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- The mysterious volatility trader known as "50 Cent" appears to have made some new bets this week that the stock market will see turbulence over the summer.
- The trades match a growing sentiment across Wall Street that the stock market could be in for a rocky ride over the next few months.
Known for his consistent purchases of bite-size Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) options — usually costing about 50 cents — the trader has historically positioned himself to profit from market turbulence.
But he took a self-imposed leave of absence after he was able to cash in on his long-standing bets back in February. That was immediately after a 10% correction rocked all major US indexes, sending the VIX skyrocketing and allowing 50 Cent to pocket more than $183 million on a mark-to-market basis, according to data compiled by Macro Risk Advisors.
Seemingly unable to rest, 50 Cent has been back up to his old tricks this week. It started early Tuesday, with the purchase of 50,000 call options with strikes prices of 28, bought at $0.50 and $0.51 apiece. Then, on Wednesday morning, an identical trade was made at a price of $0.49.
Considering that the VIX closed at 12.28 on Wednesday, these trades are essentially wagers that the so-called stock market fear gauge will double sometime this summer. And since the VIX trades inversely to the S&P 500 roughly 80% of the time, a bullish VIX bet can be construed on a wager US equities will drop.
It's important to note, however, that there's no way to know for sure whether this is the same infamous trader who captured investor attention with his 50-cent bets throughout 2017 and into 2018. It could very well be a copycat applying the principles established by the original 50 Cent.
Regardless, it's clear someone with a predilection for bite-size trades agrees with the growing faction of experts warning of a rocky patch for the stock market.
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