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 (
) -- Wall Street appears to be relieved to be able to take its bleary eyes off of Europe's ongoing debt saga and turn its attention to closer ground, as positive data on the domestic front spurred the major indexes to an early morning 1% gain.
Top Gun Options trading team remains neutral on the market even with this "green shoot."
Three straight losing sessions opened the week, as it seemed to dawn on investors that the EU summit may not have ended on the high note that its leaders seemed to think.
Despite the fact that the majority of the European Union member-states agreed to a "fiscal compact" and though promises for additional bailout funds were made by the wealthier euro-zone nations, the uncertainty centered on the ongoing viability of the EU in its current form continues to grow.
However, as of Thursday morning, at least, a picture of a U.S. economy that may be showing signs of life was enough to cheer on investors. One positive indicator was the Labor Department's job market report, showing initial jobless claims at its lowest level since May of 2008.
In addition, inflation seems to be in check, with a relatively small rise reported in that arena. Meanwhile, retail sales in November have also risen, though the gains were relatively modest.
Technically speaking, Wednesday became a cause of concern, as the benchmark
S&P 500 Index
slipped below its 50-Day Moving Average, and appeared to be heading back down to the psychologically important 1200 level.
Though this morning's market action seems to be averting that confrontation, another round of negative news from "across the pond" might sink the SPX below 1200, where it could spend the remainder of the calendar year.
The VIX has recently been dancing below the 25-dollar level, well toward the low side of its trading range for the last four months. Considering the high level of uncertainty that has emanated out of Europe recently, this is somewhat of a surprise.
It may be seen to indicate that a lot of the fear of a EU break-up has been baked into the market already. Still, at it currently stands, the VIX remains at a good price as a potent hedge against a further stark drop in the equity markets.
While you can't trade the VIX directly, you can use the
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
, which tracks the VIX, as a reasonable facsimile.
On the Options Front
On Monday, we offered up a trade for consideration that was based on the assumption that Wall Street might have a round of "buyer remorse" following the buying that followed Friday's EU summit meeting announcement. The trade featured the
Rydex Currency Shares Euro Currency Trust
, an ETF that tracks the euro and measures the relative value of the U.S. dollar against the euro.
We suggested looking at the purchase of a near month, Out-Of-The-Money Put, FXE JAN 12 130 PUT. The Monday morning bid was at 1.89. Thursday morning, when we publish our
mid-week blog , the bid stood at 2.60.
If you did decide to follow this play, it would be a good time to close the trade at a nice profit and see how the dust settles for the remainder of the week.
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.