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After a rocky end to 2022, the result of rebalances and repositioning, stocks rallied in the face of incredibly bearish sentiment and off-sides positioning. The detailed Daily Brief for January 24 discussed this context.
Presently, the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) is riding above an important inflection (i.e., the 200-day simple moving average) which is a trigger for many traders to flip to owning stocks. At the same time, implied volatility (IVOL), as measured by measures such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), is trending higher, and that’s, in part, a result of options hedging in a lower liquidity environment.
Anyways, little is expected to change until the middle of February, this letter quoted Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan stating, yesterday. Following mid-February, a window for weakness opens. This could be a problem for some traders who are short volatility.
The reason being is as follows. Traders’ disinterest in hedging downside leaves them offside should the market drop quickly. Consequently, the demand for hedges (puts) will coincide with a re-pricing in IVOL dangerous to anyone who is short volatility.
Given the unstable SPX and VIX up environment, attractive trades provide exposure to the upside while limiting the downside. Structures such as call butterflies or ratio spreads, as included in yesterday’s letter, may work well.
In yesterday’s example, owning the 20-point FEB 1×2 Tesla Call Ratio Spread resulted in about 400% profit in the span of 14 days or so (i.e., $0.20 db → $1.00 cr). The loss was limited* to about $20.00 at entry while the exit was marked in excess of $100.00.
*Note that losses can exceed the entry debit should the underlying stock trade very far beyond the ratio spread’s short strikes.
Similar trades can be structured in the indexes such as the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) where there is a steeper skew that may enable us to collect more credit in the options we are short, helping us lower the cost of the entire spread we own.
If you’re leaning toward the indexes, then you may avoid some of the volatility we saw yesterday when large swaths of stocks on the Intercontinental Exchange Inc-owned (NYSE: ICE) New York Stock Exchange commenced trading with an open book some reports have suggested.
As SpotGamma explained yesterday, “movement-reducing hedging activities” in the indexes “can mask realized volatility (RV) under the hood in single stocks.” Therefore, your index positions may be better isolated from what’s going on under the hood.
As of 8:00 AM ET, Wednesday’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, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.
Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,998.25.
Key levels to the upside include $4,011.75, $4,028.75, and $4,045.75.
Key levels to the downside include $3,988.25, $3,979.75, and $3,965.25.
Click here to load updated key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. All levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will be identified by low-volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.
If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.
MCPOCs: Denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
In short, Renato Leonard Capelj is an economics graduate working in finance and journalism.
Capelj spends most of his time as the founder of Physik Invest through which he invests and publishes daily analyses to subscribers, some of whom represent well-known institutions.
Past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Direct queries to firstname.lastname@example.org or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.
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Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.