As a long-time CBOE market maker, I’ve been very disappointed in how my ‘home’ exchange has handled SPX options. Obviously they didn’t care because this is a trading vehicle with world-wide support and fantastic trading volume.
Nevertheless, change is in the air and I love it. In fact, I plan to switch from trading the more volatile RUT options to trading SPX options, once the changes described below are made.
Goodbye to AM Settled SPX Options
I recently discussed the fact that the CBOE quietly transformed their Weeklys SPX options from morning settlement to afternoon settlement.
I also expressed displeasure with the perceived unfairness of morning settlement, where the settlement price is often very different from ‘reality.’
It appears that the CBOE is coming to its senses:
CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) announced plans today to list on C2, the company’s new alternative exchange, an electronically-traded version of its flagship S&P 500 Index option (SPX), which it is calling “SPXpm.” The Company submitted a rule filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today and plans to list SPXpm upon SEC approval.
Under the proposed rule change filed with the SEC, SPXpm will be identical in structure to CBOE’s traditional SPX index option product, except it will have “p.m.” settlement.
A press release is available with more information.
I’m pleased to see the original Options Exchange realize that the 21st century arrived more than a decade ago. Electronic trading is mandatory. Eliminating morning settlement makes this product viable to me. I avoided SPX options because of the lack of electronic markets and the unfairness (that’s a kind word for ‘stupidity’) of the method chosen as the settlement price for expiring options.
CBOE: Good luck and I wish you well with your new, improved product – when it gets approval for trading.
Another CBOE product is worthy of special notice
The CBOE has begun listing SKEW indexes. Here’s the quote from the http://www.cboe.com/micro/skew/introduction.aspx:
CBOE SKEW Indexes
View The Press Release – CBOE to Begin Publishing Values for CBOE S&P 500 Skew Index
Introduction to CBOE SKEW Index (“SKEW”)
The crash of October 1987 sensitized investors to the potential for stock market crashes and forever changed their view of S&P 500® returns. Investors now realize that S&P 500 tail risk – the risk of outlier returns two or more standard deviations below the mean – is significantly greater than under a lognormal distribution.
The CBOE SKEW Index (“SKEW”) is an index derived from the price of S&P 500 tail risk. Similar to VIX®, the price of S&P 500 tail risk is calculated from the prices of S&P 500 out-of-the-money options. SKEW typically ranges from 100 to 150. A SKEW value of 100 means that the perceived distribution of S&P 500 log-returns is normal, and the probability of outlier returns is therefore negligible. As SKEW rises above 100, the left tail of the S&P 500 distribution acquires more weight, and the probabilities of outlier returns become more significant.
One can estimate these probabilities from the value of SKEW. Since an increase in perceived tail risk increases the relative demand for low strike puts, increases in SKEW also correspond to an overall steepening of the curve of implied volatilities, familiar to option traders as the “skew”.
I’m glad to see this index is being published.