E WhatsTrading Recap - 02/26/2015

The energy sector is leading the S&P 500 to a modest loss Thursday as crude drops $2.43 to $48.56. Yet, the S&P 500 has stayed in a narrow 8-point range and is down just 6.5 to 2107.36 heading into the final hour.

Treasury bonds are seeing modest weakness despite a CPI print that showed a .7% decline in consumer inflation for January. The yield on the benchmark ten-year is up to 2.01%.

There’s a modest uptick in risk aversion across financial markets. Gold gained $8 to $1209.5. CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up .39 to 14.23.

OVX, the VIX for oil, jumped 2.21 to 57.14 and the Euro currency volatility Index (EVZ) is a big percentage mover, up 1.21 to 10.18

Yet, the volatility in crude and the euro isn’t yet spilling over to the equities market and the theme of narrow trading continues for another day.

When the major averages fall into these periods of low volatility, there’s sometimes a notable increase in interest in options on single stock names and less focus on index products (which are more often used to hedge rather than speculate).

Consider this interesting stat from the options market today. 15.8 million contracts have traded across the exchanges in all of the thousands of stocks, ETFs, and indexes. Of that, 1.65 million contracts, or 10.4% of the day’s volume, is in Apple (AAPL).

Now, of the Apple options traded today, 742,000, or 45% of the flow, is in 2/27 Weeklys that expire tomorrow.

Yes, your math is correct, roughly 5% of the total options volume across all the exchanges today is in Apple options that expire in one-day!

It’s a real performance chasing frenzy that, in all likelihood, ends badly…. 

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