Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 23, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by over 1,200 people. To join this community and learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets, subscribe below.

Graphic updated 6:45 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 this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to 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.

Team, it’s been insane on my end. Physik Invest’s Daily Brief will be paused through the end of this week (November 24 and 25). Wishing you happy holidays!

Hopefully, clearer notes and consistent releases to resume, after the break.


Crypto Turmoil Persists:

The FTX (CRYPTO: FTT) debacle has induced even more illiquidity.

Bloomberg’s Matt Levine wrote that the fall in liquidity “has been dubbed the ‘Alameda Gap,’” noting that “[p]lunges in liquidity usually come during periods of volatility as trading shops pull bids and asks from their order books.”

Turmoil and Opportunity:

You may take advantage of the aforementioned uncertainties through arbitrage (i.e., buy at a lower price at one venue and sell at a higher price at another venue). Notice the ~$500 spread on BTC/USDT, for instance.

Graphic: Retrieved from Shift Search at 6:53 AM ET on November 23, 2022.

Elsewhere, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTC: GBTC) is trading at a ~43.00% discount to the value of the Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) it holds.

Per Bloomberg, “US regulators have repeatedly denied applications to convert GBTC into a physically-backed exchange-traded fund,” and that means the fund is not “able to redeem shares to keep pace with shifting demand.”

To note, the discount pales in comparison to the 101.00% premium to the net-asset value achieved in December 2017. The average net-asset value is a 12.00% premium.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Anyways, in greater detail, we discussed the crypto turmoil on November 9 and 10. Those notes may be of interest if the context is desired. Though this is not a crypto-focused letter, crypto is “tied up in the liquidity bubble that exists across all assets.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Physik Invest’s Daily Brief posted on November 10, 2022.

As an example, during the week of November 8, when the narrative surrounding FTX’s demise was at its peak, the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX), Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), and FTX Trading token (CRYPTO: FTT) slid lower, bottomed, and rallied in sync.

Uncertainty, Correlation, and Positioning:

This is a part of the letter that may appear somewhat similar. We continue carrying forward and building on past analyses.

At its core, breakages in correlations some may have observed are accentuated by positioning forces we have talked about recently, as well as the above. These forces are important as you may have noticed the S&P 500’s tendency in responding to areas quoted by this letter.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

In a nutshell, in light of a “de-grossing of ‘shorts’” per Nomura Holdings Inc (NYSE: NMR), the sale of the volatility investors owned, after events such as elections and CPI, boosted markets indirectly (i.e., counterparty exposure to risk declines as the market rises and investors sell volatility → counterparty reduces the size of their negative Delta hedges → this reduces market pressure and bolsters a rally).

Graphic: Retrieved from Nomura Holdings Inc (NYSE: NMR) via ZeroHedge.

Investors’ continued supply of protection, all the while markets were rising, resulted in further indirect support and, later, prompted responsiveness to key areas at which the options activity was concentrated. This was better detailed on November 16 and 18.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

While this activity is happening – the S&P pinning – underlying constituents are swinging far more amid traders’ own “uneasiness” in stocks and the crypto turmoil; if there are forces pinning and supporting the S&P, all the while there are constraints connecting it to wild(er) components, then something (e.g., correlation) has to give.

Expecting More Of The Same For Now:

Nonetheless, it’s likely for this wild activity under the surface to continue, and for the S&P 500, itself, to be the recipient of even more supportive flows.

For example, the buyback related to the pulled-forward decay of options’ Delta with respect to time (Charm) and continued sale of volatility (Vanna), in a lower liquidity environment, likely results in hedging flows enforcing seasonality and masking the wild(ness) mentioned above.

Graphic: Retrieved from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) via The Market Ear.

Risks Building Under The Surface:

However, what is happening right now may set the stage for persistently high realized volatility (RVOL) when something bad does happen and those flows we talked about do less to resist that underlying volatility and weakness.

To explain, implied volatility (IVOL) has performed poorly in the context of 2022’s far-reaching decline. That’s in part the result of proactive hedging and monetization of protection (i.e., supply) into the decline.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Measures of equity IVOL tame relative to bonds and FX.

Investors, with IVOL performing poorly, are pushed into better-performing strategies. That includes selling IVOL which does less and less to boost the markets more and more (i.e., per SpotGamma, “the marginal impact of added volatility compression is far lower” at this juncture).

Accordingly, the market is left in a more precarious, less well-hedged position, and that’s concerning given some of the cracks that have appeared including the Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE: CS) debacle covered in October, the UK liability-driven investment funds covered in September, interest rate swap risks, and beyond.

SCT Capital’s Hari Krishnan talked about some of these risks on a recent podcast.

In Essence, It’s Cheap To Hedge:

According to SpotGamma, “if you wanted to hedge, … it is historically cheap.”

Graphic: Cboe VVIX (INDEX: VVIX) measuring the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of the VIX. Retrieved from TradingView. Via SpotGamma: “The VVIX is a naive check of participants’ exposure to the volatility of volatility itself (i.e., the non-linear sensitivity of an options price to changes in volatility or Vega convexity). This goes back to the point about the marginal impact of much more volatility compression; the marginal impact of volatility (expansion) compression would have a (bigger) smaller impact, comparatively.”

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the underlying, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Gamma or positive exposure to directional movement).

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the implied volatility, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Volga or positive exposure to IVOL changes).

If there’s a large change in direction (RVOL) or IVOL repricing, you may make money.

As an example, in mid-June, a trading partner and I noticed a change in tone in the non-linearity of volatility and skew with respect to linear changes in the price of the market (or S&P 500). The prices of ratio spread structures (i.e., long or short one option near-the-money, short or long two or more further out-of-the-money) changed by hundreds of percent for only a few basis points of change in the indexes.

At the time, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan noted this was “a spike in short-dated -sticky skew, [the] first we’ve seen since [the] secular decline began and it hints [at] a potentially critical change in dealer positioning [and] the distribution of underlying outcomes.” 

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

So why does any of this matter?

In essence, it’s cheap to hedge and the context is there for you to do so, at least from a volatility (not directional) perspective. 

Here is an excerpt from Mohamed Bouzoubaa et al’s book Exotic Options and Hybrids to support some of the earlier statements.

Options have a “non-zero second-order price sensitivity (or convexity) to a change in volatility,” Bouzoubaa et al explain. “ATM vanillas are [not] convex in the underlying’s price, … but OTM vanillas do have vega convexity … [so], when the holder of an option is long vega convexity, we say she is long vol-of-vol.” 

In other words, by owning protection that’s far from current prices, you are positioned to monetize on a non-linear repricing of volatility, something we saw earlier this year and may continue to see.

Doing this in a manner that cuts decay (when nothing happens) is the difficult part.

Calendar and diagonal spreads come to mind (i.e., sell a short-dated option and buy a far-dated option). You are betting against movement (negative Gamma) over a span of time you don’t think the market will move (e.g., Thanksgiving). And, you are betting on movement (positive Gamma) over a larger span of time (e.g., after Thanksgiving) where decay may not be as accelerated.

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

Ultimately, counterparties’ response to new demands for protection, if something bad happens later, would exacerbate movement and aid in the repricing of IVOL.

At that new IVOL level, there would be more stored energy to catalyze a rally and this letter would express that.

To sell downside volatility (or puts) at this juncture (with time) is a poor trade. To sell downside volatility as part of a larger, more complex structure could be a good trade (e.g., sell a call spread to finance an ultra-wide SPX put ratio spread).

It all depends on structure and management.

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 positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of the prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,000.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,027.00, $4,051.00, and $4,069.25. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,985.00, $3,965.25, and $3,923.00.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. All levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

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

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

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

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


About

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

Capelj also writes options market analyses at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga journalist. 

His past works include private discussions with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the Lithuanian Delegation’s Aušrinė Armonaitė, among many others.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 16, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by over 1,200 people. To join this community and learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets, subscribe below.

Graphic updated 7:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to 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

There will be no Daily Brief published on Thursday, November 17, 2022.

Positioning

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to enter into such trades including protective collars (i.e., sell call, buy put), as stated in yesterday’s letter and explicitly discussed by the likes of Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott. 

To quote McElligott: The “legacy ‘short skew’ trade that’s been the key US equities vol theme of 2022 is now at risk of its own ‘regime change’ reversal, too. This is, then, especially interesting when considering that ongoing VIX call [or] call spread buying … generally some pretty ‘tail-y’ stuff that is beginning to get loaded into.”

Graphic: Retrieved from The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. This is “gutter low vol.”

Entering trades that change non-linearly with respect to changes in implied volatility (IVOL) and direction (Delta) exposes participants to convexity (Gamma).

A simple way to think about this is if the market was to shock lower by one, all else equal, the derivative’s value would change in excess of that. On the other hand, if one was short static (not dynamic) Delta, meaning they profit from that movement lower, profits realized would be one for one with the change in the underlying.

Graphic: Retrieved from Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN).

So, given the flat skew we mentioned earlier, it is attractive in price to hedge against the downside. Whether that downside materializes, is another story.

Graphic: Retrieved from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Equity skew is so depressed in the US that one could buy a multiple of the calls they sold in the S&P 500, elsewhere.

Food For Thought:

This is amidst the responsiveness near key technical areas provided in past letters. It suggests traders with short time horizons are very active and anchoring to key areas, such as $4,000.00 in the S&P 500. These same participants will often lack the wherewithal to defend retests, and big participants (some of whom move by committee) seldom respond to those technical inflections. 

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma.

According to SpotGamma, a provider of data and written analyses on the options market, data shows the “$4,000.00 strike continu[ing] to dominate both in terms of position sizing” with calls, at that level most likely “being sold, which has helped maintain $4,000.00 resistance.”

The sale of IVOL leaves counterparties with long (+Delta) exposure to be hedged through sales (-Delta) of the underlying. As the market trades higher, these options, which are very close to current market prices, have a lot of Gamma, meaning they are very sensitive to changes in the price of the underlying (or convex and non-linear to direction). That means these options can go from having little value to a lot of value, quickly.

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

If the market is below $4,000.00 and trading higher, while at $4,000.00 there is a lot of this trade going on, then the counterparty will sell the underlying to offset gains in their options while the reverse happens if the market is trading down, as SpotGamma data showed, yesterday. When the market traded lower, positive Delta was firing off, which is supportive, hence the mean-reversion back to $4,000.00 into the close.

Graphic: SPY HIRO. Retrieved from SpotGamma’s Twitter. Posted 11/15/2022 at 1:42 PM ET.

A quick check of how sticky these areas may be, look at the level of positive Gamma.

As traders bet against the market movement, counterparties take on more exposure to positive Gamma. In hedging this positive Gamma, the counterparty does more to reduce market movement.

Couple this mean-reversion-type activity with the structural Delta buyback linked to the passage of time (Charm) and compression of volatility (Vanna), these conditions do more to bolster continued relief, as put forth by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Another consequence, as picked up by individuals online including Darrin John, the S&P 500’s realized volatility (RVOL) “is so high” with “a basket of 500 of the ‘best’ stocks in the US [wildly] swing[ing] +5% in a single day,” while the S&P 500 is relatively mute, as your letter writer sees it.

In general, something has to give. If there are forces that are pinning the S&P 500, all the while there are arbitrage constraints connecting the components and all, then correlation must break and dispersion must increase. In short, this is a trader’s market; data shows managers tend to “outperform the worst by more during periods of lower correlation,” as does “higher dispersion.”

Should traders continue to hone in on key areas, and add to the interest and volume near those areas, then the market is likely prone to more of the same. Expect pinning and sideways to up. If there were to be a decrease in positive Gamma exposures, that likely opens the door to more movement. Likewise, if traders’ bets are concentrated elsewhere (higher or lower), that can open the door to relief. A catalyst for that may be something fundamental.

The Key Takeaway:

Recent happenings mimic that of the Global Financial Crisis when, according to The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “vol slowly [ground] until the eventual October 2008 move (i.e., Lehman).” 

“The markets were understanding that there was a change going on, especially in credit. But that risk was discounted until it was forced into realization.”

Simple trades to protect (or capitalize on this) include collars, as stated earlier, as well as calendars. If you expect RVOL on the index level, at least, to be mute, then sell short-dated exposure and use those proceeds to purchase farther-dated exposure (e.g., sell weekly put to buy monthly put).

Why? 

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the underlying, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Gamma). When you think there is to be an outsized move in the implied volatility, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Volga). If there’s a large change in direction (RVOL) or IVOL repricing, you may make money. 

Ultimately, “liquidity providers’ response to demand for protection (en masse) would, then, likely exacerbate the move and aid in the repricing of IVOL to levels where there would be more stored energy to catalyze a rally,” as we saw after elections and CPI … 

Graphic: Commentary published by Kai Volatility.

… alongside the Dollar’s (INDEX: DXY) weakness which is easing the burden on margins and global funding.

Per Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), “simple math on S&P 500 earnings from currency is that for every percentage point increase on a YoY basis, it’s [] a 0.5 hit to EPS growth.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Technical

As of 7:15 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.

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,000.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,027.00, $4,069.25, and $4,136.75. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,965.25, $3,913.00, and $3,871.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. All levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj also writes options market analyses at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga journalist. 

His past works include private discussions with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the Lithuanian Delegation’s Aušrinė Armonaitė, among many others.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 16, 2022

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

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

Administrative

A longer note so stick with me!

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

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

Fundamental

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Positioning

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

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

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

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

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

This made for some attractive trade opportunities seen here.

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma.

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

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

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

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

Technical

As of 6:50 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,935.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,964.75 HVNode and $4,001.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,857.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,826.25 and $3,770.75 HVNodes, or lower.

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

Considerations: A feature of this 2022 down market was responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart). This suggested to us that technically-driven traders with shorter time horizons were very active. 

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

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

Those are the participants you should not fade.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For 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.