This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 15, No. 7 on April 14, 2006.
Over the years, we have published several articles dealing with the frequency of stock and index options expiring worthless. Generally, they don’t expire worthless nearly as often as (incorrect) conventional wisdom thinks. At a recent seminar, an attendee asked for the same data concerning futures options, and we didn’t have it! So, we’ve begun some research, and it looks like it could be quite interesting. In this article, we’ll look at a few of the futures markets, with the idea of adding more of them, as time for research permits.
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The Volatility Capture CTA strategy is a variation of Volatility Capture that uses VIX futures on a tactical basis to hedge, instead of purchasing VIX options on a continual basis. This pure futures version has a slightly different profit graph and has the potential for better returns in most cases due to the lack of drag from the purchase of VIX options.
The $SPX chart remains bearish. There is support at 2825. There is probably stronger support at 2720-2730, the area of the March and May lows. As for resistance, the major resistance area remains 2940-2950, which is not only the recent tops, but is also the psychological resistance caused by the fact that the July 2019 activity look like a false upside breakout to new all-time highs.
The equity-only put-call ratios remain on sell signals (Figures 2 and 3).
Episode 4- Discussing Options as a Strategic Investment — With Author Larry McMillan
In today’s episode, Nell Sloane of Capital Trading Group speaks with Larry McMillan, author of the bestselling book “Options as a Strategic Investment,” popularly known as the options bible. Larry has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Wall Street Journal, and he continues to make valuable contributions to the finance industry.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 21, No. 16 on August 24, 2012.
For quite some time now (perhaps since last November), we have been pointing out how the voracious appetite for volatility protection has had the effect of distorting the term structure of the $VIX futures. Recently, though, this activity has branched out in a way that is only rarely seen in the markets: in short, large institutional traders are both buying stocks and buying volatility ETNs (thus, by inference, they are buying $VIX futures). Hedging on a large scale can distort technical indicators and other things – such as the term structure. That is, we can’t really interpret this activity in a contrary manner. Are these traders bullish (because they’re buying stocks) or bearish (because they’re heavily buying protection)? In truth, it’s probably the former, but their need to buy protection also means they’re not overly bullish. This reminds me very much of what was happening in QQQ options at the end of the tech stock craze in 2000.
The mBB indicator is probably at its best when trying to identify when to sell something that is in a parabolic rise (or when to buy something that is in freefall). Typical moving averages are too slow to catch the movements, but the mBB seem to do a good job with $SPX. In the past, we’ve often looked at using the mBB strategy on something other than $SPX, but it never seems to work all that well, although our sample size is small. I recall that we attempted to use it on Apple (AAPL) as a buy signal last year.
The CBOE introduced the Volatility Index ($VIX) in 1993. The calculation of $VIX has changed a couple of times over the years, and due to the complexity of those calculations, $VIX itself cannot be traded. However, in 2004, $VIX futures were listed, and in 2006, $VIX options were listed. $VIX futures are the underlying instrument for all of the Volatility ETN’s and ETF’s that exist today (VXX, for example).
Stocks are still in a negative mode, despite the presence of some very strong rally days emanating from oversold conditions.
The 2940-2950 area represents resistance for several reasons. Meanwhile, there is support at 2825, where $SPX has bottomed on three separate days recently. Below there, the support at 2720-2730 is more identifiable, for that's where $SPX bottomed out in both March and May.
Equity-only put-call ratios continue to rise, thus remaining on sell signals.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 4, No. 4 on February 23, 1995.
If it seems that we preoccupied with volatility, it's because we are. It is the only variable factor in determining the fair value of an option; the others are known with certainty at any point in time — strike price, time remaining until expiration, stock price, dividends, and short-term interest rates. However, it has practical and real application as well. If you buy options when volatility is low, then you stand to gain doubly if volatility increases. Or, even if you're wrong on the direction of the underlying market, your loss will be reduced if volatility increases. Some examples may help to clarify these points.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 17, No. 17 on September 12, 2008.
We often get questions regarding the operation of volatility trading strategies. While we endeavor to explain why we are establishing certain trades, or why we are taking follow-up action, we really haven’t put it together in a sort of “how to” article. That’s the purpose of this week’s feature.