Put-Call Ratio Rolls Over

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Sellers got the upper hand yesterday, on fears of what Fed Chair Yellen might say in her speech on Friday morning.  Or at least the excuse that is being given. $SPX closed below its 20-day moving average for the first time since June 29th – a period of 39 days.  These long periods of “levitation” above the 20-day moving average are not exactly common, but they occur with enough frequency that we can analyze them.  In general, the market moves higher after the period of “levitation” ends – especially when it has lasted this long.  We have published data on this phenomenon before, and will update it again now that the current streak has ended.

McMillan's Investor Inspiration Webinar Video Now Available

The video of Larry McMillan's recent The Current State of Option-Oriented Indicators webinar with Investor Inspiration from August 8th is now available on their YouTube channel. In the video, Larry takes an in-depth look into our various technical indicators and discusses what they are saying about the market. Scroll down to watch the video or click here.

The Truth About Volatility (11:05)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 11, No. 05 on March 14, 2002.

No, this isn’t an expose, despite the article’s title. Rather, it is an attempt to set the record straight about how volatility levels can be used as a predictive market tool. So much has been written and said about volatility in the last few weeks – in main-stream publications and on national television outlets. Much of it is erroneous. These errors are not really attempts to mislead the public, but are rather outgrowths of conventional misconceptions. The misconceptions may have arisen out of an over-reliance on near-term trends, while ignoring or being ignorant of what a longer-term volatility picture actually means.

Weekly Stock Market Commentary 8/19/16

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Stocks continue to trade in a tight, sideways range. This is a situation which will eventually lead to a breakout. Most analysts are bearish because of the low volatility and because of the fact that $SPX is near or at all-time highs. But the important part of that sentence is "Most analysts are bearish." Forget the reasons. If they are mostly bearish, the market is unlikely to accommodate them.

Equity Option Volatility (19:18)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 19, No. 18 on October 1, 2010.

Most of the time, we look at index options in order to make general observations about volatility. These observations, which evolve into opinions, often involve $VIX, $VIX futures, or $VIX options, all of which are based on the $SPX options. This is a reasonable approach, of course, since $SPX options are heavily traded, as are the $VIX derivatives, and therefore they reflect the greed, fear, and anticipations of literally millions of traders.

Weekly Stock Market Commentary 8/12/16

By Lawrence G. McMillan

New all-time intraday and closing highs were registered yesterday for $SPX, the NASDAQ Composite, and the Dow- Jones Industrials. Thus the $SPX chart remains bullish as it is clearly in an uptrend, and the moving averages are all rising as well.

Equity-only put-call ratios have rolled over to sell signals. One might think that because these are 21-day moving averages, these would be the last indicators to react. It turns out in our studies of previous tops, that these are usually among the first indicators to turn negative.

Preparing For A Volatility Increase (14:12)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 14, No. 12 on June 22, 2005.

Before you declare me insane for even mentioning the words “volatility” and “increase” in the same sentence, let me point out that I am not saying that volatility will increase immediately. However, it will certainly increase sometime and that could happen as soon as the second half of this year. Remember, July 1st is the traditional low point for $VIX for the year. So, after that, $VIX generally increases – albeit in fits and starts – until October.

Should Gap Moves Be Followed or Faded? (18:18)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 18, No. 18 on September 24, 2009.

This is a question that has always intrigued me. We all see situations, for example, where stocks make a large gap move on earnings. Is it justified? Does the stock continue on in the same direction a week, month, or quarter later? Or does the knee-jerk reaction to news just provide a place for a reversal? These are all good questions, and so we have been working on a study to answer them.

Option Basics: Why Should I Care If There's An Early Exercise of OEX Options? (6:2)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 6, No. 2 on January 22, 1997.

During expiration week, we often talk about the importance of monitoring option activity in OEX because it can have an influence on the overall market. This is especially important for stock traders and stock index futures traders. Whether you're short-term oriented or merely wanting to know what's going on, you should understand the ramifications of an early exercise of OEX options.

Some Notes on Buying Protection (Preview)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

It is becoming commonplace to hear commentators on the business channels say something like “You need to buy protection now, for it is extremely cheap.”  That is a very misleading statement.  Yes, $VIX is low, but you can’t buy $VIX.  

If instead you decide to buy $VIX futures, you must pay a large premium for them, and they waste away daily if nothing happens to spur $VIX to the upside.  Buying $VIX calls isn’t any better, because their underlying is the futures, so the underlying is wasting away every day that nothing happens – and the call premium is also wasting away.

Trading or investing whether on margin or otherwise carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all persons. Leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to trade or invest you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and ability to tolerate risk. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment or even more than your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with trading and investing, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.
Visit the Disclosure & Policies page for full website disclosures.