Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Market Review 3/3/10

Even though the equity market was flat today, the VIX futures continued to fall. The Mar VIX futures fell to 19.6 while the Apr VIX futures fell to 22.55.
There was a significant VIX put option spread trade this morning. 45,000 Mar 20 put options were sold for $1.33 and 45,000 Apr 20 put options were bought for $0.83. This is a similar trade I mentioned last Friday, being neutral-long Mar VIX and short Apr VIX. So far this trade was profitable this week as the spread between the two narrowed.
Over the past year, at the VIX option expiration the median spread between the near month and next month futures was around 200 bps. The current spread is 295 bps, down from 310 last Friday.
Due to better economic news and ease of the Greek debt crisis the long term VIX fell this week. The high yield OAS fell as well but not as much as the VIX, so the drop in VIX could be overdone in the short term.
If you are short short-term volatility (short Mar VIX calls) it is probably a good time to lock-in your gains.

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