If options traders are correct, stocks are in for a wild ride in February. Demand for one-month call options tied to the CBOE Volatility Index, a popular gauge of stock-market volatility, has spiked in the past week, a sign that some are bracing for a sharp downturn following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. In that time, investors have purchased 250,000 VIX call options with a strike price at 21, and another 100,000 with the strike at 22, according to Brian Bier, head of sales and trading at Macro Risk Advisors, an options brokerage. The options cost roughly 49 cents per contract, Bier said. By comparison, the CBOE Volatility Index VIX, -2.69% was at 11.16 in midday trading
Consider the math: According to Bankrate.com, the highest yield you can expect from a money market account right now is 1.26%. There's no denying that the stock market can take you on a bumpy ride, so your fears are understandable. Savings earmarked for retirement are particularly well suited for the stock market.
When the price of a dividend stock climbs, its yield falls. As a result, a rising stock market, such as we've had of late, can make it harder for income investors to find attractive dividend payers. Indeed, the current dividend yield on Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is just 2.1%, down from 2.3% a year ago. For retirees dependent on investment income, a 2.1% yield won't even keep up with inflation in 2017, according to Kiplinger's latest forecast. True, investors can buy stocks with unusually high yields, but such names typically come with greater risks. A too-good-to-be-true yield can be a red flag about a company's financial health and an indicator that the dividend isn't sustainable. That's