Volatility Smack down
The VIX futures contract ends trading today, and the March VIX futures contract takes over. The first two months of the year have seen volatility crushed downward in this two month bullish rally in assets as new money came rushing into markets needing to get off to a positive start for the year.
$13.45 Support area on Monday
On Monday the VIX futures got pushed down to $13.45 on several occasions on the S&P 500 attempts to rally the markets, the lowest level by far since before the financial crisis. There have already been several highly publicized bets placed for March and April VIX contracts to spike via the options market with some bull call spreads.
[Related -Market Needed a Yellen Bump and Didn't Get It.]
More Volatility for March
I do expect more volatility in the VIX futures as we move further away without a correction, but the overall trend in the VIX has been declining for several years in between the spikes, expect more of the same.
The Goal is to make the money before May
[Related -Will The Sluggish US Housing Market Perk Up This Year?]
Remember asset managers are going to push assets hard through April options expiration if recent history is our insight into market behavior.
Unless there is a major Risk Off geopolitical event, major Washington event, i.e., they stand and actually fight on an issue that stalls the government and risk a downgrade, or a HFT inspired Market glitch then new money comes in every month to markets and the bulls will extend this rally as far as they can before the annual summer selloff.
S&P 500 New Highs before May?
The bulls will probably try to set a new high for the S&P 500 before the selloff, so expect the VIX to get hammered a lot as the S&P 500 rises to new highs.
VIX Bottoms not Holding
For a while $13.75 was a decent support level, then the $13.65 level provided solid support, and yesterday we busted through that to the $13.45 level, which held several attempts to break it.
I am sure that today that level will be banged several times if equities attempt to establish new highs on Tuesday. Maybe $13.20 is in the cards for Tuesday if the S&P 500 can establish a new 2013 high.
We have come a long way baby: $13, 12, 11…?
But longer term I envision a breaking of the $13.00 barrier some time in 2013, as the long-term downtrend in volatility is hard to miss, and very reminiscent of the bullish period before the epic collapse in financial markets.