This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 8, No. 7 on April 8, 1999.
Statistics are used to estimate stock price movement (and futures and indices as well) in many areas of financial analysis. For example, we have written extensively about the use of probabilities to aid us in choosing viable option strategies. Stock mutual fund managers often use volatility estimates to help them determine how risky their portfolio is. The uses are myriad. Unfortunately, almost all of these applications are wrong! Okay, maybe wrong is too strong of a word, but almost all estimates of stock price movement are overly conservative. This can be very dangerous if one is using such estimates for the purposes of, say, writing naked options or engaging in some other such strategy in which stock price movement is undesirable.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 18, No. 12 on June 25, 2009.
Recently, the CBOE’s Volatility Index ($VIX) has been trading at substantially higher levels than the 20-day historical volatility of the S&P 500 Index ($SPX). While it’s somewhat normal for $VIX to trade higher than historical volatility, the recent differential (over 10 points on some days) has been large enough to raise eyebrows among those who follow these things – e.g., us! In this article, we’ll examine the relationship between $VIX (implied volatility of $SPX options) and historical volatility of the $SPX Index itself.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 21, No. 20 on October 26, 2012.
I’m always a bit dubious of analyses of how a particular indicator or market behaves in an election year. First of all, you have to throw out 75% of your results, which automatically reduces the reliability of the data. However, there are some patterns that seem to be significant, so let’s look at some of these.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 15, No. 10 on May 25, 2006.
As the market has declined, $VIX has risen dramatically. As owners of $VIX futures – now joined by owners of $VIX calls – have come to expect, though, the futures and options have not followed $VIX higher. This has generated a torrent of frustrated and sometimes nasty email to us. Owners of these products are incredulous as to how this can continue to be. We have explained the process at length, but we agree that something does not seem right here. So we decided to take a much closer look. Doing so involves getting into the very arcane formula for $VIX (if you care, it is published in a “white paper” on the CBOE web site).
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 9, No. 12 on June 22, 2000.
The reverse calendar spread strategy is not one that is employed too often, probably because the margin requirements for stock and index option traders are rather onerous. However, it does have a place in an option trader’s arsenal, and can be an especially useful strategy with regard to futures options. The strategy has been discussed before in The Option Strategist, and it is apropos again because it can be applied to the expensive options in the oil and natural gas sectors currently.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 17, No. 11 on June 12, 2008.
In this article, we’re going to examine a popular strategy – the “collar.” We feel it’s apropos, since it appears that stocks may have now embarked on the next leg of the bear market. Moreover, we’ll give you our take on how to best utilize the strategy, and we’ll also take a look at a new application with $VIX options that should be of great interest.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 16, No. 21 on November 8, 2007.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve read articles and heard options traders talking about a strategy that is apparently becoming more widespread: the use of long-term options in a position as the preferred hedge when selling near-term premium. These types of strategies generally fall into the category of “diagonal spreads.” While this isn’t exactly revolutionary thinking, it is a new era in the popularity of diagonals. As with any strategy, there are nuances that may not always be obvious to those inexperienced with using it. So, we thought we’d go over some of the benefits and drawbacks of using these strategies.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 8, No. 16 on August 26, 1999.
Q: I would like to ask you about delta neutral trading which I have heard and read about. Could you give me a brief description, it's merits and drawbacks, and in what situations it is best used. K.T. 6/17/99
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 12, No. 23 on December 11, 2003.
Probably too many traders treat options as pure speculation rather than the theoretically more profitable treatment as a hedging vehicle or as a way to take advantage of pricing discrepancies. Many of our articles deal with hedging or volatility trading (which is the generic term describing theoretical value trading), but in this article we’re going to change gears a little and talk about speculation – plain old vanilla option buying. Specifically, we’re going to talk about how option activity might denote a potential trade in a stock or its options, and then we’ll discuss how to follow up on the position – setting stops, and letting profits run if they develop.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 15, No. 6 on March 30, 2006.
As our regular subscribers know, the CBOE recently listed cash-based options on its Volatility Index ($VIX). We have published several recent articles describing the details of these options, so we’ll review those only briefly in this article.