Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 9, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 1,200+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:45 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 crypto-market leader and a lender of last resort – FTX – co-founded by Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was little questioned by many. It appears, however, that the company had growing pain points.

Events are developing quickly, too add. Here is a note that SBF issued to investors after entering into a nonbinding agreement with Binance.

Graphic: Retrieved from @gurgavin on Twitter. Read the story on The Block.

In short, there’s little substance.

Let’s go through the motions and start unpacking this debacle. Should we have loose ends, we’ll address those in the coming days.

In late December of 2021, I spoke with SBF regarding his background and aims with FTX. The resulting work was published on Benzinga.com, where I continue to work part-time as a writer and project lead.

Graphic: Retrieved from Renato Leonard Capelj. On the top is Renato Leonard Capelj. On the bottom is SBF.

In short, SBF is an MIT alumnus who started in finance at Jane Street, a trading firm and liquidity provider. Eventually, he saw an opportunity elsewhere; there were spot price inconsistencies across cryptocurrency exchanges.

SBF then founded the firm Alameda Research in 2017. A focus, there, was to extract premiums to spot via arbitrage. SBF et al would purchase Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) domestically, send it to foreign exchanges to sell at higher prices, and, then, convert and wire the funds back. 

​​“You do have to put together this incredibly sophisticated global corporate framework in order to be able to actually do this trade,” SBF said in one conversation. “That’s the real task, the real hard part.”

In light of some frustration with existing exchange offers, SBF founded FTX.com and FTX.US parent FTX Trading Ltd. As late as September 2022, FTX was seeking $1 billion at a value of $32 billion. The firm was looking to become a one-stop-shop for retail and institutional market participants such as FTX brand ambassador and spokesperson Kevin O’Leary who I talked to just prior to my interview with SBF.

“If you’re being compliant internally and also with regulators in each jurisdiction you operate in, you don’t have the option to be off-sides,” O’Leary explained to me on FTX building one of the larger infrastructures institutions’ compliance departments could easily “work with and external auditors can audit.”

Eventually, the exchange grew to become a major player.

FTX was a top-five exchange, adding market share through acquisitions of players like Blockfolio and LedgerX, as well as building a reputation of transparency, or so it appeared, through its work with regulators.

Adding, SBF said to me he wanted FTX to cater to other asset classes and “become a global liquidity venue across the board.” In mid-to-late this year, FTX added stock trading via no-fee brokerage accounts, a follow-through on his vision.

The expansion narrative cooled, however. There was the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, Celsius Network, Three Arrows Capital, and Voyager Digital, which FTX’s subsidiary in the US, FTX.US, won assets to in an auction this year.

At the surface, it appeared FTX was “seemingly untouchable,” as Immutable Holdings’ Jordan Fried explained online. Check out my last chat with Jordan Fried, here.

However, “cracks started to appear [and] people in crypto were taking notice”; the CEOs of both Alameda Research and FTX.US stepped down. Fried added that the situation worsened when Alameda Research’s balance sheet was leaked.

The firm had $14.6 billion in assets (nearly $4 billion in FTT, which is FTX’s utility token, and about $2 billion in FTT token collateral) against $8 billion in liabilities.

“Binance owns a bunch of FTT themselves and, two days ago, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) [who is the] founder of Binance, [said] that SBF … could be lobbying to get regulators to help out FTX more than Binance.” In response, CZ was to “dump all $2 billion of FTT” Binance was holding.

This coincided with a large selling pressure on the FTX utility token. With Alameda Research having ~50% of their assets in FTT, Fried says, “they were dead in the water”. A run appeared likely and, with FTX and Alameda Research’s dealings so intertwined, “the failure of one meant the failure of another.”

On the heels of billions in withdrawals, users weren’t “getting their cash” and, ultimately, in SBF seeking to protect users’ assets, FTX entered into a strategic transaction with Binance.

The follow-on impacts of this week’s events, during which SBF saw a ~90% wipeout of his wealth, can be speculated on. Apparent losers include SoftBank Group Corporation’s (OTC: SFTBY) Vision Fund, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Tiger Global Management.

Some, including Arthur Breitman of Tezos (CRYPTO: XTZ), mulled the impact of FTX’s potential divestment from Solana (CRYPTO: SOL) which “took a drubbing Tuesday,” along with just about every other crypto token including Bitcoin.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Noteworthy are the impacts of this crypto-market turmoil in equities. As I stated in a note to SpotGamma subscribers yesterday, following “news of a liquidity crunch at FTX, when the selling accelerated in FTT [] and Bitcoin, so did the selling in the S&P 500.”

“The bottom, in all three products, happened at 2:30 PM ET.”

Graphic: Retrieved by Physik Invest from TradingView.

I add that these products – S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and Bitcoin – have traded in sync and held positive correlations.

In short, both are recipients of the same risk-on and -off flows. Easy monetary policies cut financial asset volatility and pushed market participants into riskier investments. In short, it was easier to borrow and make longer-duration bets on ideas (e.g., crypto and Ponzi-like DeFi, growth, risky private equity investments) with a lot of promise in the future. 

Financial asset investments were more attractive. That’s, in part, why we saw asset inflation early on in 2020 when policymakers embarked on historic interventions.

Monetary authorities cut interest rates and bought bonds, all the while money was sent to people. Risk assets were the first to respond. Then, as the economy reopened, demand picked up, supply chains tightened, and prices in the real economy inflated.

As we added on Monday, de-globalization and persistent supply chokepoints (e.g., Ukraine and Russia) have done little to help. Inflation remains a problem and investors are seeking safety amid Fed intervention. 

Financial assets are in less demand while real assets are in more demand. A disruption (or reversal) in these policies puts at risk the prevailing carry regime. A stock and crypto market drop is, in part, the result of an unwind in carry. 

The drop is a deflationary shock, precisely what policymakers are seeking, per Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar who says inflation is a structural issue, and “we [have] to generate a round of negative wealth effects to lower demand such that it becomes more in line with the new realities of supply.” 

As we established on Monday, that invokes “collateral damage to the US economy,” S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) economists have put forth “as households and businesses pull back spending and investment.” 

For example, just announced today, Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), which became wrapped up in the speculativeness of the early 2020s reaching beyond the crypto markets, hence the name change from Facebook Inc, is seeking to cut 11,000 jobs.

Per Bloomberg, “the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused [] revenue to be much lower than expected.”

Ultimately, a deflationary pulse manifesting disinflation in consumer prices may prompt the policymakers to reverse on rates and efforts like quantitative tightening (QT), the (out)flow of capital from capital markets.

We’re seeing demand erode and many businesses starting to suffer the effects of a switch to “just-in-case” from “just-in-time,” according to S&P Global Inc. Inventories (which are to be sold at a loss) are piling up and workers are needed less.

That’s a recession.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “The overhang is leading to canceled orders, a sharp slowdown in global trade growth and stagnating factory activity. On one hand, it’s good that logistics networks are seeing relief from the logjams that plagued the start of 2022 — ocean-shipping rates have tumbled close to pre-pandemic levels and delivery times are shortening.”

This said, the “risk of recession, whether it is real or merely implied by an inversion of the yield curve, won’t deter the Fed from hiking rates higher faster or from injecting more volatility to build up negative wealth effects.”

“Rallies could beget more forceful pushback from the Fed,” which is a concern given the poor performance in implied volatility (IVOL) that’s resulted in participants’ disinterest in maintaining their hedges this year; equities’ left tail is growing.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Initially created by QVR Advisors. “When shares drop, demand for fresh protection remains subdued given the unusually thin positioning among big money. At the same time, put owners quickly book profits, often leading to a drop in implied vol.

In summary, there’s no longer “a disinterest and unimportance to cash flows.” The commitment to reducing liquidity and credit has consequences on the real economy and asset prices which rose and kept the deflationary pressure of policies at bay.  

It is elevated volatility and persistent declines that are to prompt investors to lower their selling prices in risk(ier) assets (e.g., options bets, metals, cryptocurrency and stablecoins, equities, bonds), and compete for cash.

Positioning

Based on traders’ current positioning, the market, absent exogenous shocks, is more so prone to sharp upside reversals and a slow(er) grind lower.

As the former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan explained to me once, therefore, you “want Deltas and leverage” via options trades that are defined risk and two-to-four months out in maturity.

We shall go more into this, later.

Technical

As of 8:45 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, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

If above the $3,828.75 HVNode, the $3,874.25 HVNode is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,936.25 ONH, or higher.

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

If above the $3,828.75 HVNode, the $3,806.25 LVNode is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,787.00 VPOC and $3,727.00 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

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 20, 2022

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 15, 2022

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 7:45 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.

Administrative

Apologies – yesterday the above graphic was not properly updated. The sentiment reading was incorrect, as were a couple of other figures. Separately, a lighter note, today, followed by more in-depth stuff currently being worked on in the coming sessions. Thanks!

Fundamental

First – going to refer everyone to yesterday’s letter, a conversation between Joseph Wang and Andy Constan, as well as some updates Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility made. That is, in part, a primer for what we will be talking more about, soon.

Next – we have futures markets pricing rate a peak in the overnight rate at ~4.6% in February of 2023. From thereon, rate cuts are implied.

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation’s (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade thinkorswim. Observed is the Eurodollar, the interest offered on U.S. dollar-denominated deposits held at banks outside of the U.S. (i.e., participants’ outlook on interest rates).

It’s becoming the consensus that “[f]or hikes to reduce inflation, they need to hurt growth,” Jean Boivin and Alex Brazier of BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) explained.

“There is no way around this,” they add. “We estimate it would require a deep recession in the U.S., with around as much as 2% hit to growth in the U.S., and 3 million more unemployed, and an even deeper recession in Europe.”

It’s the impact of rising rates and quantitative tightening (the latter which will compound the impacts of the former) that are part of the toolkit used to cool the sticky inflation.

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.

Ray Dalio, of Bridgewater Associates LP, said that rates rising “toward the higher end of the 4.5% to 6% range … will bring private sector credit growth down, which will bring private sector spending and, hence, the economy down with it.”

Accordingly, equity prices could plunge upwards of 20%, as a result.

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.”

Further, per Bloomberg’s John Authers, it’s the case that “[a]ll major global synchronized crises ended with moderate inflation and low growth; that hasn’t been reached yet.” Separately, a peak in inflation “doesn’t come close to guaranteeing equity gains.”

The pivot will come when there’s a “sustainable path to 2% (not 3 or 4%) inflation” and a “fed funds that is greater than CPI for a few quarters,” explained Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass.

“The timing mostly depends [on] the MoM CPI ahead,” he added, pointing to a graphic that suggests “there is no ‘pivot’ earlier than mid-2023, and it could well be later. Looking at the SOFR curve, that’s also what’s roughly priced in.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bespoke Investment Group via Alfonso Peccatiello.

Positioning

Ahead of a multi-derivative expiry, markets are trading sideways to lower. Demands to protect equity downside (with puts), compounded macro-type selling earlier this week.

Now, with traders well hedged, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan put forth that there is a “race to monetize,” which is lending to “relatively flat” trade and “lack of follow-through.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Pat Hennessy. “Every large down move in SPX this year (quantified by <= -2 Zscore) has been followed by a relatively flat day/lack of follow through. Any ideas as to why this is?”

From hereon, as we said, a lot of the exposure demanded is short-dated. Should that exposure not be rolled forward in time, and allowed to expire, “SPX/ES dealers [who] are well hedged,” will unwind their hedges which may drive bullishness “through OpEx,” added Karsan.

Notwithstanding, this “has [the] potential to drive a tail post” OpEx. In [the] tech/meme market melt-up of 2020-2021, positioning was [the] exact opposite.”

Technical

As of 7:45 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a balanced 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 $3,965.75 HVNode puts into play the $4,001.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,018.75 and $4,069.25 HVNodes, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,965.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,925.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,867.75 LVNode and $3,829.75 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 14, 2022

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 8:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside 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 sell-off spurred by a higher-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit nearly all assets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Expected was an 8.1% rise year-over-year (YoY) and a 0.1% fall month-over-month (MoM). Core CPI (excludes food and energy) was to rise by 6.1% YoY and 0.3% MoM, respectively.

Officially, the headline number rose to 8.3%. The core CPI rose 6.3% YoY and 0.6% MoM, meaning the March peak remains (6.5% YoY, then).

It’s the case, essentially, that “[a]ll measures came in above forecasts. Shelter, food and medical care were among the largest contributors to price growth,” per Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The data, which “illustrates a strong labor market and weakening consumer spending,” in total, bolsters the case for interest rates to rise by “three-quarters of a percentage point.”

Bloomberg’s Anna Wong and Andrew Husby add: “[W]ages have now become the top driver of inflation. With Fed officials already highly concerned about a potential wage-price spiral, the central bank is likely to keep hiking in the first half of 2023.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The selling hit growth and technology, hard. These areas are far more responsive to changes in rates as there is promise embedded in their stock prices, too. When rates rise, prices are hit as the value of future earnings looks far less attractive versus higher-yielding or less-risky assets.

“Multiple compression will continue as long as we have sticky inflation,” said Marija Veitmane of State Street Corp (NYSE: STT). “Profits will crater. We still see a lot of downside on equities.”

Beyond risk assets, rising interest rates increase the cost of financing leaving households with less money to spend (or more hesitant to spend money), and this leads a decline in demand. Accordingly, business profits and economic growth may decline, too.

Graphic: Retrieved from Danielle DiMartino Booth.

A conversation between Joseph Wang and Andy Constan, which we shall unpack in coming letters, deserves a listen. At its core, financial markets sold, primarily, on the “flow” of liquidity this year. Read the coming letters for more.

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.

Positioning

Traders sought shorter-dated equity put (downside) protection, in size, heading into Tuesday’s decline. Prior to the market open, Tuesday, we said that some “‘massive hedging activity’ feels ‘unsettling’” given what the “reaction to that protection entails should markets drop lower and [implied volatility] increase, accordingly.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

From thereon, options were repriced as markets sold and IVOL increased.

As I well put in a SpotGamma note last night, “it’s the case that [out-of-the-money] options went from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta. If we maintain the assumption that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive delta trade, then those liquidity providers sold futures and stock, a negative Delta trade.”

In short, options out of the money are highly sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL, which there was a lot of, yesterday. Those options quickly went from having little value to a lot of value. If you’re short that exposure, and don’t want to lose money, you have to sell something, and the latter is what compounded the selling.

From hereon, as we said, a lot of the exposure demanded is short-dated. Should that exposure not be rolled forward in time, and allowed to expire, “SPX/ES dealers [who] are well hedged,” will unwind their hedges which may drive bullishness “through OpEx (options expiration),” says Kai Volatility Cem Karsan.

Notwithstanding, this “has [the] potential to drive a tail post” OpEx. In [the] tech/meme market melt-up of 2020-2021, positioning was [the] exact opposite.”

Technical

As of 8:10 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 balanced 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 $3,952.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,952.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,001.00 VPOC and $4,069.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,952.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,884.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 15, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 800+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:30 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. 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

According to Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) Prime Services, this is the third largest short-covering rally in three years.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The rally, as discussed in past commentaries, is, in part, the result of “volatility-target funds” and “trend-following funds” getting back into the market as volatility falls, sentiment and data on jobs improve, as well as cooler-than-expected inflation figures.

Graphic: Retrieved from Stenos Signals. “Unless SMEs are lying, inflation has peaked for now … Will it change the market psychology?”

“The machines seem hell-bent on pushing the financial conditions easing trade,” said Dennis DeBusschere, the founder of 22V Research. 

“Machines are eating the words from the Fed speakers for breakfast.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “The issue is the giant pool of systematic funds that moves in and out of the market based on how turbulent prices are. With peace at hand of late amid a four-week rally, so-called volatility-target funds and similar strategies such as risk parity are buying between $2 billion to $4 billion of stocks per day, according to an estimate by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Kate Gandolfo.”

Notwithstanding, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) estimates overall CTA exposures remain subdued. To incite ultra-impactful “buy signals” the S&P 500 would have to rise to $4,400.00.

This “would prompt CTAs to step up buying” and, potentially, turn “‘max long’ on stocks, buying probably $100 billion to $200 billion across various trend-following strategies.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Yardeni Research Inc.

Though the S&P 500 has yet to retake the $4,400.00 level, likely to remain as support until the end of the week, at least, are options hedging flows, which we talked about last week. 

“That can last perhaps another 100 days if volatility stays low,” JPM’s Kate Gandolfo suggested.

For context, at least at the index level, customers are short call, long put against their equity. In a rising market, the call side solicits increased hedging on the part of counterparties. 

If counterparties are long the call, and the market is rising (falling), they must sell (buy) underlying to re-hedge. This can further contain realized volatility and support the market.

To act on this information, you are best off shrinking your timeframe and using if/then statements to put on trades. For instance, if the market rises past the downtrend line in the S&P 500, then the 2022 equity bear market is over. We should bias ourselves long, at that point.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Drawn on by Physik Invest.

Accordingly, over a larger horizon, its growth impulses, as well as the availability of credit and liquidity determine whether a market’s movements have legs.

Accordingly, “in the 1970s, the peak in inflation proved THE timing to load up on risk assets, but the missing link is a bottoming growth cycle,” Andreas Steno Larsen explained.

“The swiftly weakening growth cycle may rather be the EXACT reason why inflation has started to fade.”

The likes of Campbell Harvey, PhD, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, among others, share a similar belief. 

In fact, Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar sees inflation as a longer-lasting structural issue as “the pillars of the low inflation world – [de-globalization and populism] – are changing.”

As Crossmark Global Investments’ Victoria Fernandez puts it well, “We have probably reached peak inflation, but the stickiness of the inflation that remains (i.e., rents) keeps pressure on the Fed and therefore the markets.”

Graphic: Retrieved from The Macro Compass.

“We expected a summer rally due to better-than-expected earnings, but we aren’t satisfied that this is sustainable. A soft landing is still achievable, but we still anticipate volatility with so many unknowns out there.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas’ Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm. The “seasonal/cycle outlook is for a lower low or retest of the lows over the next three months as we are in the worst two months of the year and are smack dab in the *Weak Spot* of the 4-Year Cycle”

Positioning

Please refer to our detailed Daily Brief for August 12, 2022. We shall add to this narrative in the coming sessions.

Technical

As of 7:30 AM ET, Monday’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 $4,253.25 HVNode puts into play the $4,275.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,303.00 Weak High and $4,337.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,253.25 HVNode puts into play the $4,231.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,202.75 RTH Low and $4,189.25 LVNode, 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.

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 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 8, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 750+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:45 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. 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

In a non-farm payroll update, it was shown that the US added more than two times the jobs many economists thought it would.

“Some of this is driven by a reduced participation rate – a smaller portion of the population seeking work and showing up in unemployment data,” Bloomberg’s John Authers explained

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

“It now becomes much easier for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to [continue] rais[ing] rates. If the employment market is still strengthening, while inflation remains its highest in decades, it’s hard to see why it shouldn’t.”

Accordingly, market participants are pricing a greater than 50% chance of the target Fed Funds rate increasing by 75 to 100 basis points to a target range of 300 and 325 basis points, up from 225 and 250 right now.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch tool.

Therefore, in addition to this (projected tax increases, the expected high coupon issuance/QT doubling in September and Q4, and the like), the “knee jerk re-leveraging flow [is likely to] not survive,” per Damped Spring’s Andy Constan.

Additionally, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) strategists, both express an outlook at odds with the recent market rally on the back of “better-than-feared second-quarter earnings.”

Per MS’s Michael Wilson, the expectation profit margins will continue to expand into 2023 is “unrealistic due to sticky cost pressures and receding demand.”

“While prices to the end consumer are still rising at a rapid clip, prices for producers are rising at double the pace.”

GS’s David Kostin concurs and expects net margins to drop ~25 basis points in every sector led by energy, health care, and materials, Bloomberg summarizes.

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.

On the topic of geopolitical conflict, which we talked a lot about in the August 3 letter, the US’s Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last week prompting Chinese military exercises in the region.

Overall, it is likely not in China’s best interest to press the conflict much further,” Authers puts forth. “Taiwan’s role in the world’s electronics industry means that the global economic impact of any conflict could dwarf the disruptions of the last two years sparked by the pandemic.”

These disruptions would pain the world, including China.

Positioning

As of 6:40 AM ET, Monday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.13%. Net gamma exposures decreasing may help with an expansion of range.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of complex options structures (e.g., back spread).

Here’s our August 5 letter for more context.

For concision, we quote SpotGamma: “It’s the case when the fuel from a drop in option implied volatility is spent, as well as the sticky open interest at current prices rolls off, that options-related hedging does less to keep markets pinned.”

Technical

As of 6:40 AM ET, Monday’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.

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

Any activity above the $4,153.25 HVNode puts into play the $4,189.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,227.75 HVNode and $4,259.75 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,153.25 HVNode puts into play the $4,117.75 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,073.00 VPOC and $4,040.75 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.

Considerations: 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.

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.

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 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 5, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 750+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:00 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

Shortened fundamentals section, today.

It’s the case that from mid-2020 to late-2021, as well explained by Damped Spring’s Andy Constan, the decline in risk premiums boosted assets, across the board.

Then, when “the drumbeats of quantitative tightening (QT) sounded on December 29,” the expansion in risk premiums bolstered a rotation out of risk.

Per Constan, conditions are unchanged. 

The “knee jerk re-leveraging flow [] will not survive the high coupon issuance/QT doubling of the September and Q4. Fade the [fear of missing out] until Turkey day when Santa comes to town.”

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.

Positioning

As of 7:00 AM ET, Thursday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.14%. Net gamma exposures are increasing which may promote tighter ranges.

Further, given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of options structures (e.g., put back spread and/or call ratio spread).

Here is some context.

Per past letters, such as the Daily Brief for August 2, the monetization and counterparty hedging of existing customer volatility (i.e., options) hedges, as well as the sale of short-dated volatility, particularly in some single stocks where there was “rich” volatility into the fall, lent to lackluster performance in IVOL and index mean reversion.

Graphic: RVOL (orange) versus IVOL (white) on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX).

These forces have only grown and are, presently, adding to the stickiness of the move higher. 

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma on 8/4/2022.

Why? 

Well – though naive – if we take participants as trading similar to the way they do historically (i.e., buying stocks and hedging by selling calls and buying puts), the counterparty is left with a bullish trade (i.e., short put, long call). 

Depending on (A) where the market is in relation to this exposure, as well as (B) where this exposure is more concentrated, the call or put side may solicit increased hedging activities.

Today, with markets trading higher and participants becoming increasingly active on the call side, the counterparties have a trade that is (becoming increasingly) bullish; positive delta (i.e., exposure to direction) and gamma (i.e., rate of change of exposure to direction) are growing.

Further, knowing that participants are concentrating their bets on options close to current market prices, which are very short-dated (and with little time to expiration), the counterparty’s exposure is way more sensitive to changes in direction because options can go from having a lot of value to very little in a small window (of time and movement). 

In other words, it is a fact that an option that is at the money can go from having a near 50% chance of expiring in the money to 0%. However, if the time to expiry is shorter, then the speed at which these options may go from a near 50% chance of expiring in the money to 0% rises.

That’s probably one of the simplest ways one could explain put it.

Therefore (with activity becoming more concentrated at options strikes near current price, all the while IVOL continues to fall), into weakness, counterparties lean toward buying (selling) dips (rips).

Adding:

If you (like a counterparty) own a call option and want no exposure to the positive payoff when the market moves higher, you sell the underlying asset (e.g., stock, future).

If the market is sideways and slightly lower, while volatility is generally trending lower, as it is recently, and your option declines in value, then you must rebalance your hedge. So, you would buy (cover) some of your existing short stock and futures position to rebalance your deltas.

That’s supportive.

Read: SqueezeMetrics’ “The Implied Order Book” for more regarding the impact of options trade on underlying liquidity.

Moreover, the trends above may be coming to an end as entities are squeezed out of trades that aren’t working (i.e., participants continue to rotate out of poor-performing volatility and commodities). 

Accordingly, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explains that markets can, now, as that suppressive options activity fades, potentially, “really begin to respond to the core macro factors.”

Here’s why.

Should markets experience a shock (e.g., China and U.S. tensions escalate), the new demand for hedges may result in an “untethering” in IVOL, which was “one of the most supportive things into the decline,” Karsan explained.

That means that now is the best time to rotate into call options that are outperforming “their delta to the upside.”

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research, the return profile, at expiry, of a classic 1×2 (long 1, short 2 further away) ratio spread.

You may ask: what’s bolstering some of the market’s strength, in the shorter term?

In spite of negative macro narratives, as IVOL continues to decline and options, in general, are less sought after per their poor performance, what’s providing an added boost is the “cohort of quantitative-based investment strategies [buying] equities when volatility is lower,” according to statements by the Wall Street Journal.

“This year, these so-called systematic strategies have exited the market to historically low levels, meaning they have plenty of buying power.”

Much more next week! Talk soon.

Technical

As of 7:00 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, just 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 $4,153.25 HVNode puts into play the $4,189.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,227.75 HVNode and $4,259.75 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,153.25 HVNode puts into play the $4,117.75 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,073.00 VPOC and $4,040.75 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.

Considerations: 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.

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.

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 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 3, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 700+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:15 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

Our August 1 letter assessed, mainly, the impacts of a burgeoning economic war that is hot as well put by a recent note authored by Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar.

Read: Dr. Pippa Malmgren’s “A Hot War In Cold Places,” which was quoted by Credit Suisse’s Pozsar. Additionally, check out our archives for more analysis of Malmgren’s perspectives.

“Great powers are waging hot wars involving the flow of technologies, goods, and commodities,” the big “contributors to inflation,” a longer-lasting structural issue, Pozar puts forth.

Further, it is the case that “the pillars of the low inflation world are changing,” and geopolitics are the factors bolstering longer-lasting uncertainty and risk premia.

What was the case, before?

Previously, central bankers were waging wars “against deflationary impulses coming from the globalization of cheap resources (labor, goods, and commodities),” which we covered before.

Now, central bankers have a more difficult task stemming inflationary impulses coming from a complex and non-linear economic war between the U.S., China, and Russia that will do more, long-term, to “weaken the pillars of the globalized, low inflation world.”

So: 

  • Deflation, on globalization (and outward supply shifts), was fought with asset price inflation. 
  • Inflation, on de-globalization (and inward supply shifts), is fought with asset price deflation.

Exacerbating the de-globalization pulse on popular sovereignty, which I had the honor of talking on with Andy Constan, recently, are “wealth gains sapping labor force participation” and trends such as ESG, among other things. 

“It’s a mess: it’s easier to deal with the politics of wage setting than it is to ‘grow’ people – even in The Matrix, that’s possible only over time. Until then, we are stuck with a labor shortage, and President Biden’s top labor lawyer is the anti-Reagan: she’s encouraging the unionization of workers from Amazon to Starbucks…as opposed to firing them,” Pozsar explains.

For context, among the factors that helped Chairman Volcker stem inflation were new energy investment and the weakening of unions.

Accordingly, in a move from “generating demand structurally to soak up an excess supply of cheap stuff, to curbing demand structurally to adjust to shortages,” the prevailing tightening effort is not cyclical, as in corresponding to a business cycle. It’s structural.

It requires the sharp, “inward shift of supply curves across multiple fronts (labor, goods, and commodities),” putting the economy on an “L”-shaped path (i.e., a vertical drop in activity via recession, and flatline for a period of time as rates remain higher for longer to prevent a sharp rise in inflation, again).

Market participants, because of this, should be thinking about how deep (i.e., long-lasting) a recession is needed to curb inflation (rather than if a recession will happen at all); necessary is the purge of the “Super Size Me” mentality, Pozsar explains, and slow “interest-rate sensitive parts of the economy (housing and durables),” as well as reduce “demand for labor in services, … a function of the level of wealth across a range of assets (housing, stocks, as well as crypto).

“[W]hat the Fed is telling us when it flat-out dismisses two-quarters of negative GDP growth is that it isn’t focusing as much on the rate-sensitive parts of the economy as it did in the past,” Pozsar well summarizes, adding that 5-6% rates are not out of the realm of possibilities.

“Instead, it is focusing much more on the services economy and the labor market, which still remain strong. And therein lies the cautionary tale for the market.”

Looking out further in time, after inflation has been stemmed, the question is how the economy accelerates, again, and achieves stable growth. That depends on the West developing its own supply of things so “that ‘L’ becomes ‘L/’ and … that recovery [will be driven by] fiscally funded industrial policy.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Interest rates may be kept high for a while to ensure that rate cuts won’t cause an economic rebound (an ‘L’ and not a ‘V’), which might trigger a renewed bout of inflation,” Pozsar wrote in his note. “The risks are such that Powell will try his very best to curb inflation, even at the cost of a ‘depression’ and not getting reappointed.”

Positioning

Regarding the topic of liquidity – money available for circulation – which was discussed in-depth Tuesday, August 2, below is an updated chart of our Liquidity Tracker. Conditions are mostly unchanged.

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.

Moreover, in terms of options-related positioning, as of 8:50 AM ET, Wednesday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.21%. Net gamma exposures increasing may promote tighter ranges.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of complex options structures (e.g., put back spread).

The reason why? 

Well, as discussed in-depth Tuesday, prevailing policy narratives are likely to bolster risk premia “everywhere else,” and that does more to support our recent positioning analyses and the case for an “untethering” in equity implied volatility (IVOL), “one of the most supportive things into the decline,” per statements by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

Basically, given the macro risk, IVOL is likely at a lower bound (as validated by the S&P 500 trading higher and downside skew holding a bid) and, per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

Through downside protection (e.g., butterfly and back spreads) you can position yourself to monetize on the sort-of non-linear repricing in volatility we’re alluding there is potential for. The bid in skew is helping those structures maintain their value better, essentially.

Graphic: Time-lapse skew on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) for Tuesday, Monday, and one week ago. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

Technical

As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’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, 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 $4,117.75 MCPOC puts into play the $4,149.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,164.25 RTH High and $4,189.25 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,117.75 MCPOC puts into play the $4,073.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,040.75 and $4,015.25 HVNodes, 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.

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 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 2, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 700+ that read this report daily, below!

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. 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

The U.S. Treasury upped its borrowing estimate by $262 billion as federal revenue projections shifted.

Here’s why this matters.

Per Damped Spring’s Andy Constan, on an “overwhelming high issuance in Q1,” markets sold, and on “light issuance, once QT start[ed], plus some crazy tax receipts in Q3,” markets rallied.

With the Treasury’s debt managers seeking to borrow more than $400 billion through September, compared to the original estimate of $180 billion or so, anticipated is added borrowing through new marketable debt issuances.

“This is the reason I dumped my long equities after 3:00 when the news hit,” Constan added.

Overall, this news is important because it has an impact on the money available for circulation.

To explain, after the Federal Reserve (Fed) bean upping the size of its balance sheet (BS) in an unprecedented way in 2020, the deployment of this money – liquidity – boosted risk-asset prices and the cost of living.

We can measure the availability of this liquidity, as well showcased by Max Anderson, online. 

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.

So, what’s going on, now?

To rein inflation, and undo some of its intervention, the Treasury issued fewer short-dated T-bills, and the Fed raised rates on Reverso Repo (RRP), “the next best low-duration-risk alternative.”

This has sucked over $2 trillion out of the economy, “six times more than ever done before.”

That said, unlike in the past, however, “relative changes in [the] Treasury General Account (TGA) and RRP” are way bigger than changes in the size of the BS. 

As a result, the game changes. 

The “changes in TGA and RRP have taken over as the primary drivers [of] Net Liquidity,” the money available to circulate in the economy. “[S]ince 2020, the Treasury and Reverse Repo [control] that. Not the size of Fed’s balance sheet.”

That’s per the tight correlation between Net Liquidity and the S&P 500. Offsetting the two by two weeks (i.e., using the path of Net Liquidity to forecast the path of the S&P 500 by two weeks in advance) reveals a tight correlation.

As Anderson puts it, “when there’s a change in Liquidity, it takes two weeks to propagate out into the economy and impact asset prices. And that change in Liquidity predicts next two week’s change in asset prices with 95% correlation.”

See a file containing the data and charts, here. We’ll work to improve the charts in subsequent letters.
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.

Positioning

As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.29%. Net gamma exposures increasing may promote tighter ranges.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of complex options structures (e.g., back spreads).

The reason why? 

Pursuant to our comments on monetary policymakers ditching forward guidance, which, per the Macro Compass’ Alfonso Peccatiello leaves “no anchor for bond markets, … and higher volatility,” bolsters risk premia “everywhere else.”

As stated Monday, this does more to support our recent positioning analyses and the case for an “untethering” in equity IVOL, “one of the most supportive things into the decline,” per statements by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

Here’s some context.

As well explained in the Daily Brief for July 21, 2022, heading into the 2022 decline, institutions repositioned and hedged, even allocating to “commodity trend following,” per our Daily Brief for July 15, 2022, which worked well the first two quarters.

The monetization and counterparty hedging of existing customer hedges, as well as the sale of short-dated volatility, particularly in some of the single names where there was “rich” volatility, into the fall, lent to lackluster performance in IVOL and index mean reversion.

This trend is coming to an end as entities are squeezed out of trades that aren’t working (i.e., participants rotate out of volatility and commodities).

Per Karsan, as “volatility itself, on the equity side, becomes less and less hedged on the customer level, … [the] market can really begin to respond to the core macro factors.”

Should markets experience a shock (e.g., China and U.S. tensions escalate), the new demand for hedges may result in an “untethering” in IVOL, which was “one of the most supportive things into the decline,” Karsan said, adding that now is the best time to rotate into call options which are outperforming “their delta to the upside.”

Accordingly, given the macro risk, IVOL is likely at a lower bound (as validated by the S&P 500 trading higher and downside skew holding a bid) and, per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

Through downside protection (e.g., butterfly and back spreads) you can position yourself to monetize on the sort-of non-linear repricing in volatility we’re alluding there is potential for. The bid in skew is helping those structures maintain their value better, essentially.

Graphic: Time-lapse skew on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) for Monday, Friday, and one week ago. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

Technical

As of 6:30 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, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $4,117.75 MCPOC puts into play the $4,149.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,164.25 RTH High and $4,189.25 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,117.75 MCPOC puts into play the $4,073.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,040.75 and $4,015.25 HVNodes, 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.

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 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 28, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 600+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:00 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

Key, yesterday, was the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) move to rein inflation with another 75 basis point interest rate hike. This lifted the target for the federal funds rate to 2.25-2.5%.

Accordingly, with inflation (which is to be dampened) a negative for stocks, a primary driver behind this year’s de-rate, already, equity markets closed sharply higher.

Graphic: Via Schroders plc (OTC: SHNWF). Taken from the Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm.

Despite room for higher rates, the Fed explained future decisions would “depend on the data,” and that, per Bloomberg, the economy is likely “to withstand rapid monetary tightening.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Tighter liquidity and credit bolster demand for money as well as the deflation of risk assets. “There used to be too little demand. Now there’s too little supply. And in a world of too little supply, the country doing the most to generate demand, which is the US, is exporting its problem—its problem being inflation,” per Harvard’s Jason Furman.

Adding, participants are, now, pricing in the potential for a federal funds rate peak in the range of 3.25-3.50% early-to-mid 2023, down from 4.00-4.75% after the last rate hike took place.

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool.

Strategists at the likes of Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) put forth that it is likely, given an economic slowing, that the Fed, indeed, cuts rates next year and ends quantitative tightening (QT).

“The Fed is likely to stop QT with rate cuts due to the contradictory signal it sends on monetary policy and to simplify policy communications; the Fed will likely not want to be easing with rate cuts but tightening with QT,” the bank’s strategists explained. 

An end to QT would cut the supply that the “Treasury needs to issue to cover Fed redemptions. It also means the Fed may conduct secondary purchases, further limiting the amount of supply the market needs to absorb.”

This is in comparison to the narrative we discussed earlier this week, put forth by Damped Spring Advisors’ Andy Constan.

With “most of [the Fed] balance sheet reduction to be run-off” – non-reinvestment of “proceeds from maturing assets they own” – coupled with the Treasury halving “coupon issuance that the market must absorb,” Constan explained, instead, that the “Fed is done for the summer.”

This is likely to “result in less surprise and falling asset volatility” as investors realize “they are now under-risked,” which may drive a “risk premium contraction” and demand for risk assets.

Positioning

As of 6:50 AM ET, Thursday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.22%. Net gamma exposures increasing may promote tighter ranges.

It is often, just after an event, that market movement is the result of inventory rebalances. Per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, the subsequent move is to be “tied to the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT).” 

Graphic: Retrieved from MarketWatch.

Rising rates and the withdrawal of liquidity, coupled with the impact of inflation and an economic slowing, could prompt continued pressure on equity markets.

Given the macro risk, and the poor performance of implied volatility (IVOL), relative to that which markets have realized (RVOL), per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

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

Should investors “ditch their [old] hedges in frustration as sentiment improves, because they didn’t work properly in a falling market,” this may set up “the potential for a second-leg-down event,” in the next year, as well explained in the Systemic Individual Investor.

“During the next sell-off, panic put-buying can cause a much more violent downward spiral, because options dealers are forced to sell an increasing amount of S&P futures into an accelerating down move.”

So, what to do? 

With call options outperforming “their delta to the upside,” it continues to make much sense to replace static equity long exposure with that which is dynamic, Karsan explained.

Technical

As of 6:50 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle 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 $4,015.75 HVNode puts into play the $4,041.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,041.25 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,071.50 BAL and $4,095.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,015.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,971.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,943.25 HVNode and $3,921.00 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

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.

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 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.