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S&P 500 VIX Mar '19 (VIH19)

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S&P 500 VIX Futures Market News and Commentary

U.S. Stock Indexes See Support From Some Trade Optimism

The S&P 500 Index ($SPX) this morning is up +5.64 (+0.19%), the Dow Jones Industrials Index ($DOWI) is up +72.05 (+0.27), and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) is down -6.01 (-0.08%). U.S. stock indexes are mixed this morning as an easing of U.S./China trade tensions is boosting the overall market, although a 4% plunge in Netflix is dragging the Nasdaq 100 Index lower. Stocks have support from some trade optimism after President Trump said today that "China wants to make a deal." Trade negotiators from the U.S. and China resume meetings in Washington D.C. for a second day today. The negotiations are expected to lay the groundwork for top-level negotiations among Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in October. The markets are hoping for at least an "interim" agreement whereby President Trump agrees to hold off on new tariffs planned for Oct 15 and Dec 15, and a possible roll-back of the Sep 1 tariffs, in return for Chinese ag purchases and commitments on IP protection. Stocks are also seeing support from action by China's central bank (PBOC) to boost stimulus measures with today's -5 bp cut in the 1-year reference rate for bank loans to 4.20% from 4.25%. Strength in energy stocks today is also giving a lift to the overall market with crude oil prices up more than 1% today. Weakness in technology stocks is undercutting the broad market today, led by a 4% drop in Netflix, after analysts at Evercore said recent "softer recent data paints an uncertain future" of international subscriber growth. Hawkish comments today by Boston Fed President Rosengren suggest he is not in favor of additional Fed easing when he said that "additional accommodation is not needed where labor markets are already tight and risks further inflating the price of riskier assets, and encouraging households and firms to take on what may be too much leverage." Geopolitical risks remain high in the Middle East, which is limiting the upside in stocks, after President Trump today declined to say if he's planning for military action against Iran in retaliation for last Saturday's attacks on Saudi oil facilities, although he did say the U.S. Treasury will impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran. There is the possibility of limited military strikes by the U.S. and/or Saudi Arabia on Iranian military and oil targets over the weekend. The VIX S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) today is down by -0.47 to 13.58%, just above Thursday's 1-1/2 month low of 13.31%. The VIX continues to consolidate between the late-July 4-3/4 month low of 11.69% and the early-Aug 8-1/4 month high of 24.81%.
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