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More Dirty Bird

 

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My general rule trading TWTR is don’t get long without puts.  After learning the hard way on the 2015 trip from mid 30 to the low 14s in 2016 the only thing that kept it from being a disaster was rolling my put protection down.  The near takeout in Oct/Nov gave me an exit which I took.  Now here we sit around 17.09 with Jan IV in the 30 handle.  Noone cares for the Dirty Bird anymore.

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Buy the Vol but don't buy the Vol

So as 2017 gets off to a raucous start let us compare and contrast with the start of 2017.   VIX was around 19.50 at the beginning of 2016 and quickly moved to the 30s as traders let the potential calamity of rising interest rates and possible Chinese meltdown rule the day.  We got the rate rise but China is still chugging albeit at exactly the same spot it was last year.  The only thing really different is that there is a new man in the White House come Jan 20th.  VIX is 11.85 going into the transition.

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Why is the VIX rising?

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Stocks have lost their way lately and can't really make a move anywhere.  Mostly that has got VIX moving with VIX cash moving to the mid-13's.  Yes you heard that we rallied hard to the mid 13s.  VIX Jan futures are getting close to 15.  This in a market where 60 day realized vol is still in the single digits.  VIX is pricing something that will happen next week.  Maybe around a surprise in rates to go along with the higher volatility in the rate complex.

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Oil vol is too cheap

With VIX grabbing all the headlines for lower volatility at the end of the year it is easier to forget about what help drive volatility at the beginning of the year, namely oil or the proxy USO.  Oil IV in the Jan cycle is around 27% which is a level not seen since USO had a 20 handle and is now trading 11.5.  It's as if the market decided oil can"t move .50 a day for a barrel.  That sounds too cheap given some of the recent movement.

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A Tale of Two Vols

Yet we have another all-time high close for SPX with the outlook for equities very bright indeed.  Not so much on the fixed income side which had a massive correction in the last two weeks.  The story is in the IV and here they tell two different things.  The volatility for volatility as measured by the UVXY is near 1 year lows.  That is right with equities clocking in highs vol of vol is in the basement.  This is how it should be.

 

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The First TWTR President

That was quite a week and 2 days.  Before Donald J Trump stunned the media with his election win, he was a power user of TWTR.  Various reports about what he will tweet in the future are unknown to me as I write this but it is safe to say TWTR will keep buzzing with the social media malestorm he helped create. The fact that TWTR is now stuck in the popular culture is pretty hard to dispute.

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Bank stocks are telling a story

There was a bit of a rally today on Fed jawboning and a tepid APD payroll number.  The economy is growing just not as much as anyone would like.  But is it growing enough to raise interest rates? The action in the bank stocks seems to say yes.  VIX was marginally lower but the backdated futures did not move too much.  If the NFP number is going to be a nothing VIX Oct futures should be dropping more but they are not.

 

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The market is on Quaaludes

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As I look at the underwhelming iPhone launch, and my phone, I keep thinking there is an app for everything.  There is an app for tides, sports, music and just about anything under the sun.  My problem is a I need an app to tell me what to do in a market on Quaaludes; lots of delusion and nothing going anywhere.  As there is an app for anything, there are positions for every market condition, even markets punch drunk with Fed indecsion and sound bites.

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Turning to Dust

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Stocks are staring at the 2200 SPX level and blinking.  Since there is no real impetus to drive things higher buyers are content to sit where they are and wait.  For some reason the Yellen at Jackson Hole speech is starting to take on meaning.  With a market lacking meaning anything is a reason to move us.  Gold and gold related names like the miners are getting hit hardest.

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