Always consider hidden risks
SP500 CBOE SKEW Index: Hedging the Tail Risk?
March 22 2016 ( From  TradeView, CBOE, Stockcharts )
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​​The Situation

​​Financial assets like the SP500 had a very good performance indeed til August 2015 when the market shifted to a risk off pattern... Usually the market is following the VIX Index in search of risk factor.

​​But a less know Index, the SKEW Index from CBOE can tell us a different story from time to time...

SP500 CBOE SKEW Index: Hedging the Tail Risk?  $SPY,  $VIX  #Trading #Investing #SP500 #vix #skew
​20 DMA ( Red Line ) 50 DMA ( Green Line )
SP500 ( Candles - Bottom Panel )​
The CBOE Skew IndexSM - referred to as "SKEW" – is an option-based indicator that measures the perceived tail risk of the distribution of S&P 500 ® log returns at a 30- day horizon. Tail risk is the risk associated with an increase in the probability of outlier returns, returns two or more standard deviations below the mean.

For more details: ​​CBOE SKEW INDEX FAQ

The value of SKEW increases with the tail risk of S&P 500 returns.

​​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.

​​SKEW and VIX are different and complementary measures of the risk of 30-day S&P 500 returns. VIX is a close proxy for the standard deviation of those returns. The standard deviation describes the average spread of the distribution of returns around its mean. This is not a sufficient measure of risk because the distribution of S&P 500 log returns is not normal. SKEW describes the tail risk of the distribution. The daily values of SKEW and VIX are uncorrelated, but the range of SKEW tends to narrows for extreme values of VIX.

​​​​The option market is telling us to expect the market to an atypical return profile since the SKEW is rising since February 29 2016 and that the 20 and 50 DMAs (Day Moving Averages) are heading higher. The 20 DMA on the SKEW (Red Line on the chart below) is reaching the levels not seen since February 17 2016 and at near levels where we had previous corrections on the SP500. ​(See 1rst chart below - Yellow Horizontal Line and Ellipses)

That tells me that the participants are starting the hedging phase with some protective options plays with the SP500 at that level.That is not surprising because of the high uncertainties associated with international risks now (Emerging Markets, China, US Dollar weakness...) Previous complacency time in the Mighty SP500 have been associated with lower level of SKEW - few options protection needed.

​​But the most interesting technical factor is that at the time when the SKEW is rising at the highest level in 2016, the Mighty SP500 is getting near the Major Resistance Trendline that started back since November 3 2015. (See chart below - Bottom Panel - Blue Trendline  - Ellipse).

​​But the SKEW to VIX ratio (see chart below -  Red Line) is at the moment getting near ​a level were in the past have been associated with short term peaks in the SP500 and is now testing the Major Resistance Trendline that started back since July 7 2014.  (See chart below - Bottom Panel - Blue Trendline  - Ellipse).

But the most interesting technical factor is that at the time when the SKEW is rising at the highest level in 2016, that bring that SKEW to VIX ratio behavior the same as what happened in November 2 2015 and December 1 and 29 2015; some options protection needed by market participants because SP500 reaching its resistance zone ...   ​
​(See Chart Below - Bottom Panel - Yellow Trendline)

​That shows how Market Participants are not in full comfort mode and looks like same behavior at previous minor peaks on SP500 at those levels and starting to see too much bullishness on a short term basis....​​

​CBOE SKEW INDEX​ vs CBOE VIX INDEX ( Grey Line ) 7 DMA ( Red Line )
SP500 ( Candles - Bottom Panel)​