Euro QE. At the rate the Euro is crumbling there won’t be much left of the bond buying program in dollar terms as the Euro rushes pack to parity with the US dollar. Stocks love the QE since they takeoff after a whiff of it is announced.
Witness the 5 day demise of the VIX. The near 23 handle on Friday last week was reduced to 16 today. At least in the short term the big moves we have had in 2015 should start to subside. It is hard to remember the 8% realized vol markets of 2014 since we have averaged over 14% since the beginning of the year. Intraday realized is even higher.
In August of 2013, the day the VIX of VIX settlement also happend to be the day of the a FOMC announcment that many thought might be when they would announce the beginning of the end of QE in the US. The night before the VIX cash settled 14.91. With little to no movement in the SPX. the VIX opened up much higher and settled to almost EVERYONE's surprize at 16.42. A huge pop. Check out the intra-day range the index had.
We are finishing a volatile week for global markets and it most likely will stay that way until the ECB comes up with some announcement on Jan 22nd and/or the Greeks decide to elect a new government by the end of the month. Earnings reports so far have been mediocre and without the promise of domestic QE, stocks have not been able to recover. Short term things will stay choppy.
Any domestic news today was overshadowed by the Swiss pulling the currency peg on the Euro. The old 1.2 SWF to Euro is gone as the two quickly swung to parity. This led to a rip in the Swiss stock market to the tune of a 10% drop. To put that in perspective the SPX would be down 200 handles on the open for a move like that.