Daily Brief For November 18, 2022

Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.

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Graphic updated 9:00 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to 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.


A short commentary today after Wednesday’s detailed letter. Take a look at that letter and, some of the below, for context on what we are likely to discuss next. If you are pressed for time, focus on the bolded statements. Have a good weekend!


Keeping with the spirit of Wednesday’s ultra-detailed newsletter.

A key point in that letter was traders’ increased activity across short-term options and “anchoring to key areas such as $4,000.00 in the S&P 500.” This activity, in the face of a multi-week price rise, told us a lot about the state of the market. In short, the bigger participants, some of whom move by a committee and seldom respond to technical nuances, were probably waiting for more information before entering.

For that reason, our key S&P levels, quoted in recent letters, are holding.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

That’s part of the big point we have attempted to get across, recently. Traders “have been flocking to short-dated contracts to cope with the market whiplash of late, an activity that has exerted outsize impact on the underlying equities,” per Bloomberg. Per data shown by SpotGamma, concentrations in these options have prompted pinning near key areas like $4,000.00 in the S&P, before its descent on Thursday.

You can go to Wednesday’s letter for the detailed explanation but, in short, the reach for positive exposure to the upside (+Delta) lent to recent market relief. Then, per the sales of volatility, just this last week, the sentiment changed to a wait-and-see stance.

Graphic: Retrieved from JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

As already stated, this wait-and-see stance was expressed through short-dated options that are highly sensitive to changes in direction (i.e., these options can go from having a lot of value or Delta to little, over a short window of time). This sensitivity is expressed via the higher Gamma of near-the-money options.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

For a quick check of how sticky these areas may be, one has to look at the level of +Gamma which has been on an uptrend.

As traders wait for more information and take bets against the market movement (i.e., volatility is sold or -Gamma) counterparties take on more +Gamma (i.e., their side of the bet does better when the market moves).

In hedging this +Gamma, counterparties reduce market movement (i.e., counterparty buy call and sell [buy] futures into price rise [dip]).

The shorter-dated the options, the more sensitive they are; options values (or Delta) can rise or fall quickly as Gamma increases when time passes. That may mean that the reaction results in movement reducing (further), and pinning near key areas.

Again, see Wednesday’s ultra-detailed newsletter for more detail.

Graphic: Taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. 

Another consequence, as picked up by individuals online including Darrin John, the S&P 500’s realized volatility (RVOL) “is so high” with “a basket of 500 of the ‘best’ stocks in the US [wildly] swing[ing] +5% in a single day,” while the S&P 500 is relatively mute, or your letter writer sees it.

That’s because of the following:

If there are forces that are pinning the S&P 500, all the while there are arbitrage constraints connecting its wilder components (in which traders are more uncertain and actively betting on direction and hedging), then correlation must suffer.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

In the face of brewing uncertainties, reflected in index put options activity that has translated “to an uptick in open interest at $3,900.00 and $3,950.00” in the S&P 500, per SpotGamma, -Gamma has increased.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). “Broadly, hedge funds’ net leverage, a gauge of risk appetite that measures the industry’s long versus short positions, sat in the 24th percentile of a one-year range, Goldman data show.”

If you take the statements about +Gamma above and reverse them, the opposite happens. With less +Gamma in the market, the result is less dislocation and index movement that is more in line with its wilder underlying components, hence the measured whipsaw, yesterday.

Anyways, today there’s a “$2.1 trillion options expiration” that will clear the deck of some of that sticky +Gamma we talked about earlier. Per SpotGamma, dealers are likely to react in a manner that “allows the market to move more.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

One could construe that as bearish but it may pay more to not do so. The market is trading in a period during which there’s less liquidity. That may mean this hedging, for one, may result in continued support. The Holiday period pulls forward Delta buyback linked to options’ decay with respect to the passage of time (Charm). Therefore, per SpotGamma, weakness after expiration likely is contained.

“The potential for more violent downside (i.e., new YTD lows) increases into the end of the month and early December due to the large December options expiration.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma.

For that reason, with “[l]​​ow skew and vol-of-vol,” entering trades that are convex and change non-linearly with respect to changes in underlying implied volatility (IVOL) and direction, are attractive.

That’s because of the following dynamics:

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the underlying, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Gamma). When you think there is to be an outsized move in the implied volatility, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Volga). If there is a large enough change in direction (RVOL) or IVOL, you may make money.

Graphic: Retrieved from Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN).


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

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,000.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,027.00, $4,069.25, and $4,136.75. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,965.25, $3,923.00, and $3,871.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. 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.


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.


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 writes options market analyses at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga journalist. 

His past works include private discussions with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the Lithuanian Delegation’s Aušrinė Armonaitė, among many others.


Direct queries to or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.


Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

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