Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 8, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 1,200+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:15 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above 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

This letter’s author is ramping up coverage and returning to speed after a short hiatus. Today’s focus will be on adding to the “Positioning” section of Monday’s letter.

Positioning

After some late-October weakness that is coinciding with the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to raise rates, stocks are tame. This is heading into midterm elections, today, and inflation updates, Thursday.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Created by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

Republicans are likely to add to their control of the House and Senate.

Having fewer Democrats in Congress would lower “the odds of fiscal measures [that would] embolden a hawkish Federal Reserve.” 

This is a boon for stocks.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “With things looking that bad, current polls show the Democrats appear to be headed for a drubbing, almost certain to lose control of the House and increasingly likely to see the Senate slip away.”

Indeed, Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) strategists found a “GOP-controlled Senate historically is associated with superior equity returns.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC).

In spite of recessions, even, the S&P 500, a year after midterms, often netted positive 20% or so returns Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) strategists add.

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas’ Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm. The “seasonal/cycle outlook is for a lower low or retest of the lows over the next three months as we are in the worst two months of the year and are smack dab in the *Weak Spot* of the 4-Year Cycle”

A post-election bump is on top of the general positiveness of equity performance during the earnings season and periods of strong pessimism as we have today.

Graphic: Retrieved from Mr. Blonde’s Stuck in the Middle letter.

Why all the potential positivity over this short period?

The aforementioned events are happening during a period wherein market liquidity eases (i.e., the holiday season).

It’s during this period, from a positioning perspective, the effects of decay (which we discuss more below) accelerate, and a lack of liquidity, according to Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, makes markets sensitive to positive-leaning flows.

Pessimism and hedging may indirectly give rise to bullishness. Why is that?

Demand for options exposures, especially across shorter time horizons, evidenced by heightened implied volatility (IVOL) at the front end (see below), has indirectly added to the pressures of de-grossing, as observed.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Though positioning is generally thin, as we also talked about in yesterday’s newsletter, thus reducing the impact of the hedging of this positioning, demand remains “strong,” per Karsan, and “dealers are short that volatility.”

Derivatives strategists at the likes of the Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY) agree with Karsan’s remarks; Amy Wu Silverman said that the Cboe Volatility Index’s (INDEX: VIX) elevation was the result of demand for hedges after October options expiry.

“Part of today’s move at least is a function of new positions. There is likely demand for future months since we just went through October options expiry,” she said. “Part of it is a function of the ‘floor’ of a new volatility regime.”

So, what’s the point to make?

For IVOL measures to remain wound, something bad needs to happen, in short.

Otherwise, per SpotGamma, a “decline in IVOL … can aid in a push-and-pull that actually serves to … resist far-reaching weakness” and keep selling orderly.

That’s because, from here, the removal of the protection that’s been demanded in the past days and weeks compounds the sped-up effects of Charm.

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

Charm, which is the change in options Delta (i.e., exposure to direction) with respect to changes in time, “drives a positive window or seasonality”; “the reduction in time” and “lack of liquidity” make markets more sensitive to those positive flows.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

In the long term, however, weakness is here to stay. Poor IVOL performance and little skew also likely set the stage for a post-holiday tail. More on this, later.

Graphic: Retrieved from Corey Hoffstein on Twitter.

Technical

As of 6:45 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 outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

If above the $3,806.25 LVNode, the $3,845.00 VPOC is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,874.25 HVNode and $3,909.25 MCPOC, or higher.

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

If above the $3,806.25 LVNode, the $3,787.00 VPOC is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,727.00 and $3,685.00 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: Futures tied to the S&P 500 are trading within close proximity to a blue line in the above graphic. This blue line depicts a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) anchored to price action following the release of consumer price data on September 13, 2022.

The VWAP metric is highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for the quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

Should the S&P 500 auction away from this level, and come back to it, a prudent response is to fade. If the price is above the VWAP, and it auctions lower, into the VWAP, traders would buy. On the other hand, if the price is below the VWAP, and it auctions higher, into the VWAP, sell.

At this time, the S&P 500 is near VWAP offering traders lower (directional) opportunities.


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.

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.

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 October 5, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 1000+ that read this report daily, below!

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

Administrative

Expect no letter on Friday, October 7, 2022.

Fundamental

Markets printed lower, this morning, ahead of the US cash-open. This bonds, commodities, and equities down phenomenon we’ve unpacked in detail many times before. 

At its core, supply chokepoints and a hot labor market are keeping inflation high and sticky. To lessen this inflation, policymakers are seeking to tighten monetary policy. 

That means raising interest rates and quantitative tightening (QT). 

As we discussed on September 20, the transmission mechanisms of these drivers vary with QT having a very weak transmission “to economic activity but very strong to financial markets.” On the other end are rates that have a stronger transmission to economic activity.

And so, on “the incremental effects on liquidity” these drivers pose, markets are trading more in sync; on the way up, through fiscal stimuli, interest rate decreases, and QE (i.e., buying of US Treasuries and mortgage securities), investors sought more yield elsewhere. 

Risk assets like stocks, crypto, and beyond thus enjoyed a boost.

In a way, the opposite is happening now, and selling across risk -on and -off assets is persistent. 

Liquidity measures (which we began unpacking months ago, and were covered in Bloomberg by Kevin Muir of TheMacroTourist.com, recently, too) show a near-lockstep decline in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). Please check out Kevin Muir’s Substack, too!

Net liquidity (NL) we calculate by taking the size of the Fed’s balance sheet (BS) and subtracting both the amounts in the reverse repo operation (RRP) and Treasury General Account (TGA).

Muir said that “the liquidity created from QE and fiscal stimulus was so great that commercial banks no longer wanted deposits from large institutional clients because there were not enough safe assets available to purchase.” 

This prompted the expansion of RRP (beyond primary dealers to include the mutual funds and non-traditional accounts), a liquidity-draining operation (cash in the system removed through an increase in the number of bonds), through which the Fed would deliver “high-quality collateral with the promise to buy it back in a certain number of days at a higher price,” Muir explained.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Other NL drivers include the TGA which, prior to Covid, was fairly well-balanced by taxes (i.e., money coming in) and the issue of fixed-income securities (i.e., money coming out). 

Post-Covid, the TGA increased a lot and this has “the same effect as QT … [as] bonds are issued and cash [is] withdrawn from the financial system, but the money is not distributed into the economy,” Muir elaborated.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Combining the moves of the RRP and TGA, with the BS, provides us a measure of NL (shown below) that well explains stock price movements, as we’ve put forth in letters before.

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.

And, despite the far-spreading risk-on and -off context (i.e., stocks, crypto, and bonds down), it is believed that the large amounts in liquidity-draining operations (RRP and TGA), the impacts of QT, from hereon, may be lessened; per Muir, “[i]f the Fed had securities on its balance sheet that matched the maturity profile demanded by the institutions engaging in reverse repos, it could sell an amount equal to the total reverse repo balance to these institutions, reducing the need for reverse repos and elicit no change in the financial or real economy.”

“On top of that, the actual amount of monthly QT [$95 billion per month] is not that large,” Muir added. That’s because, over the span of five months, into the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the TGA was up $816 billion. This equates to ~$163.2 or so billion per month of QT.

At the end of the day, though, the programs outlined above do less to provide market support. One can argue that the market has priced the programs and some economic slowing. It is not likely the market has priced the impacts of a sharply slowing economy and business.

That said, some data – less corporate profits falling out of bed – suggests “the stock market tends to do better when EPS growth rates are negative than when they are hugely positive.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Ned Davis Research via MarketWatch. “[A]n inverse relationship between earnings growth rates and the market’s average return.”

The key to explaining this is to remember markets are a forward-looking mechanism. 

“By the time earnings growth rates are extremely high–as they were late last year and early this–they have long since been reflected in stock prices.”

“During such periods, the market has instead shifted its focus to earnings several quarters hence—to factors such as the Fed having to put the brakes on an overheating economy.”

The reverse will happen when the year-over-year growth rate in trailing fourth-quarter EPS is negative; “investors will have shifted their focus to earnings’ likely imminent rebound.”

Positioning

Pending is a final resolution “tied to the incremental effects on liquidity,” (e.g., QT manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” and buyback blackout).

Graphic: Retrieved from Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) via The Market Ear.

This is all the while options repositioning may actually make the case for increased fragility, as traders’ falling demand for put protection opens the door to less supportive hedging flows and more impact from macro-type flows (talked about above) if we will.

Graphic: Taken from @Alpha_Ex_LLC who retrieved from Bloomberg. S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) October put option lower in price and volatility.

The last-mentioned SpotGamma explained well: 

“As traders realize that options protection is doing little to protect them, there may be a flip; the sale of volatility, which appears to be a good trade (now), could leave markets vulnerable to an event into which traders are no longer well-hedged. Should something bad happen and traders reach for protection, that could result in limit-down type of movement.”

If unsure of what direction to participate, consider pricing some Box Spreads that offer some competitive and guaranteed interest rates, similar to those earned with Treasury bills.

Technical

As of 6:40 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 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 $3,771.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,826.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the last-mentioned could reach as high as the $3,862.25 HVNode and $3,893.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,771.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,671.00 VPOC and $3,610.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For 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 July 20, 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

Thanks to all the subscribers who have signed up in the past few days. Not sure how you got here so thank you! Also, thanks to whoever may have shared the letter to make that happen!

From here, you can expect in-depth commentaries on aspects like fundamentals, technicals, and positioning. Insights are actionable as they help me protect and grow my own capital!

Without further delay, below is what you need to know for today!

In the news was Netflix Inc’s (NASDAQ: NFLX) post-earnings jump on better-than-expected subscriber loss numbers, the Russians and Europeans agreeing on gas pipelines, mortgage boycotts spreading across China, tight food supplies, gas prices falling to some of the lowest levels in months, and China warning against a Taiwan visit by the U.S.

View: Earnings calendar.

Further, after our July 19 remark on incredibly strong pessimism likely to serve as a contrarian signal, the equity indexes pushed higher, following through key multi-week resistance.

Key levels quoted held nearly to the tick. Now, both the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) and S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) are above their 20- and 50-day moving averages. The Russell 2000, a laggard, made it above the 200-day moving average.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The speed and ferociousness of the rally have more to do with how participants were positioned – in light of what seemed to be a worsening fundamental situation – into the break of some very visual resistances, discussed in prior letters. Read the next section for more on the positioning.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Cryptocurrencies, which were recipients of the same risk-on flows equities saw, too, went higher yesterday. Per CoinMetrics data, Bitcoin’s (CRYPTO: BTC) correlation to equities is positive.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

For context, asset volatility had fallen on participants’ extension of moneyness to nonmonetary assets, given easy monetary policies and an environment of ample debt and leverage. These policies made it easier to borrow and make longer-duration bets on ideas with lots of promise.

This had consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept deflationary pressures at bay. The distinction between economies and financial markets blurred.

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

Graphic: Via Schroders plc (OTC: SHNWF). Taken from the Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm.

With U.S. market liquidity, as well as the dollar’s role as a global reserve currency, putting U.S. markets and the S&P 500 at the center of the global carry regime, a U.S. stock market drop is a recession and the direct reflection of the unwinds of carry.

It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s sentiment reflects this.

Graphic: Retrieved from Layoffs.fyi Tracker.

Ultimately, a deflationary pulse manifesting disinflation in consumer prices may prompt the Fed (Federal Reserve) to reverse on rates and quantitative tightening (QT), the (out)flow of capital from capital markets.

Graphic: Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Retrieved from Bloomberg. “The previous low on this measure came five months before the final market low, but again this could be taken as evidence that the market has already taken enough evasive action.”

Positioning

The continued sale of volatility (as long volatility trades have not panned out), particularly across shorter time horizons, left those, on the other side, warehousing long volatility (a sort-of naive thing to say bluntly as we’re discounting customer trades being paired off with each other).

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

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 (re)hedge, those on the other side will do less to add realized (RVOL) volatility and more to suppress implied (IVOL).

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN). Into strength (weakness), counterparties’ long call exposures will increase (decrease) in value. To re-hedge, counterparties will buy (sell) weakness (strength).

Moreover, with RVOL creeping (and exceeding, at times) the IVOL, short volatility structures, particularly if unhedged and across short time horizons, are not doing good. The unwinding of these structures can add fuel to the directional resolve (e.g., if the customer buys back a short call, the liquidity provider sells their long call and buys back their short equity to re-hedge).

Hence, options structures that we said may be good to take advantage of the “smiley” skew (e.g., zero- or low-cost call ratio spreads) are performing much better.

Graphic: Updated 7/18/2022. Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. Skew resembles more of a smile, rather than a smirk.

Technical

As of 6:45 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,943.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,982.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,016.25 HVNode and $4,055.25 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,943.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,909.25 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $3,867.25 LVNode and $3,829.75 MCPOC, 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.

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 July 19, 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 6:50 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

After the release of data on consumer prices, earlier this month, the belief was that a de-rate, on inflation, was, potentially, nearing an end, although it was likely to remain at a “higher level than we’ve seen historically,” per the likes of Chevron Corporation’s (NYSE: CVX) CEO Mike Wirth.

Read: National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) sees record decline. Rental markets cooling. Foreign buying jumps. Food to be the ultimate weapon in the 21st century.

Graphic: Retrieved from Randy Woodward. “Bloomberg commodities index vs. headline CPI.”

Now comes an even deeper compression on earnings?

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas. “Clear downward momentum in earnings revisions, only 33% of analyst earnings estimates have been revised upward (i.e. the rest downward) — matches the worsening macro.”

Well, maybe. Based on executives’ perspectives, we’re probably “talking ourselves into a recession,” precisely what the likes of Robert Shiller have expressed worry on.

Accordingly, participants are now pricing in shaky earnings, selling the stock of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), and beyond, on those firms’ preparations for an increased potential for an economic downturn.

Up until this week, the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) was doing better, consolidating for a potential break above a key response area, like the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX), highlighted in a section further below.

It failed after the release of earnings from some index heavyweights.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “The Nasdaq 100, down 27% for the year so far, had briefly managed to get above its 50-day moving average on Monday, suggesting that the relentless downward trend was over — but the index failed to stay there, thanks in large part to Apple.”

Pessimism is incredibly strong among investors, however, a sort-of contrarian signal.

In spite of some Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) indicators pointing to poor fundamentals, sentiment is suggestive of a looming “stocks/credit rally in coming weeks.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Investors slashed their exposure to risk assets to levels not seen even during the global financial crisis in a sign of full capitulation amid a “dire” economic outlook, according to Bank of America Corp.’s monthly fund manager survey.”

Positioning

Though we’re far more than halfway through a dot-com type collapse that’s happened “underneath the surface of the indices,” per Simplify Asset Management’s Mike Green, still-strong passive flows continue to support the largest stocks within the indexes.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS).

At the same time, options volumes show traders concentrating less on bullish strategies in the single stocks, while the index flows remain steady.

Graphic: Via Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB).

Looking at skew on something like the tech- and growth-heavy Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), our comments in prior letters (regarding volatility supply from the re-hedging of defensive structures on the put side and volatility demand on the call side from the positioning for a reversal) appear still valid.

Read: Daily Brief for July 15, 2022.

Therefore, spread opportunities still exist and remain attractive.

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. Skew resembles more of a smile, rather than a smirk.

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett.

Technical

As of 6:45 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, 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 $3,895.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,943.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,867.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,829.75 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $3,800.75 LVNode and $3,770.75 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: 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.

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 July 15, 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 6:35 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

Note: A really interesting discussion in the below positioning section which tidies up some of the past analyses we’ve made. Read on for more!

Ahead are updates on retail sales, import prices, Empire State Manufacturing (8:30 AM ET), industrial production and capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), as well as University of Michigan consumer sentiment and inflation expectations, and business inventories (10:00 AM ET).

This week, markets repriced after data on inflation came in hot. Participants have bet on tough action from the Federal Reserve (Fed). Now, there is a near-50% chance of a 100 basis point hike later in July.

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

Per The Macro Compass, published by Alfonso Peccatiello, companies have downgraded their outlooks and job creation “is much less impressive” amid labor force shrinkage.

“[T]he number of total employed people in the US divided by its total population in the 25-54y age bracket dropped below 80%,” he explains. “Over the last 30 years, at the peak of each economic cycle, this ratio was over 80%.”

Accordingly, earnings “are nowhere near pricing the economic slowdown, … [and there still remains] way too much optimism.”

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Barclays Plc (NYCE: BCS).

Additionally, commodities (even more so those that are industrial and “are the cleanest expression of global demand”) have endured selling pressure with a near 30% copper drawdown likely to precede positive total returns for long bonds, Peccatiello explains.

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas. With “[r]ecessions see[ing] oil prices fall by 20% to 70%, … being bullish on oil at this point is either betting against history or [] recession.”

Positioning

The drawdown in commodities is significant as that was, arguably, the last place that offered participants a hedge against their poorly performing bond and equity exposures. 

“A lot of people allocated to commodity trend following and that did a good job in the first two quarters,” The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial explained

“CTAs were performing and you had a lot of people who did not need to buy [equity] volatility because their portfolios were covered from the inflation hedges.”

Graphic: Shared by Benn Eifert of QVR Advisors.

That, coupled with the sale of ultra-short-dated volatility, particularly in some of the single names to capture “rich” volatility, as well as hedging of structured products issuances, continues to play into suppressed index volatility.

For context: Rising rates and a drive for yield have been a boon for exotic derivatives. 

Participants often seek exposure to products that are essentially short volatility a year or so out. The counterparty, here, is long volatility on these notes. To hedge risk – since “you can’t just be long volatility, … [otherwise] you’ll bleed money for long periods of time” – the bank will hedge risk in the listed market. 

However, on a one-year auto-callable, for which it would be appropriate to sell one-year volatility in the listed market, “some of these banks … create this synthetic calendar profile where they’re … sell[ing] a little bit of one-month vol because they can take in that theta a whole lot faster, or two- and three-month vol,” spreading exposure in buckets.

See, here, for a sample presentation on what is an Auto-Callable Yield Note.

This suppresses “vol in the front of the term structure, and … opens up the door to … that other move where if everybody is selling vol in the front of the term structure,” it may blow out on a large increase in demand.

“If you look back during COVID, there are articles about banks that lost a lot of money because of the[ir] hedges. This has happened previously and you’re seeing little blips of it start to” return.
Graphic: Retrieved from The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. “[S]ome dealers will opportunistically look to sell vol in some buckets in the front of the term structure.”

Basically, “the macro landscape … opened up another area to hedge” which resulted in the increased movement of realized equity (RVOL) volatility, relative to that which is implied (IVOL).

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI). 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.”

Now, with commodities not offering protection, one has to be concerned if “the flock move[s].”

“If commodities are not performing, they’re not going to work as a hedge for your portfolio. That opens the door … [to] markets sliding lower and [people] need[ing] to get hedges on,” which is likely to bid equity volatility where some single names “are only trading three to four vol points above where they were trading in January of 2020,” the complete dismissal of a crash.

Therefore, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

Technical

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

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

Any activity above the $3,807.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,830.75 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $3,867.25 LVNode and $3,909.25 MCPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,807.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,770.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,751.00 VPOC and $3,722.50 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

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 July 12, 2022

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

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

Fundamental

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When will the turn occur?

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

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

What’s lending to the dollar’s strength?

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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean?

Depends on the timeframe. 

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

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

What about the dollar?

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

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

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

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

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

Positioning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read: Explanations and Applications – Moontower on Gamma.

Technical

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For 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 February 14, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to lower, extending the sell-off that began with the release of Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.

The Federal Reserve will convene, today, at 11:30 AM ET for an unscheduled meeting of the Board of Governors to discuss “the advance and discount rates to be charged by the Federal Reserve banks.”

Scheduled is an interview with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard (8:30 AM ET).

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. 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: Markets are catching up to divergences in breadth, trading down in the face of narratives around the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) response to heightened inflation, a challenging economic growth outlook, and geopolitical tensions.

Graphic: NYSE A-D Line versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Taken from Tom McClellan.

Pursuant to these narratives, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) lowered its targets for the S&P 500 from $5,100.00 to $4,900.00. 

“The macro backdrop this year is considerably more challenging than in 2021. However, we continue to expect that equity prices will rise alongside earnings and reach a new all-time high in 2022,” strategists said on earnings growth in light of the impact of higher rates on valuations.

“During the last 50 years, a ‘goldilocks’ environment of accelerating GDP  growth and stable real yields has typically been associated with a 12-month S&P 500 return of +16%. However, when growth is decelerating and real yields are rising, 12-month S&P 500 returns have averaged +8%.”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear

At the same time, participants are withdrawing their cash and assets held in money market funds in size.

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC).

Based on flows into equities, participants appear to be opportunistically buying the dip.

Graphic: Via EPFR. Retrieved from The Market Ear.

Looking back, when the yield curve – e.g., spread between 10- and 2-year – is between 75 and 25 basis points, stocks actually perform well. 

According to The Market Ear, “[S]imilar periods of time have typically coincided with the middle of prior cycles when economic expansion was broad-based. Worth highlighting the mid-90s, mid-00s, and late-10s.”

“Both short and long-term SPX performance following similar instances were well above typical return profiles. Average 6M performance is over 9% and average 12M performance is over 17%. Almost more notably, SPX performance was positive 90%+ of the time.”

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

To end this section, we point to the so-called unscheduled Fed meeting, today, and the potential for surprise rate increases, despite some policymakers, like Kansas City Fed President Esther George, attempting to cool expectations.

The historical reaction, months out, is not what participants expect would happen by default.

Graphic: Via SentimenTrader.

Positioning: As stated, Friday, Thursday’s post-CPI trade disrupted the balance of trade.

Lower prices and demand for protection, in the face of lower levels of “on-screen liquidity,” solicited dealer selling to hedge increased exposure to the positive delta from demanded short-dated, highly convex options.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator; “customers bought put options (a negative delta trade) leaving dealers short (a positive delta trade).” 

Lower prices and higher volatility compound macro flows, exacerbating weakness.

To note, much of the demand for protection is concentrated in shorter-dated options that are more sensitive to changes in implied volatility and direction. The demand is well visualized by the VIX term structure which shifted markedly at the front-end, Friday.

Graphic: VIX term structure shifts higher (dramatically at the front-end).

Going forward, there is a large monthly options expiration (OPEX) this week. OPEX is a sort-of reset; options roll-off, as do the counterparties’ hedges.

According to data compiled and analyzed by Pat Hennessy a while back, “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since.”

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

Post-OPEX, though, according to SpotGamma, “In an environment characterized by negative gamma (wherein an options delta falls with stock price rises and rises when stock prices fall), options expiries ought to make gamma less negative.”

“Therefore, a reset that may make gamma exposures less negative, there will be a removal of [counterparties’] linear short (-delta) hedges which may further bolster attempts higher.”

So, the dip lower and demand for protection could serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges to put-heavy exposures). 

Commitment to higher prices would likely coincide with increased interest in options at higher strike prices. We have yet to see this occur.

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

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

Acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area has been established.

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 (i.e., nothing has changed since Friday).

Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,365.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,393.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,499.00 POC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,365.00 POC puts in play the $4,332.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,266.25 Weak Low and $4,212.50 regular trade low (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.

What People Are Saying

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.

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 11, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures continued lower after the hottest inflation reading in decades and hawkish (i.e., favoring contractionary policy) Fed-speak by St. Louis Fed Chair James Bullard.

Ahead is data on University of Michigan sentiment and inflation expectations (10:00 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: Bonds and equities were sold, yesterday.

This is after the hottest inflation reading in four decades and comments by the Fed’s Bullard that the central bank should hike rates by 100 basis points over the next three meetings.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “This is a heat map produced by the Bloomberg ECAN function, and it shows every indicator relevant to U.S. inflation now well above its recent mean.”

“Bullard’s plan involves spreading the increases over three meetings, shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet starting in the second quarter and then deciding on the path of rates in the second half based on updated data,” Bloomberg explained

“Markets boosted bets on rate hikes, pricing a full percentage-point increase over three meetings, which would require the first 50 basis-point increase since 2000 unless a move was made between Fed meetings.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Further, though this FOMC participant’s more hawkish tilt differs from what the entire committee has committed to, so long as “the market expects it, … the odds of a 50bp hike in March or May are higher.”

This trend in expectations has been worsening with each major macroeconomic event in 2022. The Fed’s Minutes, FOMC meeting, Nonfarm Payrolls, and CPI have all played a part in the disruption of long-term trends in yields which has a negative impact on valuations, to put simply.

Though earnings growth may offset the negative valuation impact of higher rates, as discussed in detail days ago, the yield curve – e.g., spread between 10- and 2-year – is on its way toward an inversion, as is the yield curve measure involving overnight index swaps (OIS).

For context, per Reuters, an “OIS transaction involves exchanging an overnight rate such as the federal funds rate for a fixed one. For instance, in a U.S. 2-year OIS swap, one party to the transaction receives a fixed two-year rate in exchange for paying the fed funds rate daily over the next two years.”

The OIS market is also a reflection of traders’ expectations for rates. An inversion (which may signal the expectation of aggressive action against inflation that could also stifle economic growth) previously occurred in July 2018. Months later, markets sold and the Fed cut rates. 

Per Alfonso Peccatiello, the former head of a $20 billion investment portfolio and author of The Macro Compass: The inversion of the OIS curve may worsen a downturn in the economy as short-term refinancing credit becomes more expensive and markets price weaker long-term growth.

The OIS curve is “a cleaner indication of yield curve inversions,” Peccatiello added. 

Positioning: Bonds down. Equities down. What the heck? 

This newsletter has talked about this dynamic in the past and will borrow from that, below.

In short, over the past 40 or so years, monetary policy was used as a crutch to support the economy. This promoted deflation, innovation, and the subsequent rise in valuations.

With rates near zero and lifting, that’s a headwind; coupled with participants’ increased exposure to rate and equity market risk, which can play into cross-market hedging and de-leveraging cascades, 60/40 turns into somewhat of a poor hedge.

Why? Higher rates have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

According to a note published by Andy Constan of Damped Spring Advisors, “The lack of additional liquidity provided by Fed purchase will also remove a damper for the market and the economy keeping asset volatility well bid, while also causing asset diversification benefit to fall, generating rising portfolio volatility and the risk demanded to hold assets.”

“Now, with the Fed poised to hike interest rates to combat raging inflation, the bond-stock relationship could be upended,” Bloomberg explains

“At stake are trillions of dollars that are managed at risk parity funds, balanced mutual funds, and pension funds that follow the framework of 60/40 asset allocation.”

Why mention any of this? Well, it forces us to look elsewhere for protection. 

In this case, the growing asset class of volatility, so to speak, is that protection. Investors are aware of both the protective and speculative efficiency afforded to them by options and that is the primary reason option volumes are so comparable to stock volumes, now.

Notwithstanding, with option volumes higher, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks. Therefore, the correlation of stock moves, versus options activity, is more pronounced.

To put it simply, we can look to the options market for clues on where to next, for lack of better phrasing. So, let’s do that!

Heading into Thursday’s session, participants were committing capital to bets on lower volatility.

The counterparties to this short volatility trade were long; if the market were to trade higher (lower), they would sell (buy) futures against increased (decreased) positive delta exposure.

Graphic: A rudimentary example of what is involved in hedging a long call option. 

However, Thursday’s post-CPI trade disrupted the balance of trade; lower prices and demand for protection, in the face of lower levels of “on-screen liquidity,” solicited dealer selling to hedge increased exposure to the positive delta from demanded short-dated, highly convex options.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator; “customers bought put options (a negative delta trade) leaving dealers short (a positive delta trade).” 

The demand for shorter-dated protection is better visualized by the VIX term structure which shifted markedly at the front-end, yesterday.

Graphic: VIX term structure shifts higher (dramatically at the front-end).

As direction (delta) and volatility (vega) are inputs to the pricing of options, lower prices and higher volatility (a reflection of fear and demand for protection) will mark options higher. Hedging pressures will exacerbate weakness, as a result of real selling (as talked about above), at the index and single-stock level.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.

Taking into account options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side), positioning metrics remain positively skewed.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

To conclude, the dip lower and demand for protection could serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher). All eyes are on next week’s monthly options expiration (OPEX). We will discuss the implications of this, later.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the 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; activity above the $4,473.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,565.00 untested POC (VPOC) and $4,585.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,473.00 POC puts in play the key response area at $4,438.75 (BAL/ONL/HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the key response area could reach as low as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,365.00 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.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to trend or pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire) and the reset in dealer gamma exposure.

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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