The ‘50 Cent’ Buyer Seeks Protection From a Volatility Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Stocks aren’t moving much as President Donald Trump encroaches on the independence of the Federal Reserve and threatens to escalate a trade war with China.

That sounds to some like a time to hedge just a lil’ bit.

Trading patterns associated with the volatility buyer dubbed “50 Cent” emerged at 9:49 a.m. New York time Friday, as 20,000 VIX call options with a strike price of 30 that expire in September were bought for $0.51 apiece.

The ‘50 Cent’ Buyer Seeks Protection From a Volatility Surge

These derivatives will be in the money should the Cboe Volatility Index, currently trading just shy of 13, surge to levels unseen since February. This metric, known as the VIX and often called Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” tracks the implied swings in the S&P 500 Index over the next month. Because of the buyer’s penchant for purchasing at a fixed price (close to 50 cents), strategists believe this buying is part of a hedging strategy with a fixed budget, designed to cushion the blow in the event of market turmoil.

According to Macro Risk Advisors, Fiddy’s hedging program restarted in late April after a $200 million gain when volatility went haywire earlier this year, a tumult that led to the closure of some exchange-traded products that bet on market calm.

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