A Speculative Feeding Frenzy Like We’ve Never Seen Before

09/03/20 09:45AM EDT

The guest commentary below was written by Jesse Felder of The Felder Report

A Speculative Feeding Frenzy Like We’ve Never Seen Before - 9 3 2020 9 43 34 AM

Last week, I noted here that a relatively rare condition had arisen in which stocks and expected volatility had risen at the same time. This morning, I noted on twitter that the Nasdaq Composite and its volatility index (VXN) had never been more positively correlated than they have over the past 10 days.

This week, I’d like to briefly put forth my best guess as to why this is happening.

As noted by Jason Goepfert, speculative call buying has recently surged to levels never seen before.

https://twitter.com/sentimentrader/status/1299678476950278144

This has dramatically pushed up the prices of those call options relative to put options, especially in the popular speculative names in the market.

https://twitter.com/jessefelder/status/1301196256119787527

At the same time, market makers selling all those call options to the traders buying them are forced to hedge by buying the underlying stocks.

https://twitter.com/jessefelder/status/1301197902673580032

Rapidly rising call premiums pushes volatility measures higher while surging dealer demand for stocks pushes prices higher.

However, this is not a sustainable situation. And the inevitable unwinding of it could be even more volatile than anything we’ve seen so far.

EDITOR'S NOTE

This is a Hedgeye Guest Contributor piece written by Jesse Felder and reposted from The Felder Report blog. Felder has been managing money for over 20 years. He began his professional career at Bear, Stearns & Co. and later co-founded a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund firm headquartered in Santa Monica, California. Today he lives in Bend, Oregon and publishes The Felder Report. This piece does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Hedgeye.

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