Demand for Disaster Protection Increases as CBOE SKEW Index Hits a Six-Month High – By Matt Moran

JAN. 18, 2017 – Today the CBOE SKEW Index (SKEW) closed at 143.43, its highest value since June 2016. CBOE SKEW Index values, which are calculated from weighted strips of out-of-the-money S&P 500 options, rise to higher levels as investors become more fearful of a “black swan” event — an unexpected event of large magnitude and consequence.

The value of SKEW increases with the tail risk of S&P 500 returns. If there were no tail risk expectations, SKEW would be equal to 100.

SKEW Jan 18

The FAQ on the SKEW Index notes that –

“The price of S&P 500 skewness is inconvenient to use directly as an index because it is typically a small negative number, for example -.8, -2.3, or -4.3. SKEW converts this price as follows: SKEW = 100 – 10 * price of skewness.  With this definition, a price of -2.1 translates to a SKEW value of 121. S&P 500 options with 30 days to expiration are generally unavailable. SKEW is therefore interpolated from two “SKEW” values at the maturities of nearby and second nearby options with at least 8 days left to expiration.”

HIGHER SKEW VALUES IN RECENT YEARS

The average value of SKEW (since the beginning of its data history in 1990) has been 118.4. Prior to 2014, the highest average daily closing value in a year for the SKEW Index was 122.5, but in each of the years 2014, 2015, 2016, and year-to-date 2017, the average daily closing level for the SKEW Index was 127.5 or higher.

 SKEW since 1990 through Jan 18

30 ½ YEARS — BENCHMARK INDEXES AND SPX PUT OPTIONS

For investors who wish to learn more about hypothetical long-term performance of strategies that use index options, CBOE provides more than 30 strategy benchmark indexes. Note in the two charts below that the left tail risk was higher for the S&P 500 Index than it was for two indexes that use SPX put options – the CBOE S&P 500 PutWrite Index (PUT) sells cash-secured SPX options, while the CBOE S&P 500 5% Put Protection Index (PPUT) buys out-of-the-money protective put options on the SPX Index.

3 - PUT Histogram

4 - PPUT Histogram

MORE INFORMATION

For more information on skew and use of options for protection and income, please visit www.cboe.com/SKEW and www.cboe.com/benchmarks.

Weekend Review – VIX Options and Futures – 1/15/2017

Last week VIX managed to finish the day below the 2016 closing low (11.27) twice.  If it were only Friday’s close I’d throw an asterisk in there for the three-day weekend effect, but there’s no holiday excuse for the Wednesday close of 11.26. This past week they (whoever ‘they’ are) couldn’t get enough of February […]

Weekend Review – Volatility Indexes and ETPs – 1/15/2017

There are two lines below although it may appear that there is only a purple line for parts of the VXST – VIX – VXV – VXMT curve.  In a round about way I’m saying not a lot happened in the world of S&P 500 option volatility last week. What really stands out on the […]

Weekend Review – VIX Options and Futures – 1/8/2017

With the stock market kicking off 2017 on a bullish note VIX tested the 2016 closing low finishing the week 0.05 above last year’s low of 11.27.  The futures followed suit, especially the January contract which goes off the board two days before the 45th man to ascend to the presidency does so on January […]

Weekend Review – Volatility Indexes and ETPs – 1/8/2017

S&P 500 implied volatility was lower across all four time periods that are measured by CBOE Volatility Indexes last week.  VXST finished the week at 9.19 which is actually a tad higher than the low for 2016.  VIX also finished near the 2016 low of 11.27 but finished 0.05 above that level.  As a Trump […]

Five Volatility Market Lessons from 2016

8-vxo-long-term-high-low-average

To be successful in any field we all need to keep learning.  My job involves staying on top of all things index and volatility related which means I am always gaining new insights about the markets.  Looking back at 2016, VIX settled into lower levels after starting the year hitting the mid-20’s as the stock […]

20 Volatility Indexes in 2016: BPVIX Rose 277% Pre-Brexit, and On Election Night VIX Futures Rose 55%

Dozens of worldwide volatility indexes can serve as valuable tools for investors who wish to gauge intraday and long-term sentiment changes related to a variety of asset classes. In addition, investors take long and short positions in futures and options on key volatility indexes. The tables and seven graphs below provide an overview of the […]

History Lesson – VIX at Year’s End

I have been banned from CBOE until next year due to having an abundance of unused days off.  However, I can still play with numbers and I decided to take a look at what VIX does on average between the last trading day before Christmas and the first trading day of the following year.  This […]

VIX Nov. Futures Shot Up by 55% on Election Night, but Later Retreated After Conciliatory Speech

NOV 9 – Four charts with big price moves over the past two days are presented in this blog. On the Tuesday election night in the United States, the reported prices for the November futures on the CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) rose from a low of 15.10 at 8:07 p.m. E.T., to a high of […]

On Election Eve, Volatility Indexes for Stocks, Gold, Currencies & Volatility Fall By More than 8% (after Record 9-Day Up-Streak)

NOV. 7 – Last week I heard about quite a bit of new interest in portfolio protection strategies, and on November 4 the CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) rose on a ninth consecutive day (a new all-time record for the VIX Index over its price history dating back to January 1990). However, today (the date before […]

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