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Morning Update

US Continuing jobless claims rose less than expected to 370,000 versus the consensus estimate of 365,000 and last week’s reading of 357,000. This initially sent S&P 500 futures up this morning, though these gains were quickly reversed when the ECB revealed that interest rates would remain unchanged and that no bond buying program would be immediately implemented. However, Draghi did say that the ECB could buy short dated bonds in the future. This decision will continue to drive European cash into the US markets, making it bullish for US Treasuries and ETFs like TLT and the US dollar.

We suggest continuing to hold high quality US equities and hedging that with a long SPY put position. This put will minimize losses from holding stocks but is also a way to gain long exposure to volatility. When the market sells off volatility rapidly increases, making volatility an ideal stock hedge. Out of the money puts give your portfolio the ability to profit from increases in volatility and make it easier to stomach the wild swings of the market.

This morning the CBOE released an earnings beat of $0.44 EPS versus $0.407 expected. This stock yields over 2% and trades at under 19 times earnings with no debt and steady cash flows. We recommend selling an out of the money put at a level you would be conformable owning the stock. This position allows investors to profit if the stock goes down a little, remains unchanged, or goes up. Should the stock move through the strike sold the investor will be “put” the stock, making for a good long term entry point. We would not be surprised to see the CBOE initiate a stock buyback program in the future, which would increase shareholder equity and be a catalyst for a bullish move.

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