We are currently in the unusual market situation called “market up, vol up”, where volatilities go up while the market rallies. It is driven by retail purchases into the tiny calls, notably for the small caps and the meme stocks.
UBS got flack for recommending VIX ETFs to its clients. This suitability case has in fact deep roots in a significant ETF classification challenge: many product databases are mishandling the wide diversity of ETNs. Significant litigation is to be expected as a result.
On February 5th, 2018 (Volmageddon) the volatility reverse ETF XIV lost 96% of its value in the space of a few hours. Its iNAV was also miscalculated for an hour.
We have now discovered why: S&P Dow Jones was understaffed and did not release an ‘auto hold’ safety.
This human error contributes to current debate on the need to regulate index providers as investment advisors.
This week saw some really unusual moves, 10Y repo, intraday volatility, stock rotations, A harbinger of more volatility to come?
Geode handles $700 bn of Fidelity’s index tracking assets. Geode Diversified, the much smaller hedge fund business, took a 36% loss on COVID’s volatility rally. It is now getting the axe.
Infinity Q may be the new variance swap skeleton. The New York hedge fund has just been suspended by the SEC pending valuation of its variance swaps and its full liquidation.
The fund’s main investor is handling the fund, while the founder is on administrative leave.
‘When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.” Warren Buffett
Three good notes from the derivatives research teams of Morgan Stanley, Société Générale, and Nomura point to a potential squeeze in the VIX, as a result of the increasing retail activism. This technical post explains the contents of the research papers. Spoiler alert, yes, the VIX is prone to a squeeze.
GameStop’s rally and its short squeeze are more than just market exuberance. Thanks to low-cost trading, employees working from home, and a Fed-induced market rally, retail traders are pushing the market to new highs and enjoying the excitement of the rally. Worse, social media allow them to focus on a few instruments, with wild rallies.
It is only a matter of time before this party is over, for this stock or the market. We should start thinking of the aftermath.
A good note from Ralph Sueppel on the relationship between market volatility and macroeconomic uncertainty.
The schizophrenic behavior of Mr. Market. A bi-modal view of option-implicit asset return expectations
Skew is well explained by the sum of TWO return expectation Gaussians. The model reviews these distributions and leads to an interesting market structure interpretation, with applications in asset allocation.