The day brings another run of earnings reports in what’s overall been a steady and admittedly staid earnings season – many of the high-fliers that investors counted on for volatile trading post-earnings haven’t delivered on that promise, an angle we’ll be exploring in more detail later in the day. Facebook went out with results that weren’t terrible or even all that amazing and shares meandered their way to a 2 percent gain in post-close trading Wednesday (it has since risen and is up 8 percent in premarket action Thursday, so that one has at least panned out for some). Shares of Gilead Sciences bucked the trend among more volatile biotechnology shares and really didn’t do all that much at all.
There have been a few quiet days of trading lately, but today will not be one of them. Friday includes the quarterly expiration of index options and futures and single stock options and futures, and also a huge index rebalancing that will result in a lot of trading at today’s close.
Okay, the year *really* ends today, as the next two weeks will feature a market holiday and some real thin liquidity. Options activity was brisk on Thursday as investors dumped positions ahead of today’s quadruple-witch expiration of index futures and options.