2016 October Seasonal Trade (Preview)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

The time of the year for the October seasonal trade is at hand. This is one of our best seasonal trades – to buy “the market” at the close of trading on October 27th, and to sell the position at the close of trading on November 2nd.  However, we do not take the trade in years when there was not a pullback in October.

Playing the Time Warner / AT&T Deal with Options

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Time Warner (TWX) agreed to be bought by AT&T (T).  The deal is worth $107.50 – consisting of $53.75 in cash and $53.75 in AT&T stock.  The stock portion has collars: TWX shareholders will receive a maximum of 1.437 shares of AT&T, but will not receive less than 1.30 shares of AT&T.  Those two limits on the shares are equivalent to AT&T stock prices of $37.411 and $41.349, respectively (Just divide the share limits into the $53.75 stock value to get those prices).  

Weekly Stock Market Commentary 10/21/2016

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Stocks appear to be struggling a bit, but there hasn't been a decisive breakdown. The $SPX chart shows some negative trend lines, but the important area is support at 2120. As long as that holds, the bulls will remain in charge.

Equity-only put-call ratios (Figures 2 and 3) have been wavering back and forth -- especially the normally more reliable weighted ratio. The standard ratio has been moving higher for a week or so, and it is on a sell signal. The weighted ratio has essentially been moving sideways. The computer analysis programs rate it as a "buy."

Market breadth has been a bit more decisive. Both of these breadth oscillators are now on buy signals.

"The Beautiful Equation" Put/Call Parity Video Now Available

The recording for head McMillan Options Mentoring mentor Stan Feifeld's latest webinar is now available below or by clicking here. To take advantage of special offers tied to the event, or to receive a PDF of the slides accompanying the presentation, click here

Is A Rising $VIX Always Dangerous? (12:11)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 12, No. 11 on June 12, 2003.

Admittedly, option traders’ “hot” topics may sometimes be pretty boring to the average guy, but this question (above) has been the subject of much discussion amongst all manner of stock market analysts. Recently, the various volatility averages began to rise, even while the broad stock market was rising. This is something that hasn’t happened for a few years, and it also seemed to go against the “conventional” (and I should mention, incorrect) volatility analyses that one is often subjected to when watching financial TV these days. So, just what does this rise in volatility mean, coming as it does during a period of rising prices? That’s what we’ll explore in the feature article in this issue.

Weekly Stock Market Commentary 10/14/2016

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This week, $SPX finally tried to break down.  But support held at or near 2120, reinforcing that as a major support area.  So that remains a key level the level at which the $SPX chart would turn bearish, if broken.

Equity-only put-call ratios are not buying into the bearish argument just yet.  They are both moving lower on their charts, which maintains their buy signals.

Market breadth has been relatively negative, and both breadth oscillators remain on sell signals.  Frankly, I'm surprised that breadth wasn't worse yesterday, when the 2120 level was first tested.

Is It Different This Time? (13:19)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 13, No. 19 on October 15, 2004.

Despite a modest, recent rise in $VIX, the CBOEs Volatility Index remains very subdued – as it has since March of 2003, and especially for most of this year. There are some general relationships between the broad market and $VIX, and there is a good deal of price history to justify those relationships. However, there have been recent articles published in several forums that suggest many traders seem to think it will be different this time – that $VIX isn’t predicting the same sorts of things that have happened in the past. In this article, we’ll explore those suppositions and try to outline some things to look for – from both $VIX and from the broad stock market.

The Condor Index $CNDR (Preview)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

The CBOE recently listed a Condor Index (symbol $CNDR).  It is a benchmark index designed to track the performance of a hypothetical option trading strategy that sells a rolling condor spread.  The index uses $SPX options, which settle for cash on a monthly basis (“a.m.” settlement).   The hypothetical spread is rolled monthly.

Weekly Stock Market Commentary 10/7/2016

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Stock prices have dampened down into a very narrow trading range again. There is major support at 2120 and major resistance at the old highs (2195). A breakout from those levels would be significant.

Equity-only put-call ratios have been declining for the past couple of weeks. The standard ratio has been on a confirmed buy signal for at least that long, and you can see from the chart that it is declining rather steadily (Figure 2). The weighted ratio has finally chimed in with a buy signal as well, although it's not as clear on that chart (Figure 3).

Another View of the $VIX/SPY Hedged Strategy (18:04)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 18, No. 04 on March 5, 2009.

We have been using the hedged strategy between volatility and the broad market for over a year now, and the results have been good. But there’s more to this strategy than meets the eye. So, perhaps it isn’t useful only when $VIX futures are sporting a big premium or discount. It might make sense in a broader array of situations.

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