A $1.9 Trillion Options Expiration Is Crucial Moment for Stock Hedgers

As if another inflation shock and earnings drama at big banks weren’t enough for stock investors, Friday brings a critical moment where many option traders must decide their next move on hedging.

About $1.9 trillion of options are set to expire, obliging investors to either roll over existing positions or start new ones. The monthly event includes $925 billion of S&P 500-linked contracts and $395 billion of derivatives across single stocks scheduled to run out, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates.

With the S&P 500 down more than 20% from its January peak, a question looming large is how much insurance a long investor actually needs. Intraday volatility has whipped up this week -- though that included two straight sessions in which the Nasdaq 100 reversed major dips. The decision of whether to renew hedges is a complicated one for professional speculators.