A Rocky Week for the Russell 2000!

The Russell 2000 similar to the broader market, whipped around this week. The Index closed last night (Thursday)  around the low of the day – 1,204.74.

Early today (Friday) RUT is barely budging at 1,205, but the options are really on the move.

The CBOE RVX, which measures implied volatility going 30 days out, also has an anxious feel this week. The RVX Index topped 21 earlier this week, closed last night at 18.54 and today is 18.62 as uncertainty builds about what’s next for RUT and the rest of the stock market.

Options trading this week was heavier on the put side than the call side as money managers, traders and average investors appear to be hedging with put options contracts to protect a long stock portfolio. That tends to be a popular strategy.  

A stock worth highlighting this week is Agile Therapeutics (AGRX). The company manufactures drugs focused on females. Agile was just added to the Russell in June and produced earnings last night.  Shares fell more than 5% yesterday, but the stock is bouncing back nicely today up nearly 5% to $8.90. AGRX IPO’d at $6 last year and is now trading above $8, which shows foresight by Russell Managers.

The headline story of the week was China devaluing its currency allowing the Asian nation to sell more products to other countries at lower prices but, raising fears about China’s economy. Russell revenues mostly come from American companies. That could bode well for the smaller regional financial firms in the Russell that don’t have big exposure to China including Bank of California (BANC) and Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK) both stocks were up yesterday.

In Russell 2000 options action…

The straddle implies 1.7% move up or down by options expiration next week. Puts are especially active at 1,200 and calls at 1,225. The put/call ratio is 1:2, with puts outpacing calls.

Don’t miss my broadcast on CBOETV.com today.

Click now to find out more about the scramble to purchase put contracts. Pro Options Trader James Ramelli joins me to explain. Thank you for watching, I’m Angela Miles @AngieMiles on Twitter.