High Yield Options Update: 4257 Puts, 4 Calls - Do Stocks Have a 150 Point Implied Downward Vacuum?

The shift in risk perception is on. While stock are not quite feeling it yet (they will), today's fulcrum security appears to be high yield debt, as tracked by the JNK ETF. A quick look at the most active options classes page shows something surprising: as of 2:30pm Eastern roughly 4250 puts had trade, compared to.... 4 calls. Yet while investors have certainly turned sour on junk very rapidly, they should be far more bearish on stocks. Not only have stocks outperformaed bonds far more during the QE2 rally (as expected), but a simple correlation model accounting for empirical beta confirms that the SPY is almost 12% rich to fair value as implied by the JNK. Which means that if investors are really bearish on high yield to the tune of 4250 to 4, they should be far more bearish on the stock market.

And, as credit trader points out, comparing the actual and the implied value of the SPY based on JNK trading values, shows a very profound divergence.


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