Major stock indexes, VIX close lower

optionMONSTER

The major equity indexes, the CBOE Volatility Index, and the VIX futures were all lower yesterday.

The S&P 500 was down less than 4.58 points to finish at 1461.89. It fell to 1457 in the early afternoon and climbed for the last two hours of the session. Support is at 1420, and resistance is now at 1475.

The Nasdaq 100 was essentially unchanged, giving up just 0.27 points to close at 2724.22. It fell below 2708 at the open before regaining ground. Support and resistance remain at 2670 and 2785 respectively.

The Russell 2000 had the greatest percentage loss, giving up 3.35 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 875.80. The small-cap index has support at 850, and Friday's all-time intraday high of 880 will likely provide a first level of resistance.

The VIX slipped 0.04 points to 13.79, which a bit unusual because the volatility index usually shows relative strength on Mondays as the S&P 500 options are repriced after the weekend time decay. But the VIX most closely correlates with the actual volatility for the SPX, and that was clearly lower.

The VIX January futures were down 0.60 points, or 3.9 percent, to 14.70. The February futures lost 0.30 points to finish trading at 16.40. The drop in these futures left the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (:VXX) at an all-time low of 27.12, down 1.5 percent.

More than 793,000 VIX options traded, 474,000 of which were calls. There must have been more buying on the day because the VVIX Index, which measures the implied volatility of the VIX options, was up 2.1 percent to 76.77 and off Friday's all-time low.

Also of note was one print in the SPX options, as a trader bought 2,500 June 800 puts for $0.50 with no previous open interest. This isn't hedging of a regular variety, so it could be an outright bet that the SPX will tumble lower or a hedge against a big selloff.

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