STFO Wednesday Morning Briefing

Yes, it’s that time of the quarter again – today we will be graced with another FOMC interest rate decision and as usual we should expect a lot of snooze followed by wild gyrations around 2:00pm EST. By the way FOMC stands for Federal Market Oracle Commission, they just swapped two of the letters.

Imagine a group of ¬†financial high priests in silly costumes locked into a room without food, water, ventilation, or a toilet for two days meditating on how to best to destroy our currency. Which explains a lot of what has transpired over the past two decades. Anyway, whatever happens today – for me this is a ‘stay the fuck out’ day. I won’t touch anything with a ten foot pole until after the announcement.

Unfortunately the spoos have dropped overnight – if you partook in yesterday’s jump higher then you have been robbed of a valuable profit buffer. Obviously it would have been more helpful if we had stayed near the 100-hour overnight. I don’t enjoy exposing myself to wild swings without having some profits under my belly. If we drop from here then it’ll be fast slicing through all support clusters – same on the long side of course.

If you are long I suggest you leave your ISL in place – but there is a good chance it’ll be taken to the woodshed during whatever swings we may see around 2:00pm. Alternatively you can lower it and also reduce position sizes. Whichever way this resolves – we may see a stab in the opposite direction first – you know how the game is played by now.

Bottom Line: Every quarter we have to endure this ritual and in most cases unfortunately only the boyz on the inside get to be positioned in the right direction. It sucks but it is what it is. Remember, we cannot worry about things we have little control over. So if you are playing either direction today then do it with a 1/4R position size and expect to get ridiculous fills if you get stop-run. This way if you happen to sit right you still bank coin and if you are on the wrong horse you won’t lose more than 1R.

Good luck! ;-)

It’s not too late – learn how to consistently bank coin without news, drama, and all the misinformation. If you are interested in becoming a subscriber then don’t waste time and sign up here. The Zero indicator service also offers access to all Gold posts, so you actually get double the bang for your buck.

 

Only The Paranoid Survive

And once again the Mole has saved your rodent asses from drowning in your own pools of blood. Didn’t I suggest the real and present danger of distribution within the recent 20 handle volume island I have been reporting on all last week? Stay the heck out I told you. Don’t get positioned without the benefit of actionable technical context I implored. Did you listen? Of course not! :-)

I present Exhibit A – the spoos today as hapless participants (that is you) once again are being shipped to the woodshed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And here’s Exhibit B – the little stink bomb that triggered it all. As you all know I don’t trade the news. Why? Because like you rats I’m on the outside and thus don’t have the benefit of getting friendly phone calls ahead of big announcements (cough – SAC – cough cough). As a little side note – it escapes me how Lockhart’s comments are relevant as he’s not a voting member until 2015 – but what do I know. Anyway, that speech was on the roster ahead of time and I can’t help but wonder if some folks weren’t aware of the general message beforehand. I for sure was not one of them. And besides, if I was I certainly wouldn’t tell you guys!

What I do know however is iffy tape when I see it. And that has kept us out of trouble more than once over the years. You’re welcome! Anyway, I’ve been working on fixing some messaging bugs on Heisenberg all day (Murphy’s Law and all) which by now has completely drained all blood from the vestiges of my cerebral cortex. Which means I’m not trading and that means no setups today. See you guys tomorrow morning as usual.

It’s not too late – learn how to consistently bank coin without news, drama, and all the misinformation. If you are interested in becoming a subscriber then don’t waste time and sign up here. The Zero indicator service also offers access to all Gold posts, so you actually get double the bang for your buck.

Cheers,

Misprint My Foot

Whether or not they’ll label this a misprint post facto – that early morning spike on Mr. VIX perhaps was a harbinger of the nasty tape we’d be seeing today on the equities side. Which is a good segue into the situation on the volatility side – let me walk you through it:

So first I thought it was just a TOS retail data misprint but I double checked it on stockcharts.com and my (much more reliable and paid for) Kinetick feed and both confirmed a spike to 21.26 today. Now when I suggested yesterday that we should expect a jump in volatility that certainly was not what I had in mind.

Fearless offered his own pertinent musings in the comment section and although I cannot confirm his suspicions I am still awaiting a proper explanation. Let’s not forget that the VIX is NOT a tradeable instrument – it is a continuously computed index which derives from actual bid offers on SPX listed options. Nobody ‘bought’ or ‘fat fingered’ the VIX here – one would have to buy or sell SPX options in order to affect the VIX price directly, or indirectly, buy or sell VIX futures. However, the sheer size and liquidity of both markets effectively rules out a short term market distortion such as this one.

In any case – we are awaiting clarification and I certainly hope it will be forthcoming shortly. Otherwise, how are we to trust any VIX print going forward?

UPDATE 3:21pm EDT: Here’s a link to the official “explanation” on Bloomberg. My take – a ‘software error’ – seriously? And it does not affect option prices? That’s just wonderful – but anyone looking at a chart may be tempted to trade that candle, especially if it is not a glitch that is so obvious (i.e. a rise by only a few percent). So the real question here is this – how often are we getting bad data that perhaps remains uncorrected? IMO this ‘explanation’ opens up more serious questions. Plus the nonchalant manner in which it is being offered and the fact that no further investigation is being promised¬†along with the information¬†deeply worries me.

Now, in related news I would like to show you my long term VIX:VXO chart. If you’re unsure (a.k.a. oblivious) as to the difference of the two: The latter effectively represents the ‘old VIX’ which formula was changed in 2003 – here’s the pertinent announcement back when lifted right off the CBOE site:

The new VIX will be based on prices of S&P 500 (SPX) options. Previously, the original-formula VIX was based on prices of the S&P 100 (OEX) Index Options, and CBOE will continue to calculate and disseminate the original-formula index to be known as the CBOE S&P 100 Volatility IndexSM with the ticker VXO.

What’s missing here is a detail you really have to dig around for. The old formula used (and still uses for the VXO) 30-day ATM (at-the-money) options, while the VIX uses 30-day options across the chain. And that subtle difference offers an important clue – namely when market makers are pricing ATM options either higher or lower against the entire option chain.

Congrats if you stuck around this far – here’s the sweet reward: Obviously judging by the chart above spikes of the ratio (i.e. a drop in ATM or a rise in OTM options) seems to precede market reversals. The timing is clearly on the soft side – it may happen weeks, maybe even months ahead of time. But it is something to keep an eye on as distribution (or accumulation of short positions) would happen ahead of time.

The VXV:VIX ratio however is comparatively muted – although there is a pretty clear falling resistance line which we’re approaching right now. In case you wonder – the VXV is basically a 90-day VIX, thus representative of the expected volatility three months out instead of just 30 days (as in the VIX or VXO).

As they’re cleaning out some of the weak hands I thought I’d offer some plausible support zones. On the cash I’ve got 1756 which is the lower 25-hour BB – but quite frankly speaking it’s a rather weak one. That only leaves us with the daily NLSL at 1757.67 which seems more credible.

If nothing else this day confirms why I avoid being long in bot-driven tape like the one we’ve seen in the previous days. When the machines decide to throw things into reverse it can go ugly quickly – and quite frankly this still was a rather mild day by any measure.

It’s not too late – learn how to consistently bank coin without news, drama, and all the misinformation. If you are interested in becoming a subscriber then don’t waste time and sign up here. The Zero indicator service also offers access to all Gold posts, so you actually get double the bang for your buck.

Cheers,

 





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