September 19, 2011
Good morning. The market was strong every day last week, closing up 4.8% on the week at 121.52. So far in September, historically the weakest month for the market, we have seen the market down strong 3 days, up big one, down 2, and now up 5, all for a net loss of 70 cents in the SPY. Last week’s strong market caused the VIX to drop 19.7% to 30.98, the lowest close since August 3, 2011. Why the sudden optimism, or at least the semi-disappearance of fear in the market (as defined by the VIX Index)?
April 11, 2011
Good morning. The market was slow and virtually unchanged last week, with the SPY closing down a scant .28 at 132.86. The VIX was up slightly (.48) to close at a still relatively low 17.39. There was a little more movement in interest rates, with the 30-year bond rate up.15% to close at 4.63%.
July 26, 2010
Good morning. It was a very strong week for the market last week, despite a sell-off on Wednesday attributed to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress. In that testimony before the Senate Banking Committee the Fed Chairman referred to the economic outlook as “unusually uncertain,” and the market responded with a two percent sell-off into the close on Wednesday. The market recovered that amount and more on a big rally Thursday that continued into Friday. For one week, at least, the market focused on generally good earnings, increased revenues, and good guidance going forward, rather than the tepid Economic numbers.
April 12, 2010
Good morning. Another positive week for the market last week, as the market has continued to creep up steadily since the correction low of 104.58 on February 5. Last week the SPY was up 1.25 to close at 119.55, a gain of 1.5%. Interestingly, the VIX, which has been trending steadily down as the market has advanced, had a fairly strong advance on the week, closing up 9% at 17.46.
March 29, 2010
Good morning. Another quiet week in terms of volatility last week, but again the market did finish with a gain. The SPY was up fractionally again, gaining .61 to close at 116.58. At times, both Thursday and Friday, it looked like there was a chance of a real upside breakout, but late sell-offs dampened the mood. On Thursday, for instance, the SPY traded all the way up to 118.17 before closing near the day’s lows at 116.65. Normally that would be the sign of a tired market, but any attempt at a sell-off seems to be met by buyers below the market (at least so far). The VIX was actually up on the week, although fractionally, closing up .82 to 17.77. If anything, the upward skew in the implied volatility going forward worsened, and it remains significantly more expensive, in terms of implied volatility, to buy far out protective puts than it does to buy anything near term. For example, in AT&T (trading $26.24), the January 25 puts of 2012 are trading for a 23 implied volatility vs. the near term April 26 options at a 15 implied volatility. I am not sure what sort of relative carnage or volatility spike the market is collectively expecting going forward, but it is sure priced in.