From wsj.com’s “U.S. Stock Futures Waver as Investors Brace for Volatile Trading” posted early Friday:
U.S. stock futures wavered Friday ahead of the simultaneous expiration of an array of stock futures and options contracts that could result in increased volatility.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 wavered between losses and gains. The benchmark may still be on track to eke out a tepid gain for the week, despite two consecutive days of declines. Contracts tied to the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.4%.
The occurrence of so-called quadruple witching—when both futures and options linked to individual stocks and to stock indexes expire on the same day—means investors are braced for a choppy session. A surge in options trading targeted at giant tech stocks by both small and large investors have also been magnifying the market’s ups and downs in recent days.
“It is normally a day where you’re glued to your screen and you’re watching for volatility,” said Altaf Kassam, head of investment strategy for State Street Global Advisors in Europe. “We’ve had an abnormal amount of options on single stocks, so you might see some movement in single stocks.”
Big swings in some of the major technology stocks on Friday could also lead to volatility in the benchmark indexes, which are dominated by the so-called FAANG stocks, made up of Facebook, Apple, Amazon.com, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet, he said.
My take: Four witches, again. Buckle your seatbelts.