U.S. stock futures are circling unchanged this morning. Yesterday’s Federal Reserve meeting was a non-event with the monetary magicians holding interest rates steady as expected. The low volatility grind continues.
Ahead of the bell, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.10% and S&P 500 futures are lower by 0.03%. Nasdaq Composite futures have shed 0.08%.
In the options pits, overall volume made a comeback spurred by trading around the Fed meeting. Approximately 17.6 million calls and 14 million puts traded on the day.
The action at the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) saw the gap between calls and puts narrow considerably. The single-session equity put/call volume ratio slammed down to 0.52, which is a one-month low. At the same time, the 10-day moving average dropped back below 0.62.
Let’s take a closer look.
Copper prices are percolating, and Freeport-McMoRan is the market’s biggest beneficiary. The economically sensitive commodity rallied for its sixth straight day, capturing a new six-month high in the process. FCX stock followed suit with an inspiring 4.6% gain on the day.
Its price trend is now cruising higher above all major moving averages. The nearby landscape is littered with accumulation days. These high-volume bullish sessions reveal institutions are piling in to support the stock’s fourth-quarter bottoming bid. Unfortunately, if you’re just getting to the party, you’re late. With the stock up six days in a row, it’s challenging to justify new entries here. Wait for a pause or pullback before piling in.
On the options trading front, traders came after calls with a vengeance. Activity swelled to 310% of the average daily volume, with 191,725 total contracts traded. 74% of the trading came from call options alone.
Implied volatility climbed to a one-month high of 46% or the 31st percentile of its one-year range. Based on option premiums, traders see average daily moves of 37 cents or 2.9% on the horizon.
The risk-reward is not favorable for deploying bull trades, and the stock is too strong to short. Wait for a dip to develop before buying.
Boeing has one of the messiest charts out there, and its refusal to participate in the year-end market rally is telling. Until the range officially breaks and trending behavior returns, short-term bullish or bearish signals should be taken with a grain of salt.
That said, I’m encouraged by Wednesday’s price action. After plumbing the depths in the morning, BA stock powered back by day’s end to form a compelling bullish reversal candle amid heavy volume. The last time we saw such a powerful candle was on Nov. 11, and the stock was able to remain aloft for a good 2.5 weeks afterward.
Perhaps we’ll see similar follow-through this go around.
Options trading was notable as well, with total activity growing to 173% of the average daily volume. By day’s end, 155,466 contracts changed hands. Calls outpaced puts by a mild margin by driving 53% of the day’s take.
Implied volatility didn’t see any significant shifting and sits at 27% or the 15th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are pricing in daily moves of $5.95 or 1.7%.
Options premiums are too low to consider a short premium strategy, and the stock lacks a strong enough trend to go directional. I’m punting on a trade suggestion this go around.
Home Depot (HD)
The trend of earnings disappointment continued in Home Depot on Wednesday. November’s rug pull came after the home improvement giant dropped its 2019 sales projections. This time, the company forecast underwhelming fiscal 2020 sales growth. HD stock gapped lower on the news but was able to maintain some dignity by rallying back slightly on the session.
HD stock is at an important juncture. Yesterday’s drop resulted in the first test of its rising 200-day moving average since May. The last probe was successfully defended by buyers, and shareholders are hoping for a similar outcome this go around. Given how far the shares have already fallen from their peak, I’d rather be a buyer than a seller here.
The patterns in options trading saw calls rule the roost while overall activity rose to 138% of the average daily volume. Some 90,163 contracts crossed the table with calls accounting for 56% of the sum.
Implied volatility actually fell on the day, reflecting a decrease in fear despite the seemingly bad news. The metric now sits at 18% or only the 14th percentile of its one-year range. Premiums are baking in daily moves of $2.46 or 1.2%.
If you’re willing to buy this dip, then bull put spreads offer a wide profit range.
The Trade: Sell the Jan $205/$200 bull put spreads for around 85 cents.
As of this writing, Tyler Craig held bullish positions in HD. For a free trial to the best trading community on the planet and Tyler’s current home, click here!