US Equity Index prices slipped further from recent record highs today as all four major indexes declined. The Russell 2000 index led losses and was the only one of the four that was down by more than 1% (in fact, it was down nearly 2%). This makes some sense as the stocks referred to often as the “re-opening” stocks were down relatively more today. Not surprisingly, given the mild sell-off over the last couple of days, implied volatility in CME Group’s equity index options markets has ticked higher, though is still trading near the low-range of a one standard deviation move over the last six months.
In other CME Group markets, grains futures prices were broadly higher, WTI Crude Oil prices were lower by about 1.3% and Bitcoin futures prices, which had fallen from high levels of about 64,000 late last week to about 56,000 yesterday, traded in a very large range (low of 53,430) before settling up about 1% on the day. Remember, CME Group will be launching a Micro Bitcoin futures contract on May 3rd, which will represent 1/10 of one Bitcoin (the current futures contract represents 5 Bitcoins). Interestingly, even with the recent price volatility in the Bitcoin futures contract, the implied volatility in the options continues to trade at relatively low levels versus the last 6 months. As you can see in the QuikStrike graph below, that depicts the implied volatility of the 25 Delta Calls minus the Puts, the Puts are trading at higher levels relative to the Calls than we’ve seen in some time.