Instead of allocating capital to expensive tail risk bets on direct asset class collapse (in equities, credit, and commodities), it appears, just as we detailed previously, the ‘smartest money in the room’ is “betting” indirectly on a stock market crash through eurodollar options.

just as we detailed previously the costs of tail risk protection in credit and equity markets are soaring (and perhaps the crash in global financial stocks and spike in systemic credit risk supports that concerning possibility).

And so traders are looking for cheaper alternatives to place large bets on significant downside in over-inflated assets.

just as we detailed previously since the Fed folded in September (under the same conditions that are playing out now), basically admitting it is terrified to raise rates and willing to backtrack due to market fragility, IceFarm Capital’s Michael Green explains, it appears many market participants are piling into par Eurodollar calls:

[the chart shows the cumulative open interest in par calls on eurodollar futures contracts that expire in 2016 and 2017 – basically options on short-term interest rates with a strike price of zero, such that they pay out if the Fed takes rates negative]

When queried whether this is indeed a trade to bet on a market drop, Michael Green responded as follows:

[A reader] thought this might be an attempt by hedge funds to hedge out their exposure to rising interest rates very cheaply.

My initial idea was that it actually could be a bet on negative rates (if for some reason the Fed had to come back into the picture with QE4).

The bottom line:

“Deep OTM puts on the S&P are very expensive while par ED calls are relatively cheap.

In my view, we are that inflection point where the Fed is going to start to waffle…the bear market beckons and they will not be able to stick with their interest rate guidance. Of course, markets tend to frown on Central Bankers revealed as less than omniscient…

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