Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 22, 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 8:00 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

An easy read, today. For more complex, see the September 20 and 19 letters. Also, there will not be a letter published for Friday, September 23, 2022. See you next week, team!

Fundamental

Equity markets traded down, yesterday, on the heels of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to raise interest rates by 0.75% and “keep at it” for longer, eyeing a 1.25% jump, in sum, by 2023.

This puts the current target rate at 3.00-3.25%.

Separately, if the “keep at it” quote sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The Fed Paul Volcker’s memoir is titled “Keeping at It.”

Graphic: CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool shows higher odds of a 75 to 100 basis point rate hike in November, along the lines of what the futures market was pricing heading into the event.

The Fed Chair Jerome Powell admitted there may be below-trend growth and the potential for unemployment to reach 4.4% next year, up from the current rate of 3.7%. Projected increases, as of yesterday, show interest rates at 4.4% by 2023, and 4.6% in 2023, before moderation in 2024 to 3.9%, as well summarized by Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Moreover, economists suggest that raising rates to 4.5% would cost the economy nearly 1.7 million jobs while rates at 5% would bring that number to 2 million. A higher savings rate and increased funds at the state level would likely cushion the blow, however.

In response, the likes of Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood, who we quoted recently regarding her thoughts on why the Fed needs to lower the pace of tightening and/or cut, said:

“Most disappointing about the Fed’s decision today was its unanimity. None of those voting on the Federal Reserve is focused on the significant price deflation in the pipeline. The Fed seems to be making decisions based on lagging indicators and analogies.”

She adds that the Fed is setting the stage for deflation:

“The Fed is solving supply chain issues by crushing demand and, in my view, unleashing deflation, setting it up for a major pivot.”

Graphic: Initially retrieved from Bloomberg. Taken from Ophir Gottlieb who concludes costs are dropping, as observed via shipping, gasoline, manufacturing, cars, and rent measures.

Moreover, it’s the case that “[a]s rates rise and debt servicing costs increase, ‘many zombie institutions, zombie households, corporates, banks, shadow banks, and zombie countries are going to die,’” said economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis. 

Prior to the Fed event, Roubini forecasted a 75 basis point hike in September, followed by a 50 basis point hike in November. The market is pricing more than what Roubini thought the Fed would probably do after Wednesday’s Fed meeting.

In his opinion, stay “light on equities and have more cash, … [as] equities and other assets can fall by 10%, 20%, 30%.”

Positioning

In short, unexpected was the post-event response. In recent times, post-Fed moves have been positive, driven by the “rebalancing of dealer inventory,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

That didn’t happen and let’s unpack why.

Basically, into the event, traders demanded protection and bid implied volatility (IVOL). The assumption is that counterparties, who are likely on the other end, have exposure to positive Delta and negative Gamma, which they hedge through negative Delta trades in the underlying.

Should fears have been assuaged, the supply of that protection once demanded, would have decreased IVOL (and options Delta), providing the markets a boost.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

That didn’t happen. Instead, traders added protection, as shown by this SpotGamma graphic tracking changes in put open interest on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX).

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. Updated September 22, 2022.

This bid some basic measures of IVOL into the close.

Graphic: Retrieved from VIX Central. Updated September 21, 2022.

That’s as these particular options, which were added at much lower prices, as I explained in a SpotGamma note, recently, “are far more sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL.”

These options can go “from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta on the move lower,” quickly. “If we maintain that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive Delta trade, then those liquidity providers [will sell] futures and stock, a negative Delta trade to stay hedged.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Notwithstanding, it’s still the case that a “reload on fresh short-dated downside” flows heighten the risk of a “negative Delta squeeze … into month end,” said Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott. 

Therefore, “you have to consider a move up [to] $4,000.00 as part of your distribution of outcomes to the upside,” as that is near where “market makers are ‘long,’” as part of an impactful collar trade many are aware sits.

As an aside, some online conversation was sparked around placing cash into riskless trades for some small, but guaranteed, rates of return. In that conversation, Box Spreads were put forth as a solution to lend cash and earn a competitive interest rate.

For context, “Boxes allow market participants to create a loan structure similar to a Treasury bill. T-bills are ‘discount’ instruments that are purchased at a value less than the stated face value. Upon maturity, bills call for the return of the stated face value.”

“For example, one might buy a $1 million 90-day T-bill for $998,000. Ninety days later, the $1 million face or principal value is returned and the $2,000 discount is earned as interest. One may represent the rate on this transaction as a 0.80% or 80 basis point discount yield [= (360/90) x ($2,000/$1,000,000)]. The effective rate on a box represents a ‘discount yield’ similar to a quoted T-bill rate.”

Graphic: Retrieved from boxtrades.com.

IPS Strategic Capital’s Pat Hennessy explains that SPX boxes “typically yield[] 20-40 bps above [the] corresponding maturity risk-free rate.” Additionally, there are tax advantages to using the S&P 500’s 1256 contracts. 

For easier fills, use the “3K/4K line in an AM settled expiry,” Hennessy noted. “Helps if you know where the broker market is.”

Technical

As of 8:00 AM ET, Thursday’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 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 $3,826.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,857.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,893.00 VPOC and $3,936.25 ONH, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,826.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,770.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,688.75 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.

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, 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 16, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 6:50 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.

Administrative

A longer note so stick with me!

Updates are pending for the above dashboard. Exciting! Beyond this, the newsletter is getting a revamp in other parts. If you have any feedback on what should be changed, please comment!

Also, I am going to refer everyone to a conversation between Joseph Wang and Andy Constan, as well as some updates Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility made (HERE and HERE). That is, in part, a primer for what we will be talking more about, soon.

Fundamental

Talked about yesterday was the prospects of contractionary monetary policy reducing inflation and growth. BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) strategists, even, put forth that a “deep recession” is needed to stem inflation. In short, “there is no way around this,” they claim.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) sold 20% on warning about the global economy.

From thereon, we talked about how rates rising would “bring private sector credit growth down,” as well as “private sector spending and, hence, the economy.”

Based on where rates are at, the market may still be too expensive.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg via Michael J. Kramer. “What is amazing is how expensive this market is relative to rates. The spread between the S&P 500 Earnings yield and the 10-Yr nominal rate is at multi-year lows.”

On the other hand, some argue inflation peaks are in. ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood suggests “deflation [is] in the pipeline, heading for the PPI, CPI, PCE Deflator.” 

Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Elon Musk added that he thinks the Federal Reserve (Fed) may make a mistake noting “a major Fed rate hike risks deflation.” Musk suggested the Fed should drop 0.25%, basing his decision on non-lagging indicators, unlike the Fed.

That’s not in line with what CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch tool shows. Through this tool we see traders pricing an 80% chance of a 0.50-0.75% hike, all the while quantitative tightening (reducing Fed Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities holdings) accelerated on September 15. 

UST and MBS will roll off (which could turn into “outright sales”) at a pace of $95 billion per month, now, increasing competition for funding among commercial banks, and bolstering borrowing costs, as explained, below.

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.

According to Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), since 2010, nearly 50% of the moves in market price-to-earnings multiples were explained by quantitative easing (QE), the inverse of QT, through which the Fed (or central banks, in general) creates credit used to buy securities in open markets, MarketWatch explains.

Graphic: Retrieved from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. “The Fed Is Shrinking Its Balance Sheet. What Does That Mean?”

The “purchases of long-dated bonds are intended to drive down yields, which is seen enhancing appetite for risk assets as investors look elsewhere for higher returns. QE creates new reserves on bank balance sheets. The added cushion gives banks, which must hold reserves in line with regulations, more room to lend or to finance trading activity by hedge funds and other financial market participants, further enhancing market liquidity.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) via MarketWatch.

The liability side of the Fed’s balance sheet is what “matters to financial markets.” 

Thus far, “reductions in Fed liabilities have been concentrated in the Treasury General Account, or TGA, which effectively serves as the government’s checking account” to run the day-to-day business.

Given that we’re talking about balance sheets, here, Fed liabilities must match assets. Thus, a rise in the TGA must be accompanied by a decline in bank reserves (which are liabilities to the Fed). This, as a result, decreases the room banks have to “lend or to finance trading activity by hedge funds and other financial market participants, [which] further [cuts into] market liquidity.”

With the Treasury set to increase debt issuance, boosting TGA, it will effectively take “money out of the economy and put[] it into the government’s checking account.” The linked reduction in bank deposits and reserves bolsters “repurchase agreement rates and borrowing benchmarks linked to them, like the Secured Overnight Financing Rate,” per Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities.”

Adding, this may play into “an additional tightening of overall financial conditions, in addition to the increase in the main fed funds rate target that the central bank intends to continue boosting.”

This will “put more pressure on the private sector to absorb those Treasurys, which means less money to put into other assets” that may be riskier, like equities, said Aidan Garrib, the head of global macro strategy and research at Montreal-based PGM Global.

Positioning

As of 6:50 AM ET, Friday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.44%. Net gamma exposures decreasing may promote generally more expansive ranges.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of options structures.

This is as there’s been a lot of speculation, particularly on the downside (put options), setting the stage for a more volatile and fragile market environment, says Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

“On the index level, people are not well hedged,” a departure from what the case was heading into and through much of 2022. It’s the case that heading into 2022, traders were well hedged. Into and through the decline, traders’ monetization of existing hedges, as well as counterparty reactions, “compressed volatility” realized across US equities, as explained on July 15, 2022.

This made for some attractive trade opportunities seen here.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. “VIX has decoupled from cross-asset volatilities.”

Now, given that the go-to trade is to sell stock and puts, short interest has grown, as have other risks, associated with this activity; essentially people are “los[ing] faith in convexity and risk premia’s ability to work,” as a result of “poor performance of vol,” and, the reaction to their “pain and financial loss,” is setting the stage for tail risks heading into the Q1 and Q2 2023.

The sale (purchase) of the front (back) expirations will bolster market pinning; as SpotGamma puts forth, “the positive impact of put closers and rolls, as well as decay,” is easing the market drop. However, this “positioning likely compounds drops and adds to volatility,” in the future.

To quote: “Though the removal of put-heavy exposures can boost markets higher, too add, the positive impacts are dulled via the demand for put exposures at much lower prices.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma.

These particular options, which are at much lower prices, “are far more sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL,” as I explained in a SpotGamma note. These options can go “from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta on the move lower,” quickly.

Graphic: Via Mohamed Bouzoubaa et al’s Exotic Options and Hybrids.

“If we maintain that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive Delta trade, then those liquidity providers [will sell] futures and stock, a negative Delta trade to stay hedged.”

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

Technical

As of 6:50 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the 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 $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,935.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,964.75 HVNode and $4,001.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,857.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,826.25 and $3,770.75 HVNodes, 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: A feature of this 2022 down market was responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart). This suggested to us that technically-driven traders with shorter time horizons were 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.

That’s changing. The key levels, quoted above, are snapping far easier and are not as well respected. That means other time frame participants with wherewithal are initiating trades. 

Those are the participants you should not fade.

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.

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

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 14, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 900+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside 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

A sell-off spurred by a higher-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit nearly all assets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Expected was an 8.1% rise year-over-year (YoY) and a 0.1% fall month-over-month (MoM). Core CPI (excludes food and energy) was to rise by 6.1% YoY and 0.3% MoM, respectively.

Officially, the headline number rose to 8.3%. The core CPI rose 6.3% YoY and 0.6% MoM, meaning the March peak remains (6.5% YoY, then).

It’s the case, essentially, that “[a]ll measures came in above forecasts. Shelter, food and medical care were among the largest contributors to price growth,” per Bloomberg.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The data, which “illustrates a strong labor market and weakening consumer spending,” in total, bolsters the case for interest rates to rise by “three-quarters of a percentage point.”

Bloomberg’s Anna Wong and Andrew Husby add: “[W]ages have now become the top driver of inflation. With Fed officials already highly concerned about a potential wage-price spiral, the central bank is likely to keep hiking in the first half of 2023.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The selling hit growth and technology, hard. These areas are far more responsive to changes in rates as there is promise embedded in their stock prices, too. When rates rise, prices are hit as the value of future earnings looks far less attractive versus higher-yielding or less-risky assets.

“Multiple compression will continue as long as we have sticky inflation,” said Marija Veitmane of State Street Corp (NYSE: STT). “Profits will crater. We still see a lot of downside on equities.”

Beyond risk assets, rising interest rates increase the cost of financing leaving households with less money to spend (or more hesitant to spend money), and this leads a decline in demand. Accordingly, business profits and economic growth may decline, too.

Graphic: Retrieved from Danielle DiMartino Booth.

A conversation between Joseph Wang and Andy Constan, which we shall unpack in coming letters, deserves a listen. At its core, financial markets sold, primarily, on the “flow” of liquidity this year. Read the coming letters for more.

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.

Positioning

Traders sought shorter-dated equity put (downside) protection, in size, heading into Tuesday’s decline. Prior to the market open, Tuesday, we said that some “‘massive hedging activity’ feels ‘unsettling’” given what the “reaction to that protection entails should markets drop lower and [implied volatility] increase, accordingly.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

From thereon, options were repriced as markets sold and IVOL increased.

As I well put in a SpotGamma note last night, “it’s the case that [out-of-the-money] options went from having very little Delta (exposure to direction) to a lot more Delta. If we maintain the assumption that liquidity providers are short those puts, a positive delta trade, then those liquidity providers sold futures and stock, a negative Delta trade.”

In short, options out of the money are highly sensitive to changes in direction and IVOL, which there was a lot of, yesterday. Those options quickly went from having little value to a lot of value. If you’re short that exposure, and don’t want to lose money, you have to sell something, and the latter is what compounded the selling.

From hereon, as we said, a lot of the exposure demanded is short-dated. Should that exposure not be rolled forward in time, and allowed to expire, “SPX/ES dealers [who] are well hedged,” will unwind their hedges which may drive bullishness “through OpEx (options expiration),” says Kai Volatility Cem Karsan.

Notwithstanding, this “has [the] potential to drive a tail post” OpEx. In [the] tech/meme market melt-up of 2020-2021, positioning was [the] exact opposite.”

Technical

As of 8:10 AM ET, Wednesday’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 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 $3,952.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,952.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,001.00 VPOC and $4,069.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,952.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,884.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,857.25 and $3,826.25 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.

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, 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
Results

Case Study: How A Bearish S&P 500 Trade Turned Into A Multibagger

Heading into the 2022 equity market decline, institutions repositioned and hedged their downside, even allocating to commodities, which worked well for the first couple of quarters.

Due in part to this, the 2022 equity market decline was like no other experienced during 2021.

Instead, the monetization and counterparty hedging of existing customer options hedges, as well as the sale of short-dated options, particularly in some of the single names where implied volatility (IVOL) was rich, lent to lackluster performance in IVOL.

Eventually, entities were squeezed out of trades not working.

That means participants rotated out of options and commodities, all the while a macro-type re-leveraging ensued on improvements in inflation data, an earnings season that was better than expected, and “crazy tax receipts,” among other things.

The most recent advance climaxed the week of the August monthly options expiration (OPEX).

Graphic: Retrieved from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE).

Why? Well, heading into that particular week, markets were rising at a fast rate, and call options (i.e., bets on the market upside) were highly demanded.

Graphic: Updated 8/15/2022. Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Those, on the other side of those call option trades (i.e., counterparties), hedged in a manner that was supportive (i.e., counterparties sell calls to customers and buy underlying to hedge exposure).

Eventually, traders’ activity in soon-to-expire options became concentrated at certain strikes – particularly $4,300.00 in the S&P 500 – while IVOL trended lower. The counterparty’s response, then, did more to support prices and reduce movement.

This is because, with the passage of time and declining volatility, options Gamma (i.e., the sensitivity of an option to direction) became more positive and the range of spot prices, across which Delta (i.e., options exposure to direction) shifts rapidly, became a lot smaller.

When options Gamma exposure is more positive, market movements may have a positive impact on the counterparty’s position (i.e., movement is beneficial). If movement is beneficial, and the counterparty is not interested in realizing that benefit, they may hedge in a manner that can stifle market movement.

This is, in part, what happened, in the late stages of the rally. That said, however, soon after the S&P 500 hit $4,300.00, the near-vertical price rise began to sputter and follow-on support, both from a fundamental (e.g., liquidity) and volatility perspective was soon set to worsen.

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.

Why? There was an OPEX that would trigger “a big shift in market positioning,” Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott explained.

In short, participants’ failure to roll forward their expiring bets on market upside coincided with a message that the Fed would stay tough on inflation. So, it’s the case that after the OPEX, those same bets that were prompting counterparties to stem volatility and bolster equity upside were not rolled forward.

Instead, these bets expired and this is visualized by the drop in Gamma exposures, post-OPEX.

Graphic: Created by Physik Invest. Data by SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, this expiration, combined with technical and fundamental contexts that were prompting funds to “reload[] on short sales,” shocked the market into a higher volatility, negative Gamma environment. In this environment, put options, through which the vast majority of participants speculate on lower prices and protect their downside, solicited far more pressure from counterparties.

Adding, if markets were to continue trading lower, traders were likely to continue rotating into those put options that would bolster this pressure from counterparties.

This happened as shown, below.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “There was a huge surge in large trader put buying in the equities space last week as per the OCC data.”

This demand for put options protection was reflected by a bid in IVOL. To hedge against this demand for protection and rising IVOL, counterparties sold underlying, compounding bearish fundamental flows.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

In late August, data suggested September would have “a very large options position as it is a quarterly OPEX,” SpotGamma said. With that position being “put heavy,” a slide lower, and an increase in IVOL, was likely to drive continued counterparty “shorting” with little “relief until Jackson Hole.”

In expecting markets to trade lower and more volatile, Physik Invest sought to initiate new trades.

At the time, in mid-August, call option premiums were attractive, in part due to interest rates, all the while IVOL metrics seemingly hit a lower bound.

This was observable via a quick check of skew, a plot of the IVOL levels for options across different strike prices. Usually, skew, on the S&P 500, shows a smirk, not a smile.

Graphic: Retrieved from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE). Updated August 17, 2022. Skew steepened into $3,700.00 and below $3,500.00 in the S&P 500.

This meant it was likely that short-dated, wide Put Ratio Spreads had little to lose in a sideways-to-higher market environment. Additionally, call Vertical Spreads above the market were relatively more expensive.

Given the above context, the following analysis unpacks how Physik Invest traded options tied to the S&P 500 leading up to and through the August 19 OPEX, into the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

Note: Click here to view all transactions for all accounts involved.

Sequence 1: After a skew smile was observed, through August 12, 2022, the following positions were initiated, while the S&P 500 was still trending higher, for a net $7,616.68 credit.

Positions were structured in a way that would potentially net higher credits had the index moved lower.

  • SOLD 10 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 26 AUG 22 3700/3500 PUT @ ~$0.13 Credit
  • SOLD 3 VERTICAL SPX 100 21 OCT 22 [AM] 4300/4350 CALL @ ~$25.10 Credit

Sequence 2: While the S&P 500 was trading near $4,300.00 resistance, by 8/19/2022, all aforementioned Ratio Put Spread positions were rolled forward for a $452.26 credit.

The resulting position was as follows:

  • -17 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 16 SEP 22 3700/3500 PUT
  • -3 VERTICAL SPX 100 21 OCT 22 [AM] 4300/4350 CALL

From thereon the market declined and, by 9/1/2022, all positions were exited for a $6,963.84 credit.

  • BOT 17 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 16 SEP 22 3700/3500 PUT @ ~$4.94 Credit
  • BOT 3 VERTICAL SPX 100 21 OCT 22 [AM] 4300/4350 CALL @ ~$4.57 Debit

Summary: In total, the sequence of trades net a $15,032.78 profit after commissions and fees.

The max loss (minus unforeseen events) sat at ~$6,790.00 if the S&P 500 closed above $4,350.00 in OCT. Because the Ratio Put Spreads were initiated at no cost, any loss, if the market went higher, would have been the result of the trade’s Vertical Spread component. Overall, this trade netted in excess of a 200% return; the trade’s profit was more than two times the initial debit risk, a multi-bagger.

Reflection: Heading into the trade, it was the case that IVOL performed poorly during much of the 2022 decline. This was likely to remain the case on a subsequent drop, hence the wide and short-dated Ratio Put Spread.

Still, in spite of the Ratio Put Spread exposing the position to negative Delta and positive Gamma (i.e., the trade makes money if the market moves lower, all else equal), if implied skew became more convex (i.e., implied volatilities grow more rapidly as strike prices decrease), the position could have been a large loss.

So, if the flatter part of the skew curve (where the position was structured) became more convex, which is not something that was anticipated would happen, then the only recourse would have been to (1) close the position or (2) sell (i.e., add static negative Delta in) futures and correlated ETFs.

In the second case, then, the trade would have been allowed time to work and turn into a potential winner, particularly amidst the passage of time.

Additionally, in accordance with Physik Invest’s risk protocol, more units of the Short Put Ratio Spread could have been initiated on the transition into Sequence 2. These units could have been held through Labor Day, then, and monetized for up to an additional ~$4.00 credit per unit.

Though additional units of the Vertical Spreads could not have been added, due to the strict limits to debit risks, there were still months left to that particular component of the trade. With lower prices expected, there was little reason the Verticals should have been removed fast.

Going forward, should the context from a fundamental and volatility perspective remain the same, only on a rally could Physik Invest potentially re-enter a similar position.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 30, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 850+ 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.

Positioning

In our last letter, it was put forth that markets were stretched after a ~20% multi-month advance on macro-type re-leveraging flows (given such things as a strong earnings season) and rotation out of volatility and commodity hedges.

To continue the advance, needed was more macro re-leveraging and demand for positive Delta exposure via equity or options, lower prints of consumer price data, as well as maintenance of a dovish Federal Reserve (Fed) undertone, among other things.

As an aside, participants’ dumping of poor-performing hedges (which we talked about in our last letter) left them “less hedged” and markets far more susceptible to “core macro factors” like “the incremental effects” of liquidity, a negative at present, particularly after OPEX or August monthly options expiration.

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. According to The Macro Compass’ Alfonso Peccatiello, “QT is about to accelerate and the friendly dynamics behind the Fed balance sheet composition which helped risk assets stage a comeback rally in July are likely to fade away in Q4.”

And so, when the Fed’s Jerome Powell gave a message that they would stay tough on the war against inflation, the context was set for much larger trading ranges and increased potential for downside volatility.

Graphic: Text retrieved from Kai Volatility’s Second Quarter (2022) Market Commentary And Outlook. Annotated by Physik Invest’s Renato Leonard Capelj. Read about the second leg down phenomenon, here.

During the subsequent rollover, the shock from Fed comments bolstered demand for protection (i.e., options) and boosted implied volatility, accordingly.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “There was a huge surge in large trader put buying in the equities space last week as per the OCC data.”

The reason being is that in a falling market, characterized by demand for put options, those who are on the other side of options trades, hedge in a manner that may pressure the market (i.e., the theory is that if customers buy puts, then counterparties sell puts + sell stock to hedge).

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

In our August 18, 2022 letter, we suggested wide Short Ratio Put Spreads would offer traders cheap but efficient exposure across very short time horizons. That trade panned out and, now, traders should be looking to monetize (i.e., turn to cash) these bets into any further declines.

Technical

As of 8:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, just 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 $4,064.00 RTH High pivot puts into play the $4,107.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,133.25 and $4,231.00 POCs, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,064.00 RTH High pivot puts into play the $4,006.25 ONL. Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $3,971.00 and $3,921.00 POCs, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

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, 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 August 18, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 800+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:20 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.
Hey team – the Daily Brief will be paused until August 29, at least, due to Renato’s travel commitments. 

Apologies and thank you for the support!

Positioning

As of 7:20 AM ET, Thursday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.05%. Net Gamma exposures (generally) rising may promote tighter trading ranges.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

As an aside, real quick, in a rising market, characterized by demand for call options, those who are on the other side of options trades, hedge in a manner that may bolster the upside (i.e., the naive theory is that if customers buy calls, then counterparties sell calls + buy stock to hedge).

That said, if IVOL drops, liquidity providers’ out-of-the-money (in-the-money) Delta exposures drop (rise) and, thus, they will sell (buy) underlying hedges which may pressure (support) the advance or play into pinning action, as seen over the past week or so at the $4,300.00 options strike, at which there is a lot of open interest and volume, in the S&P 500.

Read: The Implied Order Book by SqueezeMetrics for a sort-of detailed primer on this.

Graphic: Updated 8/15/2022. Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Given realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of options structures to protect against (potential) downside (e.g., S&P 500 [INDEX: SPX] +1 x -2 Short Ratio Put Spread | 200+ Points Wide | 15-30 DTE | @ $0.00 or better).

This is not to say that call options, which we said could “outperform” their Delta (i.e., exposure to direction) weeks ago, are out of favor (note: this is the case for something such as an SPX, not a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc [NASDAQ: BBBY]).

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

No! On the contrary, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) strategists say “call premiums are attractive.” This is “evidenced by [their] GS-EQMOVE model which estimates 33% probability of a 1-month 5% up-move versus only 13% implied by the options market.”

A quick check of implied volatility skew, which is a plot of the implied volatility levels for options across different strike prices, shows a smile in the shortest of tenors, rather than a usual smirk.

Graphic: Retrieved from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE).

Given this, the options with strike prices above current market prices are seemingly more pricey than those that have more time to expiration. One could think about structuring something like a Short Ratio Call Spread or, even, a Long Call Calendar Spread at or above current prices. 

In the latter, any sideways-to-higher movement would allow for that spread to expand for profit.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research, the return profile, at expiry, of a classic 1×2 (long 1, short 2 further away) ratio spread.

Context: Participants’ proactive hedging of positive Delta equity exposure, via negative Delta put option exposures, as well as the monetization of those hedges into the decline, resulted in poor performance in IVOL metrics like the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX).

Therefore, per the Cboe, it’s the case that “since the launch of the VIX Index, the past six-month period has been the weakest for volatility in 29 years, relative to similar [SPX] price moves.”

Accordingly, its structures we thought would work best, given the potential for measured selling, which others thought would carry a lot of risks, such as Short Ratio Put Spreads, that performed best, seen below.

Graphic: Via Pat Hennessy. “[T]he performance of short-dated 1×2 put ratios in SPX this year. Despite being short the tail, the grind lower has been well captured by this trade structure.”

Moreover, it’s the case that after a nearly 20% multi-month run, higher, markets are stretched. 

To continue this pace would require, per JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists, a continued interest in demand for positive Delta exposure via equity or options, lower prints of consumer price data, as well as a dovish Federal Reserve (Fed) inflection.

The former we see now via call option volumes. The latter, not so much as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes “left the door open to another ‘unusually large’ increase at the next meeting in September,” in spite of a commitment to dial back if the data supported.

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.

Presently, retail sales are steady, and supply pressures, though starting to ease, remain, bolstering inflation which the Fed is ultimately trying to stop from becoming entrenched.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Though there are fundamental contexts we are leaving out (e.g., negative earnings revisions, Chinese retail, industrial output, and investment data missing which prompted an easing, the use of tools like Treasury buybacks to ease disruptions via Fed-action, as well as increasing recession odds), in short, the focus should be on the technicals which actually make us money.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC).

And, presently, on the heels of macro- and volatility-type re-leveraging, per Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) the technical contexts are bullish. 

Keith Lerner, the co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) Advisory Services puts it all well:

“Even if the Fed does pivot, they are less likely to support the markets as quickly as they have in the past given the scar tissue left behind as a result of the inflation challenges of the past year… The market rally over the past four weeks has been nothing short of impressive. Such strong buying pressure following indiscriminate selling has historically been a very positive sign for the market, often following important market bottoms. This is a welcome sign. Still, other factors in our work are less supportive. Indeed, markets are not only fighting the Fed, but the most aggressive global monetary tightening cycle in decades.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC).

Beyond this, from a volatility perspective, we’d look for the VIX to sink below 15 to increase our optimism over a “sustained [and] better-than-typical” rally, per Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF). Look at this last remark through the lens of participation on the part of traders who employ volatility-targeting strategies, for instance.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF).

Technical

As of 7:20 AM ET, Thursday’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 $4,273.00 VPOC puts into play the $4,294.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,337.00 VPOC and $4,393.75 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,273.00 VPOC puts into play the $4,253.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,231.00 VPOC and $4,202.75 RTH Low, or lower.

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

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.

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.

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

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 August 12, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 750+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 7:00 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

We’ll skip the fundamentals section, today, and do an in-depth review, sometime next week.

Positioning

As of 7:00 AM ET, Friday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.06%. Net gamma exposures generally rising may promote tighter trading ranges.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

As stated yesterday, it may be beneficial for traders to shift their focus to dynamic structures. In other words, be a buyer of options structures (i.e., replace static directional exposures or Delta with those that are dynamic).

This is (1) due to where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures, and skew. 

Graphic: Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

As well as (2) increased average stock correlation and lower return dispersion which, per Societe Generale SA (OTC: SCGLY) research, make stock picking hard(er).

It can be the case that Delta hedging becomes easier, too, as one asset, in a more correlated environment, can better offset the first-order sensitivities elsewhere.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Societe Generale.

The reason why? 

In regards to the correlation and dispersion remark, that’s more to do with the risk-off sentiment and the impact of tightening liquidity affecting all risk assets, basically.

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.

Regarding the volatility issue (RVOL, IVOL, and skew), that’s more to do with hedging trends. 

Essentially, the monetization and counterparty hedging of existing customer hedges, as well as the sale of short-dated volatility, particularly in some of the single names where there was “rich” volatility, into the fall, lent to lackluster performance in IVOL and index mean reversion.

Accordingly, “if commodities are not performing … as a hedge, that opens the door,” to markets falling and traders demand equity volatility hedges, per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial.

Learn about options dealer flows, inflation, and investing in a changing world with Cem Karsan.
Graphic: Retrieved by Physik Invest from TradingView. S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index.

Adding, per to SpotGamma, “a lot of the boost from volatility compression has played out. With IVOL at a lower bound, it may be opportune to replace static Delta bets for those that are dynamic (i.e., long option exposures) and have less to lose in this lower volatility environment.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Vix Central. The term structure of IVOL.

“In a case where market participants see the Fed keeping its commitment to aggressive monetary policy action, negative Delta options exposures may outperform static short equity (bets on the downside).”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Thursday’s message was that on mature reflection, the progress on the economy didn’t justify taking the stock market any higher than it was at the start of the day.”

If bullish, sample structures to consider, given a smiley skew, include low- or zero-cost bullish call ratio spreads, against the trend resistances in products like the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX).

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Drawn on by Physik Invest.

Technical

As of 7:00 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 nearly 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 $4,227.75 HVNode puts into play the $4,253.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $4,275.75 LVNode and $4,303.00 Weak High, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,227.75 HVNode puts into play the $4,202.75 RTH Low. Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,189.25 LVNode and $4,153.25 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.

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, 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 11, 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 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

To start, thank you to the many new subscribers who joined in the past weeks. I’m honored.

Further, today we start broad (fundamental) and hone into specifics on how to act in the current trade environment (positioning), as well as potential inflection (technical) points.

I encourage you to read through to the technicals part, if possible. Have a great week!

Seasonally speaking, the markets are in the midst of one of the most bullish periods of the year.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear.

This is as stock market flows have yet to turn as they did for bonds months ago.

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

The cycle is as follows: typically bonds are the first to turn. Stocks and commodities follow. 

Graphic: Retrieved from @granthawkridge

With bonds and equity products now off their swing lows and commodities off their highs (as inflation has, potentially, peaked), we have to question how much more?

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

Well, thus far, and this is something we’ve talked about in the past, markets have suffered through compression in multiples. Does it stop or is there a looming earnings compression?

Graphic: Retrieved from Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE: CS).

The earnings season shall shed clarity on the answer all the while – what is known – a strong dollar is sure to translate into a headwind for S&P 500 earnings growth.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) research. “The simple math on S&P 500 earnings from currency is that for every percentage point increase on a year-on-year basis it’s approximately a 0.5xhit to EPS growth. At today’s 16% year-on-year level, that translates into an 8% headwind for S&P 500 EPS growth, all else equal”

“The main point for equity investors is that this dollar strength is just another reason to think earnings revisions are coming down,” Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson explains

“[T]he recent rally in stocks is likely to fizzle out before too long.”

Moreover, with the impulse in credit falling, labor market showing preliminary signs of weakness, a drawdown in commodities (which is consistent with sharply lower economic growth), and bond market pricing rate cuts in early 2023, immediately following the hiking cycle, portfolios can “stay away from highly speculative assets, own USD cash and start allocating towards 5-10y+ government bonds,” as Alfonso Peccatiello explains well in his letter, The Macro Compass.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Macro Compass published by Alfonso Peccatiello.

Positioning

Calmer trade alongside easing volatility and generally rising gamma exposures. Trade, at times, was responsive. Participants would add positive (negative) delta bets into weakness (strength).

Graphic: Updated 7/8/2022. SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator registers the sale of put (blue line) and call (orange) options.

Noteworthy is the continued sale of volatility, particularly across shorter time horizons, as well as increased demand for call options, especially in some of the larger index weights. Volatility sale, on the part of customers, leaves liquidity providers warehousing long volatility (which is kind of a naive thing to say as we’re discounting customer trades being paired off with each other).

Nonetheless, these liquidity providers’ positions, all else equal, will maintain or increase in value if underlying(s) realize volatility (especially that far in excess of implied). To hedge, rips (dips) will be sold (bought) to offset the increasing positive (negative) delta.

Graphic: Updated 7/7/2022. SpotGamma’s HIRO indicator for Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL). Rising orange and blue lines point to call buying and put selling, both of which have bullish implications.

Moreover, this trend in volatility supply is in part on the loss of interest in “leveraged long S&P” trades, as well as “marginal demand for puts,” as SqueezeMetrics has stated, before.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Originally sourced via VIX Central. “Chart shows the VIX term structure ‘crash’ since June 13, which was the most recent VIX peak. The curve is now back to normal with the short end of the curve ‘much’ lower than longer-term maturities. Let’s see how far down they ‘press’ this.”

“Creeping into net selling territory is ‘smart’ bear market positioning. Short delta, short skew.”

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. “VIX has decoupled from cross-asset volatilities.”

Accordingly, the volatility markets have realized (RVOL) has crept (and exceeded, at times) the volatility implied (IVOL). 

Graphic: Via S&P Global. As explained by SpotGamma, “30-day realized SPX volatility is now trading above the VIX, something that generally shows after major selloffs wherein IV “premium” needs to reset to calmer/higher equity markets.”

This, coupled with “a 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 in the July 8, 2022 letter.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from The Market Ear.

For instance, as discussed Friday, ratio spreads continue to work well for low- or no-cost exposure to the upside. 

Graphic: Via Option Alpha.

Pursuant to those remarks, no-cost spreads this letter’s writer has structured in Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) are pricing hundreds of dollars in credit to close.

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. 

Obviously, there’s no mention, here, of the risk management (e.g., sizing and width) involved. Again, this is as I’m trying to give actionable info without providing explicit recommendations.

Similarly, if one thought volatility, though at a high starting point particularly at the money (ATM), was due for a repricing, they would look for exposure to the downside via something such as an inverse ratio (or back spread), as said last week.

Graphic: Via Option Alpha.

This is as the ATMs, unlike those further out of the money (OTM), are less convex in vega.

Graphic: Via Mohamed Bouzoubaa et al’s Exotic Options and Hybrids.

Technical

As of 7:00 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle-to-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 $3,867.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,909.25 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $3,943.25 HVNode and $3,982.75 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,867.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,831.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,800.25 LVNode 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 30, 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 and commodity futures auctioned lower while bonds, the dollar, and implied volatility metrics were bid at the tail-end of the quarterly rebalancing period.

Participants have bet on a half-point rate cut in 2023 amid heightened recession odds, all the while the projected target rate sits in the range of 2.25-2.50% for the July 27, 2022 meeting.

Pursuant to this letter’s remarks in the days prior, trades biased long volatility are performing well, particularly those structured a standard deviation and beyond prior prices. We’ll unpack why that is, today.

Ahead is data on PCE inflation, disposable income, and consumer spending, as well as jobless claims (8:30 AM ET) and Chicago PMI (9:45 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: Discussed in recent letters were the prospects of whether a recession would be necessary for stemming inflation.

Read: The Fed needs to remove the heat from the demand without prompting an accident among mortgage financiers.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “[W]hat’s happened to mortgage-backed bonds this year is a radical departure. Bloomberg’s index dates back to 1988 when the asset class was still in its infancy. This is the first time it has ever withstood a decline that stretches into double figures.”

“That’s the message the market took,” Bloomberg’s John Authers explained. “[T]he most painful surprise over the second half of this year would be for inflation to stay sticky.”

“That would quash the belief in a swift easing campaign in 2023.”

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

Some, like the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Loretta Mester, suggest that gone are the days to err on the side of being too accommodative.

“It also calls into question the conventional view that monetary policy should always look through supply shocks,” Mester said. “In some circumstances, such shocks could threaten the stability of inflation expectations and would require policy action.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The Richmond Fed’s survey of manufacturing isn’t generally one of the most closely monitored releases, but as this one was the worst since the Great Recession (barring only one month during the Covid shutdown), it garnered more attention than usual.”

Moreover, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure – the personal consumption expenditure deflator (PCE) – is set to update. The expectation is that core PCE drops, “thanks to base effects from last year,” bolstering the “narrative that inflation will soon be licked.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Positioning: Discussed, earlier this week, was whether it made sense to lean toward owning volatility, rather than selling it outright.

A “higher starting point” in implied volatility (IVOL), and a still-present right-tail (from the positioning for a bear market rally), made it so we could position, for less cost, in short-dated structures with asymmetric payouts, on both sides of the market.

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

For instance, S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) spreads +1 (near-the-money) x -2 (out-of-the-money), in excess of 200 points or so in width and up to 15 days to expiration, are performing well, today, pricing in excess of a 600% gain, only after pricing for little to no cost to enter in the days prior.

Disclaimer: Have delta in the direction you want the market to move, as well as positive gamma. In our case, we wanted negative delta (short bias) and positive gamma (profits amplified).

Graphic: Via Glyn Holton. “Positive gamma corresponds to curvature that opens upward. Negative gamma corresponds to curvature that opens downward.”

Recent market weaknesses will allow us to monetize and rotate those proceeds into speculative directional bets on the call-side, potentially. After all, the money is made in not losing it. Stay nimble. These are not trade recommendations. Be open-minded.

Graphic: Via Pat Hennessy. “[T]he performance of short-dated 1×2 put ratios in SPX this year. Despite being short the tail, the grind lower has been well captured by this trade structure.”

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 $3,770.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,793.25 Ledge. Initiative trade beyond the Ledge could reach as high as the $3,821.50 LVNode and $3,840.75 ONH, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,770.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,735.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,696.00 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.

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.

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.

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 22, 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 and commodity futures were sideways to lower all the while bonds and volatility were bid. 

This is after participants, based on metrics included later in the letter, took the advance as an opportunity to sell at higher prices. Demanded was protection, and this bid implied volatility.

Big headlines include China sending warplanes near Taiwan after the U.S. rejected its strait claims. The Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wrote that the threat was “more serious than ever.” This is, also, ahead of Taiwan and U.S. officials talking about arms sales.

In other news, Congress was called on to pass a $0.184 per gallon gasoline tax holiday. Growth in job postings slowed as Q2 GDP forecasts have been revised lower, Chinese manufacturing orders declined by 20-30%, U.K. inflation hit a 40-year record, and sellers of homes are cutting prices in some of the hottest markets while the demand for adjustable-rate mortgages surges.

Ahead, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Patrick Harker speaks at 9:00 AM ET. Then, Jerome Powell testifies to the Senate Banking Committee at 9:30 AM ET. Later, Charles Evans speaks at 12:50 PM ET, followed by Harker and Barkin, again, at 1:30 PM 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: For what it is worth when it comes to talking of theory and the economy, ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood has been spot on, in many ways.

Somewhat pursuant to our detailed analysis on May 18, 2022, which talked about the impact of reduced liquidity and credit on the real economy and asset prices, Wood explained that the U.S. fell into a recession during the first quarter.

Read: Daily brief for May 18, 2022.

“If massive inventor[ies] bloat real GDP in the second quarter, they will unwind and hurt growth for the rest of the year,” she said. Last year, though badly timed, Wood said that inflation would be on its way out due in part to excess inventory which would be reflected in commodity prices.

Read: Walmart Inc’s (NYSE: WMT) inventory glut to reduce in a “couple of quarters” and how Target Corporation’s (NYSE: TGT) oversupply problem should scare all retailers.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The hot commodities rally is cooling off fast as recession fears again ground and cloud the outlook for demand.”

“If inventories and stock prices are leading indicators for employment and wages, … then fears of cost-push inflation a la 1970’s should disappear during the next six months.”

To put it briefly, as we’ve talked about in the past, the recent market rout is a recession and the direct reflection of the unwind of carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s sentiment and reducing demand for goods, among other things, reflect this.

And, with that, after a period during which capital was misallocated, the Fed is not in a position to control price stability “without bringing down the markets,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

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

In light of these efforts to control price stability, to remain is a continued reach for cash (or bank deposits) and the sale of non-cash assets.

Graphic: Via Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ: RDFN).

“Bonds are not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol,” as Joseph Wang, who was a trader at the Fed, puts it.

Bank deposits are to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, prompting investors to “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Graphic: Per Bloomberg, “[E]very $1 trillion of QT will equate to a decline of roughly 10% in stocks over the next 12 months or so.”

If it provides any solace, per comments by Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar, the Fed, which “can only deal with nominal [and] not real chokepoints,” is likely to change course.

This is as “nominal balance sheet and liquidity trends will, at some point, clash with the realities of a garden variety of supply chain issues.”

Likewise, Andreas Steno Larsen explains that bond yields remain governed by demographics, and this is good news for stocks, in general.

“Just look at the growth rate of the working-age population (10 years forward) versus the term premium of US Treasury bonds. The current bond bear market is not standing on structural pillars.”

Graphic: Via Andreas Steno Larsen. “Bond yields remain governed by demographics over the medium-term. Low(er) for longer.”

Positioning: To preface, I encourage everyone to check out the Daily Brief for June 17, 2022.

Moving on. So, last week, we had a large monthly options expiration (OPEX). After this, liquidity providers’ re-hedging flows supported the market.

Over the weekend, into Tuesday’s U.S. close, equities, then, traded higher. The rally, however, was not confidence-inspiring and was indicative of short-covering.

Per SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, participants took the relief rally “as an opportunity to hedge/sell,” as I wrote for SpotGamma, yesterday.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s combined HIRO reading for the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY). Trade was responsive (i.e., buy dip, sell rip) up until 2:00 PM ET when demand for negative delta (i.e., put buying, call selling) outweighed that for positive delta.

This ultimately showed up in broad measures of implied volatility. As The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial said: “[I]n the final hour, spot [and] vol up.”

This plays into decreased odds for a far-reaching rally. Participants are positioned out in strikes that are lower and the activity in those strikes plays into a change in tone with respect to the non-linearity and strength of volatility and skew with respect to linear changes in asset prices.

As Karsan spoke to, last week, the spikes in short-dated -sticky skew – the “first we’ve seen since [the] secular decline began” – hints at a “critical change in dealer positioning.”

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

So why does any of this matter?

There still appears to be a heavy supply of options, particularly those with less time to maturity, and skew remains poor-performing (hence comments in prior letters on the benefit of buying into implied skew convexity should volatility reprice).

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. Note historical or realized volatility (RVOL) versus that which is implied (IVOL).

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

If there was to be forced selling or demand for protection by a greater share of the market in ways not recently seen, then the repricing of the aforementioned structures would be a boon for those who own them.

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

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 – e.g., butterfly and back spreads – you are positioned to monetize on a continued non-linear repricing of volatility. The difficult part is cutting the decay of those spreads when nothing happens.

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

As an aside, despite the bearish tilt in positioning, there has been a notable uptick in index call buying per UBS Group AG (NYSE: UBS), presumably so that participants don’t miss out on a vicious reversal, should one transpire.

Graphic: Via UBS Group AG.

Adding, the “high starting point” in IVOL makes it possible to put on zero- and low-cost bets that deliver asymmetric payouts in case of violent and short-lived reversals. 

Read: Daily Brief for May 13, 2022.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research, the return profile, at expiry, of a classic 1×2 (long 1, short 2 further away) ratio spread (the inverse of a back spread).

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 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; activity above the $3,696.00 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNodes could reach as high as the $3,735.75 and $3,770.75 high volume areas (HVNodes), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,696.00 LVNode puts in play the $3,675.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,639.00 RTH Low 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.

Considerations: Gap scenarios are in play, today.

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

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

Definitions

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, 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.