Major equity indexes fell back below Monday's lows, driving the CBOE Volatility Index and its futures higher.
The S&P 500 was down 22.56 points, or 1.43 percent, to finish the day at 1552.01, a fraction below Monday's lows. It had fallen below 1544 midday before paring that loss and is now back at support, with the next level at 1500. Resistance is still at 1597.
The Nasdaq 100 lost 56.43 points, or 1.99 percent, to close at 2781.98 after falling below 2766 earlier in the session. Those were well below Monday's levels but took the NDX only back to where it had traded at the beginning of last week. Resistance is at 2864 and support at 2744.
The Russell 2000 gave up 16.50 points, or 1.79 percent, to 906.80. That was its lowest close since Feb. 26. Support is now at 875, while resistance remains at 954.
The VIX was up 2.55 points, or 18.27 percent, to 16.51 after climbing to 17.90 in the morning. The volatility index remains below the short-term actual volatility of the SPX, as its 10-day historical volatility finished at 18.3 percent. While the VIX is up 30 percent in the last three days, that latter metric has doubled in the last week.
The April VIX futures settled at the open at 15.64, while the May contracts gained 1.65 points to finish trading at 16.40. The June futures were up 1.05 points to close at 16.75. This boosted the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Note (:VXX) by 12 percent to 21.18.
The VIX options turned over 958,000 contracts, with calls outpacing puts by 2 to 1. The VVIX Index, which measures the implied volatility of the VIX options, was up more than 19 percent to 105.26--its highest level since last July, when the VIX was above 20. More than 786,000 VXX options changed hands, with 433,000 puts.
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