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A Fine Line

March 14, 2011


Good morning. Despite a rally last Friday (after news of the disaster in Japan) the S&P closed down 1.63 (1.2%) to end a fairly volatile week. The VIX was up 5.3% to close at 20.07. Putting the VIX move into real numbers, we had been doing some long premium spreads in the SPY for those in the PIP program when the price of the weekly at the money straddle (SPY@ 132, the combined price of the 132 call and 132 put) was roughly 1.50 with 4-5 trading days to go.

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Efficient Market

February 14, 2011


Good morning. We had another quiet but positive week for the broad market last week, with the SPY quietly advancing 2.04 to finish at 133.11 (1.5%). The VIX, mainly due to the very quiet week, was down to 15.68, a drop of another 1.8%, and a level that we reached last April before the market underwent a roughly 15% correction. For whatever reason market advances have been associated with the significant decrease in market fear, so that virtually all market corrections or sell-offs have been associated with low implied volatilities at the start.

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Egypt

January 31, 2011


Good morning. A significant sell-off last Friday left the SPY down slightly on what had been a positive week, with the SPY closing down .65 for the week at 127.72 (.5%). The VIX closed up 8.7% but still was not that elevated at 20.07. Most of the Friday sell-off was attributed to the spreading political issues in the Middle East (as well as F, AMZN, and MSFT earnings), as uncertainties surrounding the future of Egypt and the Suez Canal took center stage. As of now, to the extent that anyone can predict the outcome of unrest due to 30 odd years of heavy-handed rule, the situation does not look dire or likely to spread rapidly or violently to the surrounding countries.

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