Monday, October 12, 2009

Implied Volatility Flat Ahead of Bank Earnings

With some very important earnings in the financial sector coming up this week (JPM on Wednesday; C and GS on Thursday; BAC and GE on Friday), I have been watching implied volatility (IV) in the sector very closely. Much to my surprise, implied volatility has not increased ahead of earnings, as is typically the case.

The chart below, courtesy of Livevol, shows six months of price and volatility activity in JPMorgan Chase (JPM), with the upper portion chart highlighting the last two earnings releases with the blue “E” icon. The bottom half of the chart plots 30-day implied volatility (red line) against 30-day historical volatility (light blue line) during the same period.

Note that just prior to the last two earnings reports, implied volatility rose due to the uncertainty and potential for higher volatility associated with an earnings surprise. This time around, however, the lack of movement in implied volatility – as well as the proximity of the IV level to historical volatility – suggests that investors are not expecting any surprises at all. In fact, this situation is not specific to JPMorgan, but is also mirrored at Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and even quasi-financial General Electric. Not surprisingly, the bank ETFs, such as KBE, and the financial sector ETF, XLF, show a similar pattern.

No matter how the current earnings season unfolds, it is difficult to imagine that there will not be any surprises. Investors who think implied volatility is underestimating the surprise potential for the banks may look to initiate long straddles or long strangles to take advantage of a potential increase in implied volatility – and hence options prices.

For some related posts on implied volatility in financials, readers are encouraged to check out:

[source: Livevol Pro]

blog comments powered by Disqus
DISCLAIMER: "VIX®" is a trademark of Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated. Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated is not affiliated with this website or this website's owner's or operators. CBOE assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness or any other aspect of any content posted on this website by its operator or any third party. All content on this site is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as advice to buy or sell any securities. Stocks are difficult to trade; options are even harder. When it comes to VIX derivatives, don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because you can ride a horse, you can ride an alligator. Please do your own homework and accept full responsibility for any investment decisions you make. No content on this site can be used for commercial purposes without the prior written permission of the author. Copyright © 2007-2013 Bill Luby. All rights reserved.
 
Web Analytics