The Week that Was: Feb. 15 -19

Quick Bites


  • U.S. Equity Indices were under pressure most of the week, but selloffs were met with buying interest. The Nasdaq 100 Index and S&P 500 Index reached intraday all-time highs on Tuesday but traded to weekly lows on Thursday.
  • S&P 500 Index (SPX): Fell slightly from all-time highs. The index is 0.7% lower week-over-week, holding to 3,900.
  • Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX): Fell 1.64%, with the weekly range only 2.8% from peak to trough.
  • Russell 2000 Index (RUT℠): Declined 1%, after moving higher on Friday. Small caps had a 100-handle range, or 4.35%, throughout the week.
  • Cboe Volatility Index (VIX™ Index): Edged higher last week, moving from 19.97 to 22.05. The index reached 24.33 on Thursday, marking its intraday high for the week.
  • Cboe VIX Volatility Index (VVIX™ Index): Ranged between 127 and 116 during the week and closed at 117.45, the low end of its weekly range.
  • SPX options volume averaged about 1.3 million contracts per day, up more than 22% on a daily basis compared to 1.06 million the previous week.
  • VIX options average daily volume (ADV) was about 700,000 contracts, down slightly from the previous week’s ADV of about 760,000 contracts. Overall, VIX options volume has been strong in 2021.
  • RUT options volume declined week-over-week from 46,400 per day to 34,200 per day. Over the past three months, RUT ADV has been roughly 37,7000 contracts.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 Index: Down 0.83%.
  • MSCI EAFE Index (MXEA™) and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF™) were essentially unchanged.

Charting It Out

Observations on VIX Futures Term Structure

  • February VIX futures expired on Wednesday at 22.81.
  • The VIX futures term structure steepened again last week, with the front month March contract falling 1.00 week-over-week. April was basically unchanged, while the May and June futures inched higher.
  • The persistently high mid to back month VIX futures levels show no sign of subsiding.

VIX Futures Term Structure

Source: LiveVol Pro
  • The recent climb higher in small caps pushed the Russell 2000 Index to historic wides — 40% — relative to its 200-day moving average.

Russell 2000 Index Distance from 200-Day Moving Average

Source: Cantor Fitzgerald Research

Macro Movers

  • Inflation sensitive assets like commodities, cryptocurrencies and energies remain bid.
  • Jobless claims remain elevated — well above one million — which is likely a concern for central bankers and politicians.
  • Treasury volatilities have moved significantly higher, relative to the VIX Index, as the focus on fixed income and uncertainty around inflation moves into bond options.
  • April WTI Crude Oil traded over $62 but backed off late in the week as the market priced in an increased supply from Saudis and Permian basin production coming back online.
  • Big Tech: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Tesla all declined on a weekly basis. Google was the best performer on a relative basis but was slightly lower week-over-week. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Tesla all declined, dragging the SPX and NDX lower.


  • Over the past week, on average, about 70,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in the U.S., compared to a moving average of approximately 97,000 a week ago.
  • Approximately 1.7 million vaccines were administered daily last week, in line with the prior week.

New COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.

Source: The New York Times

Tidbits from the News

  • Weather now has the power to move markets. Historically, nearly all weather data came from the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but private weather forecasting has grown into a $7 billion industry.
  • The lumber market traded to new all-time highs. Copper futures and iron ore are at 9-year highs and copper breached the $4.00 mark.

Lumber and Copper Futures on the Rise

Source: Compound Advisors
  • Streaming may not be crushing the music industry after all. Universal is the largest company in the music business and the company’s revenues are growing meaningfully. Last week Vivendi, Universal’s parent company, announced plans to spin off the subsidiary.

Universal Music Group Annual Revenue

Source: Chartr

The Week Ahead

  • Data to be released: Leading economic indicators on Monday, Cas-Shiller Home Price index and the Consumer Confidence Index on Tuesday, Initial Jobless Claims and Durable Goods orders on Thursday, Income Spending Inflation, Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) and UMich Confidence Index on Friday.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will give his semiannual monetary policy testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Upcoming Options Institute Webinar

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February 24 at 1 p.m. ET.

Join Cboe Options Institute to learn about the various uses of exchange-listed FLEX options, customized contracts and packaged products. Webinar panelists include Cboe’s Bill O’Keefe, Director, Derivatives Sales, Raghu Ramachandran, Head of Insurance Asset Channel, S&P Dow Jones Indices, and Andrew Hull, Associate ETF Strategist, First Trust.



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