Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 23, 2022

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What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures traded sideways to higher after Monday’s post-options expiration (OPEX) probe lower. Ahead, there are no data releases scheduled.

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. 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: At what point are monetary tightening and geopolitical tensions priced in? 

According to some strategists, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic, the sell-off is overdone and, if anything, Ukraine tensions “would likely prompt a dovish reassessment.” 

“Short-term rates markets have likely moved too far vs. what CBs will ultimately deliver in hikes this year,” he adds. “We expect risky asset markets to rebound as they digest these risks and sentiment improves, aided by inflows from systematic investors and corporate buybacks.” 

In the worst case, though, pursuant to notes by peers in the industry, Kolanovic nods to the fact that if selling were to continue, there would likely be a point the would Fed reassess tightening.

Basically, in the worst case, there is the potential that further selling invokes the so-called “Fed put,” which is about 15% below current prices. 

“[R]isk is being repriced to fit the world where real rates are a lot higher, and the Fed put (is) much lower thanks to the Fed’s need to fight inflation,” says rates strategist Rishi Mishra. 

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Retrieved from Callum Thomas.

Positioning: Markets stabilize after last week’s large monthly options expiration (OPEX). 

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from Bloomberg.

Per Bloomberg, that event saw the roll-off of nearly $2.2 trillion in options. In the past, this event had bullish implications (i.e., markets rose into OPEX). That is not the case, really, any longer.

It is participants’ increased awareness of the implications of options and OPEX has resulted in a front running; according to SqueezeMetrics, “People didn’t know about the OpEx week effect (in this case, largely charm). Now everyone and their mother knows about it.”

For context, charm is a measure of an options delta’s change with respect to the passage of time. As time passes, delta “bleeds” as options decay. 

As most participants, at least at the index level, own protection, the counterparties to this trade are short protection. These counterparties, therefore, have positive exposure to delta (i.e., as index falls [rises], position loses [makes] money) and negative exposure to gamma, or delta (directional) sensitivity to underlying price changes (i.e., as the index moves against short option exposure, losses are multiplied). 

Moreover, given the growth of options volumes, participants’ heavy demand for protection matters more, to put simply. Counterparties, in light of this recent drop, pressured markets with their hedging. The decay (and eventual expiry) of this protection marks options deltas down.

Graphic: Rising put volumes coincide with early 2022 market sell-off.

To re-hedge, counterparties buy back short stock and futures hedges. This supportive action is what has been front-run; the bullishness of the event happens days and weeks prior. 

The unwind of these hedges now, as seen Friday-Tuesday, often culminates in a post-OPEX low. That “means chase-y accelerant flows from dealer hedging into moves and creating overshoots in both directions,” Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott wrote.

Taken together, according to SpotGamma, though “post-OPEX, the removal of linear short (-delta) hedges [to put-heavy exposures] may further bolster attempts higher, … [t]he removal of downside (put) protection may also open the door for weakness in a case where some outside (fundamental) event solicits real-money selling and a new demand for protection.”

Graphic: Via EPFR, Barclays, and Bloomberg. Taken from The Market Ear.

“The market looks fairly well hedged and it’s why up until today we’ve had little follow-through on the downside despite negative headlines,” Danny Kirsch, head of options at Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR), said in an interview.

“We’ll see if things open up after the February expiry.”

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of its 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 $4,332.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,464.00 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,332.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,249.00 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,212.50 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,177.25 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.

What People Are Saying

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.

Liquidation Breaks: The profile shape suggests participants were “too” long and had poor 

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.

Options: If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she would buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Option buyers can also use options as an efficient way to gain directional exposure.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 9, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were divergent.

The Nasdaq-100 led while the Russell 2000, which broke out of massive range, recently, slowed its pace of price discovery, trading relatively weak.

Ahead is data on the PPI (8:30 AM ET) and real household debt (11:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

On lackluster intraday breadth and supportive market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the balance and overlap of value areas (i.e., where 70% of the prior day’s trade occurred, or +/- 1 standard deviation), at the current S&P 500 prices.

This activity, which marks a potential willingness to continue balance as participants seek new information to resolve on, is built on poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

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

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

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory.

To elaborate, on one hand, seasonality, buybacks, and earnings surprises have bolstered (and will continue to bolster) the most recent price rise, since early October. 

Similarly, participants are seeing a trend of outperformance in the extended day, due in part to the front-running of increasingly impactful vanna and charm flows (both of which are tied to the hedging of options exposure), as a result of increased options activity (which, at least at this juncture, exposes customers to high leverage and risk). 

I say “high leverage and risk” as a result of short-term speculators’ record call buying and put selling over the past weeks.

As stated in a SpotGamma note, yesterday, “Should there be an adverse move, those short-term speculators are likely to cover (sell) their short put (long call) positions as they lack the wherewithal (capital) to maintain exposure.”

With exposure concentrated in shorter-dated expiries, the November 19 monthly options expiration (OPEX) is somewhat of a concern for us.

The reason being?

Presently, the S&P 500 is pinned near options strikes at which positive options gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – is highest. 

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

When dealers are short-gamma (e.g., Tesla), they buy into strength and sell into weakness, exacerbating volatility. 

When long-gamma, counterparties buy into weakness and sell into strength, calming volatility.

Coming into OPEX, the forces that promote pinning turn stronger; counterparties supply more liquidity as their long gamma becomes longer (i.e., rises), so to speak. 

As OPEX is essentially a reset (or reduction) in dealer gamma exposure, participants ought to see an increase in realized volatility as a lot of the exposure that warranted dealers’ supply of liquidity comes off the table, thus necessitating less liquidity

Less liquidity means more movement

More liquidity means less movement

Get it?

With short-term speculators taking on the risks that we’re seeing them take on, and the prospects of a front-running of post-OPEX volatility – given that, according to Pat Hennessy, “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since” – there is a potential that adverse moves force those that are off-sides cover (sell) their short put (long call) positions, thereby exacerbating near-term volatility.

We see recent options activity reflected in a sideways to higher CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) and shift up in the VIX futures term structure; both suggest a demand for hedges and a reduction in the flows (e.g., vanna) that support sideways to higher trade. 

“The moves have been large and the demand for upside in single stock land insatiable,” said Danny Kirsch of Cornerstone Macro LLC. “Single stock vols clearly feeding into the index.”

Expectations: As of 6:20 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Market Is In Balance: Current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,722.00 Fibonacci. Initiative trade beyond $4,722.00 could reach as high as the $4,735.00 and $4,772.50 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.75 visual low. Initiative trade beyond the visual low (likely paid attention to by short-term, technically driven market participants who seldom defend retests) could reach as low as the $4,663.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

Click here to load today’s updated key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures. Notice Monday’s “Cave-Fill” or the act of increasing the area deemed favorable to transact at by participants. This is most obvious by observing where the bulk of Monday’s distribution sits, relative to the pocket of low-volume left behind Friday’s trade. This is a positive development. Learn about the profile.

Charts To Watch

Graphic: (NASDAQ: TSLA). (S~1108, R~1187 to 1195). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy/sell responsively. 
Graphic: (NYSE: CMG). (S~1680, R~1820). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy/sell responsively.
Graphic: (NYSE: SPY). (S~456, R~471). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy responsively.
Graphic: (NASDAQ: QQQ). (S~382, R~403). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy responsively.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

At this time, Physik Invest does not manage outside capital and is not licensed. In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.