Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For June 17, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 300+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Update: Technicals section now reflects the proper overnight inventory stat.

After a week-long or so de-rate to reflect the impact of higher inflation and harsher monetary policies, equity index futures are trading in a responsive fashion. 

The S&P 500, in particular, lies pinned against the $3,700.00 high options open interest strike. The large June monthly options expiration has implications on the expansion of the range, as noted in prior letters.

The newsflow remains depressing. Taken alone, you’d think the Federal Reserve (Fed) would be “soft[ly] landing” us into a depression, just in time for WWIII to help us get out of it. 

Kidding. The utmost sympathy for those negatively affected by war and economic hardship.

The distinction between the economy and the market is blurred and the drop is the recession. The equity markets are a mechanism pricing the implications of all the points we talk about, in real-time, months (6-12) in advance.

Given that, there are better measures to assess whether a de-rate has played out, fully. In the last session, information, generated by the market – internals, volatility measures, and the like – suggested to us that more selling was in store, all the while there was a definite change in tone in the non-linear strength of volatility and skew with respect to linear changes in price of assets.

Should you care for the narratives in news, then here it is:

The Bank of England (BOE) pointed to the potential for a more aggressive rate hike schedule if data were to reflect a wage spiral. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) upped rates an unexpected 50 basis points. The White House weighed fuel-export limits. Both residential permitting and housing starts plummeted with the 30-year fixed-rate breaching 6.00%. 

Adding, U.S. junk bond spreads topped 500 basis points for the first time since 2020, and China, also, launched its third most modern aircraft carrier. 

Ahead, Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks at 8:45 AM ET. Then updates on industrial production and capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), as well as leading economic indicators (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. 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

Team. We’re going to have to keep it a bit shorter, today, and leave out the fundamentals section. Sorry!

Read: Daily Brief for June 16, 2022, on monetary updates and the implications of positioning.

In a nutshell, and this is borrowing from a past post-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event letter, as well put forth by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, on a Fed day, “the first move tends to be structural. A function of the inevitable rebalancing of dealer inventory post-event.”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator alluded to counterparty buyback of static short delta hedges to positive delta options exposures.

“The second move and final resolution, if you wait for it, is usually tied to the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT).”

Essentially, the baseline bear trend held because, essentially, the Fed is, indeed, expected to continue raising rates and withdrawing liquidity. This will prompt a continued de-rate with QT being “a direct flow of capital to capital markets.”

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. The Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE) futures curve is a reflection of participants’ outlook on interest rates. The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – is around March 2023.

Great, moving on. What’s next?

Essentially, with the June monthly options expiration (OPEX), expected is a roll-off of a large amount of customer negative delta exposure (via put options they own). Taken in a vacuum, with expiration, liquidity providers (who are short put options and short underlying to hedge) will re-hedge (buyback static short-delta, among other things), and this is taken as bullish.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “While many of these put positions could be paired off with other offsetting positions (i.e. netting out some of this delta), we remain of the opinion that a lot of these put positions are investor short hedges which will be rolled out and down on OPEX. This means that large ITM puts will be exchanged for OTM puts, which creates a short delta hedge imbalance for dealers (i.e. they need to cover short futures). This is what may drive the OPEX-related rally.

However, this is definitely discounting the impact on delta from participants rolling forward their bets on direction.

Graphic: Via Shift Search. Participants, mainly sell to close their short-dated bets on the downside while buying to open those that are further out in time and lower in price.

As talked about yesterday, we were to gauge the delta impact by how far below the high open interest strikes the equity indexes were to travel. As stated, these options, have little time to expiry and, thus, their gamma (the sensitivity of the option to change indirection) grows rather large, at near-the-money strikes.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. 

As the time to expiry narrows, above the strike in question delta decays, and counterparts buy back their static delta hedges. 

As the time to expiry narrows, below the strike in question delta expands and counterparts sell more static delta to hedge.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading.

This means that if far below these high-interest strikes, associated hedging, less any new reach for protection would keep markets pressured. If above, hedging, less new sales of protection, would bolster markets higher.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility and time change, hedging ratios change. For instance, if SPX is at $4,700.00 and IV jumps 15% (all else equal), the dealer may sell an additional 0.2 deltas to hedge their exposure to the addition of a positive 0.2 delta. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

Ultimately, if lower, all else equal, the June 17 OPEX will coincide with the removal of the in-the-money options exposures in question. Negating the rollover of exposures and leaving the door open to some delta imbalance (need to buy to re-hedge exposure) suggests that after this expiration, markets may have less pressure to rally against. 

“The SPX index quarterly option notional is higher than usual, but the market is below the concentration of risk given the recent selloff,” Tanvir Sandhu, chief global derivatives strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a note. “Price action will reflect the economic context, but flows from expiring in-the-money hedges may support the market.”

What do you do with this information?

Well, recall that we’ve talked ad nauseam about the supply and demand of volatility, as well as how that impacted the volatility realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) by the market.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). The divergence in volatility implied (IVOL) by participants’ options activity, versus that which the market realizes (RVOL) resurfaced on June 15, 2022, in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX).

Essentially there was an “absolute slamming” (i.e., sale of options), particularly in shorter-dated tenors and this played into the generally poor performance in skew, hence our comments on the benefit to buying into implied skew convexity should volatility reprice.

Graphic: Via TradingView. Taken by Physik Invest. The Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of the VIX, or the volatility of volatility (a naive but useful measure of skew), was very depressed, too, in comparison to the VIX, itself.

Basically, participants are hedged and volatility remains well-supplied. 

To hedge or capitalize on a potential reach for protection, amid forced selling or demand for protection by a greater share of the market in ways not recently seen, then the repricing in those structures would be a boon to those that own them.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR).

To quote Benn Eifert of QVR Advisors: “Skew goes up if vol outperforms the skew curve a lot on  a selloff.”

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research.

And, as touched on in this morning’s introduction, there was a definite change in tone in the non-linear strength of volatility and skew with respect to linear changes in the price of assets.

Personally, I, along with a partner who I trade closely with, saw increases in the prices of ratio structures (long or short one option near-the-money, short or long two or more further out-of-the-money) by hundreds of percent for only a few basis points of change in the indexes.

As Karsan explained online, there was “a spike in short-dated -sticky skew, [the] first we’ve seen since [the] secular decline began and it hints [at] a potentially critical change in dealer positioning [and] the distribution of underlying outcomes.”

“We’re transitioning to a fat left tail, right-based distribution.”

Graphic: Via English Stack Exchange. Visualizing the transition to a fat left tail and right-based distribution that is skewed negative (i.e., the green distribution).

So why does any of this matter?

This is a validation of our perspectives on how one should position, given what the supply and demand of volatility looked like prior.

Options have a “non-zero second-order price sensitivity (or convexity) to a change in volatility,” as Mohamed Bouzoubaa et al explain well in the book Exotic Options and Hybrids.

“ATM vanillas are [not] convex in the underlying’s price, … but OTM vanillas do have vega convexity … [so], when the holder of an option is long vega convexity, we say she is long vol-of-vol.”

In other words, by owning that protection, you are positioned to monetize on a continued non-linear repricing of volatility. However, doing this in a manner that cuts decay (when nothing happens) is the difficult part.

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett et al. Originally sourced via Academia.edu.

Graphic: Sourced via Towards AI. Skewness and kurtosis cheat sheet.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,727.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,727.75 HVNode could reach as high as the $3,773.25 HVNode and $3,808.50 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,664.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,664.25 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 HVNode and $3,587.25 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

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

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

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj 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, 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 June 16, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 300+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures took back the post-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) bump. Bonds and most commodity products (less gold) followed suit. 

The Federal Reserve (Fed) admitted to run-away prices and committed to slaying inflation via tougher action. Accordingly, the central bank upped interest rates by 75 basis points. This was the largest increase since 1994 and, as the Fed commented, another 75 basis point hike may be in store at the next meeting in July.

In other news, the Celsius Network (CRYPTO: CEL), a crypto favorite that amassed in excess of $20 billion in assets, froze withdrawals to stop what some say was a potential bank run. Private equity is facing a so-called “crisis of value” given over inflated prices in that market. 

We shall unpack the latter, below, a bit.

Also, U.S. retail sales posted their first drop in five months, the Bank of England raised its rates along with the Swiss central bank which surprised with its first hike since 2007.

This is all the while Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) buyback desk was flooded with volumes about 3 times last year’s daily average. This could be construed as companies viewing the latest selloff as an “opportunity to repurchase shares rather than retrenching.”

Ahead is data on jobless claims, building permits, housing starts, as well as the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index (8:30 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Fed funds rate upped 75 basis points. 

Now, it appears the rate will surpass 3% after the FOMC affirmed its commitment “to returning inflation to its 2% objective.” Participants reacted, pricing in the potential for a rate peak in the range of 4.00-4.75% early-to-mid 2023, after which the easing cycle is to likely take place.

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

The overnight rate is expected to peak near 4.23% by mid-2023. This is a given via a quick check of the Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE) futures curve, a reflection of participants’ outlook on interest rates. The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – is around March 2023 (previously it was June).

For context, the price of /GE reflects the interest offered on U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at banks outside of the U.S. With that, they’re “expressed numerically using 100 minus the implied 3-month U.S. dollar LIBOR interest rate,” per Investopedia. This means that at current March 2023 prices (95.775), this reflects an implied interest rate settlement rate of 4.225%.

Read: The shift from the Eurodollar to SOFR is accelerating as “SOFR adoption cracked 50%.”

Moreover, the FOMC’s forecasts for inflation have moved all the while predictions for 2023 and 2024 have not. 

Graphic: Via FOMC. Taken from Bloomberg.

GDP growth estimates, too, have shifted but with the expectation there still will be growth.

Graphic: Via FOMC. Taken from Bloomberg.

As stated in this morning’s introduction (above), these policy adjustments are inflicting damage on some inflated areas of the market like crypto and private equity.

Recall that prevailing monetary policies made it easier to borrow and make longer-duration bets on ideas with a lot of promise in the future. Central banks, too, underwrote losses of this regime and encouraged continued growth. This had consequences on the real economy and asset prices which rose and kept deflationary pressures at bay.

As well put forth in our May 18, 2022 commentary, the recent market rout is a recession and the direct reflection of the unwind of carry. Capital was “misallocated” and the Fed’s move to control price stability is “completely unreasonable” as they’re not in a position to do it “without bringing down the markets,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

Read: Kris Abdelmessih’s Moontower #148 on prevailing macroeconomic perspectives.

As Lyn Alden of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy put forth, “unfortunately for the Fed, the U.S. economic growth rate is already decelerating” and, to cut inflation, it must reduce demand for goods. Indeed, this is recessionary and is already reflected by slowing retail sales.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “As price pressures become more entrenched in the economy, spending will likely ebb either due to higher prices, higher interest rates, or both.”

As Bloomberg explains, spending has shifted and is supported by consumers spending down their savings and leveraging credit cards. 

Read: Klarna’s debt costs rise as buy-now-pay-later sector suffers.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. This “could be concerning if Americans fail to keep up on payments. That could ultimately mean a slowdown in the pace of inflation-adjusted consumption.”

“If this credit bubble ever pops, it’s going to be the most catastrophic market failure that anyone has ever read about — but let’s hope that doesn’t happen,” Mark Spitznagel, Miami-based Universa’s CIO, said in early June. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a tough spot.” 

Perspectives: “The move in markets prices in more than enough recession risk, and we believe a near-term recession will ultimately be avoided thanks to consumer strength, Covid reopening/recovery, and policy stimulus in China,” JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic and his team said

Positioning: Measures of implied volatility had come in, yesterday, and that was significant in that participants have a lot of exposure to put options.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator.

Further, (naively) we see it as liquidity providers being short those puts. As volatility continues to come in, the exposure of those options to direction (delta) compresses. 

As a result, liquidity providers cut some of their negative (static) delta hedges to that positive delta put position.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility and time change, hedging ratios change. For instance, if SPX is at $4,700.00 and IV jumps 15% (all else equal), the dealer may sell an additional 0.2 deltas to hedge their exposure to the addition of a positive 0.2 delta. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

This means that the potential options expiration (OPEX) related bullishness, so to speak, was pulled forward and, now, markets, being markedly lower than they were immediately after the FOMC event, are at risk of trading into (and below) the sizeable interest down below.

Read: Daily Brief for June 15, 2022.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). Updated 6/15/2022.

As stated, yesterday, these options, down below, have little time to expiry and, thus, their gamma (options sensitivity to direction) grows rather large, at near-the-money strikes.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. 

As the time to expiry narrows, above the strike in question delta decays, and counterparts buy back their static delta hedges. 

As the time to expiry narrows, below the strike in question delta expands and counterparts sell more static delta to hedge.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading.

This means that if below these high-interest strikes, associated hedging, less any new reach for protection would pressure markets lower. If above, hedging, less new sales of protection, would bolster markets higher.

Ultimately, if lower, all else equal, the June 17 OPEX will coincide with the removal of the in-the-money options exposures in question. This opens a window during which markets may have less pressure to rally against.

Bonus: As SpotGamma explains, “​​[g]iven the supply and demand of volatility, as well as divergences in the volatility that the market realizes and implies from options activity, there’s a case to be made for maintaining positive exposure to direction via long volatility.”

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett et al. Originally sourced via Academia.edu.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). The divergence in volatility implied (IVOL) by participants’ options activity, versus that which the market realizes (RVOL) resurfaced on June 15, 2022, in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX).

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,727.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,727.75 HVNode could reach as high as the $3,773.25 HVNode and $3,808.50 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,664.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,664.25 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 HVNode and $3,587.25 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.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, mentorship, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Capelj 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, 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 March 14, 2022

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

What Happened

A lot to unpack, today. Part of the newsletter may be cut off, as a result, in your inbox. Just click to view in another window.

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways-to-higher, masking turmoil in products listed abroad, as well as commodities and fixed income.

In regards to bonds, they slumped (globally) in light of participants’ pricing in monetary action given heightened inflation. The Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and Bank of Japan are to issue policy updates this week.

Commodity markets are still roiling after a price spike in some products “created a systemic risk” that prompted exchanges to cancel trades, while equity markets in Asia saw their worst-selling in years.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (INDEX: HSCEI) closed down 7.2%, the biggest drop since 2008. This was after Russia asked for China’s assistance in Ukraine (which could result, later, in sanctions from the U.S.), thus compounding uncertainties with respect to an ongoing regulatory crackdown.

Ahead is data on 1- and 3-year inflation expectations (11:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:11 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: We may attribute participants’ uncertainty to how far monetary policymakers want to tighten, slower economic growth, the implications of geopolitical tensions, imminent Russian defaults, a resurgence in COVID-19 abroad, and more.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. As Treasury yields rise, participants price in Fed tightening.

As revealed by metrics like CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool, for instance, participants are pricing a high certainty of an increase in rates.

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME). Participants price in an increased probability of a shift in the target rate. Click here to access the FedWatch Tool.

“Yields are reflecting a surprise higher shift upward in inflation expectations,” said Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) Jim Caron. “Many thought inflation would peak in the first quarter and fall. Now, with oil prices, inflation may stay high.”

At the same time, there are some indications of market stresses.

Graphic: Via McClellan Financial Publications. “The Daily A-D Line for corporate high yield bonds continues to look quite ugly. That is a concern for the overall stock market because high yield bonds drink from the same liquidity pool as stocks do, and these bonds are arguably more sensitive than stocks are to liquidity problems.”

As explained in DC’s Chartbook discussion, however, “stress in money markets is for now mostly contained and not an imminent risk to financial sustainability.”

Graphic: Via DC’s Chartbook. Funding spreads “have stabilized over the past week, not making new highs after the gap-up open on March 7. These are encouraging signs that the stress in money markets is for now mostly contained and not an imminent risk to financial stability.”

In regards to credit default swap spreads, though they are wider than in recent history, “they are still far below where they were during times of material solvency risk such as March of 2020, and the term structure of CDS spreads suggests this is more due to mechanical de-risking.”

Graphic: Via DC’s Chartbook. Cost of credit insurance for Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C). Hedging with CDS results in mechanical steepening which raises the curve. “This is in sharp contrast to the curve in March 2020 (yellow, orange, and red), when the short end of the CDS curve rose quickly and flattened the curve.”

Okay. So, the “financial system is functioning smoothly.” How do you trade slowing growth in the face of heightened inflation?

As Andreas Steno Larsen of Heimstaden explains, the “best way to assess this question is via a historical study of empirical returns during times of actual stagflation dating back to the early 1970s.”

Graphic: Via Andreas Steno Larsen. “Heatmap on quarterly inflation-adjusted returns across asset classes during stagflation periods (1973 – today).”

“Assets that tend to keep the value intact or even increase in real terms through stagflation are typically negatively correlated to low or negative real rates, which is why gold and real estate (REITs) are some of the best places to hide during stagflation,” Steno Larsen says. 

“Equities overall struggle to perform in real terms and so do bonds, which might be even worse this time around due to the outset of bond yields into this potential stagflationary environment.”

To note, pursuant to the idea that participants have “priced in” the aforementioned, S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) data suggests “the initial stages of a monetary tightening cycle have not been disastrous for the U.S. stock market historically.”

Graphic: Via S&P Global.

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

This is in the face of an S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) down environment.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) down, CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) down.

In part, this has to do with the supply and demand of protection; mainly, the market is “well hedged and well-positioned,” Amy Wu Silverman of Royal Bank of Canada’s (NYSE: RY) says

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Netting call & put delta, you can see we’re near extremes in terms of put:call positions. Often large put positions are removed by expirations, which seems to coincide with market lows. Many of these are quarterly expirations which coincide w/FOMC meetings – such as next week.”

Given this, as JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) analysts explain, “we could be closer to the end” of discretionary de-risking, and the compression of volatility (via passage of FOMC), as well as the removal of counterparty negative exposure (via OPEX) may serve to alleviate pressure. 

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “18-Mar has more expiring near-the-money SPX open interest than any expiration since 2019.”

As SpotGamma, explains, “As it stands, without further geopolitical events causing, even more, fear, the markets are due for a relief rally,” on improving seasonality, among other things. 

“Following the FOMC meeting, as well as the reduction in put-heavy exposures post-OPEX (options expiration), the need for put ownership (protection) and relative short positions is reduced (less positive delta = less selling to hedge = less pressure).”

Graphic: Via EquityClock. Taken from The Market Ear.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle 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; activity above the $4,227.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,249.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,285.25 and $4,314.75 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,227.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,189.00 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,138.75 and $4,101.25 overnight low (ONL), or lower.

Considerations: Participants resolve a pinch of two anchored volume-weighted average price indicators (VWAPs). A 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.

We look to buy above a flat/rising VWAP pinch. We look to sell below a flat/declining VWAP pinch.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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.