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Cautionary Update
There are several reasons for more caution, including increasing options implied volatility, a declining VIX futures premium, increasing Skew and Kurtosis spread, declining market breadth along with evidence of rotation into defensive sectors.
Turnaround Friday
Even the best technical indicators are not much help when unexpected news suddenly increases uncertainty. However, the S&P 500 Index made an upside reversal Friday that could just be short covering.
Uptrend Continues
The S&P 500 Index scaled the mountain last week making three new highs along with a key reversal.
Volatility Kings 1Q 2019
Since first quarter earnings reports began Friday, the time has come to update our Volatility Kings list of companies that have a regular tendency to experience increasing option implied volatility as their quarterly reporting dates approach.
Options & Trends
Defining the trend while understanding volatility skew and using the most advantageous options strategy, offers an opportunity to gain some needed edge while defining and limiting risk.
Tale Of Three Trendlines
Last week the S&P 500 Index recovered somewhat from the yield curve inversion blues moving back up toward the operative upward sloping trendline after struggling around the 2800 level.
Finally Back Above 2800
Last week, after several attempts the S&P 500 Index finally closed well above the resistance zone around 2800, thereby increasing the odds it will continue up to challenge the October 3, 2018, high at 2939.86.
Target 200
As long as the S&P 500 Index remains above the downward sloping trendline from the October 3 high and breadth continues improving, odds favor the bulls.
Advanced Options
For the S&P 500 Index, last week's story was a combination of resistance at the 200-day Moving Average making it unusually sensitive to any negative fundamental news and that arrived Thursday on a report of declining German exports.
January Barometer & More
The ballyhooed January Barometer that attempts to forecast the year-end close of the DJ Industrials and the S&P 500 Index fail to provide much useful information for trade planning although the long-term record suggests some validity.
Top 10 ETFs
Friday's S&P 500 Index advance along with other important indices changed the picture as it appears the operative Rising Wedge could fail, reducing the probability of a meaningful retest of the December 26 bottom.
New Rising Wedge
Although the S&P 500 Index rebound from the December 26 low has been impressive, advancing above the first resistance zone between 2550 and 2600, it could soon run out of gas.
Bear Trap Door
While the S&P 500 Index bounced off the December 26 low and the VIX turned lower while the VIX futures premium turned slightly positive, all suggest the current bounce will likely continue up to resistance
Technical Damage
While the S&P 500 Index has tested the October 29 low four times confidence that the low will hold remains uncertain before the Federal Reserve FOMC meeting on December 18 and 19 along with ongoing trade and tariff negotiations with China.
Technical Score
The picture turned dreary for the bulls last week as the information technology and energy sectors pulled the S&P 500 Index down again.
Crude Oil Going Lower [Charts]
Coming right on cue, this is the time of the year when crude oil prices usually decline. This is augmented by speculation of an OPEC production increase announcement.
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