Friday's agony turned into Tuesday's gloom as technology stocks continued their descent, as gauges of fear in the
options market perked up.
At some point, rising options market indicators may actually signal the bottom of the market. At this point, though, the crumbling
tumbled 47, or 2.1%, to 2166 by midday and some options market pros said they wouldn't be surprised to see the selloff in technology continue.
Rob Sorrentino, of
Sorrentino Asset Management
, said he thinks the Nasdaq is going to retest all its low areas. He did say, however, for example if the Nasdaq 100 gets below 2000, institutional investors will step up and buy. Action so far Tuesday, however, he said was light.
"Anything below 2000 you can start nibbling," Sorrentino said.
Gauges of fear in the market, like the
Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index
, or VIX, jumped 4%, while the
American Stock Exchange's
volatility index on the
Nasdaq 100 unit trust
, the QQV, also rose 4%.
Those gauges of anxiety in the market generally rise when the broad stock market falls and typically have inverse relationships to price action in stocks. For example, overall, the VIX increases when
put-buying on options on the
, or OEX, increases.
So far today, the NDX traded as low as 2128.15. The 52-week intraday low for the NDX is 2087.32, which it hit on Jan. 3. The NDX hit that level before vastly recovering that day, thanks to
Federal Open Market Committee's surprise intermeeting slicing of the target on the
fed funds rate to 6%. That day, the NDX closed at 2538.37.
As far as QQQ options go, traders were initiating positions in options that expire in April. The underlying QQQ fell 2% to 53.97.
out-of-the-money April 55
calls were seeing action, with more than 2,600 contracts trading. The calls fell 0.80 ($80) to 4.50 ($450). The
in-the-money April 47 calls were also seeing volume, with nearly 2,100 contracts trading at 9.70 ($970).
On the put side, more than 1,900 of the April 50 puts traded. The puts rose 0.50 ($50) to 3 ($300).
For QQQ options expiring in March, the action was mixed overall. The March 60 calls saw volume of nearly 10,000 contracts. The calls fell 0.50 ($50) to 1.20 ($120). The March 55 puts were seeing action, with nearly 7,400 contracts trading. The puts rose 0.50 ($50) to 3.80 ($380).