02.21.2012
By Markets Media

Volatility Increases Despite Upside

Tuesday’s trading brought anxious traders back into the market in full force as the Dow Jones Industrial Average cruised above 13,000 for a brief moment during intraday trading. Despite the historical cross, the anticipated buying from the retail crowd couldn’t combat professional proprietary traders and institutions that backed off and sold into the day’s close.

Still, the Dow closed up 16 points at 19,966 and the S&P 500 gained a point to rest at 1362, well above the 1358 level of technical support.

The debate remains whether the market has topped or has room to continue pushing higher. One indication that traders may be backing off includes recent earnings report misses from blue chip or large cap companies including Dell. The other is the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX). The VIX spiked 4.6% today climbing to 18.4 and despite remaining below 20, some traders, including Tom Grisafi of Indiana Grain Co., are buying VIX futures as a hedge against increased selling in equities.

Clearly traders are open to more volatility in the markets. Trader Steve Magee said on Twitter: “We need a 3-5% sell off in order to go higher. Would like to see it anyway to get some more volatility.”

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