The S&P 500 opened lower and is off 10 points to 2107.5 late-Tuesday, but the decline has been orderly and lacking much conviction.
With no economic data to guide trading, the Treasury complex finished lower and the yield on the benchmark ten-year is now 2.12%.
Trading was quiet across much of the commodities market. While crude added 75 cents to $50.35, gold lost $5 to $1203.
On Wall Street, energy (XLE) and utilities (XLU) bucked the bearish trend. Technology (XLK), healthcare (XLV), and industrials (XLI) are pacing the retreat.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) hit a morning high of 14.69 and is up .84 to 13.88.
Trading in the options market was a bit more active this morning, but really dropped off in afternoon action. Projected volume for the day is 12 million contracts and about the same as yesterday. Overall volumes in the first two days of March 2015 are down 30% from the same two days a year ago.
CBOE Holdings (CBOE) reported yesterday that overall volumes on CBOE, C2, and CFE last month were down 22% from Feb 2014. The news comes a few weeks after CME Group announced plans to close most of its open outcry futures trading pits.
Sounds the options industry is heading into recession. Time will tell.
And there is still plenty of interesting options activity taking place from one day to the next. For instance today’s flow included a large opening buyer of Exxon (XOM) puts ahead of an Analyst Day tomorrow, earnings action in Foot Locker (FL), Abercrombie (ANF), and JD Com (JD), as well as a hefty call buyer in Citi (C) ahead of March 11 stress test results.
Weekly (3/6) 210 puts on the SPDR 500 Trust (SPY) were the most actives on the day. 56,710 contracts changed hands. Apple (AAPL) Weekly (3/6) 130 calls were the second most actives, as 52,190 changed hands.