Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 16, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Stock index futures were higher after positive developments, abroad.

According to some reports, the talks between Russia and Ukraine are making progress. This is while China vows to stabilize markets with a promise “to ease a regulatory crackdown, support property, and technology companies and stimulate the economy.”

On the China news, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (INDEX: HSCEI) rose ~13% (in the context of a ~30% 1-month drawdown).

At home, in the U.S., the Federal Reserve is expected to increase rates by a quarter-point, the first since 2018. Markets are pricing up to seven hikes this year.

Ahead is data on retail sales and import prices (8:30 AM ET). The NAHB home builders index and business inventories (10:00 AM ET). As well as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement (2:00 PM ET) and press conference (2:30 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 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 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. 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.

What To Expect

Fundamental: The 60/40 portfolio is headed for its worst performance since the financial crisis of 2008 as assets are hurt by a mix of slowing economic growth and inflation.

Graphic: Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). Stocks and bond relationship upended. Adding, per a Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) survey, participants believe the markets would have to fall 24% (from peak to trough) – $3,636.00 SPX – to solicit a Fed pivot.

Further, this letter has talked about the “bonds down, equities down” phenomenon before. To borrow from letters published over the past two months, in short, over the past 40 or so years, monetary policy was used as a crutch to support the economy. 

Graphic: Via tastytrade. Asset correlations matrix.

This promoted deflation, innovation, and the subsequent rise in valuations.

With rates lifting, that’s a headwind; coupled with participants’ increased exposure to rate and equity market risk, which can play into cross-market hedging and de-leveraging cascades, 60/40 turns into somewhat of a poor hedge.

Why? Let’s back up for a moment.

For an investor to take on additional risk for return, they must receive in excess of the risk-free rate (as provided by the Treasury). This excess is the risk premium.

As Investopedia details well, therefore, “the total return on a stock is the sum of two parts: the risk-free rate and the risk premium.”

Moreover, higher rates and risk premiums increase the required rate of return.

Higher interest rates, basically, decrease the present value of future cash flows, making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

So, at higher rates, shares should fall. At lower rates, shares should rise. Some strategists estimate that annual returns for 60/40 will be less than 5% over the next decade, as a result.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. The FOMC is likely to signal more hikes.

This conversation has me bringing up a conversation I had with Karan Sood, the CEO and Managing Director, Head of Product Development at Cboe Vest Financial LLC.

“Bonds have been giving you really good returns because interest rates have been going down since the 1970s when they peaked at about 11%,” Sood explained to me. 

“That’s changing now; we’re at the zero bound, and it’s unlikely that will be as a strong of a tailwind. Worse, it could be a headwind if interest rates start to rise.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Federal Reserve to raise rates for the first time in years.

In regards to the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, Bloomberg explains that participants ought to receive updates on the pace of buying, as well as the sale of assets.

“That may include setting out caps on how many billions of dollars worth of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities will be allowed to mature every month without reinvestment, something that Powell told Congress earlier this month would be discussed at this meeting.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. S&P 500 participants proactively price in the Federal Reserve’s intent to cut support. It is monetary frameworks and max liquidity that enabled markets to diverge from fundamentals.

Positioning: Based on a comparison of present options positioning and buying metrics, the returns distribution remains skewed positive.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data via SqueezeMetrics.

Pursuant to the buying support remark, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists say pension and sovereign wealth funds, in rebuilding risk-on positions, may boost markets by as much as 10%. 

“It’s the biggest rebalancing since 2020 in terms of buying equities,” JPMorgan strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou said. An inflow of at least $100 billion and as much as $230 billion could trigger gains of between 5% and 10% to global stocks, he said.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “[D]eclines have driven down the value of targeted allocations for the world’s biggest funds, many of which hew to a traditional mix of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. To address the shortfall, they have to buy equities.”

At the same time, expected is further compression of volatility (via the passage of FOMC), as well as the removal of customer puts (and associated hedging pressures) via OPEX (options expiration).

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

To note, there is the potential, according to SpotGamma, for some “path dependency,” as “the expiration and/or covering of a large swath of these put hedges may place the market back into an ‘underhedged’ position.” 

In such a case, new demand would add fuel to weakness.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Gap Scenarios: Gaps ought to fill quickly. Should they not, that’s a signal of strength; do not fade. Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator.

Auctioning and spending at least 1-hour of trade back in the prior range suggests a lack of conviction; in such a case, do not follow the direction of the most recent initiative activity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,285.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,326.25 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,346.75 HVNode and $4,375.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,285.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,249.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,219.00 VPOC and $4,177.25 HVNode, or lower.

Considerations: Push-and-pull, as well as responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart), suggests technically-driven traders with short time horizons are very active. 

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests and, additionally, the type of trade may be indicative of the other time frame participants waiting for more information to initiate trades.

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

Overnight Rally Highs (Lows): Typically, there is a low historical probability associated with overnight rally-highs (lows) ending the upside (downside) discovery process.

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.

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 is also a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, and ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, as well as a SpotGamma contributor developing insights around impactful options market dynamics.

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 11, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures continued lower after the hottest inflation reading in decades and hawkish (i.e., favoring contractionary policy) Fed-speak by St. Louis Fed Chair James Bullard.

Ahead is data on University of Michigan sentiment and inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. 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.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Bonds and equities were sold, yesterday.

This is after the hottest inflation reading in four decades and comments by the Fed’s Bullard that the central bank should hike rates by 100 basis points over the next three meetings.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “This is a heat map produced by the Bloomberg ECAN function, and it shows every indicator relevant to U.S. inflation now well above its recent mean.”

“Bullard’s plan involves spreading the increases over three meetings, shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet starting in the second quarter and then deciding on the path of rates in the second half based on updated data,” Bloomberg explained

“Markets boosted bets on rate hikes, pricing a full percentage-point increase over three meetings, which would require the first 50 basis-point increase since 2000 unless a move was made between Fed meetings.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Further, though this FOMC participant’s more hawkish tilt differs from what the entire committee has committed to, so long as “the market expects it, … the odds of a 50bp hike in March or May are higher.”

This trend in expectations has been worsening with each major macroeconomic event in 2022. The Fed’s Minutes, FOMC meeting, Nonfarm Payrolls, and CPI have all played a part in the disruption of long-term trends in yields which has a negative impact on valuations, to put simply.

Though earnings growth may offset the negative valuation impact of higher rates, as discussed in detail days ago, the yield curve – e.g., spread between 10- and 2-year – is on its way toward an inversion, as is the yield curve measure involving overnight index swaps (OIS).

For context, per Reuters, an “OIS transaction involves exchanging an overnight rate such as the federal funds rate for a fixed one. For instance, in a U.S. 2-year OIS swap, one party to the transaction receives a fixed two-year rate in exchange for paying the fed funds rate daily over the next two years.”

The OIS market is also a reflection of traders’ expectations for rates. An inversion (which may signal the expectation of aggressive action against inflation that could also stifle economic growth) previously occurred in July 2018. Months later, markets sold and the Fed cut rates. 

Per Alfonso Peccatiello, the former head of a $20 billion investment portfolio and author of The Macro Compass: The inversion of the OIS curve may worsen a downturn in the economy as short-term refinancing credit becomes more expensive and markets price weaker long-term growth.

The OIS curve is “a cleaner indication of yield curve inversions,” Peccatiello added. 

Positioning: Bonds down. Equities down. What the heck? 

This newsletter has talked about this dynamic in the past and will borrow from that, below.

In short, over the past 40 or so years, monetary policy was used as a crutch to support the economy. This promoted deflation, innovation, and the subsequent rise in valuations.

With rates near zero and lifting, that’s a headwind; coupled with participants’ increased exposure to rate and equity market risk, which can play into cross-market hedging and de-leveraging cascades, 60/40 turns into somewhat of a poor hedge.

Why? Higher rates have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

According to a note published by Andy Constan of Damped Spring Advisors, “The lack of additional liquidity provided by Fed purchase will also remove a damper for the market and the economy keeping asset volatility well bid, while also causing asset diversification benefit to fall, generating rising portfolio volatility and the risk demanded to hold assets.”

“Now, with the Fed poised to hike interest rates to combat raging inflation, the bond-stock relationship could be upended,” Bloomberg explains

“At stake are trillions of dollars that are managed at risk parity funds, balanced mutual funds, and pension funds that follow the framework of 60/40 asset allocation.”

Why mention any of this? Well, it forces us to look elsewhere for protection. 

In this case, the growing asset class of volatility, so to speak, is that protection. Investors are aware of both the protective and speculative efficiency afforded to them by options and that is the primary reason option volumes are so comparable to stock volumes, now.

Notwithstanding, with option volumes higher, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks. Therefore, the correlation of stock moves, versus options activity, is more pronounced.

To put it simply, we can look to the options market for clues on where to next, for lack of better phrasing. So, let’s do that!

Heading into Thursday’s session, participants were committing capital to bets on lower volatility.

The counterparties to this short volatility trade were long; if the market were to trade higher (lower), they would sell (buy) futures against increased (decreased) positive delta exposure.

Graphic: A rudimentary example of what is involved in hedging a long call option. 

However, Thursday’s post-CPI trade disrupted the balance of trade; lower prices and demand for protection, in the face of lower levels of “on-screen liquidity,” solicited dealer selling to hedge increased exposure to the positive delta from demanded short-dated, highly convex options.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator; “customers bought put options (a negative delta trade) leaving dealers short (a positive delta trade).” 

The demand for shorter-dated protection is better visualized by the VIX term structure which shifted markedly at the front-end, yesterday.

Graphic: VIX term structure shifts higher (dramatically at the front-end).

As direction (delta) and volatility (vega) are inputs to the pricing of options, lower prices and higher volatility (a reflection of fear and demand for protection) will mark options higher. Hedging pressures will exacerbate weakness, as a result of real selling (as talked about above), at the index and single-stock level.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.

Taking into account options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side), positioning metrics remain positively skewed.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

To conclude, the dip lower and demand for protection could serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher). All eyes are on next week’s monthly options expiration (OPEX). We will discuss the implications of this, later.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle-to-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; activity above the $4,473.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,565.00 untested POC (VPOC) and $4,585.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,473.00 POC puts in play the key response area at $4,438.75 (BAL/ONL/HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the key response area could reach as low as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,365.00 VPOC, 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

Overnight Rally Highs (Lows): Typically, there is a low historical probability associated with overnight rally-highs (lows) ending the upside (downside) discovery process.

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.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to trend or pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire) and the reset in dealer gamma exposure.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): A metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

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 is also a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, and ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, as well as a SpotGamma contributor developing insights around impactful options market dynamics.

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 10, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower alongside bonds and most commodities.

Ahead is data on wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET) and Fed-speak (12:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. 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.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Improvements in the U.S. labor market and increased hawkishness from the Federal Reserve are some of the factors playing into a recent rotation.

With yields climbing and the 10-year benchmark breaking out toward 2.00%, there’s been a clear move out of growth- and innovation-names to value- and cyclical-type stocks.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “Markets face increasing volatility as investors grapple with how to reprice assets as the pandemic liquidity that helped drive equities to record highs is withdrawn.”

This is just as Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) announced that it expects four interest rate hikes this year (in MAR, JUN, SEP, and DEC) and a balance sheet runoff to begin in July.

“Valuations are at historical highs, companies are raising billions based on fairy dust, and the Fed is signaling a tightening cycle,” said Jason Goepfert of Sundial Capital Research. “All of these are scaring investors that we’re on the cusp of a repeat of 1999-2000.”

Why are higher rates scary? 

Though higher rates are to fend off inflation, they have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings making stocks (especially high growth) less attractive.

For context, at no other point since the dot-com bubble has so many constituents have fallen while the index was so close to its peak.

Graphic: From Sundial Capital Research. Posted by Bloomberg.

Despite participation continuing to narrow, equities should be able to withstand rate hikes and balance sheet runoff amidst above-trend growth and a looming rebound in some international markets, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) adds.

“As long as yields are rising for the right reasons, including better growth, we believe that equities should be able to tolerate the move,” a JPMorgan note said. 

“The rise in real rates should not be hurting equity markets, or economic activity, at least until they move into positive territory, or even as long as real rates are below the real potential growth.”

Positioning: As discussed in Friday’s detailed write-up, bonds and equities are down.

That’s due in part to the bond-stock relationship being upended as a result of monetary tightening to combat inflation.

“At stake are trillions of dollars that are managed at risk parity funds, balanced mutual funds, and pension funds that follow the framework of 60/40 asset allocation.”

As explained Friday, we mention this (broken) relationship as it forces us (participants, in general) to look elsewhere for protection. 

The growing asset class of volatility, so to speak, is that protection. Investors are aware of both the protective and speculative efficiency afforded to them by options and that is the primary reason option volumes are so comparable to stock volumes, now.

If interested, read this primer on “Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure, and Skew.”

With option volumes higher, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks; the correlation of stock moves, versus options activity, is pronounced.

All that means is that we can look to the options market for context on where to next.

According to options modeling and data service SpotGamma (learn more here), the S&P 500, in particular, based on an earlier demand for protection is set up for higher volatility.

“End-of-week compression in volatility, in spite of a high-volatility, negative-gamma regime characterized by dealer hedging that exacerbates movement, sets markets up for instability in case of even lower prices and demand for protection.”

Why? 

Knowing that demand for downside protection coincides with customers indirectly taking liquidity and destabilizing the market as the participant short the put will sell underlying to neutralize risk, participants ought to keep their eye out on whether implied volatility expands or contracts.

All else equal, higher implied volatility marks up options delta (exposure to direction) and this leads to more selling as hedging pressures exacerbate weakness.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.
Graphic: Per Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR), VIX futures show little concern; “An inverted curve, or even a flattish one, indicates a shortage of available volatility protection.  We saw that as recently as a month ago, but not now.”

Taking into account options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side), positioning metrics remain positively skewed.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

In ending this section, Friday’s put-heavy expiration removed some negative gamma that was adding to instability, at least at the index level. 

Though markets will tend toward instability so long as volatility is heightened and products (especially some constituents) remain in negative gamma, the dip lower and demand for protection may serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher).

“Failure to expand the range, lower, on the index level, at least, likely invokes supportive dealer hedging flows with respect to time (‘charm’) and volatility (‘vanna’),” SpotGamma adds.

At present, there’s a push-and-pull; “no-touch” garbage stocks in the S&P and Nasdaq 100 are gaining strength. If this dynamic persists, in light of what was discussed above, what happens?

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

Spike Scenario Still In Play: Spike’s mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

Spike base is at $4,761.25. Above, bullish. Below, bearish.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,647.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode).

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,629.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,585.00 and $4,549.00 untested point of control (VPOC), 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.

What People Are Saying

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.

DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

Vanna: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to volatility.

Charm: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time.

Options: If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she would buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Option buyers can also use options as an efficient way to gain directional exposure.

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 is also a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, and ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, as well as a SpotGamma contributor developing insights around impactful options market dynamics.

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 7, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Equity index futures auctioned sideways, mostly, ahead of important economic releases such as data on Nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings (8:30 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak (10:00 AM and 12:15 PM ET), and consumer credit data (3:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. 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.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Participants will receive further clarity around payrolls data.

According to Bloomberg, the expectation is that Friday’s jobs report ought to show the addition of about 450,000 workers, last month. 

“[T]he so-called whisper number has already jumped to 500,000,” in light of this “Wednesday’s consensus-busting ADP Research Institute data that showed U.S. companies added the most jobs in seven months.”

This is all the while major equity indices are down on the week, “fueled by one of the most intense bouts of selling by professional speculators since the financial crisis.”

Per Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) prime broker data, the sale of highly valued growth stocks reached levels not seen in more than 10 years. Selling worsened after minutes to the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting pointed to faster hikes and balance sheet normalization.

As higher rates are to fend off inflation, they, too, have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings making stocks (especially high growth) less attractive. 

“A strong [payrolls] print will see the market factor in hikes/quantitative tightening even earlier,” strategists at Mizuho International Plc said. “We’d therefore prefer to be positioned for more equity downside, and for higher yields.”

Positioning: Bonds down, equities down. Interesting, right?

Fresh in my mind is a conversation I had with Karan Sood, CEO and Managing Director, Head of Product Development at Cboe Vest Financial LLC, regarding his firm’s packaged options and volatility targeting strategies that help investors manage their portfolio volatility.

Moreover, over the past 40 or so years, monetary policy was used as a crutch to support the economy. This promoted deflation, innovation, and the subsequent rise in valuations.

“Bonds have been giving you really good returns because interest rates have been going down since the 1970s when they peaked at about 11%,” Sood explained to me. 

“That’s changing now; we’re at the zero bound, and it’s unlikely that will be as a strong of a tailwind. Worse, it could be a headwind if interest rates start to rise.”

As a result of this dynamic, coupled with participants’ increased exposure to rate and equity market risk which can play into cross-market hedging and de-leveraging cascades, 60/40 can be somewhat of a poor hedge.

“Now, with the Fed poised to hike interest rates to combat raging inflation, the bond-stock relationship could be upended,” Bloomberg explains

“At stake are trillions of dollars that are managed at risk parity funds, balanced mutual funds, and pension funds that follow the framework of 60/40 asset allocation.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Why mention any of this? Well, it forces us to look elsewhere for protection. 

In this case, the growing asset class of volatility, so to speak, is that protection. Investors are aware of both the protective and speculative efficiency afforded to them by options and that is the primary reason option volumes are so comparable to stock volumes, now.

Notwithstanding, with option volumes higher, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks. Therefore, the correlation of stock moves, versus options activity, is more pronounced.

To put it simply, we can look to the options market for clues on where to next, for lack of better phrasing. So, let’s do that!

Wednesday’s session unwound some of the single-stock bullishness (in stocks like Tesla) that fed into the S&P 500, itself; an expansion in volatility coincided with the demand for downside (put) protection and supply of upside (call) protection.

Conditions settled, Thursday. Though positioning metrics had little to offer in terms of predicting movement, implied volatility remained heightened and many products did not expand range.

All else equal, higher implied volatility marks up options delta (exposure to direction). 

Knowing that demand for downside protection coincides with customers indirectly taking liquidity and destabilizing the market as the participant short the put will sell underlying to neutralize risk, participants ought to keep their eye out on whether implied volatility expands or contracts.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.

Higher implied volatility, higher delta, more selling. Hedging pressures will exacerbate weakness, as a result of real selling (as talked about above), at the index and single-stock level.

Graphic: The “Biggest tail risk to SPX isn’t any macro data/virus/war but its own options market.”

Taking into account options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side), positioning metrics remain positively skewed, even more so than before.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

As stated yesterday, though the dip lower and demand for protection may serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher), markets will tend toward instability so long as volatility is heightened and the market remains in short-gamma territory.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Spike Scenario In Play: Spike’s mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

Spike base is at $4,761.25. Above, bullish. Below, bearish.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,756.00 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,691.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,647.25 and $4,629.25 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.

What People Are Saying

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.

DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

Vanna: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to volatility.

Charm: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time.

Options: If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she would buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Option buyers can also use options as an efficient way to gain directional exposure.

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 is also a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, and ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, as well as a SpotGamma contributor developing insights around impactful options market dynamics.

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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.