Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Aqumin Volatility Newsletter 4/7/2015 $VIX $SPY

ATM IV melts up

Market volatility took a bit of a ride yesterday as the pre-open smack led to, what else, a rally. We got some Fed Governor news on blaming the winter but I feel like the lame jobs report was set up on Wednesday’s ADP number. $50 per barrel oil is not creating any jobs in that sector either. The pre-open action lately has not been a very good indicator of what is going to happen during the trading day.

If you look at the OptionVision volatility landscape in the SPY, IV was up per strike today even with the VIX up only .07. I expect some weekend effect but the bulge in the ATM volatility is usually a little telling. Note the slope of the yellow lines sloping up to the ATM. The demand for OTM puts declined today relative to the nearer the money volatility. Market players are expecting some movement but not a ton, what I refer to as “orbiting”. This generates day to day realized volatility but we really go nowhere. It was almost as if this rally deflated the skew a bit which is not really normal.

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That leads to some upside volatility and ratio spreading again looks good. The OTM call condor or broken wing call butterflies for credits in the bigger indexes seem like the right idea. Keep the duration shorter. Place the short strike above the recent all-time highs since the bulge in ATM IV tells us the orbiting market is not finished yet.

OptionVision™ – data from ORATS

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Aqumin Volatility Newsletter 3-16-15 $VIX $SPY $SDEX

Move in VIX lacked punch

The IEA came out and said the bounce in oil was only temporary. That caught a lot of the oil market by surprise as many producers and drillers found new lows today. Now we are dealing with a short term, could be long term, gut in oil supplies as OPEC puts the squeeze on competitors. That was enough to foil the bank rally Thursday. The sell-off was half-hearted at best from a volatility point of view.

Note how the IV in the SPY closed Friday. Much of the downside IV actually showed red today. That means that per strike volatility declined on a day when VIX was actually up. Another way to put it was that skew flattened on a down day in stocks.

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If you look at SDEX, which is a volatility index that measures 30 day IV on the ATM and 25 delta put options, it had a drop of .56 to 61.04. The SDEX is running in the same directions as the per strike IV, which it should. The general trend, when skew gets pretty flat and with IV in a middle tier, we should see a rally in stocks at some point.  Usually that rally will give us a further drop in IV.

A decent idea would be to sell iron condors 60 days out into this. Stick with the bigger indexes and keep the delta flat since there is usually a bit of a lag.

OptionVision™ – data from ORATS

Read more from Andrew at Option Pit

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Aqumin Volatility Newsletter 03/04/2015 $XOM $VIX

The Oil Rout Looks Like It Is Slowing Down

This was a strange day in the market when stocks really lacked a sense of direction. For the most part the tone was down and VIX was up slightly, but the volatility futures actually finished down on the day into the close. There was really a lack of interest more than anything else as the race to NASDAQ 5000 left everyone with an empty feeling.

The blighted oil patch seems to have hit a short term bottom. If it isn’t the bottom in prices it is the bottom in realized volatility. Note the OptionVision™ landscape set up where the Oil and Gas producers are in the foreground. Currently they lead the pack in the sector for the biggest average drop in HV10. Granted that was from a very high level, but volatility has to drop for a sector to stabilize, and we are starting to see that.


The sea of red is just 10 day realized volatility trading below the 20 day realized volatility. The oil and gas sector is leading that average decline in realized vol.

I think this group is ripe for selling put spreads and short vega type trades. Oil prices can stay low for a while so pick names that are less leveraged. I have XOM highlighted as a short volatility candidate, but any name in the XLE or XOP ETF’s would do. If you decide to sell a basket of put spreads, working 10% OTM in the individual names, a downside butterfly in the XLE or XOP should hedge.

OptionVision™ – data from ORATS

Read more from Andrew at Option Pit