The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- The
Top Gun Options Trading Team saw Wall Street made a nice rebound Wednesday, emerging from the red into the black in response to the
's comments regarding future interest rates.
With Ben Bernanke appearing at a scheduled press conference to announce that the Fed was pledging to keep interest rates effectively around zero, investors switched gears and sent the market on an upward trajectory that gave the
S&P 500 Index
a 25-point swing, leaving it up by 11 points on the day.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
The fact that the announcement by the Fed chief was actually a mixed bag, however, would have been noticed by anyone bothering to listen to the full context of his remarks. The need for keeping the rates at or around zero is due to the fact that the economy remains "fragile", according to Bernanke. The concern remains so high, that the possibility of introducing still another round of quantitative easing remains on the table.
The Fed assured investors that it was "prepared to take further steps if we see that the recovery is faltering or if inflation is not moving towards target." On the other hand, that QE3 is even being publicly considered might indicate a deeper concern by the Fed on the economy's health then previously indicated.
How the VIX Faired
As of Thursday afternoon, the VIX (Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index) has risen by .50, in spite of the gain on the Dow. As the Blue-Chip index was up by almost 50 points as of publication, you might expect the VIX to be down. Though the VIX generally rises when the market falls, this is obviously not always the case.
While the market is basically experiencing a fairly Bullish sentiment, it remains the best time to stock up on hedges at good prices. The VIX, currently trading at the low end of its six-month trading range, remains at an attractive level for those who seek a broad portfolio hedge.
While you can't trade the VIX directly, you can use one of several liquid ETFs that track the Volatility Index, including the
iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN
which tracks VIX mid-term futures, and VXX the
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
, which tracks the closer month contracts.
On the Options Front
To start off 2012, we offered up a trade on
SPDR Gold Trust
for your consideration. The premise was that the December correction might have brought gold down to a level of support that would serve as the foundation for a nice, shiny new trade.
Firing Line: On Wednesday, GLD shot up past its 50-day Moving Average, and remained on the upswing as of Thursday. As that particular trade, GLD MARCH12 170 CALL (Debit of 1.85), has, as of Thursday morning, hit 100% profit, it would be prudent to take the money off the table and wait for another trade that offers a better risk-to-reward ratio than the current trade does.
So, while gold still has lots of upside potential, we will wait to revisit the shiny metal until there is a more attractive set-up. Happy hunting and make sure you hedge.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.