E WhatsTrading Recap - 02/232015

Stocks are moving nowhere fast Monday. The S&P 500 has traded in a narrow 7-point range and is down 5.75 to 2104.55 heading into the final hour.

Treasury bonds are well bid, however, on weak Existing Home Sales numbers and ahead of two days of testimony to Congress from Fed’s Yellen. The yield on the benchmark ten-year has eased back to 2.05%.

Gold lost $3.5 to $1201.5 and crude dropped $1.54 to $49.27.

Energy (XLE) is the biggest losing sector on renewed weakness in oil. Financials (XLF), industrials (XLI) and consumer discretionary (XLY) stocks are also lagging. Defensive sectors (XLU, XLP, XLV) are seeing relative strength.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is attempting to recapture 15 and this month’s theme of light volume in the options market continues through the final week of February. Projected volume for the day is 13.5 million contracts and 15% below the 22-day average.  Roughly 6.3 million calls and 5 million puts traded across the exchanges.

March Quarterly 170 puts on the SPDR 500 Trust (SPY) are the most active options of the day. Volume is approaching 50,000.

The earnings reporting season winds down this week, but there’s interest in a handful of names today ahead of their respective options reports. For example, Kohl’s (KSS) is out with numbers Thursday and one player sold an 11000-lot of Apr 70 calls on the retailer today at $2.2 per contract, collecting $2.42 million in premium and opening a new position ahead of the numbers. The stock is at $70 and this at-the-money call write is expressing the view that shares will see limited upside through the numbers.

Fortress Investment Group (FIG) Mar puts and calls are busy ahead of a Feb 26 profit report. Westlake Chemical (WLK) Mar 70 calls have been busy heading into numbers, due out tomorrow morning. Lastly, Salesforce (CRM) Mar 57.5 puts are drawing interest. The company is slated to report Wednesday before the bell.

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