Lead Stories

The Options Industry Council Announces Blair Hull as 2014 Sullivan Award Recipient
Press Release (OIC)
The Options Industry Council (OIC) today announced Blair Hull as recipient of the 2014 Joseph W. Sullivan Options Industry Achievement Award. This award is given annually to one individual in recognition of outstanding contributions to the U.S. options industry throughout his or her career. The 2014 Sullivan Award will be presented at the 32nd Annual Options Industry Conference to be held April 30 – May 2, in Austin, TX.

High-speed trader Infinium stops trading, winds down -president
High-speed trader Infinium Capital Management has stopped trading and is working to wind down the company, President Mark Palchak told Reuters on Thursday.

Looming Jobs Report Isn’t Lighting Fire Under Options Traders
Tomi Kilgore – The Wall Street Journal
In the options market, traders aren’t expecting fireworks from the jobs report.
Normally, the monthly government employment report is one of the mostly hotly anticipated days on the trading calendar. But with weather expected to cloud over whatever reading the Labor Department produces, and with the Federal Reserve seemingly fixed on a path for continued tapering of its bond purchases, options traders don’t see much scope for big moves—no matter what happens tomorrow.

Why the new shoeshine boy trade is shorting volatility
Izabella Kaminska – FT Alphaville
Crowded trade alert.
Chris Cole, of volatility fund Artemis Capital, has an insightful piece in the latest edition of the CFA Institute Conference Proceedings Quarterly warning about one of the most popular trades of recent times: the shorting of volatility via Vix ETPs.
The speculative shorts on Vix futures as a percentage of open interest, for example, are already running at an all-time high. In Cole’s mind this now equates to the shoeshine boy trade of the modern era.

Is Volatility Shifting?
Adam Warner – Schaeffer’s Investment Research
Does it seem like there’s always a bid under the market? Well yes, of course it does. I noted yesterday how we just condensed our whole international-crisis market cycle into two days … down from something like a few weeks not all that long ago.

Videocast: VIX volumes ‘trickle off’

FOREX-Euro wary ahead of ECB; Aussie basks in growth glow
Ian Chua – Reuters
The euro stayed on the defensive early on Thursday, having lost ground against many of its peers as investors made short shrift of the common currency ahead of possible policy easing by the European Central Bank.

Gold: In a fix, Mr Bond
The Economist
COMMODITY prices are not just for buyers and sellers of the physical stuff. They are also the basis of derivative markets—futures contracts, options, and combinations of these and other financial instruments—which can be far larger. A twitch in the “benchmark” price can mean big shifts in the value of derivatives, and profits for the prescient.

Futures Embrace Algorithmic Trading
Algorithmic trading is gaining acceptance in the futures markets, with trading system providers and futures commission merchants getting into the mix.
“Traditionally, the sellside would take their equity algos and convert them to work with futures or other derivatives,” said Yuriy Shterk, head of derivatives product management at Fidessa Americas.


Creating Japan’s largest derivatives exchange – Osaka Exchange profile
Aaron Woolner – Risk Magazine
The decision to merge the Osaka Securities Exchange and Tokyo Stock Exchange (OSE and TSE respectively) was made two years ago, and so far the deal’s timing appears to be perfect. While the two exchanges merged to form the Japan Exchange Group (JPX) on January 1 last year, their respective cash equity business was amalgamated under one roof in Tokyo last July – halfway through the biggest bull run in Japan stocks in 41 years which saw the benchmark Nikkei 225 index go up by 57% in 12 months (see chart below).

Nasdaq launches private market to ease IPO transition
Richard Henderson – The Trade
Exchange operator Nasdaq has today launched a US private equity market to help non-listed companies raise capital and prepare for IPOs on its main market.

Regulation and Enforcement

Massad Pledges Support for Commodity Speculation Limits
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department official named to head the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said he would work to approve speculation limits in oil, natural gas and other commodities that have been resisted by banks and parts of the energy industry.

Picking Up the Pace at the S.E.C.
Simon Johnson – The New York Times
In an important speech on Feb. 21, Kara Stein, a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission since August 2013, laid out a powerful vision for how regulation should operate in the United States. She put much more focus on reducing unacceptable systemic risks and on cooperation between the S.E.C. and other relevant agencies.

CFTC Issues Cyber-Security, Customer Data Guidelines
Joe Mont – Compliance Week
New guidance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission outlines the data security practices it expects from firms it oversees and the third parties they contract with.
The staff advisory, from the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight, outlines data privacy security safeguards for futures commission merchants, commodity trading advisers, commodity pool operators, introducing brokers, retail foreign exchange dealers, swap dealers, and major swap participants.


Traders Want Their Market Data Tools To Go
Phil Albinus – Traders Magazine
If you need further proof that smartphones and tablets are the norm inside investment firms, Greenwich Associates has some data to share. The Stamford, Connecticut-based market research firm’s latest report, The Evolution of Market Data Desktop Technology, reveals that 69 percent of market data technology users around the world use their market data desktop solution’s mobile capabilities. 

Options Education

The Options Industry Council Announces Investor Education Day in Boca Raton March 22
Press Release (OIC)
The Options Industry Council (OIC) today announced that its first Investor Education Day (IED) for 2014 is taking place in Boca Raton, FL on March 22.
Options are an ideal tool for a variety of investors and market conditions. The popular, and free, all day options education program is taught by experienced instructors from the various options exchanges and OIC professionals. This event is the first of two IED’s hosted by OIC this spring to help investors develop their knowledge and ability to responsibly trade options.


Four Volatility Experts at CBOE on Wed. Mar. 26
By Matt Moran, Vice President, CBOE
A panel discussion featuring four experts will survey the development and promise of volatility products. The panelists will include volatility product traders and users. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 26, from 5:00  to 7:00 p.m. at CBOE, 400 South LaSalle Street in Chicago.



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