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VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big options market participant appears to be rolling a bull call spread from the October to November expiration. A 45,000-lot Oct 19.0/23.0 call spread appears to have been sold, while the November 17/23 call spread appears to have been purchased, all at a net premium of $0.57 per contract. The spread looks for volatility to potentially rise to the highest levels since December 2012 when the VIX touched a two-year high of 23.23. The chart below marks the 17.0 and 23.0 levels (dashed lines), the striking prices selected in the Nov 17.0/23.0 bull call spread.

Chart – 2-year chart of CBOE Vix Index


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