Market Maker Move: A Coiled Spring Indicator for Traders

If you like to trade earnings and swing for the fences, you need to check out the feature in thinkorswim® that can clue you into potential moves.

Print
https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/market maker move stock trading indicator thinkorswim
2 min read

When researching potential movers with upcoming earnings announcements, you can start your due diligence by going to the Calendar feature in the MarketWatch page of thinkorswim, where you’ll see what companies are up for earnings releases. Then view the Market Maker Move (MMM) to see which “swing for the fences” trade might carry the ball furthest.

Located in the upper-right-hand side of the Trade page when visible, the MMM is a measure of the expected magnitude of price movement based on market volatility. This doesn’t mean that it measures expected movement, but rather the implied move in dollars versus percent (to help the mathematically challenged) based on the volatility differential between the front and back month.

This is useful in cases where an event (i.e. earnings) takes place in the front month and you would like to estimate the implied move due to that event between now and the front-month expiration.

How It Works

The MMM looks at options-pricing models backwards. It uses current option pricing to “reverse engineer” an estimate of the potential daily price movement of an underlying instrument based on assumptions about implied volatility. How it’s calculated is our version of the Colonel’s Secret Recipe, so we can’t give it away. But broadly, we arrive at this calculation by using stock price, volatility differential, and time to expiration.

Now, you won’t always see the MMM quote. If the volatility differential is positive, the MMM will be displayed. If negative, it will not. In other words, if the near term expiration has greater volatility than the back month, the MMM value will show.

One caveat: notice we didn’t say that the stock would go up when the MMM is displayed. Only that it has the potential to move—up or down. So don’t go loading up on long calls just because the big yellow button appears when earnings happen to be around the corner. It’s not a crystal ball. So do the work and figure out the best strategy based on what you can afford to lose, not what you expect to make! 

market maker move thinkorswim

FIGURE 1: PAINT BY NUMBER. The Market Maker Move on TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim® platform clues you into stocks with potentially bigger moves (up or down) based on comparing front-month to back-month volatility. For illustrative purposes only.

Call Us
800-454-9272

TD Ameritrade does not make recommendations or determine the suitability of any security, strategy or course of action, for you through your use of its trading tools. Any investment decision you make in your self-directed account is solely your responsibility. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal.

adChoicesAdChoices

Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.

Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.

The information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2018 TD Ameritrade.

Scroll to Top