Daily Market Update – October 13, 2014 (9:00 AM)

After 3 weeks of triple digit moves that seem to be getting bigger, the volatility has really climbed and is now at a two year high level, although still not terribly high by historical standards.

There isn’t very much happening this week as far as economic reports go, but lately it has been the injudicious use of words that have made markets move as nerves may be more frayed than is healthy.

This week there aren’t too many scheduled speeches, talks or conferences, so it’s possible that the market may actually focus on fundamentals, like earnings, which start going in full force this week.

For more than a year each quarterly earnings season has been lead off by strong earnings from the financial sector, especially the big money center banks, but the rest of teh market hasn’t necessarily kept up, especially on the retail side.

This year, the laggard is likely to be the energy sector and their forward guidance may be especially critical, while retail may be expected to do better than in the past.

If the focus does turn to earnings this week should be one with much less volatility, but predicting what may happen coming after the past three weeks is probably not a good idea.

This week, with less cash than I would like to have, but still uncertain about whether there i still more declines ahead, I’m not eager to spend much money.

As mentioned in the Weekend in Review, I may be more inclined to look at put sales as a means of entering positions and creating the week’s revenue streams.

However, based on where premiums were headed as the market came to its close on Friday, the volatility may be at that level where it may become possible to start thinking increasingly about DOH trades.

Doing so, though, requires some more nimbleness, in the event that an unwanted assignment looks as if iy may occur.

While I generally look at DOH trades as being short term, depending on where those premiums are and whether they extend to forward week contracts, there may be reason to consider their use in some out of the money expanded contracts.

Further, as earnings season is now also a factor, selective positions may also have their premiums enhanced by earnings, so there may be opportunity for the DOH trades to encompass the earnings enhancement and also take advantage of volatility enhanced time premium.

So this week the trading may be of a very different nature, although as always, once the opening bell rings, all of those well laid out plans may get sc
uttled.

The real challenge ahead is trying to discern between what seems to be a sea of value from the value traps that just want to suck up your investment dollars.

There’s certainly no reason to rush in to commit cash reserves at this point, especially resisting the temptation to get lured in by any single day’s strong move higher, as those tend to occur with great frequency during downtrends and just serve to have you buy at artificially higher prices.

Instead, I would be very happy to create the week’s income from simply selling as many calls as possible on existing positions and would certainly welcome a one day pop higher as the stimulus to do so.

This morning’s pre-opening futures are showing recovery from last nights early trading and the volatility is heading lower, but it’s not too likely that will impact option premiums that at Friday’s close were exceptionally high for a number of out of favor stocks in equally out of favor sectors.

So this morning may be a good one to sit back and see how the trading evolves after the opening bell, while assuming a defensive posture for the rest of the week.