Sterling Market Commentary for March 12th, 2012

A Look at Friday’s Market:  The overall market moved slightly higher on Friday in a relatively broad based move that saw the majority of the indices I track move higher as well.  In the commodities markets, Oil was higher by $0.82 to $107.40 per barrel, and Gold was higher by $12.80 to $1,711.50 per ounce.  In the grains market, Wheat was higher by $0.082 to $6.43 per bushel, while Corn was higher by $0.094 to $6.450 per bushel, and Soybeans were lower by $0.006 to $13.376 per bushel.

A Few Thoughts on Monday’s Markets:  In looking at the charts from Friday’s trading activity there was not a whole lot to see, it was pretty much a dull market.  There really was not a whole lot to see, with many of the sector indices and individual stocks are somewhere between support and resistance.  Basically a lot of sideways movement, but not a lot of clear breakouts to the upside or downside.  There has been a definite decrease in the volatility in the markets this year.  While this decreased volatility has gotten a minor amount of coverage in the press, one of the consistent themes for this decreased volatility is the upcoming “Volker Rule,” and that many of the big banks and investment banking firms have curtailed their proprietary trading operations.  I definitely believe that time will tell on this topic, I do think the volatility last fall had gotten out of hand, and that sort of volatility can do long term damage to the market. While I still have some mixed feelings about the Volker Rule, I think any reduction in volatility, if it can be legitimately attributed to the Volker Rule, is more of an unintended consequence than a designed effect.

This week is options expiration week, and it is a quadruple witching week, so I am looking for some volatility around mid-week as traders reposition ahead of options expiration.

On my covered puts and calls, I will be starting to enter the April contracts this week.