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When Technicals Drive The Market

15 November 2017 by lberuti

Today was a pretty choppy session on credit indices, especially in Europe. The morning was really weak as the earning call of ASTIM (Astaldi) went down very poorly with investors. That name was indicated 15pts wider during the first exchanges, and it put pressure on the whole iTraxx Crossover complex. The index seemed then on its way to breach 260 and was dangerously close to the 262.5bps level, an important strike for options that were maturing today. Indeed, market makers were net sellers of options struck at that level and had to buy protection to hedge themselves, adding to the market momentum. But the widening stalled during the morning – sellers of protection eventually surfaced, enticed by the extra 30bps that were on offer compared with the tightest levels reached this month – and in the afternoon it became obvious that the (in)famous 262.5bps would not be breached, forcing option market makers to sell the protection they had bought earlier in the day. So much so, that iTraxx Crossover closed almost unchanged to conclude a very technical session.