Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 30, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 980+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:50 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

Apologies for the delay. Hectic end-of-week! A little heavy on the fundamental side of things and light on the positioning. More to unpack next week. Have a great weekend!

Fundamental

As an update to our September 29, 2022 letter, Russia responded to the Nord Stream attack suggesting the incident spoke of state-sponsored “terrorism”, all the while “an EU official said the incident had fundamentally changed the nature of the conflict in Ukraine,” per Refinitiv.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Updated September 28, 2022.

In short, Russia’s throwing blame on the US, among others, suggesting it was likely to benefit through a boost in liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales. Russia previously said the leaks were in areas “fully under the control” of US intelligence agencies.

It’s the case that in February 2022, Joe Biden commented that if Russia invaded Ukraine, there would “no longer be a Nord Stream 2,” also.

In response, Nord Stream 1 leaks will be stopped on Monday with no forecasts yet on the future of the pipeline’s operation.

To note, the pipelines were not “supplying gas to Europe when the leaks were first detected, … [but] both had gas in them.” Regardless, the EU will be assessing the application of sanctions.

Moving on, as a recap, this week there was tons of volatility in overseas fixed income and FX markets. In short, the announcement of new fiscal policies coincided with market volatility that prompted reflexive feedback responses, which we dissected in our September 29, 2022 letter.

A cascade of margin calls, during the route to 7-8% yields, would have put in jeopardy 90% of UK pension funds. 

To explain, per Reuters, there are schemes “that pay pensioners a fixed annual amount, often a portion of the final salary they earned as employees.” The schemes invest about 50% of assets in bonds, in order to have cash on hand and pay pension liabilities.

To reduce the effects of market volatility, positions are hedged through derivatives “managed by so-called liability-driven investment (LDI) funds,” Reuters well explained. “For example, pension schemes might pay the floating rate leg of an interest rate swap and receive fixed rates.”

Due to the leverage, market moves have an amplified effect on the funds. Therefore, if bonds fall too much, too fast, more cash must be sent to these LDIs. 

“[P]ositions become loss-making – they are paying out more money in the transaction than they are receiving.”

In some cases, schemes were to have “cash reserves to cope with a 200 bps rise in swap rates over a year. However, 30-year gilt interest rate swaps … rose 360 bps this year and 120 bps in the last few days before the BoE stepped in” and bought bonds, boosting inflation expectations, the thing that monetary tightening was, in part, intended to reduce.

Graphic: Retrieved from Fabian Wintersberger.

Accordingly, pensions sold gilts to “ready cash to meet those collateral calls, or they were kicked out of their derivatives positions because they could not pay up in time and had to sell gilts to avoid having a naked exposure to further sharp moves.”

The BoE’s actions calm the market allowing for the more orderly processing of transactions. 

Still, the UK is seen “out-hiking the Fed in the wake of Kwarteng tax cuts,” while “schemes are running out of cash.”

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg.

The risks don’t just stop there, though, we added. 

For one, there’s damage to be had if FX hedges go awry, which we said would likely prompt a call for collateral, too; investors will “buy overseas assets and hedge away the currency risk,” Jim Leaviss explained. “[I]f you had bought a dollar bond and hedged it, the dollars that you have effectively sold ‘short’ against sterling as the hedge have rallied, and the counterparty to the FX hedge will call for a collateral payment.”

The actions of the recent days likely put investors in a position of less liquid assets to meet the (potential) collateral calls, and this is part of the aforementioned technical factors that are likely to have a bearing on the direction of bonds and yields “over coming months.”

Additionally, some participants speculate the US may run into similar issues as the UK. A single (unconfirmed) participant explained pensions may be “selling equities and other asset classes to meet their swap obligations.”

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg.

Separately, another topic of discussion was the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) telling state-run banks to prepare for the shedding of dollar holdings to buy and assist in propping up the yuan.

Graphic: Retrieved from Reuters’ John Kemp.

This is all the while the Federal Reserve (Fed), to address problems of its own (e.g., real estate affordability) is implementing aggressive monetary tightening (prompting a rise in the dollar and triggering a “reverse currency war”). 

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “So if you want to spend $2,500 a month, you can now buy a house that costs $476,425. For that same monthly payment, you could have purchased a $758,572 house in early 2021.”

As an aside, US mortgage rates hit a 15-year high and home prices are falling.

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg. To note, housing wealth regressions indicate “that every dollar of changes in housing wealth leads to a 38-cent change in consumption.”

China is looking to do less of the same and “spark growth in an economy that’s been dragged down by COVID-19 lockdowns, a real estate crash, and supply chain snags,” which have hurt some US firms including Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL).

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Apple’s manufacturing exposure to China.

That’s the mismatch (i.e., China easy, US uneasy) that’s going on and, per some, the Fed may be acting on a set of lagging indicators; monetary policy action may do more harm than good.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Liz Ann Sonders. “Unbelievable decline in shipping rates … cost to send a 40-ft container from Shanghai to Los Angeles has fallen by 74% from peak and is back to August 2020 levels.”

But, for now, a robust labor market and continued spending by American consumers have some feeling there’s far more room to go before US monetary policy does more harm than good.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. An end of an era is approaching, however, as companies that grew largely over the past years, including Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), seek to reduce headcount and reorganize.

Positioning

All that was said yesterday, and earlier this week, remains valid. In short, the decline prompted traders to demand downside protection, and this wound measures of implied volatility (IVOL).

Graphic: Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). Read, here, to understand backwardation and contango in futures markets.

For IVOL measures to remain wound, something bad needs to happen, in short. Otherwise, as seen yesterday, slightly, the S&P 500 drifted lower while certain IVOL measures, such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) printed a lower high than that observed on Wednesday.

Per SpotGamma, “If the decline in IVOL is very pronounced, relative to the decline in the S&P, that too can aid in a push-and-pull that actually serves to … resist far-reaching weakness.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.

From hereon, the decay and/or removal of the protection that’s been demanded in the past days and weeks may place a like on IVOL and boost markets over a very short term. In the long term, however, weakness is here to stay, says Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan. 

That’s amid impacts of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning bolstering the weakness.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

A lot more on this positioning, and the rollover of some large fund exposures, which have grasped the attention of many online, in some coming letters.

Technical

As of 9:50 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,688.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,771.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,610.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,554.75 and $3,506.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 29, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 980+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:40 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

More clarity surfaces on the turmoil overseas. After announcements regarding new fiscal policy that would feature steep tax cuts, the prices of longer-dated British bonds fell, prior to the Bank of England (BoE) announcing the purchase of longer-dated bonds to restore stability.

Here’s why the BoE did what it did:

In short, market volatility prompted reflexive feedback responses.

British pensions are required to match assets to liabilities “to ensure that promises to pensioners could be honored,” Bloomberg explained. This prompted purchases of long-dated bonds in size. Essentially, pensions would “enter into swap contracts, using [long-dated bonds] as collateral.” 

That’s because “swaps give[] the pension scheme far more capital to assign to those more interesting asset classes with high potential returns rather than having it tied up in boring gilts.”

“If the bet turned out wrong, [pensions would] have to pay something to the counterparty. And, if the collateral suddenly and unprecedentedly took a massive fall, the counterparty would face a margin call.” 

In size, these “margin calls had turned into a cascade,” forcing pensions to sell into weakness.

Talk of fund insolvencies and the effects of that on the economy, executives running day-to-day operations, not the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), implemented quantitative easing (QE), essentially, buying bonds and pushing their yields lower to ease market volatility.

In stories that followed, a London-based banker discussed his worry that the situation came close to looking like “a Lehman moment.” Cardano Investment executive Kerrin Rosenberg also said “if there was no intervention [], yields could have gone up to 7-8% from 4.5% [] and, in that situation, around 90 per cent of UK pension funds would have run out of collateral.” 

In light of the “madness,” the UK’s Simon Hoare said that actions must be taken at the Treasury and government levels. 

Adding, though volatility eased everywhere (e.g., mortgage rates), including in the US markets, the damages are not contained, some explain.

Graphic: S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX), top. 10-year US Treasury yield (INDEX: TNX), bottom.

UK investors will often “buy overseas assets and hedge away the currency risk,” Jim Leaviss of Bond Vigilantes explained. Amid all the volatility, “if you had bought a dollar bond and hedged it, the dollars that you have effectively sold ‘short’ against sterling as the hedge have rallied, and the counterparty to the FX hedge will call for a collateral payment.”

“Whilst most funds will hold some cash and extremely liquid government bonds against such moves, the size of the recent turmoil probably means that many investors will be having to liquidate credit and other less liquid assets in order to meet these collateral calls.”

Therefore, the aforementioned technical factors have a bearing on the direction of bonds and yields “over coming months.”

Elsewhere, in China, in alignment with a request for state banks to stock up for FX intervention, the “PBOC hit CNH in illiquid hours to have maximum impact,” as “the trouble the PBOC faces is similar to that of Japan – when domestic conditions call for easy policy (vs. US).”

Bob Elliot of Unlimited Funds adds “the moves are likely to be paired with more announcements of macroprudential strategies to slow depreciation. While they will make headlines, most have proven to be reactive and modest in their impact.”

Therefore, “[g]iven weak domestic conditions, the PBOC is very unlikely to prioritize FX over domestic easing – the diff[erence] to the US will only get worse.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Overseas demand for goods from China is weakening as the global economy slows … [and] soaring inflation [among] other headwinds elsewhere suppress global demand.” Accordingly, the “cost of shipping goods from China has slumped to the lowest level in more than two years as the world economy stumbles,” just as the US seeks to build more “resilient supply chains” elsewhere.

Positioning

Measures of implied volatility (IVOL) recorded decreases, yesterday, as traders supplied to the market protection, largely, at the front-end where “options are far more sensitive to changes in IVOL and direction,” as SpotGamma put

“As IVOL declines and the S&P rises, the probability of those options paying out falls. This is reflected by their exposure to direction (or Delta) dropping, also. To re-hedge decreased exposure to Delta, liquidity providers may provide the market with a boost.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.

As stated yesterday, in the very near term, the risks are skewed to the upside.

“For pumped-up options far from the money to retain their value, there essentially needs to be an adverse move (in price and volatility). Should nothing bad happen, the probability of these options paying out will fade, as will their exposure to direction (or Delta).”

Over a longer-term, however, weakness may persist into October amid impacts of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning bolstering the weakness.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Technical

As of 8:30 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,722.50 LVNode puts into play the $3,771.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,771.25 could reach as high as the $3,826.25 and $3,862.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,722.50 LVNode puts into play the $3,688.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,638.25 LVNode and $3,610.75 HVnode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 28, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 970+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

Apologies, team, if the quality was lacking these past few days. Extremely busy on my end and I look forward to some detailed letters in the near future! – Renato

Fundamental

“Great powers are waging hot wars involving the flow of technologies, goods, and commodities.”

That’s according to Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar who believes that the pillars forming the context for a low-inflation world are changing, and this is setting the stage for longer-lasting structural inflation.

In short, inflationary impulses are incoming from non-linear geopolitical and economic conflicts. 

Just yesterday, Europe was investigating attacks on pipelines from Russia; there were “major leaks into the Baltic Sea from two Russian gas pipelines at the cent[er] of an energy standoff.”

“The word sabotage springs to mind,” Javier Blas of Bloomberg, said. “In a single day, the conduits, which link Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea, have suffered not one, not two, but three separate major leaks.”

Per reports by Refinitiv, seismologists nearby registered “powerful blasts” that “do not resemble signals from earthquakes.” Instead, the explosions likely correspond with hundreds of “kilos (kg) of dynamite.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. 

Given that Nordstream 1 and 2 are not operational, now, the “leaks are more likely a message: [if truly the culprit], Russia is opening a new front on its energy war against Europe.” 

Accordingly, gas prices were higher but “below this year’s peaks,” Refinitiv reported. Generally, across some benchmarks, prices read “more than 200%, higher than in early September 2021.”

Separately, the Bank of England (BoE) is delaying quantitative-tightening (QT) bond sales and opting to purchase longer-dated government bonds in an attempt to restore stability, which we discussed was at risk on Monday and Tuesday.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Credit Default Swaps (CDSs) are a tool for investors to offload credit risk to other market participants.

As a result, after a near-vertical drop (visible below) in Gilts and British corporate bonds (which impacted mortgage lending, for one), UK yields saw some of their biggest drops on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Updated September 26, 2022.

The actions over the past few days complicate the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) objective to reach a return to 2% inflation in the medium term.

Graphic: Retrieved, initially, from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Via The Transcript. Interest rates “may be higher for longer” than expected.

At home, here, in the US, yields on the 10-year topped 4.00%. There is a heightened chance of a Federal Reserve (Fed) bump in rates that brings the target rate to 375-400 basis points, while the UK, in stemming its inflationary pressures, is expected to bump by double that amount.

The action to stem inflation is feeding through to demand. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) said it would ease plans to boost iPhone production “after an anticipated surge in demand failed to materialize,” a Bloomberg report said

“The supply constraints pulling down on the market since last year have eased and the industry has shifted to a demand-constrained market,” said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC. 

“High inventory in channels and low demand with no signs of immediate recovery has OEMs panicking and cutting their orders drastically for 2022,” a fear we said ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood shared, not too long ago.

Positioning

The beginning of the week was characterized by a sideways-to-lower S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and implied volatility (IVOL) metrics, such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), rising.

Per IVOL the term structure, demand for options protections seems to be concentrated in options that are shorter-dated and far more sensitive to changes in direction and volatility.

That means for large shifts in price and/or volatility, hedging ratios (e.g., Delta) shift markedly, too. This prompts “hedging feedback mechanisms in both market directions,” per SpotGamma.

Graphic: Retrieved from VIX Central. Taken from The Market Ear. Updated 9/27/2022.

Moreover, the risks are skewed to the upside, SpotGamma added. 

“For pumped-up options far from the money to retain their value, there essentially needs to be an adverse move (in price and volatility). Should nothing bad happen, the probability of these options paying out will fade, as will their exposure to direction (or Delta). [In] re-hedg[ing] decreased exposure to Delta, liquidity providers [] may provide the market with a boost.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.

At the same time, there appears to be some “dealer disintermediation” amid “less incentive to make deep, tight markets” due to “capital constraints,” potentially, explained SqueezeMetrics, the creator of the DIX (Dark Pool Index).

This comes after months of high average readings in DIX (likely as market-makers assembled “basket[s] of S&P 500 stocks to create ETF shares, or to hedge away the exposure of a futures contract[s]”). Typically, high DIX readings are associated with stronger 1-month market returns, particularly when put flows are strong (i.e., lower Gamma exposure readings, like now).

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Overall, the trend change is “suggestive of some second thoughts from the [buy-the-dip] crowd, and perhaps (likely!) some deleveraging from elsewhere,” SqueezeMetrics ended.

Technical

As of 8:20 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,688.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,771.25 HVnode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,610.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,554.75 and $3,506.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 27, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 950+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 6:45 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Top of mind, yesterday, was the drop in Britain’s currency (GBP) and a surge in bond yields on the back of new fiscal plans and pledged tax cuts, alongside a more easy pace of interest rate hikes by the Bank of England (BoE). See the Daily Brief for September 26, 2022, for context.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Knowing that the fiscal stimulus and an easy-moving BoE would add to inflation that is already high and sticky, traders began pricing emergency rate hikes, all the while conversation around the impacts of the UK’s rising rates on mortgage lending and the “dollar doom loop” surfaced.

In response, the BoE’s Governor Andrew Bailey said they were “monitoring developments in financial markets,” and at the “next scheduled meeting of the impact on demand and inflation from the Government’s announcement, and the fall in sterling, … [t]he MPC [won’t] hesitate to change interest rates by as much as needed to return inflation to the 2% target.”

Per Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C), however, “[m]onetary policy will struggle to save FX when fiscal policy is the culprit.”

Lawrence Henry Summers, a former US Secretary of the Treasury, also commented that he “would not be amazed if British short rates more than triple in the next two years and reach levels above 7 percent.”

That’s “because US rates are now projected to approach 5 percent and Britain, [which] has much more serious inflation, is pursuing more aggressive fiscal expansion and has larger financing challenges.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

On the topic of rising yields and lenders’ disinterest to issue mortgages, among other things, it is the case that bond buying, via tools such as quantitative easing (QE), left room for confidence to eventually run out and the bond market to revolt.

Read our monetary policy explainers published on September 19 and 20.

Per statements authored by Bloomberg’s John Authers, the “UK appears to be the first case of a true disorderly bond selloff, where the moves are so swift that they affect the functioning of the financial system. It’s been triggered by a combination of inflation and rash fiscal policy.”

Accordingly, the actions by policymakers abroad serve to reinforce the earlier discussed “dollar doom loop”; the rising USD, though reducing the impact of inflation in the US, ultimately hurts most dollar-denominated debt servicing (see Latin America in the 1980s).

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Positioning

Seasonally speaking, the week after September options expiry (OPEX) is one of the worst on record. The weakness often persists into October.

To quote Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan:

So, “less support from Vanna and Charm, less support through QT, and less buyback,” presents a “fragile moment” with the next week representing the most “dangerous period” on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

For context, it is the impacts of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning bolstering the weakness.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Separately, a hot topic concerns the money that is piling into money funds where “the vast bulk now earns upwards of 2%, with pockets paying 3%, 4% or more.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Money funds, banks, and others are so flush with cash these days that they’re shoveling record amounts into the Fed’s overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility, a short-term instrument that, following the central bank’s 75 basis point hike last week, now pays a rate of 3.05%.”

The theory is as follows: if “cash is yielding 4%, why not just sit in cash while the macro environment clarifies a little bit?”

With traditional 60/40 upended, and the gap “between what banks are paying on deposits and what money-market funds are offering” widening, “money funds are likely to attract more inflows going forward as a result, pushing [the] usage of the RRP facility even higher.” 

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

This is all, however, money that is waiting to be deployed, “should market sentiment improve, or asset prices tumble to levels too attractive to pass up.”

Should you, too, desire to pursue guaranteed rates of return, last week Box Spreads were put forth as a solution. These trades “allow market participants to create a loan structure similar to a Treasury bill.” Upon maturity, the Box Spread earns a competitive interest rate.

Price some trades at boxtrades.com.

Graphic: Retrieved from boxtrades.com.

Technical

As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the 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.

Any activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,771.25 and $3,826.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,638.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 and $3,554.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 26, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 950+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Overnight news was focused on the drop in Britain’s currency and a surge in bond yields. Per Bloomberg, the UK government’s talk about new fiscal plans and pledged tax cuts, alongside moderate interest rate hikes by the Bank of England (BoE), is the source of the weakness.

That’s because fiscal stimulus, which is part of a strategy to stoke “all-out” growth now, would add to the inflation already high and sticky from supply chokepoints and an easy-moving BoE.

Graphic: Retrieved from Reuters’ John Kemp. This action increases the UK’s competitiveness. It also increases the cost of important items in the UK, like gas for your car and electricity.

“An emergency rate hike would be a damning indictment of the government’s strategy, but it will become increasingly likely if markets fail to stabilize,” said Bloomberg economist Dan Hanson. 

Adding, traders are pricing increased odds of rate increases (~1.75%) by the BoE’s next policy meeting in November. Looking back, in the wake of previous tax giveaways, interest rates rose by a lot to stem the inflationary shock.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “A combination of sharply rising bond yields and a sharply falling currency is very unusual outside emerging markets, and implies doubts over the government’s ability to service its debt.”

The weekend news, has us looking back to our letters on a “self-reinforcing ‘dollar doom loop,’” as Jon Turek of JST Advisors once put forth. It’s the case that the dominant currency for carry, due to easy monetary policies, was the dollar.

However, “the stronger the dollar gets in comparison, the less tenable it becomes as a global reserve,” and this puts pressure on the longer-term trajectory of the currency. 

Knowing that US market liquidity, as well as the dollar’s strong role as a reserve, put the S&P 500 at the center of global carry regimes, an unwinding of carry may compound a market fall affecting nearly all risk assets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Ian Harnett of Absolute Strategy Research. Via The Market Ear.

Accordingly, as put forth in Mr. Blonde’s letter, “[e]ven if you are optimistic about growth and the ability of [the] global economy to digest significant financial conditions tightening, you no longer need to be 100% invested in risky, less liquid, assets when you get a competitive return from risk-free cash.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Mr. Blonde.

Positioning

Following the September options expiration (OPEX), markets tend to have their worst week.

From thereon, the weak seasonality tends to persist for about a month, into mid-October. Given this, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained, “you need to keep selling the rallies, … [as the] war between the structural negative effects, macro flows, and positioning,” is likely to continue.

Graphic: Retrieved from Mr. Blonde.

Dollar strength should feed into margin compression just now “filtering through” and impacting “international dollar-denominated debt.”

That compounds the impact of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning.

Read our monetary policy explainers published on September 19 and 20.
Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

At the beginning of the 5-week expiration cycle, Karsan explained, Vanna and Charm flows are reduced; there is “significantly less buyback” of counterparty short stock and futures hedges to “the decay of options which sit at the October monthly expiration.”

So, “less support from Vanna and Charm, less support through QT, and less buyback,” presents a “fragile moment” with the next week representing the most “dangerous period” on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from 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, “December’s quarterly [OPEX] is now coming into the picture, … [where] volatility is generally highly demanded. When you get a lot of volatility supply in that area, you begin to see people who are short getting back the volatility they were short.”

In other words, equities down, implied volatility down is likely to persist for a little while longer as the risks for a “tail” build; “there’s a window that is opening for long volatility to perform probably starting in about a month or two,” through to “January and March.”

Technical

As of 8:30 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively-skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,771.25 and $3,826.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,638.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 and $3,554.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 12, 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!

Graphic updated 7:00 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

The top headlines are on the inflation conjectures, the depth and breadth of the energy crisis, supply constraints, EUR/USD parity, geopolitical unrest, and global economic slowing.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Dollar surge, European growth path, waning demand, and increasing supply weigh on copper, a bellwether of the world economy.

A boiling point, if not already, is soon to be reached, in short.

For instance, the energy crisis, which is, in part, the result of earlier capacity erosion, short-term triggers, and panic, is expected to worsen according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Per Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), a “full interruption to Russian flows to Europe would be equivalent to a 35% supply shock to the European gas market.” 

Graphic: Retrieved via The Market Ear. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). “[W]e estimate bills would increase by c.65% from here in this event, bringing the total household cost for power and gas to nearly €500/month, creating a meaningful affordability problem. Versus the summer-2020 trough, we estimate that gas/power bills would have increased by nearly 300% on this basis.”

What does this mean for the markets we’re focused on day-to-day in this letter?

Well – and this is pursuant to the Daily Brief for Monday, July 11 – markets have only suffered through compression in multiples. Does it stop or is there a looming earnings compression?

Most likely there is an earnings compression. For now, it is only sentiment that is taking the hit. 

Graphic: Retrieved via The Market Ear. Taken from FactSet Research Systems Inc (NYSE: FDS). 

When will the turn occur?

As stated yesterday, it will be the earnings season that is likely to shed clarity on the answer all the while – what is known right now – a strong dollar is for sure to translate into a headwind for S&P 500 earnings growth.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. The “Fed is still perceived as having more room to hike rates going forward, also on the back of the strong US jobs report for June,” Unicredito SPA (OTC: UNCRY) analysts explained. “On the other hand, other central banks, such as the ECB and the BoE, might be forced to become more prudent, given the more direct exposure their respective economies have to the gas and energy crisis.”

What’s lending to the dollar’s strength?

Let’s start with the following. Participants were extending moneyness to nonmonetary assets, given easy monetary policies and an environment of ample debt and leverage (which cuts into asset price volatility). 

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

When the reverse happens – tighter liquidity and credit – and volatility eventually rises, the demand (and competition) for money (or cash) deflates assets.

Graphic: Via Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C). According to Joseph Wang, amidst asset price volatility and bank deposits to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, investors will “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

It is a deflationary pulse manifesting disinflation in consumer prices, that will prompt the Fed to reverse itself on rates and quantitative tightening (QT).

What does this mean?

Depends on the timeframe. 

Though the policy pivot may come alongside a peak in the de-rate markets are experiencing, now, longer-term there are multi-decade trends brewing on the back of the de-globalization pulse, for instance, and a tendency to spend wealth, instead of creating it (as supply chains are replicated here at home), is inflationary which makes the context for a more two-sided market in the future (rather than straight up or down).

Read: Former Bridgewater Associate talks recession odds, capturing a macro edge.

What about the dollar?

With the Fed “still perceived as having more room to hike rates going forward,” per Unicredito SPA (OTC: UNCRY), all the while “other central banks, such as the ECB and the BoE … [are] more prudent, given … the[ir] gas and energy crisis,” short-term dollar strength does more to diminish the global reliance on the U.S.

This is explained even better by Lyn Alden of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy.

The dollar is the dominant currency for carry primarily due to easy monetary policies removing the risk of an ultra-strong dollar. Accordingly, the dollar is “the currency that most offshore debt is denominated in all over the world,” as explained by Bankless, who interviewed Alden.

“Non-US entities make dollar-based loans and transactions in pretty much all markets everywhere because it’s considered more trustworthy than native fiat,” they add. “When there’s a disruption in global cash flows, there’s effectively a short squeeze on the dollar.”

“The stronger the dollar gets in comparison, the less tenable it becomes as a global reserve,” and that is a pressure on the long-term trajectory of that currency.

Positioning

Yesterday’s letter was spot on with respect to positioning.

We can speculate as to where the market may move next, after the release of inflation figures, this week. What’s likely is that, even if the print is hot, the first move is to be structural, per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

“A function of inevitable rebalancing of dealer inventory post-event. The second move and final resolution, if you wait for it, is usually tied to the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT).”

Rising inflation probably bolsters the Fed’s backing of a 75 basis point rate hike on July 27. So, don’t fight the Fed. Rising rates and the withdrawal of liquidity prompts a continued de-rate.

Knowing this, the “flattening in the downside fixed strike skew, while the upside wings [are] more smiley,” as described by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM), has made for attractive low-cost spread opportunities, as talked about yesterday and in the July 8, 2022 letter.

The moral is as follows: own volatility where the market is likely to not expire. Sell it where the market is likely to expire. Just because implied (IVOL) volatility is at a high starting point does not mean it should be sold, blindly.

Read: Explanations and Applications – Moontower on Gamma.

Technical

As of 7:00 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,830.75 MCPOC puts into play the $3,867.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,943.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,830.75 MCPOC puts into play the $3,800.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,774.75 HVNode and $3,755.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

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

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

Example: The below 65-minute S&P 500 chart with volume profiles was included in the July 8, 2022 edition of the newsletter. Prices were near an inflection (micro-composite point of control and two key volume-weighted average price levels). From thereon, selling surfaced.

This is what is meant by responsiveness near key-technical areas.

Graphic: Updated 7/2/22. 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For 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.