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Options Turn Upheavals Into a Mid-Month Sure Thing for S&P 500

  • Unprecedented activity spurs hedging by market makers
  • Skeptics say focus on dealer trades is too tidy an explanation

Photographer: Pichsakul Promrungsee/EyeEm/Getty Images

What can you say about a stock market grown so predictable that even its bouts of chaos now occur at regular intervals? A lot, when options whizzes get involved.

A mid-month storm of volatility has emerged as a semi-predictable occurrence recently, a presence once recognizable only to specialists but now drawing the attention of an ever-larger crowd on Wall Street.