Tags: federal reserve | vix | trader | investor

VIX Finds Comfort Zone as Fed Soothes Trader Profit Anxiety

Friday, 10 Apr 2015 05:22 PM


Investors are facing the prospects of declining corporate earnings, slower economic growth and higher interest rates. Yet a gauge of market volatility is showing a level of comfort not felt in almost two years.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, which is derived from the price of hedges on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, closed Thursday more than 10 percent below its 10-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Before March, the gauge of U.S. equity trader anxiety hadn’t fallen that much since July 2013, data compiled by Sundial Capital Research Inc. show.

Some of investors’ anxiety has been alleviated as a slew of weaker economic data has signaled the Federal Reserve may have reason to delay raising interest rates beyond this summer.

“The markets have rallied on expectations that the Fed is going to push out its timeline for liftoff,” Max Breier, a senior equity derivatives trader at BMO Capital Markets Corp., said by phone. “There’s no way to know when the game changes, so there could still be money to be made on the long equities side.”

The VIX has plunged 15 percent in three days, dropping 3.9 percent to 12.58 today, as U.S. stocks have rallied 1.2 percent over the same period. The S&P 500 climbed 0.5 percent to 2,102.06 Friday.

Stars Align

Minutes from last month’s Fed meeting released Wednesday showed policy makers were divided over whether they would raise interest rates in June, a debate that occurred before disappointing payroll figures were disclosed April 3.

While some participants argued for higher rates in June, others said a rate increase should be delayed until later in the year. A couple said the economy probably wouldn’t be ready for tighter policy until 2016.

The debate over borrowing costs comes as analysts have slashed corporate profit projections, predicting a slump through September. Earnings probably fell 5.6 percent in the first quarter, they estimated.

This is the second time the VIX has dropped this far below the three levels of resistance in the past 30 days. On March 20, it fell to at least 12 percent below its moving averages, two days after the Fed acknowledged in a policy decision that economic growth has moderated, indicating it is in no rush to raise interest rates.

“It seems like the Fed wants the stars to align before they hike, and getting that to happen seems like a difficult thing with wages, inflation and growth,” Breier said. “If you’re buying volatility now, you could be sorely disappointed if the market keeps climbing for the next six months.”

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Investors are facing the prospects of declining corporate earnings, slower economic growth and higher interest rates. Yet a gauge of market volatility is showing a level of comfort not felt in almost two years.
federal reserve, vix, trader, investor
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2015-22-10
Friday, 10 Apr 2015 05:22 PM
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