E WhatsTrading Recap - 02/20/2015

The S&P 500 shook off morning weakness and is set to close the week at record highs. Trading was sluggish through midday, but stocks moved broadly higher in afternoon trading on crossing headlines about a Eurogroup deal with Greece.

The S&P is up 9.41 points to 2108.86 heading into the final hour.

Treasury bonds are seeing weakness and the yield on the benchmark ten-year is near 2015 highs at 2.14%. Crude is off 90 cents to $50.90 and gold shed $8 to $1220.

Financials (XLF), technology (XLK), and industrials (XLI) helped pace the afternoon turnaround. Utilities (XLU) and energy (XLE) remain in the red.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is off .40 to 14.89 and well off session highs of 16.29. Trading in the options mart is active due to the expiration. 8.5 million calls and 6.5 million puts traded across the exchanges, yielding a relatively low put-to-call ratio of .76.

Expiring Feb 210 calls on the SPDR 500 Trust (SPY) are the most actives. 111,800 traded as the ETF moves above the 210 strike. Shares, which are designed to equal 1/10th of the S&P 500, are up 90 cents to $210.88.

Apple (AAPL) Feb 128 and 129 call options are the most active equity options du jour. Williams Companies (WMB) Feb 49 calls, Facebook (FB) Feb 80 calls, and AAPL Feb 130 calls are the next most actives.

Of the total volume of 15 million contracts traded so far today, 4.4 million, or 30%, is in the expiring Feb options.

Overall, it’s been a rather slow week and uneventful expiration. The earnings reporting season is winding down with more than 80% of S&P 500 companies having released Q4 results. The Greek deal is expected to be a four-month extension. So next week is all about economic data and testimony from Fed’s Yellen to the Senate and House. But with VIX now down to 14.5 and 2015 lows, there seems to be little evidence of investor anxiety surrounding next week’s events. 

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