The SPX has a super ugly day today, dropping below 1900 and nearly 50 points. The SPX is now with in points of threatening the august lows. Yet, the VIX bore little reaction to today's market sell off. A day where the SPX is down more than 2.5% and the NDX was down almost 3% saw the VIX barely up 4 points. Yes, the VIX is already somewhat high at over 20%, but when we see a sell off like we saw today, and outright panic in the Biotechs, one has to wonder what is up. To put things in perspective, take a look at the lack or reaction in VIX (the red line) relative to August.
For those of you that think China is the downfall of the US market, I give you one chart:
Market volatility took a bit of a ride today as the pre-open smack led to, what else, a rally. We got some Fed Governor news on blaming the winter but I feel like the lame jobs report was set up on Wednesday’s ADP number. $50 per barrel oil is not creating any jobs in that sector either. The pre-open action lately has not been a very good indicator of what is going to happen during the trading day.
The IEA came out and said the bounce in oil was only temporary. That caught a lot of the oil market by surprise as many producers and drillers found new lows today. Now we are dealing with a short term, could be long term, gut in oil supplies as OPEC puts the squeeze on competitors. That was enough to foil the bank rally yesterday. The sell-off was half-hearted at best from a volatility point of view.
It looks like the Greek Drama happening overseas ended up being a comedy more than a tragedy. That is good for investors and good for the Greeks. We will revisit the issue in June but for now that looks like the only thing that was holding up implied volatility.
Stocks ended the week in an ugly fashion with the SPX down about 1.25%. There was enough in the bad sentiment train with Greece, Euro Area deflation, poor GDP and Russia annexing another part of the Ukraine. Not the stuff of rising markets with earnings only tepid this season. So far most companies that are reporting are doing better than estimates. Not 80% to blow it out but just ok.
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.
I am not sure what the confluence of news was that made folks nervous but it seemed to be a combination of retail sales, no ECB QE and the latest weak data out of China. That was enough to drive VIX into the 23 handle briefly and set the VIX future curve backward to Aug. We did get a close of Jan VIX close Aug however. The vol traders could not hold the Jan too backward overnight. They could not push it lower however so a little more movement is still expected.