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Did the Federal Reserve Kill the Volatility Trade?

On October 11, 2019, the Federal Reserve announced they would begin buying Treasury Bills in an effort to ensure there are “ample reserves” in the banking system through the end of the year.

fed treasury oct 11

On October 11, 2019, the Volatility Index (VIX) sat at 17.4. Today on November 26, 2019 the VIX has recently closed at 11.5. As you can see from below, it appears as though this not-QE program that is “organically” growing the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has effectively killed the long VIX trade.

fed vix chart

The case made that supports this idea is that investors are engaging in more risk on behavior, because they are basing their decisions based on the Federal Reserve’s prior balance sheet expansion programs (QE 1-3).

Because the Fed is purchasing T-bills, they have eased some of the money market pressures. Liquidity in the market has proven to be a positive catalyst to the market.

Why do I believe this?

It can’t be the trade deal.

That’s the only other source that has been moving the markets higher according to many daily stock market new reporters. And I don’t believe these markets are pushing higher on hopes of a trade deal.

I think the Fed’s easy money policies have once again eased tensions. For now.

A lesson to me

This whole scenario has taught me a valuable lesson about position sizing. I’ve learned to not be so overconfident in my predictions.

Every trade made is a small bet. Each bet will abide by the Kelly criterion.

Never go all in.

Grow your money slowly and strategically.

Live to trade another day.

Read

Barton_options on Twitter has been a great resource for me to learn more about the Federal Reserve operations and how it relates to the Treasury and the overall economy.

He recently wrote about this in a newsletter you can read here.

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Author: Trader Court

CPA first, pivoted to python programmer focused on data science which I apply to my own stock and options trading.

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