Clients Bullish on Stocks and Gold as Stimulus Reigns, OCBC Says

Bullish options trades on U.S. stocks, gold and silver have become popular as investors parse potential outcomes in the recovery from Covid-19, according to OCBC Securities.

Institutional clients in particular have been making bets via options on a rise in the price of assets that would benefit in a world awash in cash, according to Keeve Tan, OCBC Securities’ head of futures and FX.

“Recently we have seen a lot of institutional clients putting on calls — long calls — primarily on S&P futures, and long calls on silver and gold,” Tan said in an interview.

While the stocks trade would usually be regarded as risk-on and the metals one as risk-off, Tan said they both fit the theme of potential winners in a world flooded with stimulus.

Central banks and governments worldwide have thrown trillions of dollars of stimulus to mitigate the devastation caused by the pandemic and to ensure adequate liquidity in the financial system. The gush of cash will likely boost stocks, hurt currencies like the U.S. dollar and lift gold as a store of value.

Tan also expects volatility to ebb. He said the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, appears to be following a pattern seen during the Global Financial Crisis, when it peaked above 80 before dropping back to form smaller spikes afterward.

The so-called fear gauge closed Thursday at 32.22, compared with its lifetime average around 19.4. It isn’t typical human behavior to “stay scared,” Tan said, adding that people might be frightened for a time but eventually adjust to new paradigms like the one created by the pandemic.

“Coming to terms with the new reality of the economy will cause the VIX to return to its normal level,” he said.

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