Tag Archive | "uso"

How should you compare implied volatility across assets?

Monday, March 11, 2013


Most traders understand that a “buy low, sell high” approach applies to options markets just as well as it does anywhere else: when options are overvalued, it pays to be a net seller of that premium. But “overvalued” often has nothing to do with the level of implied volatility you might observe on a chart. Options are usually well-bid for a reason, or are cheaply priced for a reason. Finding an asset where volatility is truly under- or overvalued depends…

Just How Inexpensive are Options Getting?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Are you better off now than you were four years ago? What about one year ago? If you’re like most investors, your market sentiment has probably improved substantially. There are plenty of ways to measure investor sentiment – we could look simply at the run-up in stock prices, or use a more sophisticated metric like the level of implied correlation. In between those two estimates, we might also look at the implied volatility of stock options, measured as a percentage…

Volatility Skew Webinar Recording

Friday, April 13, 2012


I gave an online seminar on Wednesday, April 11th on implied volatility skew in partnership with TheStreet’s Options Profits service, where I am also a contributor. It was a lot of fun, and we got some great questions from participants. If you missed the event, the link below will allow you to play back or download the full webinar. https://thestreetevents.webex.com/thestreetevents/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=EC&rID=5088857&rKey=52967bc2198a8c00 Volatility Skew and its Impact to Options Trading-20120411 2101-1 April 11, 2012, 5:01 pm New York…

Is the threat of airstrikes against Iran driving oil options prices higher?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

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Probably. First, some context. Here’s the one-month volatility risk premium in USO options since 2007. Think of this as an estimate of how richly or cheaply priced options on crude oil are, relative to the actual historical volatility of the asset. Any ratio above 1.00 indicates that option buyers were willing to pay a premium above the value of the volatility subsequently exhibited by crude oil futures. As you can see, the ratio is usually greater than one.…

Unusual Volatility and Three Trade Ideas

Thursday, December 1, 2011

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In the embedded video, I look at some interesting volatility phenomena in USO options, SPY volatility skew, and VIX and VSTOXX futures. Here are the trade ideas mentioned: Short USO implied volatility / long USO realized vol: on the view that USO options are richly priced relative to likely future USO realized vol, you can sell straddles, strangles, or iron condors here and delta hedge with the underlying shares to capture the difference between current IV…

A Collar on Crude (Bonus Trade)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


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What to do with Oil Volatility

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Crude has been hammered pretty hard in recent weeks. My instincts tend, like yours probably do, toward being a net seller of options when implied volatility has become historically expensive. But it’s also a good idea to respect the current trend, as I mention here: While capturing historically high implied volatility is often a profitable approach, a price trend this strong should be respected, so any short volatility trade should either be long some gamma or should have…

Volatility Tracker: Long Gamma Pays Off

Monday, February 8, 2010


Volatility Tracker for the week of February 8, 2010 Except for a brief interlude in mid-November, equity index options haven’t been this fairly valued in about a year, meaning that realized volatility has more closely matched the volatility implied by options prices. [5,6] The February VIX futures contract closed above the March price on Friday -something that hasn’t happened on a weekly basis in quite some time. [7] It’s important not to read too much into this, since the…

Volatility Tracker: Options Fairly Priced

Monday, February 1, 2010


Volatility Tracker for the week of February 1, 2010 This week saw realized volatility rise to meet last week’s spike in implied levels, although as I mentioned those spot implied levels weren’t easily sustainable. [2] I’m not the world’s greatest proponent of technical analysis, but the price charts for equities and oil deserve a look. Failure to revert toward recent averages would be further confirmation of the ill health of this market. [4,15] With a less than one-point range…

Volatility Tracker: Fear Returns

Monday, January 25, 2010


Volatility Tracker for the week of January 25, 2010 Implied volatility exploded in equities last week as markets were ravaged to the tune of…four per cent? [2] The term structure of implied volatility and the ratio of implied to realized volatility all moved back towards even, indicating how accustomed we had become to substantially overpriced options and contangoed VIX futures. [6,7,8] Implied volatility is now unsustainably high -unsustainable, that is, unless you expect two-thirds of trading days to begin…


Jared Woodard specializes in trading volatility as an asset class. With over a decade of experience trading options and other volatility products ... Read More


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