Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 24, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures trade sideways to lower staying within the prior day’s range.

  • China has deemed crypto illegal.
  • Equity market enduring outflows.
  • Positioning risks are back in line.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower overnight after a series of outlier moves; despite global equity funds seeing their first outflows in 2021, positioning risks, among other things, cooled. 

In other news, China deemed all crypto-related transactions illegal and holders of China Evergrande Group’s dollar bonds haven’t received a coupon payment due Thursday. 

Ahead is Fed-speak by Loretta Mester (8:45 AM ET), alongside data on new home sales (10:00 AM ET), and other Fed-speak by Jerome Powell and Esther George (10:00 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. 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. 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: As of 6:30 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on positive but lighter intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative buying that ceased at $4,455.00.

This trade is significant because it resolved the $4,425.00 untested point of control (VPOC), an area of unfinished business so to speak.

In the process of resolve, the S&P 500 – as evidenced by emotional, multiple distribution profile structures – established a minimal excess rally high at $4,455.00 before the momentum from covering shorts was overpowered by responsive selling at key areas of resting liquidity, at and around $4,455.00, or so.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying 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 or balance (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit).

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of global equity fund outflows, a theme in line with a recent fraying in the buy-the-dip psychology. 

The implications of this theme on price are contradictory; to elaborate, according to Reuters, “With outflows of $24.2 billion, global stock funds lost the most since March 2020 as investors moved in [favor] of cash where they [plowed] in $39.6 billion of funds, Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) said, citing EPFR data. Bond funds saw inflows of $10 billion.”

Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett commented: “Pessimism over passage of the $1 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion build back better Reconciliation caused the second-biggest outflow ever from infrastructure funds and largest from consumer funds on a year-to-date basis.”

Nevertheless, Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) Peter Oppenheimer, alongside HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE: HSBC) strategists, believes dip-buying is a go as “we’re still in the relatively early stages of this economic cycle.” 

We saw some large participant(s) take advantage of the recent dip; there was a “flurry of [bullish] trades with the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) … involved call spreads maturing in each of the next three months. The total cost was about $50 million.”

Moreover, for today, given expectations of lower volatility, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,437.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,455.00 minimal excess high. Initiative trade beyond the minimal excess high could reach as high as the $4,481.75 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,510.00 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,437.75 MCPOC puts in play the $4,415.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,415.75 LVNode could reach as low as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,365.25 LVNode, or lower.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.

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.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

News And Analysis

Global equity funds see their first outflows in 2021.

Moody’s: Taper, shutdown and debt ceiling, oh my.

China bans crypto transactions, eyeing mining halt.

Underwater homeowners bailed out by equity rise.

Libor law will reduces structured finance disruption.

Pfizer clearance setting stage for broader booster.

Foreclosure starts rise following moratorium expiry.

No sign of Evergrande coupon payment Thursday.

Trader spent $50M on options betting on SPX rally.

China: I’m forever blowing bubbles. How bad is it?

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For September 19, 2021

Editor’s Note: Late today. So sorry! The main takeaway is that we’re in a window of volatility and participants should focus on leveraging rich skew and complex spreads to hedge or speculate on sideways to lower trade.

Market Commentary

  • SPX below balance, 50-day SMA.
  • Ahead is a 2-day FOMC meeting.
  • Concerns around the debt ceiling.
  • Rich skew makes hedging easier.
  • Post OPEX volatility likely in play.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower, last week, into Friday’s quadruple witching derivatives expiry. 

Of interest this week is a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Graphic updated 5:30 PM ET Sunday. 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. 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. 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: During the prior week’s trade, on weak breadth, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a balance-area breakout and separation of value below the S&P 500’s 50-day simple moving average (i.e., a visual level likely paid attention to by short-term, technically-driven market participants who generally are unable to defend retests).

Balance-Break Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) has occurred.

We now monitor for rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) which portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a waning economic recovery, heightened valuations in the face of strong EPS expectations, the prospects of stimulus reduction, non-seasonally aligned flows, impactful options and equity market dynamics, divergent sentiment, as well as fears of a mid-cycle transition.

In a Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) note posted by The Market Ear, analysts “believe it is a critical period for many investors and companies that manage performance to calendar year-end. Such pressures boost volumes and volatility as investors observe earnings reports, analyst days and managements’ guidance for the following year.”

At the same time, inflows into equities are exploding to the upside as JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) technicians “do not see a pattern on the [S&P 500] chart or any cross-market dynamics that would suggest the market is set for a lasting bearish reversal. The late-Aug systematic sell signals lose statistical significance into next week and the seasonal trends improve into early-Oct.”

Graphic: Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) charts equity flows, via The Market Ear.

That said, we hone in on risks.

If concerns like the debt ceiling are not resolved, some economists argue, according to Bloomberg, “that an announcement on tapering is likely to be delayed to December, and that Treasury yields could fall further as a result.”

We note that – as Goldman Sachs writes – “The upcoming debt limit deadline is beginning to look as risky as the 2011 debt limit showdown that led to Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US sovereign rating and eventually to budget sequestration, or the 2013 deadline that overlapped with a government shutdown.”

On the other hand, according to SqueezeMetrics, “the current combination of weak put flows and large customer vanna exposure” is fragile; “people are [still] overexposed to changes in VIX, and will be hurt more than usual if VIX starts moving up. Historically, this means SPX down, VIX up.”

Following SqueezeMetrics’ remarks, SpotGamma adds that “over 50% of stocks [had] their largest gamma position” roll-off Friday. This suggests an increased potential for volatility heading into the September 21-22 FOMC event.

In this post-quad-witching window of non-strength, we may, as a result, use the rich skew to hedge (see below Weekly Trade Idea section).

Moreover, for today, given an increased potential for heightened volatility and initiative trade, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,437.75 micro-composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,481.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $4,481.75 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,510.00 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,526.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,437.75 MCPOC puts in play the $4,393.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,393.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $4,365.25 LVNode and $4,341.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

We note that the $4,481.75 and $4,393.75 HVNodes intersect key anchored volume-weighted average price levels. These are metrics 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.

Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 5:30 PM ET Sunday.

Key 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.

Weekly Trade Idea

Please Note: In no way is the below a trade recommendation. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Options offer an efficient way to gain directional exposure. 

If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she could buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Additionally, one can spread, or buy (+) and sell (-) options together, strategically.

Commonly discussed spreads include credit, debit, ratio, back, and calendar.

  • Credit: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +1 option farther out of the money.
  • Debit: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -1 option farther out of the money.
  • Ratio: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -2 options farther out of the money. 
  • Back: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +2 options farther out of the money.
  • Calendar: Sell -1 option. Buy +1 option farther out in time, at the same strike.

Typically, if bullish (bearish), sell at-the-money put (call) credit spread and/or buy a call (put) debit/ratio spread structured around target price. Alternatively, if the expected directional move is great (small), opt for a back spread (calendar spread). Also, if credit spread, capture 50-75% of the premium collected. If debit spread, capture 2-300% of the premium paid.

Be cognizant of risk exposure to direction (delta), time (theta), and volatility (vega). 

  • Negative (positive) delta = synthetic short (long). 
  • Negative (positive) theta = time decay hurts (helps).
  • Negative (positive) vega = volatility hurts (helps).

Trade Idea: SELL -1 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 29 SEP 21 4400/4300 PUT @.65 CREDIT LMT

I’m neutral to bearish on the S&P 500 and I think the index may slide toward $4,300. I will structure a spread below the current index price, expiring in about 2 weeks. I will buy the 4400 put option once (+1) and sell the 4300 put option twice (-2) for a $0.65 credit. Should the index not move to my target, I keep the $65 credit. Should it move to $4,300, I could make $10,065.00 at expiry. Should the index move past $4,200.00 or so, I may incur unlimited losses. My goal, with this spread, is to capture the initial credit and close for additional credit if the index moves lower. 

If necessary, I will hedge the position by either (A) selling futures, (B) widening strikes, (C) buying a far out-of-the-money put option to cap downside in case of an unpredictable move lower, or (D) roll strikes down in price and out in time.

News And Analysis

An essay on why you keep losing money as a trader.

August retail sales reflect strong consumer demand.

UBS: Resist temptation to time market despite highs.

U.S. debt ceiling fight could cause markets to tumble.

Nasdaq on whether Rule 605 works better in dollars.

Rally driven less by reflation prospects; TINA to stock.

Higher U.S. CGT proposal spurs a PE and M&A rush.

If a CEO talks like Kant, think twice before investing.

New vehicle prices surge amid global chip shortages.

Active managers’ performance disappointing in 2021.

DeFi is disrupting but not derailing traditional finance.

OpenSea admitted recent incident as insider trading.

SEC looks to greater oversight of the crypto markets.

Central bank digital currency; cash for the digital age.

White House to put forward three CFTC nominations.

Some key lessons from NYC’s first SALT conference. 

Let’s Hang Out

Salt Lake City, UT September 28-30

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 7, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures traded sideways to lower, in line with most commodities and bonds. Yields, the dollar, and VIX were higher.

  • Goldman revised down growth forecasts.
  • Ahead: Light calendar to base decisions.
  • Positioning risks mount case for volatility.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures traded sideways to lower coming into this shortened week. 

Ahead is no data of interest.

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity approximation. 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: As of 6:15 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during Friday’s regular trade, on lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by sideways trade above $4,527.75, a prominent high volume area.

This is significant because sideways to higher trade (i.e., balance) marks acceptance, or a willingness to transact at higher prices after a v-pattern recovery, above the key 50-day simple moving average.

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket) Is The Status Quo: Rotational trade that denotes current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Balance-areas make it easy to spot a change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend). 

Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation.
Graphic: S&P 500 maintaining prices above the 50-day simple moving average. This moving average can be looked at as a key dynamic level on any move lower. Losing that particular level likely changes the tone.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of peak growth and a moderation in the economic recovery, as well as non-seasonally aligned inflows, impactful options market dynamics, divergent sentiment, and fears of a mid-cycle transition.

Graphic: Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) graphic via The Market Ear. All-time highs in the equity markets alongside all-time high equity allocations.

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory

That’s according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) economists who revised lower their forecast for growth in the U.S. economy citing the COVID-19 delta variant, fading fiscal support, supply chain disruptions, and a switch in demand to services. 

“The hurdle for strong consumption growth going forward appears much higher: the Delta variant is already weighing on Q3 growth, and fading fiscal stimulus and a slower service-sector recovery will both be headwinds in the medium term,” said Goldman Sachs’ Ronnie Walker.

Among other risks include fragility with respect to “the current combination of weak put flows and large customer vanna exposure” which, according to SqueezeMetrics, puts us “a hair’s breadth away from some of the most consistently bearish and volatile behavior in the S&P 500.”

In simpler terms, as SqueezeMetrics summarizes, “[p]eople pretty much stopped buying S&P 500 puts [last] week. At the same time, people are overexposed to changes in VIX, and will be hurt more than usual if VIX starts moving up. Historically, this means SPX down, VIX up.”

I also encourage a read of the Weekly Brief for Saturday, September 4, which covered some market risks ahead.

Given the big picture context (i.e., status quo – higher prices – in the face of volatility risks) participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,527.75 high volume area (HVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,550.00 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the Fibonacci extensions at $4,556.25 and $4,592.25.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,527.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,510.00 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as low as the $4,495.00 and $4,481.75 HVNodes.

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 past areas of high volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:15 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Soros calls BlackRock China investment a tragic mistake.

GM reshuffling production plans as chip shortage persists.

London taking aim at New York with 5-year financial plan.

TP ICAP slams work from home as it hampers risk-taking.

Global growth rebound solidifies while risks broaden away.

Deutsche Telekom grows bet on U.S. with SoftBank deal.

Bitcoin facing big test as El Salvador makes it legal tender.

Facebook admits “trust deficit” as it looks to launch wallet.

Without help for oil producers, net-zero is a distant dream.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 3, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity indexes were sideways to higher with most commodities, yields, and the dollar. 

  • Ahead: NFP, unemployment, and more.
  • Participants await context on Fed taper.
  • Indexes positioned for directional move.
  • Market is closed Monday, September 6. 

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher overnight ahead of Friday’s jobs report which may provide market participants context with respect to the Federal Reserve’s intent to de-stimulate.

Ahead is data on nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings (8:30 AM ET), as well as Markit services PMI (9:45 AM ET) and ISM services index (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity approximation. 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: As of 6:40 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on positive intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade sideways above the $4,526.25 level, a prominent high volume area (HVNode).

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 or balance (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit).

This is significant because of acceptance, or a willingness to transact at higher prices. We’re carrying forward the presence of poor structure left behind prior trade.

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

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

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of Friday’s jobs report. This report may have strong implications on the equity market; to elaborate, the data release will provide market participants color with respect to the Federal Reserve’s intent to wind down stimulus.

Forecasted is the addition of 725,000 jobs in August, according to Bloomberg, a moderate pace in comparison to months prior. 

A strong report would suggest a success, on the part of businesses, to hire after months of crunched labor supply. On the other hand, “The softening in employment activity would be consistent with other economic data that have weakened since the surge in Covid case counts due to the delta variant,” Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) economists said.

Bloomberg’s Katie Greifeld adds: “[R]ates are more likely to push higher on the heels of an unexpectedly strong jobs print than they are to fall in the wake of a weak one. With that dynamic in mind, bet against bonds.”

Graphic: Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) data plotted by Bloomberg. 

To note, a softer report may pause any talk of taper to asset purchases. A reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – a removal of liquidity – could prompt a sort of risk-off scenario in which participants try to get ahead of whatever cascading reactions may come with the taper.

In other words, as Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained to me: “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

Moreover, for today, given an increased potential for higher volatility and initiative trade, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,545.75 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH puts in play the $4,556.25 and $4,592.25 Fibonacci extensions. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,526.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,510.00 level, a regular trade high (RTH High), and gap. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High and gap puts in play the $4,481.75 HVNode and $4,454.25 LVNode.

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 past areas of high volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.

Initiative Buying (Selling): Buying (selling) within or above (below) the previous day’s value area.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Moody’s Weekly Market Outlook on Ida, gas, and inflation expectations. 

Short bets rise against consumer discretionary stocks as stimulus fades.

Traders set to test Powell’s push to delink hikes from bond-buying taper.

Three doses could become a standard COVID regimen, Dr. Fauci says.

The Western U.S. drought is forecasted to continue through fall at least.

U.S. structured finance issuance totaled $57B in August, rising 65% YoY.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For August 22, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures recover after last week’s liquidation.

  • Unpacking the inclination to taper.
  • Ahead: Busy week. Jackson Hole.

What Happened: The S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered more than 50% of last week’s liquidation. The Russell 2000 remains a laggard, trading weak below the halfway point of a multi-month consolidation.

Ahead is data on the Markit manufacturing and services PMI (Monday), existing-home sales (Monday), new home sales (Tuesday), durable goods orders (Wednesday), nondefense capital goods orders (Wednesday), jobless claims (Thursday), GDP revision (Thursday), personal income (Friday), consumer spending (Friday), core PCE price index (Friday), trade in goods (Friday), as well University of Michigan consumer sentiment (Friday). 

Also, the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium starts Thursday.

Graphic updated 12:30 PM ET Sunday. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. See here for more on the Dark Pool Index (DPI) and Gamma (GEX). A higher DPI approximation is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX approximation, the more volatility. SHIFT data used for options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index from 0-100.

What To Expect: During the prior week’s trade, on weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a liquidation that repaired poor profile structures as low as the S&P 500’s $4,353.00 point of control (POC).

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Then, during Friday’s session, a p-shaped profile structure (which denotes short covering) took back the spike base a few ticks below the $4,422.75 balance area high (BAH) – a prior break from value – negating the post-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes liquidation.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of moderating growth, peak long equity positioning, breadth divergences, a resurgence in COVID-19, geopolitical tensions, and an inclination to taper stimulus.

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory; to elaborate, as measures of macro expectations rolled over, in line with companies’ profit expectations, Treasury yields declined, triggering a rotation back into high growth equities.

Graphic: As created by Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) and shared by Bloomberg, the proportion of fund managers expecting a stronger economy tumbles while the number who are overweight in equities has barely moved.

This comes at the same time a strong July jobs report helped the Federal Reserve (Fed) move toward a consensus on tapering. Given the Fed’s enormous share of the Treasury market, fear of downside equity volatility is apparent; a shift higher in the VIX futures terms structure denotes demand for protection into and through the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium August 26-28, 2021.

“The Fed has fostered a broad range of bubbles because their massive liquidity injections have been trapped in the financial economy,” Rich Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Associates said in a summary quoted by Bloomberg. “As with any cornered market, there are limited buyers and prices fall as the “cornerer” sells. Accordingly, bond prices seem likely to fall (interest rates rise) [as the] Fed reduces its cornered positions. Rising interest rates could be the kryptonite to the bubble in long-duration assets (long-term bonds, technology, innovation, disruption, bitcoin, etc.).”

Obviously, tapering may have major repercussions. However, to balance our expectations, looking back to 2014, when the Fed was scaling back bond purchases, the S&P 500 rose over 10% and rates fell after spiking initially. 

Graphic: Ally Financial Inc-owned (NYSE: ALLY) Ally Invest unpacks 2014 taper of Federal Reserve bond buying.

Ally Invest’s chief investment strategist Lindsey Bell concludes: “Conditions may not be perfect, but they could be strong enough to move from a wheelchair to some heavy-duty crutches, especially if it means keeping overheating symptoms like inflation at bay.”

Regardless, major risks remain given the growth of derivatives and the potential for offsides positioning. Even the slightest reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – the removal of liquidity – may prompt a cascading reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once told me for a Benzinga article: “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

Moreover, for next week, given expectations of heightened volatility, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,437.75 high volume area (HVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,463.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,476.50 overnight high (ONH) and $4,511.50 Fibonacci extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,437.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,415.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as $4,393.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,365.25 LVNode, or lower. 

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 past areas of high volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 12:30 PM ET Sunday.

News And Analysis

Moody’s discusses taper – maybe this year, maybe not.

Single-family home construction the highest since 2007.

Fannie Mae says COVID-19 surge won’t impact growth. 

Goldman Sachs cut its U.S. growth forecast on the virus.

APAC corporate rating recovery may stall as cases rise.

Wall Street is just as baffled about markets as last year.

Canadian inflation has risen to 3.7%, troubling Trudeau. 

Powell second term approval boosted by Yellen backing.

A gaping 10-year bond call reveals growth uncertainties.

Michael Burry of ‘Big Short’ bet against ARK Invest ETF.

Outcry rises after White House looks to quell gas prices.

Big risks and trends facing banks globally and regionally.

Could a Western U.S. drought threaten municipal credit.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For August 1, 2021

Editor’s Note: On Thursday (8/5) and Friday (8/6) there will be no Daily Brief newsletter. Additionally, there will be no Weekly Brief Sunday (8/8), either. All commentaries to resume August 9, 2021.

If in the Miami, Florida area please contact renato@physikinvest.com if interested in connecting over markets, fintech, and the like.

PS: Added a new “Weekly Trade Ideas” section. Hope it provides added value!

Regards,

Renato Leonard Capelj

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: Equity index futures to start the week off neutral, in prior-range and -value.

  • Debt limit, China, fiscal policy cloud outlook.
  • Expecting a heavy week for economic data.
  • Responsive trade until key levels are taken.
  • Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) trade ideas.

What Happened: With respect to hot topic market risks, the week prior offered a ton of information to add to our narrative. We list for clarity.

  • Debt Limit: The August 1 reinstatement of the U.S. debt limit may have severe consequences, increasing the odds of a rating downgrade on government debt.
  • Monetary: Come September, participants will likely receive increased clarity over taper timelines with an official start early next year. Adding, Chairman Jerome Powell expressed inflation as temporary and the committee announced the creation of a pair of standing facilities to strengthen its ability to be the lender of last resort in the repo market.
  • China: Cross-asset volatility in China worsened, prompting talk of a yuan devaluation. A devaluation is something to fear; to note, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) roiled global equity markets after its 2015 yuan devaluation.
  • Growth: U.S. economic data came in weaker suggesting growth likely peaked. Notwithstanding, consumer confidence improved markedly with sentiment recovering fully. Moody’s strategists look for real GDP to rise 6.7% this year, a downward revision on some fiscal policy assumptions.
  • Fiscal: Lawmakers debate another round of stimulus to ensure the strong long-term growth of lower- and middle-income households. The proposed legislation is receiving pushback with respect to its impact on inflation and taxes. Moody’s strategists note “higher taxes will weigh on economic growth, but the impact on the economy from the higher proposed taxes will be small.”
  • Pandemic: COVID-19 variants are a cause for concern – especially with respect to the Federal Reserve’s tapering of quantitative easing – but hospitalization ratios and mobility metrics suggest the crisis is likely over. In other areas, the CDC’s rental eviction moratorium and FHFA’s foreclosure moratorium expired with forbearance on government-backed mortgages and student loans ending September, also.
  • Yields: Technical factors – issuance, short coverings, a fading reflation trade, and peak growth – are to blame for lower Treasury yields. A longer-term deviation from the implied “economic fair value” of 1.6% and 1.65% for the 10-year yield would suggest other forces are driving long-term interest rates.
  • Earnings: Year-over-year profit growth of S&P 500 constituents stands at 85% with 88% of companies beating estimates for revenue and profit, according to Business Insider
  • Positioning: According to one Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) comment, highlighted by The Market Ear, “The average recovery time following 2-sigma one-day S&P declines has shortened significantly post-GFC, reaching an all-time low this year.” This has a lot to do with the inventory positioning of participants; volatility is oversupplied and associated heading forces make it so there is more liquidity and less movement. Should the market unpin, there’s “not enough liquidity” to absorb leverage on the tails.

Putting it all together, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) believes “[e]xpectations of higher interest rates and higher corporate tax rates by year-end are the primary reasons [to] forecast that the S&P 500 will trade sideways,” into end-of-year.

In support of that view is seasonality, also.

Graphic: Seasonality metrics via the Capital Market Outlook by Merrill.

What To Expect: The S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and Dow Jones Industrial Average are above their key 20-, 50-, and 200-week moving averages while the Russell 2000 is stuck inside a multi-month trading range, between its 20- and 50-week moving averages.

Given the higher long-term trend, traders of the S&P 500, in particular, must contend with a week-long balance area, the result of participants finding higher prices valuable as they position themselves for a directional move, given increased clarity on earnings, taper, and more. 

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket): Rotational trade that denotes current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Balance-areas make it easy to spot a change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend).

In the coming sessions, given that the modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break), participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,392.25 high volume area (HVNode) pivot.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,392.25 HVNode pivot puts in play the $4,406.25 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,419.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC portends a potential breakout above the $4,422.75 minimal excess high, up to the $4,428.25 Fibonacci extension.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,392.25 HVNode pivot puts in play the $4,381.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode portends a potential breakdown below the $4,370.50 minimal excess low, down to the $4,353.00 VPOC and $4,341.75 micro-composite point of control (MCPOC).

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures. Note the blue anchored Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) which suggests the average buyer, since FOMC, is underwater. To note, VWAP is 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.

Weekly Trade Idea

Please Note: In no way is the below a trade recommendation. It is a peek into the thought process here at Physik Invest. To cover my butt, so to speak, I say DO NOT take this trade. Also, if you would like to see this section included in future commentaries, email me at renato@physikinvest.com with the subject line “Please Include Weekly Trade Ideas”.

Options offer an efficient way to gain directional exposure. 

If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she could buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Additionally, one can spread, or buy (+) and sell (-) options together, strategically.

Commonly discussed spreads include credit, debit, ratio, back, and calendar.

  • Credit: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +1 option farther out of the money.
  • Debit: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -1 option farther out of the money.
  • Ratio: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -2 options farther out of the money. 
  • Back: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +2 options farther out of the money.
  • Calendar: Sell -1 option. Buy +1 option farther out in time, at the same strike.

Typically, if bullish (bearish), sell at-the-money put (call) credit spread and/or buy a call (put) debit/ratio spread structured around target price. Alternatively, if the expected directional move is great (small), opt for a back spread (calendar spread). Also, if credit spread, capture 50-75% of the premium collected. If debit spread, capture 2-300% of the premium paid.

Be cognizant of risk exposure to direction (delta), time (theta), and volatility (vega). 

  • Negative (positive) delta = synthetic short (long). 
  • Negative (positive) theta = time decay hurts (helps).
  • Negative (positive) vega = volatility hurts (helps).

Trade Idea: SELL -1 1/2 BACKRATIO AMZN 100 (Weeklys) 6 AUG 21 3600/3700 CALL @.50 LMT

I’m bullish on Amazon and I think the stock may climb over the next week, toward $3,600. I will structure a spread above the current stock price, expiring in 1 week. I will buy the 3600 call option once (+1) and sell the 3700 call option twice (-2) for a $0.50 credit. Should the stock not move to my target, I keep the $50 credit. Should it move to $3,700, I could make $10,050.00 at expiry. Should the stock move past $3,850.00, I may incur unlimited losses. My goal, with this spread, is to capture the initial credit and close for additional credit if the stock moves higher. 

If necessary, I will hedge the position by either (A) buying long stock, (B) widening strikes, (C) buying a far out-of-the-money call option to cap upside in case of an unpredictable move higher, or (D) roll strikes up in price and out in time.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For July 18, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: Equity index futures spike lower in their attempt to discover fair prices for two-sided trade.

  • COVID, waning stimulus cloud outlook.
  • Ahead: Housing and employment data.
  • Indices diverge; breadth, inflows lower.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower.

The drop wasn’t entirely uncalled for. 

Into the seasonally-aligned price rise led by the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500, inflows decelerated and breadth weakened

At the same time, a measure of inflation – via the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – rose the largest since the Global Financial Crisis. In response, the 5s30s curve resumed its flattening and the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield ended little changed.

Graphic: Inflation at its highest in almost 30 years via Bloomberg.

Simply put, it’s likely that bond market participants shrugged off the data and an acceleration in inflation will be temporary.

Still, yields could become further depressed due in part to fundamental and technical factors – issuance, short coverings, a fading reflation trade, peak growth – as well as the August 1 reinstatement of the U.S. debt limit.

“[I]f Congress idly stands by, the Treasury will eventually hit the debt limit on October 18. The consequences would be severe,” Moody’s strategists believe. Michael A. Gayed of the Lead-Lag Report adds the odds of a rating downgrade increase, as a result, also.

Moody’s concludes: “[T]apering earlier than the markets are pricing would risk causing yields to jump when some of the technical drags are easing.”

Graphic: Bank of America Corp’s (NYSE: BAC) timeline for taper via The Market Ear

Adding, since inflation and rates move inversely to each other, a mistimed bump in rates – alongside increased nervousness over a COVID-19 resurgence and fading fiscal stimulus – would potentially take away from the commitment to keep inflation expectations closer to the Federal Reserve’s 2%-plus target.

In all, in support of the Fed’s target, COVID-19 must not become a problem, and the Biden administration, alongside Congress, must come to terms on another fiscal package – a few trillion in size – that looks to extend the Treasury debt ceiling.

As unemployment declines and labor force participation increases, expectations of rate normalization will solidify. This is a boon for beta sectors, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic.

Considerations: Investment bank and financial services company Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) believes downside risks are compounded by equity and bond positioning, low short interest, and the involvement of systemic strategies which could intensify a sell-off.

Graphic: Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) chart on futures positioning via The Market Ear.

MS says CTAs are still short bonds which, according to CityWire, could continue the bond rally, pressuring stocks as investors “fear the bond market may know[] something they don’t.”

Add the passage of the July options expiration (OPEX), the window for the aforementioned dynamics (alongside a shift in preferences from saving and investing to spending, monetary tightening, seasonality, as well as a COVID-19 resurgence) to take over is opened.

After OPEX, according to SpotGamma, “the market tends to experience its largest intraday volatility which corresponds to the reduction in large options positions, and the hedging associated with them.”

Graphic: SpotGamma’s EquityHub showed 30% of the S&P 500’s gamma expiring July 16 which, as SpotGamma has said in the past, “creates volatility because, as large options positions expire[], are closed and/or rolled, dealers have large hedges they need to adjust.”

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,334.25 spike base.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,334.25 puts in play the $4343.00 VPOC. Trade beyond that signposts may then put in play the $4,346.75 HVNode – which corresponds with two anchored Volume Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs). 

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit. 

More On 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.

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.

If higher, entry into an overhead supply area, above the $4,357.75 low volume area (LVNode), portends continuation to the $4,371.00 VPOC and$4,384.50 RTH High. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,334.25 puts in play the $4,314.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond $4,314.75 could reach as low as the $4,297.00 HVNode. Closeby is the $4,291.00 VPOC and $4,285.00 composite HVNode.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).

News And Analysis

When VIX hits an extreme, options traders look to volatility arbitrage. (tasty)

Identifying gamma squeezes with SpotGamma’s options modeling. (BZ)

U.S. banks see loan, revenue pressure despite consumer spending. (Fitch)

The U.S. economy continued to strengthen as mobility trended up. (S&P)

‘A free put on the market’: Ambrus CIO talking volatility dislocations. (BZ)

OPEC+ agrees oil supply boost after UAE, Saudi reach compromise. (REU)

An unexpected tightening in policy would generate market volatility. (Moody’s)

Semiconductor supply shortage, inflation, and technology regulation. (S&P)

Frenzied retail investing boom has been cooling off in recent weeks. (Fortune)

Delta Air is seeing positive growth in business travel as offices open. (S&P)

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘The Flow Won’

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: Amid a volatile, news-heavy week, after a slew of earnings reports by heavily weighted index constituents, and an FOMC meeting that made no change to existing monetary policy, financial markets experienced a rapid de-risking, similar to what transpired prior to the sell-off in February 2020.

What Does It Mean: After extending the S&P 500’s rally, as well as establishing acceptance near the $3,850.00 price extension, an upside target, and excess (i.e., a proper end to price discovery), participants auctioned back into range, repairing poor structures left in the wake of initiative buying.

The action found acceptance below the $3,824.00 – $3,763.75 balance-area, invalidating the prior week’s break-out to new highs.

Since then, market participants were witness to violent two-sided trade, a result of the market transitioning into a short-gamma environment (Graphic 1).

In such case dealers hedge derivatives exposure by buying into strength and selling into weakness. This, will exacerbate volatility.

Graphic 1: SpotGamma data suggests S&P 500 has entered short-gamma environment

In a conversation for a Benzinga article to be released this coming week, I spoke with Kris Sidial, co-chief investment officer at The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund, regarding GameStop Corporation (NYSE: GME) share price volatility, market microstructure, and regulation.

According to Sidial, the dynamics that transpired in GameStop can be traced back to factors like Federal Reserve stabilization efforts, and low rates, which incentivize risk taking (see Graphic 2).

“The growth of structured products, passive investing, the regulatory standpoint that’s been implemented with Dodd-Frank and dealers needing to hedge off their risk more frequently, than not,” are all part of a regime change that’s affected the stability of markets, Sidial notes. 

“These dislocations happen quite frequently in small windows, and it offers the potential for large outlier events,” like the equity bust and boom during 2020. “Strength and fragility are two completely different components. The market could be strong, but fragile.”

The aforementioned regime change is one in which dealer exposure to direction and volatility promotes crash up and down dynamics. Last February, the market was heavily one-sided with participants, like target date funds (e.g., mutual funds), selling far out-of-the-money puts on the S&P 500 for passive yield, and investors buying-to-open put options in an increasing amount for downside exposure, thus exacerbating volatility. 

Graphic 2: Newfound Research unpacks market drivers, implications of liquidity.
Graphic 3: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

Last week, per Graphic 4, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, saw a rise in purchases of downside protection with time, which will likely lead to an increase in implied volatility and sensitivity of options to changes in underlying price.

These risks will be hedged off by dealers selling into weakness (see Graphic 3), thereby exacerbating downside volatility.

Graphic 4: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, for the week ending January 30, 2021.

The activity was most concentrated in put options with a strike price of $361, corresponding with $3,610 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX). This, alongside the market’s entry into short gamma, and an inversion of the VIX futures term structure (see Graphic 5), in which longer-dated VIX expiries are less expensive, is a warning of elevated near-term risks for equity market stability.

Graphic 5: VIX Futures Term Structure per vixcentral.com.

What’s more? Aside from breaking technical trend (Graphic 6) is DIX, a proxy for buying derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side) declining, and the presence of divergent speculative flows and delta (e.g., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta).

Graphic 6: Cash-settled S&P 500 Index experiences technical breakdown.
Graphic 7: DIX by SqueezeMetrics suggests large divergence between price and buying on January 27.
Graphic 8: Divergent Delta in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500.

What To Expect: In light of the technical breakdown U.S. stock indexes are best positioned for downside discovery.

As a result, participants ought to zoom out, and look for valuable areas to transact.

Graphic 9: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

In Graphic 9, the highlighted zones denote high-volume areas (HVNodes), which can be thought of as building blocks.

A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high-volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low-volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, as they have in the week prior, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of value for favorable entry or exit.

Additionally, it’s important to remember what the market’s long-term trajectory is: up.

Late last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggested equities would rally short-term with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000 on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies. Since then, Kolanovic has downgraded growth and suggested the limited potential for further upside despite odds of a sustained economic recovery.

Note, Kolanovic has not called for an implosion in equity markets. Instead, the market is due for some downside discovery given a moderation in the recovery.

Given the above dynamics, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 takes back Friday’s liquidation and auctions above the $3,727.75 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance.

In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below the $3,689.50 HVNode, would favor continuation as low as the $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes. Note that the second to last HVNode corresponds with the $361 SPY put concentration, which may serve as a near-term target, or bottom, for this sell-off, given last week’s activity at that strike.

Graphic 10: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: Participants ought to look for favorable areas to transact, such as those highlighted areas in the S&P 500, featured in Graphic 9.

Big picture, the sell-off ought to be bought, just not yet. Per Graphic 11, euphoria is still too high.

Graphic 11: Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) sentiment indicators.

Levels Of Interest: $3,727.75, $3,689.50, $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes.

Cover photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘All In At The Top’

Key Takeaways:

  • Analysts extended 2021 S&P 500 targets.
  • Fear and greed are tugging at each other. 
  • Jefferies ups 2021 GDP forecast to 5.25%.
  • Net equity buying the largest in months.
  • Inflation is rising where you don’t want it.
  • Positioning suggests elevation of volatility.
  • The big picture breakouts remain intact.

What Happened: Coming into the extended holiday weekend, on tapering volumes, U.S. index futures balanced within prior range. 

This activity occurred in the context of a larger balance-area forming just beyond the $3,600.00 multi-month break-out point. Given the lack of range expansion, in addition to the aforementioned responsive, back-and-forth trade, participants are signaling a lack of conviction.

Though there is a lot of noise in the markets — an uneven recovery, stimulus, elections, trade, and the like — one key point remains: the multi-month upside breakout targeting S&P 500 prices as high as $4,000.00 remains intact. Add to this the recovery of Monday’s liquidation fueled by weak-handed, short-term buyers, and the fact that the all-time $3,724.25 rally-high was established in an overnight session, it is highly likely that the upside discovery process has yet to end.

Note: Historically, there is a low probability that overnight all-time highs end the upside discovery process. 

Pictured: Profile overlays on a 30-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Friday’s session found responsive selling surface near the $3,691.00 profile level. Given that participants had difficulty in sustaining higher prices, alongside shortened holiday trade, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,667.75 HVNode, and continues to balance. As stated earlier, given the tapering volume and holiday, the odds of directional resolve are quite low. 

Two go, no-go levels exist; trade that finds increased involvement above $3,691.00 and below $3,667.75 would suggest a change in conviction. Anything in-between favors responsive trade.

Conclusion: Bank of America Corp’s (NYSE: BAC) Michael Hartnett summarized it best: “[T]he year of the virus, the lockdown, a crash, a recession, an epic policy panic, the greatest stock market rally of all-time, a V-shape economic recovery, and ending with a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Though risks remain, markets are pricing in the odds of a continued rebound. Unless some exogenous event were to transpire, technically speaking, all broad-market indices are in an uptrend. A move below $3,600.00 in the S&P 500 would denote a change in tone, increasing the likelihood of a failed breakout that would target prices as low as $3,200.00.

Pictured: Retest of the upside breakpoint on a daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

Levels Of Interest: The $3,691.00 boundary and $3,667.75 HVNode.

Bonus: Here is a look at some of the opportunities unfolding.

Photo by Raka Miftah from Pexels.