Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gamma is Cheap(er)

With the market making new yearly hi's (SPY chart below), the price of front month options in the SPY is priced considerably lower than its back month comrades. As depicted in the skew charts below, 2011 illustrated a common skew that we often see - front month options being most expensive based Implied Volatility, or IV, relative to the other series. As you can see in the final skew chart, front month options are pricing in very little movement for the coming weeks. This is not really surprising given the general outlook on the VIX and the market action seen earlier this week in the VIX options, where vol reeled some 6 pts lower in a single day. With the vol of the vol so to speak seemingly headed lower, gamma is currently cheap and maybe will be cheaper still. Nevertheless, it provides some intriguing possibilities and opportunities, not the least of which is a reversion to the mean trades (read short calendars - warning:could take a while) or outright long gamma positions to speculate or hedge against near term portfolio events. Happy trading. 

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