Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 19, 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 explored lower and hammered out a low. On that recovery, measures of implied volatility fell, and most commodity products and yields moved higher.

Ahead is data on Building Permits and Housing Starts (8:30 AM 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: Narratives discussed, before, remain valid. 

Mainly, expected is strong economic and earnings growth, as well as cooling inflation.

However, 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.”

Graphic: From Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). The Market Ear recaps: “Bigger moves in yields eventually spill over to SPX. We basically had the 2 sigma move in rates…and equities are behaving as they should.”

The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial made a great point, yesterday, too.

Basically, despite that the market is off about 5% from its highs, the go-to 60/40 portfolio and “diversified funds” are in turmoil.

This newsletter has touched on the “bonds down, equities down” dynamic in the past. 

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.

Putting it all together, per Constan, “If current, priced in, inflation and growth expectations are exactly realized we predict that risk premiums on 30-year yields will increase by 15bp and equity risk premium by 30bp,” Constan adds. 

“These risk premium expansions will generate a 2% headwind on long bond prices and a 10% headwind for equity prices.”

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) strategists are in agreement.

“With our economic team’s new Fed forecast for the end of QE, 4 rate hikes, and the beginning of balance sheet normalization this year, our call for falling valuations is likely to happen faster and more broadly than our prior forecast.”

Also: “Companies have expedited supplies, they’ve hired a bunch of labor at higher prices and if there’s excess supply now in the first or second quarter, potentially temporarily that could lead to margin compressions.”

Graphic: Via comments made by Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) U.S. equity strategist Michael Wilson, “Our new Fed forecast simply brings forward our call for lower equity valuations and raises the risk in the first half of the year. The median stock remains expensive even though the most egregiously priced stocks have corrected.”

It’s looking like Ark Invest’s Catherine Wood hit the nail on the head with respect to her comments on inventory build-ups. 

Early in November, as this newsletter highlighted, the CIO said inflation was likely on its way out due to (1) productivity increases, (2) China housing and financial sector turmoil depressing commodity prices, (3) inventory build-ups, and (4) disruptive innovation.

“This is unsustainable,” she had said. “I’m wondering if even the housing market inflation is going to give way, here.”

Positioning: Despite elevated measures of implied volatility like the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) marking higher, the VIX term structure remains upward sloping. 

Graphic: VIX term structure via Vix Central. 

All that means is that we have yet to similar levels of destabilizing demand for protection. 

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book. In buying a put, customers indirectly take liquidity as dealers, short the put, sell underlying to hedge. With higher levels of implied volatility, dealers’ exposure to direction increases. They hedge by selling more underlying.

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

Any expansion in volatility, however, likely coincides with further weakness.

As a result, this, coupled with data that suggests “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since,” cautions us on trade into and after this week’s expiration of options on the VIX and equity products.

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 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 $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,593.00 point of control (POC). Initiative trade beyond the POC could reach as high as the $4,619.00 HVNode and $4,650.75 extended trading hours low (ETH Low), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,574.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,535.50 overnight low (ONL). Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $4,520.00 and $4,492.00 regular trade low (RTH Low), 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.

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.

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.

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.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to 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 reduction dealer gamma exposure.

Inversion Of VIX Futures Term Structure: Longer-dated VIX expiries are less expensive; is a warning of elevated near-term risks for equity market stability.

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 November 12, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity indices were flat-to-up while commodities and bonds were sideways to lower.

The prevailing narratives include the prospects of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, COVID-19 resurgence in the U.S., concerns over the pace of inflation and its impact on the economy, China developer debt payments, and the like. Your typical doom and gloom stuff!

Ahead is data on job openings, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, and five-year inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 5:30 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

On lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the balance and overlap of value areas in the S&P 500.

This activity, which suggests participants’ willingness to position for directional resolve, comes alongside the presence of poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a lot of big-picture dynamics such as the growth of derivatives exposure and tail risk, the heightened moneyness of nonmonetary assets, trends in seasonality, buybacks, earnings growth, inflation, and more.

Graphic: “Whenever the market has been up 20%+ YTD through to October (like e.g. THIS YEAR), it has *always* had an up month in November (albeit with a n=8). Basically I would say it speaks to the momentum in the market, which despite the September stumble seems pretty much alive and well.” – Callum Thomas

On the topic of inflation, the October consumer price index (CPI) is worrisome, according to some. 

“We think it is time to rethink positioning related to inflation,” Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) strategists led by Scott Chronert wrote in a note. “A focus on sectors and industry groups negatively correlated to inflation provides a contrarian opportunity.” 

Citi sees value in consumer and health-care stocks, as a result of negative correlations to CPI.

Despite the hot prints, the CPI doesn’t paint the entire picture; it’s too soon to change rate-hike calculations, according to the Federal Reserve’s Mary Daly. 

Graphic: U.S. inflation, expected Fed rate increases via Bloomberg

That thinking brings me back to recent comments made by Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood.

Mainly, Wood feels that inflation is on its way out with a decline in the velocity of money and increased moneyness of nonmonetary assets.

A prime example of this is inflation in housing; “Ivy Zelman of Zelman Research came out this week. She made a fantastic call on the housing bubble and bust starting in 05-06, and she was right, just a little early. She is very concerned that the housing prices we’re seeing right now are not sustainable,” because of speculation, as well as iBuying and private equity. 

“This is unsustainable … and I’m wondering if even the housing market inflation is going to give way, here,” Wood added. 

For now, with more of the same – bullishness in the face of moderating monetary policy, strong retail participation, seasonality, and buybacks supporting the valuations we’re at, now – what other narratives are there to add (or roll forward)?

Given my interest in the options market – because option volumes are comparable to stock volumes and related hedging flows, as a result, represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks – I’m in the camp of “the market is fragile, given current positioning.”

According to SpotGamma, single-stock exuberance of the past weeks fed into the S&P complex, itself, evidenced by a lack of interest in put options at lower strikes; the S&P 500 options strike with the largest negative gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – failed to roll higher, while the strike of the option with the largest positive gamma did. 

This came as investors marked the S&P 500 up to the $4,700.00 strike, at which positive gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – is highest. 

“As volatility continues to decline, the gamma of those options, which are now at the money, ought to increase, forcing counterparties to supply more liquidity,” SpotGamma explained.

Therefore, coming into this week, $4,700.00 was expected to be a magnet (or resistance) into that aforementioned pre-monthly options expiration (OPEX) weakness.

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

This was unless (1) volatility declined markedly, “a tailwind for the S&P complex as options slid[ing] down their term structure would cause dealers to continue covering their hedges in an asymmetric manner,” or (2) more capital was committed to options at higher strikes. 

Neither happened.

Instead, the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) was higher, with demand coming in across the front area of the VIX futures term structure. This suggested a demand for hedges and a reduction in the flows (e.g., vanna) that support sideways to higher trade. 

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. The left orange marker is reflective of a basic reaction to call-buying (as observed during the rise of meme stocks). The right orange marker reflects a reaction to put-buying (as observed during the COVID-19 sell-off).

The implications of customers now covering their levered, long-delta exposure and demanding out-of-the-money hedges may have the effect of forcing counterparties to hedge in a manner that exacerbates underlying price movement to the downside (e.g., Tesla).

With that single-stock exuberance still reflected by positioning in the S&P, itself, as SpotGamma said: “This sets us up for what may be a volatile pre- and post-OPEX week.”
Graphic: S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity for Thursday, November 11, 2021. SHIFT shows increased volume of put options in strikes prices at and below current prices.

Expectations: As of 5:30 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 positively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance-Break Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) ought to occur on a break of day-session balance.

We monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,647.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,673.00 untested point of control (VPOC)

Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,695.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,711.75 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,619.00 VPOC

Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as $4,590.00, a prior balance area high (BAH), and $4,574.25 HVNode, or lower.

To note, a breach of Wednesday’s low likely puts the S&P 500 in a short-gamma environment.

Those participants that take the other side of options trades will hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. 

When dealers are short-gamma, they buy into strength and sell into weakness, exacerbating volatility. 

When dealers are long-gamma, they buy into weakness and sell into strength, calming volatility.

--

Click here to load today’s updated 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. Learn about the profile.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

Cave-Fill Process: Widened the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. This is a good development.

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.

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, 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.

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

Disclaimer

At this time, Physik Invest does not manage outside capital and is not licensed. 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.