E WhatsTrading Recap - 02/18/2015

The S&P 500 is trading in a narrow range after the record close above 2100 yesterday. After falling to a morning low of 2092.15 and an afternoon high of 2099.58, the index is off 3.56 points to 2096.778 heading into the final hour.

Treasury bonds are firm after big losses yesterday and in the wake of the release of the latest FOMC minutes this afternoon. The text seems to suggest that Fed officials will exercise patience before raising rates. The yield on the benchmark ten-year is down to 2.07% after hitting 2015 highs yesterday.

Meanwhile, gold is up $2 to $1210.5 and crude lost $1.63 to $51.90.

Energy (XLE) is the weakest sector as oil prices slip. Financials (XLF) are also seeing relative weakness. The battered utility sector (XLU) is ripping 2.3% higher. Consumer staples (XLP) and industrials (XLI) are also seeing relative strength.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up .33 to 16.13 and options volumes remain well below normal levels. 6.2 million calls and 5.2 million puts traded across the exchanges so far. Projected volume is 14.2 million contracts and about 15% below normal levels.

And you know it’s a slow day when the most active option du jour is a Feb 48 call on Williams Companies (WMB). An investor sold a 70000-lot and was apparently closing a winning position, while opening a new bullish position at the Feb 50 calls. The bullish trading comes ahead of the natural gas producer’s earnings, due out after the closing bell.

Bullish trading was also seen in Fastenal (FAST), Boston Scientific (BSX) and China Finance Online (JRJC). Bears are circling Abercrombie (ANF) and American Capital (ARCP).

Disclosure:None

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