For the most part today was a sleeper. Most everything sold off after tremendous runs to all –time highs in SPX and NDX yesterday. You know things are nuts when TWTR, yes I bought more juice in there last week, is the market leader for a day. Much of the action in VIX this year, when there was any, has been around politics. DJT seems to keep the volatility around himself and somehow it does not translate to equities except on Russia news snippets. The month of December has been ruled by Congress and I predict that is how the month will end.
Is this the buy the rumor and sell the news moment? The Tax Bill comes out of committee along party lines, never a good thing, and SPX puts in a respectable 1% gain. The ballistic missile fired by NK? It must be filled with rocks. The only real market risk now is that the Tax Bill does NOT make it to the next leg. The Republicans are desperate for a win so my guess is that they will squeak something through.
As the SPX tilts to all-time highs again, VIX is meandering down to the 11 handle after getting oversold last week into the holiday. What was strange was the action in the VIX future term structure. VIX futures lifted on a day when there was scant market activity and close to close volatility was even lower than the posted 10 day 4.28%. Every future in the VIX term structure was higher.
So yes you say IV is low but the realized vol is lower. 20 day realized vol is only 6.02% as the SPY and big brother the SPX extend the 80+ day run without a close to close 1% down move. At this point the market is loving the DJT administration, tweets aside. Straight up rallies are hard to diagnose but it appears that the steady mantra ofearnings, less regulation, lower taxes and more infrastructure is having quite a bubbly effect that the buy algos find quite tantalizing.