Last week, the major indexes were turned inside out from volatility stemming from a Federal Reserve rate cut followed by U.S. President Donald Trump upping the ante on China with additional tariffs. This volatility comeback can certainly spark a market downturn that could give the Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 3X ETF (NYSEArca: SPXS) a boost.
Ahead of the latest market events, traders were placing big bets on market volatility to spike to heightened levels. According to a report by CNBC, “traders had been loading up on call options in the Cboe Volatility Index, a measure of the 30-day implied volatility of U.S. stocks also known as the VIX or “fear gauge,” wagering on big price swings in the market.”
“There has been large call buying in VIX ahead of [the]much anticipated FOMC announcement. It is especially interesting in that we haven’t witnessed as much bulky activity in VIX options since the great ‘Volpocalypse’ of 2018,” said Maxwell Grinacoff, a derivatives and quantitative strategist at Macro Risk Advisors, in a note earlier in the week.
As investors anticipate a global economic slowdown, trade wars, and now weaker-than-expected earnings, it could be stoking the fire for more gains for bears. Ahead of the start of second-quarter earnings, data compiled by Bloomberg showed that over 80 percent of S&P 500 companies who revised their profit estimates are expecting weaker-than-expected earnings.
Of the companies that have reported their second-quarter earnings, over 30 percent of them cite trade wars as the focal point of downward pressure.
SPXS seeks daily investment results equal to 300 percent of the inverse of the daily performance of the S&P 500 Index. The fund, under normal circumstances, invests in swap agreements, futures contracts, short positions or other financial instruments that, in combination, provide inverse (opposite) or short leveraged exposure to the index equal to at least 80 percent of the fund’s net assets (plus borrowing for investment purposes).
Where can bulls look to for sector strength? Ironically, it’s technology and industrials, but there’s a double-edged sword wielding–these same sectors could also be the ones that are the most susceptible to market drawdowns during a protracted trade war.
Nonetheless, traders looking to capitalize on any short-term weakness in the S&P 500, can look to SPXS for opportunities.
“It looks increasingly likely to us that a jittery global equity market is on its way to seeing two volatility spikes in August, one early in the month and one towards the end of the month,” Nomura strategist Masanari Takada said in a note to clients Friday.
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