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Daily Brief For September 20, 2022

Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 6:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

A hot topic over the past sessions is speculation on the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) next steps and the impact those steps may have.

Further, in the news, last night, aside from the prospects of another big hike, was “the biggest annual increase since 1994” in two-year Treasury yields. That’s in part due to recent upside surprises in inflation talked about yesterday and last week.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. US Government Bonds 2 YR Yield and Fed Funds.

Per the CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool, there’s a near-80% chance of a 50 to 75 basis point bump to the target rate, as the Fed looks to stem inflation.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME).

This is all the while the Fed will let their Treasuries mature and, “instead of using the proceeds to buy another Treasury,” they will “buy nothing and reduce their balance sheet,” explained the Damped Spring’s Andy Constan.

Accordingly, “to pay that bond off, the US Treasury has to issue a bond,” and this bond will need to be “bought by the private sector” which has “to sell something to buy the bond, and that starts at the riskiest asset,” like crypto, watches, and cars, for instance.

Let’s unpack this further, below.

The transmission mechanism of quantitative easing (QE) and tightening (QT) is very weak “to economic activity but very strong to financial markets.”

In a detailed explainer, initially quoted in the September 16 letter, we learned “QE creates new reserves on bank balance sheets. The added cushion gives banks … more room to lend or to finance trading activity by hedge funds, … further enhancing market liquidity.”

Therefore, QE (QT) will mildly inflate (deflate) the economy as asset owners are pushed further out (in) on the risk curve. In practice, with QE, owners get pushed from Treasury to corporate bonds, bonds to equities, equities to crypto, and, finally, homes, watches, cars, and beyond.

With QT, as put forth, earlier, the reverse happens.

As Joseph Wang, author of Central Banking 101, said, in short, with QT “consumers have less wealth to spend” and this means that drops in financial markets and the tightening of “financial conditions impact the real economy,” negatively, albeit not as harshly as a rise in interest rates.

Unpacking further, with the Treasury set to increase issuance, thus boosting the government’s checking account, or Treasury General Account (TGA), “the level of reserves in the banking system declines, or the level of RRP could also decline,” Wang added.

This is as all of the above are liabilities to the Fed. Therefore, money comes out of the economy, via a fall in reserves, and this is put into the government’s checking account (TGA boost).

The linked reduction in bank deposits and reserves bolsters “repurchase agreement rates and borrowing benchmarks linked to them,” per Bloomberg. This, then, may play into “an additional tightening of overall financial conditions,” as mentioned, earlier.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Here’s a provision.

It’s the case that the Fed believes it needs a certain level of reserves for the proper functioning of the financial system (~$2 trillion). Wang explained that in 2019, banks dumped a lot of their reserves into repo to earn some extra return. 

When QT was about to end, there was less money in their reserves which preceded a spike in rates and a blow-up among those who needed the money the most, as explained here.

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg.

“The Fed saw the system breaking at around 8% GDP and thinks that is where the limit is,” he added. “This suggests, going forward, the Fed is going to have to do something to top up the reserves in the banking system, and they have tools to do that.”

What’s the result, then?

These tools include capping the RRP, “forcing money out into the banking system,” as well as modifying the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR), making it “cheaper for banks to maintain a large balance sheet.”

Together, this, ultimately, may increase “the capacity of banks to make loans [and] create credit, so that is financial easing.”

As Wang said in another work best: These “easing effects may even overwhelm the tightening impact of a marginally longer QT.”

So, what can we expect? 

In terms of timelines, Wang puts forth that economic data will likely prompt a mid-2023 cut in rates, which is in line with what the futures market is pricing.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME).

Before then, traders are pricing nearly 225 to 250 basis points of rate increases. Based on where rates are at, now, some argue the market may still be too expensive.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg via Michael J. Kramer. “What is amazing is how expensive this market is relative to rates. The spread between the S&P 500 Earnings yield and the 10-Yr nominal rate is at multi-year lows.”

Positioning

We’ve talked about this before but what is expected, after Wednesday’s Fed update, is a move that is “structural,” as Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan has put it before, and “a function of inevitable rebalancing of dealer inventory post-event.”

“The second move and final resolution, if you wait for it, is usually tied to the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT).”

Should participants’ fears with respect to the pace of tightening, for one, be assuaged, then it is likely that the protection demanded heading into the meeting, that’s bidding measures of implied volatility (IVOL), is supplied. This likely provides a boost.

From thereon, markets are more at the whims of macro-type positioning on rising rates and the withdrawal of liquidity.

Technical

As of 6:20 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

Any activity above the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,936.25 ONH. Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $3,964.75 HVNode and $4,001.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,885.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,857.25 and $3,826.25 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

2 replies on “Daily Brief For September 20, 2022”

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