Lead Stories

VIX Alarm Bells Quiet…For Now
Anna Coulling – Investing.com
With US equity markets closed for the annual President’s day holiday, it is perhaps appropriate to consider the daily chart for the VIX, the fear index, which has been working overtime in the last few weeks, flashing its regular warning signals as fear and greed ebb and flow ever more quickly in these volatile markets.

The La Salle Street Tax fairy tale
Editorial Board – Chicago Sun-Times
Like Tinkerbells with pixie dust, dozens of candidates for alderman keep trying to spread a complete fantasy: a “La Salle Street tax” would solve all or much of Chicago’s massive financial problems.
Don’t believe it. Chicago needs solutions, not fairy tales.
***DA: It is mayoral election time in Chicago, a time when dead ideas and dead people suddenly spring to life.

Technical Failure Delays Eurex Trading in Futures, Options
John Detrixhe – Bloomberg
A technical failure postponed the start of trading in all futures and options contracts on Eurex, Europe’s largest derivatives market.
Trading in derivatives on German bonds and the benchmark DAX Index resumed shortly after 9:20 a.m. Frankfurt time. Deutsche Boerse AG’s Eurex said “technical issues related to the distribution of market data” caused the delay, according to an e-mailed statement.

Hedge Fund 36 South Gains as Central-Bank Shocks Hurt Peers
36 South Capital Advisors is profiting from central-bank surprises that roiled markets over the past six months and spurred losses among hedge-funds rivals that also seek to gain from volatility…
36 South buys long-dated options it considers cheap, betting unforeseen events will generate large profits across currency, interest rates, equities and commodity markets. It prefers options with more than a year to maturity, Haworth said.

What’s Behind the Mixed Signals from VIX Speculators?
Adam Warner – Schaeffer’s Investment Research
I noted the other day that it was difficult to read much into the news that hedgies had gotten more bullish on CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) into actual VIX strength. Going with the trend isn’t generally the best signal for the rest of us, in my humble opinion. But hey, opinions vary!
***DA: Differing opinions are what make a market.

The Option Queen Newsletter
The Options Queen
There are two labor problems on the west coast, the Canadian Pacific Railway Engineer and the Dock Workers in California. At the this time in California, cargo vessels are anchored off shore, at last count 14 container ships sit in the harbor waiting to unload their cargo. The waiting time in the harbor is up to two weeks. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association are on strike and is costing the economy about two billion dollars a day. The issue is so critical that Labor Secretary Tom Perez will meet with the parties to attempt to repair this dispute and strike.
***DA: Better solve it quickly before we realize we can live without all that junk that is sitting out there on those container ships.

A year after launch, India VIX futures lose steam
Devangi Gandhi – The Financial Express
A year after their introduction on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) India VIX futures are yet to see consistent participation. Market observers say that while lower liquidity is keeping institutional players at bay, the trading activity may deepen over a period as Indian investors start to comprehend the product better.


CME Futures Seen by Traders Maintaining Current Settlement Times
Naureen Malik and Joseph Deaux – Bloomberg
CME Group Inc. will probably maintain current settlement times for commodity futures even after pit trading is halted for those contracts in New York and Chicago later this year, traders said.
“We’ve been told so far settlement will still be the open outcry hours,” Roger Smith, managing partner of Smith & Moore, a floor brokerage on the New York Mercantile Exchange, said after a members-only meeting Wednesday in Lower Manhattan.
***DA: For now.

Euronext cuts fees for equity derivatives
Cian Burke – Futures & Options World
Euronext has introduced a single stock future fee holiday until the end of April and plans to slash fees thereafter, marking the latest twist in an escalating battle with rivals TOM and Eurex.
The Paris-based exchange group said the fee holiday will take effect from February 16 to April 30 and a new fee scheme will be effective from May 1…
***DA: When Euronext was spun off from ICE, it’s as if a tiger was let loose from its cage.

Regulation and Enforcement

Pressure builds to move more FX trading onto exchanges
Patrick Graham and Jamie McGeever – Reuters
International regulators struggling to rein in the $5 trillion-a-day global foreign exchange market are finally finding some support from asset managers warming to the idea of moving more trading onto exchanges.
The juggernaut forex market operates 24 hours a day across all time zones, but unlike with shares or commodities, trading is not centralised, potentially leaving space for malpractices.
***DA: There is a deep and liquid on-exchange FX market, but it is in futures, not spot.


TMX Datalinx Launches Montréal Exchange Historical Trading Data Products
Press Release via CNW
TMX Datalinx, the information services division of TMX Group, today announced the launch of four new end-of-day Montréal Exchange (MX) trading data products, including MX Options Trades and Quotes, MX Futures Trades and Quotes, MX Options Trading Summary and MX Futures Trading Summary files.
The MX Trades and Quotes products provide comprehensive intra-day options and futures trade data, as well as best bid and offer data timestamped in milliseconds. The MX Trading Summary products include valuable end-of-day trading and instrument reference data for all instruments on the Exchange.  


‘Smart money’ dumps Apple, buys Microsoft
Matt Krantz – America’s Markets
Apple (AAPL) stock might be marching upwards – breaking the $700 billion barrier. But at least one well-known hedge fund is dumping shares of the soaring stock and trading into …. Microsoft (MSFT).
Giant and well-respected hedge fund Bridgewater Associates revealed Wednesday it slashed its holdings in Apple roughly in half as of the end of 2014 compared with the third quarter of 2014. During the same time period, the hedge fund lead by Raymond Thomas Dalio, is making a big bet on tech giant Microsoft.
***DA: Makes sense. Microsoft is viewed as an also-ran whose day in the sun has passed. Kind of like Apple in 1996.

Textbook Breakout, Will It Confirm? – Weekly Market Outlook
Price Headley – CBOE Options Hub
While most everyone knows last week was a good one for the market, it may not be clear just how eventful it really was.  The S&P 500’s (SPX) (SPY) 2.0% gain last week carried the index to record highs and a record high close.
On the surface it’s technically bullish, so we’ll take the clue at face value.  We’ll also point out, however, most of the recent surges like last week’s ended up turning tail pretty quickly.  We’ll still need to keep things on a short leash until this breakout effort is confirmed as the real deal.  That could take a few days to play out.
***DA: Someone top-ticked the NASDAQ back in 2000; someone pushed the S&P 500 over 2100 this morning.

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