E WhatsTrading Recap - 02/12/2015

Stocks moved broadly higher at the open and extended gains in afternoon trading Thursday. At the closing bell, the S&P 500 was up nearly 20 points to 2088.44 and back within striking distance of late-2014 record closing highs (2090.57 on 12/29).

Treasury bonds took the day in stride and the yield on the benchmark ten-year was unchanged at 1.99%. Gold gained $2.50 to $1222.

Energy (XLE) was a hot sector after crude gained $2.40 to $51.25. Financials (XLF), basic materials (XLB), and tech (XLK) saw relative strength as well. Utilities (XLU) proved to be the only losing sector.

CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX) continues the decline. The index, which tracks the expected or implied volatility priced into a strip of S&P 500 Index (SPX) options, dropped 1.57 points to 2015 lows of 15.39.

Overall options volumes picked up to their best levels of the week. Roughly 10 million calls and 7.8 million puts traded across the exchanges.

VIX Feb 15-strike puts were the most actives of the day. Some investors are possibly liquidating position ahead of the expiration next week. [Note that VIX options expire Wednesday (not the standard Friday expiration) and therefore only two trading days of life remain in the February contracts due to the holiday Monday]. 107,334 Feb 15 puts traded vs 210,677 in open interest. VIX Feb 16 and 17 puts were busy as well.

Meanwhile, Orbitz (OWW) May 12 calls, Apple (2/13) Weekly 127 calls, and J&J (JNJ) 105 calls were the most active equity options of the day.


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