We saw options trading become the hottest thing in trading in 2020 and the trend continues. The crowd has gone from trading stocks to trading options, in size. As Chris Cole of Artemis pointed out in 2020, “the stock market has become the derivative of the options market”. Everybody is all in trading options, but few understand what they actually trade, at least not all the retail punters (and actually not many portfolio managers have a clue abut options trading) . People that have never traded a “real” vol book write about gamma, vanna, charm and other exotic greeks, but you need to have experienced exploding gamma risks etc in order to truly understand how options work. Have you ever been long downside puts that were “booked” at zero (no delta), and then suddenly the stock profits warns and tanks 20/30%, or worse, short downside and the company profit warns on expiration day? That is “practical” experience from gamma holes and much more.
The technological development has made options trading accessible to everyone, and Fed’s actions spilled over to the bubble that has fed over to all these new retail options punters. There is absolutely nothing wrong with options (we at TME have traded them for 2-3 decades), but nobody has seen the explosion of options trading like we have seen over the past year, and it ain’t stopping.
Below are the top three charts showing current options mania;
1, total options volume surging and single name calls over puts at multi decade highs, 2, not only do people love calls and hate puts, but as we showed yesterday, selling naked puts seems in fashion 3, the “dispersion ” of options volumes across single stock and index level and finally flows matter more than fundamentals…
(For educational purposes grab Natenberg’s classical book on options trading, and for the more complex stuff read Taleb’s “Dynamic hedging”).