Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 5, 2022

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 indices auctioned sideways to lower after a failed balance-area breakout resulted in a rotation back toward the most accepted (or traded at) price levels over two weeks.

Ahead is data on ADP National Employment Report (8:15 AM ET), Markit Services PMI (9:45 AM ET), and FOMC minutes (2:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Today, participants ought to get further clarity around the timing of the Federal Reserve’s first interest-rate hike and its taper to the pace of asset buying.

The central bank doubled the pace of tapering in mid-December, setting the stage for rate hikes, later in 2022.

According to Bloomberg, expected are three quarter-percentage-point increases in the key federal funds rate target in 2022. 

Graphic: The “annual rate of change in the Fed Funds rate” via topdowncharts.com.

This expectation has coincided with a move higher in Treasury yields and weakness in the growth- and innovation-heavy Nasdaq 100. 

Recall that inflation and rates move inverse to each other. In defending against the pressures of inflation, higher rates have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “Fed Chair Jerome Powell at his press conference after last month’s meeting said that policy makers eventually ‘expect a gradual pace of policy firming.’ They don’t anticipate raising rates before ending the taper process, but could hike before reaching full employment, he added.”

Moreover, a concern is that “[t]he minutes could hint at a quicker start to shrinking the balance sheet than after the prior tapering.”

With the equity market rallying on the back of easy monetary frameworks and max liquidity, markets diverged from fundamentals.

Reductions in the balance sheet (i.e., removal of liquidity) may help prick the bubble. 

Additionally, with the use of leveraged products trending higher than in the past, cross-asset correlations increase with volatility and stress. This may result in “hedging and de-leveraging cascades that affect the stability of all markets,” as well put in one article I recently wrote.

In other words, the response by customers, as well as the dynamics of dealers’ risk exposure to direction and volatility, can cause violent crash dynamics to transpire, further cutting into liquidity, and aiding an unraveling.

“It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration,” Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once told me. “These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

See the graphic below for implications of customers’ demands for downside protection.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book. For instance, in selling a put, customers add liquidity and stabilize the market. How? The market maker long the put will buy (sell) the underlying to neutralize directional risk as price falls (rises).

Positioning: Pursuant to some of the comments made in yesterday’s commentary, expected is a continued compression in volatility. 

Monday saw the selling of upside (call) and downside (put) protection. Tuesday saw more of the former, and that promoted some of the reversion, for lack of better phrasing, seen yesterday.

Recall that the participant on the other side of this dominant trade is taking on more exposure to positive delta. 

Why? Well, with any price rise, gamma (or how an option’s delta is expected to change given a change in the underlying) is added to the delta. Counterparties are to offset gamma by adding liquidity (as can be approximated with thickening of book depth, below) to the market (i.e., buy dips, sell rips).

Graphic: Analysis of book depth for the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract, via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) Liquidity Tool. For more on the implications of participants’ options positioning and dealer hedging, read here.

The continued compression of volatility will only serve to bolster any price rise as “hedging vanna and charm flows, and whatnot will push the markets higher.”

Were participants to reach for downside protection, markets will tend toward instability. Not seeing this yet.

Graphic: The “Biggest tail risk to SPX isn’t any macro data/virus/war but its own options market.”

Technical: As of 6:40 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket) Scenarios: Rotational trade that denotes current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Balance-areas make it easy to spot a change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend). 

Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,783.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,808.25 minimal excess high. Initiative trade beyond the $4,808.25 figure could reach as high as the $4,814.00 and $4,832.25 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,783.75 MCPOC puts in play the $4,756.00 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,717.25 LVNode, or lower.

Considerations: The aforementioned trade in the S&P 500 marks a potential willingness to continue balance, and it is built on poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

On a liquidation that finds acceptance (i.e., more than 30-minutes of trade at a particular price level) below $4,756.00, there is increased potential for a fast move lower to $4,732.50 or lower.

This is as there has been a persistence of responses to technical levels; weaker-handed participants (which seldom defend retests) are carrying a heavier hand in recent discovery.

With that, any penetration of low-volume pockets – voids like gaps that can be seen on a chart – there ought to be follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels run for the exits.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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.

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

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.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

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 January 4, 2022

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned higher alongside most commodities and volatility fell.

This is as investors await data on manufacturing and job openings/quits (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 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. 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: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a resurgence in the coronavirus, as well as the Federal Reserve’s intent to moderate stimulus, among other things. 

“We expect 2022 to be far more challenging from an investment perspective,” Heather Wald, vice president at Bel Air Investment Advisors, said

“Rarely has a market delivered three consecutive years of double-digit returns, as we have seen from 2019-2021. With the Federal Reserve set to accelerate tightening and a fairly valued stock market, we anticipate more muted returns for the S&P next year but still expect equities to remain attractive versus other liquid asset classes.” 

Wald’s comments align with some metrics posted by LPL Financial’s Ryan Detrick. 

“The bad news is when the S&P 500 gains more than 25% in a year, it has never gained more the following year,” Detrick said. “The good news? That next year can still be pretty darn good. Higher 85% of the time and up a solid 11% on average.”

Graphic: S&P 500 returns via Ryan Detrick. 

This is as the S&P 500 sticks to its seasonal script; in the face of light positioning metrics, expected are massive inflows in the first few months of this year. 

Graphic: Per The Market Ear, “January typically sees 134% of inflows (the rest of the 11 months -34%). And with every private wealth manager in the world right now pitching increased allocations into equities (out of cash and out of bonds), Goldman calculates that keeping 2021 pace, This would be $125BN worth of inflows quickly in January.”

This year is likely to be “dominated by continued knife-edge judgments by the Fed,” and inflation proving better than the most pessimistic forecasts, potentially. 

The prospects of a rally into the first rate hike are emboldened. Thereafter, the market may decline through the rest of 2022.

Positioning: Interesting Twitter thread by Kris Sidial on the transfer of risk in different areas of the volatility term structure. 

“You are seeing institutions aim to harvest the VRP in single stock land by hammering away at the front of the term structure. Especially the exotics desks that are notorious for carrying this inherent short calendar profile.”

What Sidial is talking about is most easily visualized by the compression and expansion of the VIX term structure in the graphic below. Notice the front move, relative to the back, below.

Graphic: VIX term shifts inward; as mostly short-dated protection is monetized or expired, volatility collapses and dealers’ exposure to the positive delta (via short puts) declines which meant they would cover their short futures hedges. This “vanna” flow bolsters SPX rallies.

The implications of this are staggering.

Participants, having been pushed out the risk curve, are using leverage to juice returns; option volumes are comparable to stock volumes.

As a result, related hedging flows represent an increased share of volume. 

As I once wrote in a Benzinga article: “The reflexive response by the opposing side of options trades — a result of regulatory frameworks, the low-interest-rate environment, as well as growth of the derivatives complex — causes a cascading reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.”

Sidial adds: “[T]his short gamma profile with more and more people using derivatives will make way for the rapid moves in shorter time frames.”

That explains a lot!

Moreover, if we zoom in more narrow, today, though implied volatility “is well above its pre-COVID level across the term structure,” it is being sold at the front end.

SpotGamma data confirms this. Via the graphic below, the compression of volatility coincides with call and put selling at the index level; note, though, the increased put selling (more bullish).

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator.

Participants’ activity in shorter-dated tenors (as evidenced by the compression of VIX term structure mainly at the front-end) where options are more so sensitive to changes in the underlying price, time, and volatility, is promoting choppy (but bullish) price action, for now.

With bullish activity in single stocks like Tesla Inc (which was primed for an options-driven squeeze heading into Monday) feeding into S&P positioning, alongside the removal of hedges to positioning that was pressuring stocks and indices heading into Friday OPEX, and passive buying support, there’s potentially more room for higher, to put it simply.

Graphic: SpotGamma posts on TSLA’s options positioning, Monday.

In the end, the concern is whether this bullishness leaves participants reaching for downside (put) protection, later. This would have destabilizing implications, as Sidial alluded to earlier.

Graphic: The “Biggest tail risk to SPX isn’t any macro data/virus/war but its own options market.”

Expectations: As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively 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) is occurring.

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. 

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. 

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 $4,798.50 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,805.50 extension. Initiative trade beyond the $4,805.50 could reach as high as the $4,814.00 and $4,832.25 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,798.50 LVNode puts in play the $4,790.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,777.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,756.00 LVNode, or lower.

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

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.

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.

Rates: Low rates have to potential to increase the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, more attractive. To note, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive).

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

At this time, 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 December 29, 2021

Notice: Given travel commitments, commentaries will be suspended until January 3, 2022. 

As an aside, I’m sincerely honored to have you as a subscriber. 

This newsletter began as a tool to hold myself accountable for objectively assessing dominant narratives and market-generated information. 

Since launching, this commentary has grown. Content and engagement have improved.

Now, with many of the 200 or so of you that are reading this actively, I have spoken with via email, and the like, regarding trader development, among many other things.

When it comes to markets, at the end of the day, whether you’re at a bank (as some of you are) or at home, we’re all alone. The implications of this are staggering.

How are we to objectively assess and act on what the market is signaling to us with no framework or community to work off of?

That’s the problem and I hope to make a bigger impact, going forward.

Wishing you good health and success next year and beyond!

Best, 

Renato

What Happened

In the face of a “stealth correction,” and an “off-loading of risk” by professionals, the S&P 500 remains strong further bolstered by options selling and volatility compression.

This is as less heavily-weighted constituents remain volatile; with hedging pressures sticky at the index level, the only reconciliation can be a decline in correlation. 

As liquidity remains “holiday-thinned,” so to speak, coming into Friday’s weighty “Quarterlys” options expiration, positioning metrics suggest indices ought to stick at higher prices.

Thereafter, expect increased movement.

Moreover, ahead is data on trade in goods (8:30 AM ET) and pending home sales (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Given the persistence of responses to technical levels, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) carry a heavier hand in recent price discovery.

Via volume profile analysis, we see a plethora of low-volume pockets – voids, if you will – that likely hold virgin tests. Successful penetration often portends follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels (quickly run for the exits when wrong).

Context: In the face of market internals that look weaker than at any time since March of last year, the S&P 500 remains strong, relative to its counterparts.

As alluded to in a prior section, the commitment of capital on lower volatility is upping the dealers’ addition of liquidity, which supports high prices but may limit further price discovery.

Why? When a position’s delta rises with stock or index price rises, gamma – the expected change in delta given movement in the underlying – is added to delta. 

According to SpotGamma, “[a]s participants keep adding to their bets at $4,800.00, the dealer only takes on more exposure to positive gamma.”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Based on the fact that we are at the S&P Call Wall and are approaching this large OPEX, we look for a pause and some consolidation in markets here.”

So, with liquidity “holiday-thinned,” so to speak, and participants’ concentration of activity in near-the-money options strikes, coming into this week’s “Quarterlys” options expiration, indices are to remain pinned.

After Friday, the market is more susceptible to fundamental forces as, according to SpotGamma, there will be “a decrease in sticky gamma hedging.”

Couple current options positioning and buying pressure – via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side – metrics suggest middling returns 1-month out, or so.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

Moreover, the expectation is that positive fundamental forces and dealers’ covering of hedges to remaining “put-heavy” positioning bolster seasonally-aligned price rise in January.

Graphic: Per The Market Ear, “January typically sees 134% of inflows (the rest of the 11 months -34%). And with every private wealth manager in the world right now pitching increased allocations into equities (out of cash and out of bonds), Goldman calculates that keeping 2021 pace, This would be $125BN worth of inflows quickly in January.”

In anticipation of higher prices, low cost, complex options structures like call-side calendars, butterflies, and ratio spreads are still top of mind. 

After a fast move higher over the past week or so, with positioning metrics as they are, it does not make sense to commit massive debits to static or variable long-delta trades. Cost matters.

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

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

Spike Rules In Play: Spike’s mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike). 

The spike base is $4,776.00. Below bearish (change in tone). Above bullish (status quo).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,781.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,798.00 minimal excess. Initiative trade beyond the minimal excess could reach as high as the $4,805.50 and $4,815.00 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,781.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,770.50 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,732.50 HVNode and $4,717.25 low volume area (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. Learn about the profile.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

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, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

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

Disclaimer

At this time, 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 December 28, 2021

Notice: Up to January 3, 2022, any commentaries published will be lighthearted and, generally, shorter in length.

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were sideways to higher with most commodities, yields. 

This is as volatility implodes; the CBOE Volatility Index, from December 20, went as low as 17.55 this week [down 9.84 (35.93%)]. This coincides with a compression in the VIX’s term structure, and that has so-called bullish/supportive implications.

Ahead is data on the S&P Case-Shiller U.S. home price index (9:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 7:00 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

On lackluster breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the S&P 500 continues to auction away from intraday value, the levels at which participants found it most favorable to transact.

Moreover, given the persistence of mechanical responses to technical levels, visually-driven, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) likely carry a heavier hand in recent price discovery.

Via volume profile analysis, we see a plethora of low-volume pockets – voids, if you will – that likely hold virgin tests. 

As stated over the past few days, successful penetration often portends follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels (quickly run for the exits when wrong).

Context: Recall that a collapse in implied volatility, coupled with relentless, seasonally-aligned passive buying would bring in positive flows that would bolster any attempt higher.

At the same time “options selling strategies [became] attractive,” according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS); the commitment of capital to options strikes at higher prices implies participants are pushing up their bets on S&P 500 movement. That’s bullish.

Graphic: Shift Search S&P 500 data (excluding weeklies) suggests participants are likely initiating box spreads and rolling their call exposure out in time (as much as 6 months).

According to SpotGamma, “[s]ince, customers are thought to be net short calls (short-delta), as the index moves toward the high activity $4,800.00 strike, they become longer delta.”

Why? When a position’s delta rises with stock or index price rises, gamma – the expected change in delta given movement in the underlying – is added to delta. 

“As participants keep adding to their bets at $4,800.00, the dealer only takes on more exposure to positive gamma, which they hedge by selling futures and adding liquidity to the market.”

The commitment of capital on lower volatility ups the dealers’ exposure to positive gamma; this will be offset through a supply of liquidity (via short futures), which weighs on price discovery.

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

Going forward, coming into Friday’s weighty options expirations, at the index level, hedging pressures ought to be sticky and weigh on the upside. 

Thereafter, positive fundamental forces and dealers’ covering of hedges to remaining “put-heavy” positioning could bolster any seasonally-aligned price rise into the very first interest rate hikes.

Graphic: Per The Market Ear, “January typically sees 134% of inflows (the rest of the 11 months -34%). And with every private wealth manager in the world right now pitching increased allocations into equities (out of cash and out of bonds), Goldman calculates that keeping 2021 pace, This would be $125BN worth of inflows quickly in January.”

Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast is in agreement: “the Dow Jones Industrial Average increases this quarter and peaks in early 2022, … [followed by] steady decline through 2022.”

Graphic: S&P 500 performance before and after rate hikes.

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,771.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,784.25 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,797.25 overnight high (ONH) and $4,803.75 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,771.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,690.25 micro composite point of control (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. Learn about the profile.

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.

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.

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, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

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

Disclaimer

At this time, 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 December 16, 2021

What Happened

After the Federal Reserve (Fed) announced it would accelerate its taper to bond-buying, clearing the way for interest-rate hikes, the equity market rallied, broadly. 

With all major U.S. equity index futures trading higher, overnight, it appears that participants’ fears regarding monetary policy have been assuaged

As forecasted, a collapse in event-related implied volatility brought in positive flows that ought to support the market into this week’s weighty “quad-witching” derivatives expiry.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, building permits, housing starts, and manufacturing (8:30 AM ET). Then, there are releases on industrial production, capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), as well as Markit manufacturing and services PMI (9:45 AM ET). 

Graphic updated 6:15 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. 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

Market hammered out a low, yesterday. 

This was after, to start the week, customers had been increasing their exposure to short-delta (call selling and put buying). The counterparty inventorying the opposite (long-delta) exposure sold (bought) futures into price discovery higher (lower).

Graphic: Customers increased their exposure to short-delta call exposure. “Last week was about selling index calls,” SpotGamma’s Brent Kochuba said on Twitter. “This is likely why the $SPX stopped at $4,700.00.”

This dynamic had the effect of pinning the market; was the S&P 500 to remain in consolidation, customers’ (dealers’) short-delta (long-delta) would have risen which would have made for even more pinning.

That didn’t happen, though.

Into Wednesday’s FOMC event, demand for protection expanded (as evidenced by a higher CBOE Volatility Index reading). That knocked most of the major indexes out of sideways trade.

However, as revealed Tuesday by SpotGamma’s (beta) Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, “participants saw lower prices as an opportunity to express their opinion of lower volatility into Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) update.”

From there on, as Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial best explained, “vols were static in anticipation of the fed talk,” taking away from supportive flows (as a result of options sliding down their term structure [vanna]) and promoting sideways trade.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, which is pink in color, was sideways to higher. This suggests positive options delta trades likely had dealers buying stock/futures into the close.

Context: Wednesday’s commentary really hit the nail on the head, so to speak. 

Therefore, I offer some light updates.

As expected, per Nordea, the Fed will “accelerate its tapering process, and is now set to conclude net purchases already by mid-March vs mid-June with the earlier pace.”

“The dot plot was revised significantly higher, and the plot now shows three hikes for next year, a further three for 2023 and another two for 2024.”

Graphic: “[T]he terminal rate being priced in by financial markets is closer to 1.5% vs. 2.5% for the Fed,” Nordea explained. “The market is now pricing that rate hikes could start already in the mid-March 2022 meeting.”

That said, today’s rates support validations better than in the ‘90s.

At the same time, equity markets tend to rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast aligns with that – “the Dow Jones Industrial Average increases this quarter and peaks in early 2022, … [followed by] steady decline through 2022.”

Graphic: S&P 500 performance before and after rate hikes.

This positive take is in the face of what has been markedly divergent breadth and extreme relative weakness, especially in rate-sensitive names. 

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

Graphic: As U.S. stocks’ inflation-adjusted earnings yield turns negative, as seen near the peak of the tech bubble, via Bloomberg, “Investors in the Nasdaq increasingly seem to think that only a few companies have much of a chance. With a growing possibility of more aggressive attempts to prosecute antitrust issues, that’s a riskier position than it appears.”

With the equity market moving higher, here, into the end of the week, we ought to not discount participants’ increasing exposure to leveraged products.

This increases the speed with which volatility is realized and was cited as a risk in one of Moody’s recent commentaries.

So, despite having seasonally-aligned “passive buying support” and supportive positioning metrics, as well as expectations of “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades,” offsides positioning ought to exacerbate underlying price movements.

So what? As stated, yesterday, the market is in a positive-gamma environment wherein the counterparties to customer options trades add market liquidity and temper realized volatility.

With participants’ fears surrounding monetary policy assuaged, there are positive flows that ought to support the market into this week’s weighty “quad-witching” derivatives expiry.

Graphic: VIX term shifts inward; as short-dated protection quickly was monetized or expired, volatility collapsed and dealers’ exposure to positive delta declined which meant they would cover their short futures hedges. This “vanna” flow bolstered an SPX rally into the end-of-day.

Into the end of the week, the expectation is that participants continue to step in and commit increased capital on lower directional volatility (as they had into this week).

With activity concentrated in shorter-dated tenors, counterparties will take on more exposure to positive gamma which they will offset by supplying the market with more liquidity, thereby pressuring the price discovery process.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma data, the above model’s tilt suggests dealers will increasingly sell into strength and buy into weakness, pressuring any price discovery into the end of this week.

Moreover, the decrease in dealer supply (short delta) post-OPEX, via the covering of short stock/futures hedges to put-heavy positioning, ought to bolster any attempt higher.

Below: Though book depth “in isolation is not the correct method to gauge liquidity,” it can help in assessing participants’ demand/supply as volatility (and stress, by that token) increases.

Graphic: Analysis of book depth for the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract, via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) Liquidity Tool. For more on the implications of participants’ options positioning and dealer hedging, read here.

In anticipation of higher prices, low cost, complex options structures like call-side calendars, butterflies, and ratio spreads are top of mind.

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

Expectations: As of 6:15 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively 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) is occurring.

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. 

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. 

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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,712.00 balance area boundary (BAH) puts in play the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess high and $4,767.00 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,712.00 BAH puts in play the $4,690.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,674.25 HVNode and $4,657.00 balance low (BAL), 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. Learn about the profile.
Graphic: V-pattern recovery in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, portends continuation. The red, black, and yellow-colored lines are anchored volume-weighted average price levels (VWAPs), 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.

Definitions

V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation.

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.

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.

Price Discovery (One-Timeframe Or Trend): Elongation and range expansion denotes a market seeking new prices to establish value, or acceptance (i.e., more than 30-minutes of trade at a particular price level). 

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

At this time, 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 December 13, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, most equity, commodity, and bond futures were higher.

This comes ahead of the weighty December 17 options and futures expiration – “quad witching” – large portfolio rebalances, and an update to Federal Reserve (Fed) policy, December 15.

Ahead, today, there are no key economic releases scheduled.

Graphic updated 6:15 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

On lackluster breadth and supportive market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by an expansion of range, Friday, followed by a gap out of balance, Sunday.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s (beta) Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator suggested participants were buying (or covering short) calls and selling put options, into the close. S&P 500 prices followed as dealers added to their long-delta hedges.

Context: As fears of a COVID-19 resurgence are assuaged, in the face of U.S. job growth that fell short of expectations, per Bloomberg, the Fed ought to move more quickly to “save itself from having to hike too far and make rates so expensive that they slow down the economy.”

The expectation is that the Fed scales asset purchases by $30 billion per month versus the expected $15 billion. In doubling the pace of the taper to bond-buying, the odds of a rate hike happening as early as next June increase markedly. 

“If the Fed does not address inflation soon, they risk long rates shooting much higher,” says Jim Bianco of Bianco Research.

“But if they follow the market’s lead in aggressively hiking rates, they risk hurting the economy. We understand the Fed’s paralysis given the massive uncertainty coming out of the pandemic. However, the longer they wait to address inflation, the worse this conundrum will become.”

Rising rates, among other factors, have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, thereby making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

Despite today’s rates supporting validations better than in the ‘90s, an intent to reduce stimulus serves as a headwind.

That said, equity markets typically rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) “forecast is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average increases this quarter and peaks in early 2022, … [followed by] steady decline through 2022.”

Graphic: S&P 500 performance before and after rate hikes, via The Market Ear.

Prevailing monetary frameworks and max liquidity promoted a large divergence in price from fundamentals; the growth of passive investing – the effect of increased moneyness among nonmonetary assets – and derivatives trading imply a lot of left-tail risks.

Graphic: As U.S. stocks’ inflation-adjusted earnings yield turns negative, as seen near the peak of the tech bubble, via Bloomberg, “Investors in the Nasdaq increasingly seem to think that only a few companies have much of a chance. With a growing possibility of more aggressive attempts to prosecute antitrust issues, that’s a riskier position than it appears.”

Adding, the Fed, too, is seeing vulnerabilities in asset prices.

“The decline in stock prices is forecast to be orderly but it could turn into something worse,” Moody’s explains. 

“One potential catalyst would be an explosion in the value of margin accounts at brokers and dealers, which amounted to $595 billion in the second quarter, nearly double the pre-pandemic level. A drop in stock prices could trigger margin calls.”

Margin calls happen when customers owe money to their brokerage firm; “If there is no money, investors have to sell other assets.”

Putting it simply, participants are more exposed to leveraged products, among other things, which increases the speed with which volatility is realized.

So despite positioning metrics flashing a buy, and expectations of “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades,” offsides positioning may prompt a cascading reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.

Short-term, however, aside from the presence of “natural, passive buying support,” the market is in a positive-gamma environment wherein the counterparties to customer options trades add market liquidity and temper realized volatility.

Graphic: “[N]atural, passive buying support,” coupled with strong put flows results in positive return distribution. Data via SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

If participants are further assuaged of their fears at this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, a collapse in event-related implied volatility ought to bring in positive flows as the long delta (from dealers’ exposure to short puts) decreases.

The decrease in dealer supply (short delta), via covering of short stock/futures hedges, would bolster any attempt higher.

Expectations: As of 6:15 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively 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) is occurring.

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. 

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. 

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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess and $4,767.00 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,717.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,705.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,690.25 MCPOC and $4,674.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 24, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned within the confines of Tuesday’s range, unable to follow through on attempts higher or lower. This comes as there was a clear validation of Monday’s knee-jerk selling.

This sideways-to-lower price action in the index products is happening alongside a sell-off in new issues and richly priced technology stocks. Part of the weakness may have something to do with investors booking capital losses to lower their capital gains. 

The other part of it, according to Bloomberg, is an exodus among professional investors who were counting on high-flyers to salvage their year. 

“There was a desire to kind of keep up with the broader index. And there was definitely a view that those are higher-beta assets and that’s a way to try and play a little bit of catch-up,” Barclays Plc’s (NYSE: BCS) Todd Sandoz said. “When the market turns and it’s not working, you need to take risks down. And everybody’s in those names, so you also probably have a view to try to cut things faster.”

With indices pinned and heavily weighted constituents sideways to higher, there is only one form of reconciliation – a decline in correlation. Nonetheless, fundamentals are no different; investors may be able to buy quality stocks at a discount amidst the market’s entry into a seasonally bullish period. 

Buybacks and increased retail engagement, resilient activity, and macro metrics, as well as excess liquidity, in the face of central bank cautiousness, suggest “dips should be bought,” according to Barclays.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, GDP, durable and core capital goods orders, and trade in goods (8:30 AM ET). Thereafter is data on personal and disposable income, consumer spending, core inflation, home sales, sentiment, and 5-year inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET). FOMC minutes come later (2:00 PM ET). 

Graphic updated 6:00 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

On divergent intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by an acceptance of Monday’s knee-jerk, high-tempo selling.

Though this activity marks a potential willingness to start trending lower, the nature of Monday’s liquidation, as well as the failure to follow-through (i.e., expand the range to the downside) forces us to question whether participants have it in them to push indices lower. 

In light of the activity we’re seeing, it’s tough to pick a direction and stick with it; the higher odds play, in light of the divergences we’re seeing in breadth metrics between exchanges, as well as market liquidity (below), is to responsively buy dips and sell rips.

Key levels to trade against are the high volume areas (HVNodes) at $4,691.25 and $4,647.25. The latter level corresponds with the 20-day simple moving average.

These levels are the clearest ways to measure risk, given the mechanical responses in prior trade. Should participants manage to break past either level, then conditions have changed. Follow-through is likely. Reason being? Those visual levels are acted on by short-term, technically-driven market participants who generally are unable to defend retests.
Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: Keeping this section very short.

We saw the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) end higher, yesterday. 

However, supply came in across the entire area of the VIX futures term structure. That, with the long-gamma environment (defined below), suggests participants are not reaching for hedges.

For the time being, that’s stabilizing, cognizant of the fact that exuberance in individual stocks, over the past weeks, fed into the stock indices themselves.

Further, the price action we’re seeing is likely the resolve of some of that weak breadth we were seeing, recently, in addition to some of the topics discussed at the beginning of this newsletter.

Graphic: Divergences in breadth. SPX versus % of SPX stocks above the 200-day average.

In short, however, should volatility continue to pick up, those participants (who were once exuberant) may reach for protection forcing dealers to reflexively hedge in a destabilizing manner.

Once that protection rolls off the table (expires and/or is monetized), dealers will reverse and support the market, buying-to-close existing stock/futures hedges to negative gamma positions. 

This flow is stabilizing and may support a seasonally-aligned rally into Christmas.

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

Spike Scenario In Play: A spike marks the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

The spike may also be looked at as a pivot; in today’s case, the spike base is $4,697.50.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,691.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,711.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess high and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,691.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Charts To Watch

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.

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 23, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, yesterday’s knee-jerk sellers were emboldened by equity index futures auctioning sideways to lower with other products – from commodities to bonds – following suit. 

The prevailing narrative is that “[I]nvestors are reducing expectations for a deeper dovish stance by the Fed after Powell got a second term.” Meaningless headlines, like this, are precisely why we, as participants, should opt to avoid making short-term decisions based on the news!

Anyways, ahead is data on Markit Manufacturing and Services PMI (9:45 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

On weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a spike below prices most recently accepted by S&P 500 traders.

Such activity denotes an obvious change in tone, as well as a potential willingness to start a trend in the opposite direction. 

To note, however, yesterday’s price action came alongside a few dynamics: (1) an increase in tempo after a failure to solicit more involvement on an initial attempt higher; (2) a volume delta that was in line with price action; (3) breadth (i.e., volume into stocks that are up versus those that are down) on the Nasdaq was negative, divergent from the positive breadth on the NYSE. 

Adding, the knee-jerk selling and associated price action left behind poor structure (i.e., participants will look to validate [or invalidate] the move, spending time below [or above] the $4,697.50 spike base). Caution warranted on validation of the spike. 

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

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of what was an unstable environment after Friday’s monthly options expiration (OPEX).

To recap, heading into OPEX, activity in options tied to the S&P 500 was concentrated in time and price. 

During this time – which I, alongside data and analytics providers like SpotGamma (go follow), surmise participants were betting the market would not move, selling-to-open call exposure – dealers/counterparties were left warehousing increased exposure to positive options gamma.

In hedging risks, dealers sold to open (bought to open) the underlying as the price rose (fell). 

This responsive buying and selling are what causes the market to balance (i.e., trade sideways) in a tight range. It was expected to end after OPEX, as that options exposure rolled off. 

Monday, finally, there was an increase in range; the S&P 500, in particular, closed over 1.00% lower from its intraday high, weighed down by the Nasdaq 100 heavyweights and high flyers of the past weeks. 

Moreover, I was focused on two dynamics, primarily: (1) after OPEX, the absence of sticky and supportive hedging flows freed the market for directional resolve, and (2) according to SpotGamma, in light of recent exuberance, “participants [were] underexposed to downside put protection.”

The second part is slightly more important with regards to where we are today. 

As the exuberance in individual stocks fed into the stock indices themselves – the place where the world comes to hedge – participants weren’t as quick to add downside protection. No! Instead, they were more so selling to open (buying to open) downside (upside) protection.

Without getting too much into the dynamics of the exuberant positioning, the implications of this, nonetheless, are staggering. 

In short, should volatility continue to pick up, those participants (who were once exuberant) are likely to reach for protection forcing dealers to reflexively hedge in a destabilizing manner. 

As volatility rises and customers demand out-of-the-money put protection, counterparties are to hedge by selling into weakness. The conditions worsen when much of the activity is in shorter-dated tenors where options gamma is more sensitive if we will.

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. The left orange marker is reflective of a basic reaction to call-buying (as observed during the rise of meme stocks). The right orange marker reflects a reaction to put-buying (as observed during the COVID-19 sell-off).

Now, here is the kicker. 

If indices turn, and participants start reaching for out-of-the-money protection with positive exposure to gamma (i.e., buy put, market down, put rises in value), especially in shorter-dated expiries, then yes, there may be some near-term instability. 

Note that I said shorter-dated

Once that exposure rolls off the table (and/or is monetized), dealers/counterparties will reverse and support the market, buying-to-close existing stock/futures hedges to negative gamma positions. This flow is stabilizing and maybe the start of what is a seasonally-aligned rally into Christmas.

This last part is educated conjecture. It’s what I also feel as though would frustrate the most amount of participants. Basically, a quick wash (or sideways to lower), followed by a move higher into year-end. Be nimble and responsive!

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

Spike Scenario In Play: A spike marks the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

The spike may also be looked at as a pivot; in today’s case, the spike base is $4,697.50.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,711.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess high and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.25 high volume node. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Charts To Watch

Graphic: (NYSE: SPY). (S~$460, R~$471). S is for support. R is for resistance.
Graphic: (NYSE: QQQ). (S~$388, R~$402). S is for support. R is for resistance.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

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.

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.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 22, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were sideways alongside the narrative that a strengthening dollar and the need to counteract inflation may endanger the rally in risk assets.

Ahead is data on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (8:30 AM ET) and Existing Home Sales (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

To start, on weak intraday breadth and supportive market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the balance and overlap of value areas in the S&P 500.

Taken together, the activity of the past two weeks or so signals participants’ willingness to position for directional resolve (i.e., trend) in the face of new information, and the like. 

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

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of concerns over peak liquidity and prevailing monetary frameworks. 

Specifically, as Bloomberg’s John Authers put it, the abundance of global liquidity, that stoked one of the best stock market recoveries in history, is in peril by the strengthening of the dollar and the need to counter inflationary pressures. 

“Obstinately low real yields help to explain why the threat to liquidity has as yet had minimal effect on the stock market. Higher real yields are the shoe that hasn’t dropped this year; investors need a clear plan of evasive action for such an eventuality. For now, liquidity, liquidity, liquidity is still keeping stocks going up, up, up.”

Some of this fear around monetary evolution, so to speak, though, has yet to feed into the pricing of equity market risk. Fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another.

Graphic: “The ICE BofA MOVE Index, which measures implied volatility for Treasuries, is close to the steepest level since April 2020,” via Bloomberg. This measure, on a relative basis, has diverged from the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), which is a measure of implied volatility for equities, specifically the S&P 500. 

At the same time, we see a divergence in breadth.

Graphic: % of SPX stocks above their 200-Day Moving Average versus SPX, via indexindicators.com.

The takeaway here is that the SPX is sideways to higher while many of its constituents seem to not be participating in the most recent round of markup.

What factors are to blame for this? Two include an all-time high in buybacks, as well as extremes in speculation and upside volatility in heavily-weighted index constituents.

Adding, the S&P 500 closing last week pinned to the level at which dealers (i.e., those participants that take the other side of options trades and warehouse risk) exposure to positive options gamma was highest. 

Note that I talk about the implications options so much due to increased use and impact on underlying price, as a result of associated hedging. 

The aforementioned explains why the S&P can’t move; “If dealer hedging has suppressed index level volatility, but underlying components are still exhibiting idiosyncratic volatility, then the only reconciliation is a decline in correlation,” according to one paper by Newfound Research.

So trash breadth and a deceleration in equity inflows, coupled with exuberance (and upside volatility in heavily weighted index constituents) and clustered options positioning over the past weeks, is part of the reason why indices are sideways. Yes, to some extent.

Graphic: Per The Market Ear, “BofA points out the halt to inflows in market leaders such as tech, energy and financials. Basically, the “pillar of the pillar” of this market is fading. Do we still trust the seasonality pattern?”

The tone is to change, soon.

After OPEX, the absence of supportive vanna and charm flows (defined below), for which we can attribute some of the trends in extended day outperformance, alongside that sticky gamma hedging, so to speak, frees the market for directional resolve

According to SpotGamma, in light of recent exuberance, “participants are underexposed to downside put protection. Should these participants reach for long-gamma put exposures amidst volatility, there is a potential for a destabilizing, reflexive reaction on the part of dealers.”

The reason is, as volatility rises and customers demand out-of-the-money put protection, counterparties are to hedge by selling stock and futures into weakness. 

Cognizant of the risks, though, I end this section with the following. 

“[D]uring the 12-month period starting six months before and ending six months after a tightening cycle begins, the valuation of the S&P 500 has on average remained remarkably steady,” according to a post by The Market Ear.

At the same time, seasonality is great as, according to Callum Thomas, “Historically most of the time if the market closed up 20%+ for the year, the next year was also positive (84% of the time). As of writing, the market is up some 27% YTD (albeit, this year ain’t over yet!).”

Going forward, we shall monitor for the first signs of instability via spikes in the CBOE Volatility-Of-Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) and upward shifts in the VIX futures term structure.

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

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

We monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

Given the passage of OPEX, we ought to give more weight to directional resolve (i.e., trend).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,723.50 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,735.25 and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

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.

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 19, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures diverged as the S&P 500 attempted a breakout, failed, and rotated back into range, leaving some signs of excess (i.e., a proper end to auction) on the composite volume profile. Learn about the profile.

This comes ahead of a weighty options expiration that ought to resolve this market of the dynamics that promoted sideways trade over the past couple of weeks. Attention, after today, shifts to weakening breadth, seasonality, emerging fundamental nuances, and the like, as a result.

Ahead is some Fed-speak and no major economic releases. 

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Yesterday, on nonparticipatory intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred; the S&P 500, after liquidating against a divergent volume delta (i.e., a metric that may reveal participants’ commitment to buying and selling as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) was responsively bought at its lows.

The low-of-day coincided with the $4,674.25 micro-composite point of control, the place at which two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions, and the volume-weighted average price (i.e., the place at which liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell) anchored from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event, weeks ago. 

The aforementioned activity left behind a double-distribution profile structure; participants initiated from one area of acceptance to another, closing just beyond what analysis provider SpotGamma sees is the options strike with the highest Absolute Gamma.

As discussed day after day, leading up to today’s monthly options expiration (OPEX), this cluster of options positioning was to restrain (i.e., make it difficult for) directional resolve.

The reason is, as OPEX nears and participants concentrate their activity on shorter-dated expiries (such as the one rolling off today), there’s an increased share who are willing to bet the market won’t move higher. In expressing this bet, participants opt to sell-to-open call exposure, for instance, leaving the counterparty/dealer warehousing exposure to positive options gamma. 

As this trend continues (and time to expiry narrows), dealers’ exposure to positive options gamma rises. In offsetting this risk, they sell to open (buy-to-open) the underlying as price rises (declines). This responsive buying and selling are what causes the market to balance (i.e., trade sideways) in a tight range. It ought to end after OPEX, as that options exposure rolls off

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance and not ready to break).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of dynamics I touched on in weeks prior, as well as yesterday’s commentary

This is, specifically, the bond market’s pricing of risk.

According to Bloomberg, based on an “erratic … handling [of] large transfers of risk,” as evidenced by the Merrill Lynch Option Volatility Estimate (INDEX: MOVE), the bond market’s pricing of risk, so to speak, has diverged from the pricing of equity market risk, via the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX).

Graphic: “The ICE BofA MOVE Index, which measures implied volatility for Treasuries, is close to the steepest level since April 2020,” via Bloomberg.

That said, fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another; regardless of the cause, equity and bond market participants are not on the same page.

What is the fear all about? Well, at its core, the fear coincides with “broad uncertainty about the direction of the economy and monetary policy amid surging prices, labor shortages and yields that are holding well below the rate of inflation,” according to Bloomberg.

As asked, yesterday, in combating high inflation, policymakers ought to raise rates, right? 

That’s precisely what economists at institutions like JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) believe may happen as soon as next September, earlier than once forecasted.

Rising rates, among other factors, have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, thereby making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive to own.

As the market is a forward-looking mechanism, the implications of this seem staggering. 

Prevailing monetary frameworks and max liquidity promoted a large divergence in price from fundamentals. The growth of passive investing – the effect of increased moneyness among nonmonetary assets – and derivatives trading imply a lot of left-tail risks.

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once told me: “There’s this constant structural positioning that naturally drives markets higher as long as volatility is compressed,” or there is supply.

“At the end of the day, though, the higher you go, the further off the ground you are and the more tail risk.”

Eventually, fear on the part of bond market participants may feed into equity market positioning.

In rounding out this section, I, again, want to mention the pinning in the broad market, as well as the performance of underlying constituents. If you’ve paid much of any attention, there is some bloodshed going on; breadth is divergent and the indices are sideways to higher, basically.

Graphic: Internally, the market is weak. Externally, via price, the market seems strong. 

The concern is that after OPEX, the absence of supportive vanna and charm flows (defined below), for which we can attribute some of the trends in extended day outperformance, alongside that sticky gamma hedging, so to speak, frees the market for directional resolve. 

Whether or not that resolve is up or down, we know that (as SpotGamma talks more about), participants are underexposed to downside protection. Should volatility pick up, these participants are likely to reach for that protection forcing dealers to reflexively hedge in a destabilizing manner. 

As volatility rises and customers demand out-of-the-money put protection, counterparties are to hedge by selling into weakness. The conditions worsen when much of the activity is in shorter-dated tenors where options gamma is more punchy if we will.

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. The left orange marker is reflective of a basic reaction to call-buying (as observed during the rise of meme stocks). The right orange marker reflects a reaction to put-buying (as observed during the COVID-19 sell-off).

Expectations: As of 6:15 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the lower part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance-Break Failure: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) nearly occurred on a higher time frame.

In monitoring for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area, we saw an overnight rejection (i.e., return inside of balance). This portends a move to the opposite end of the balance. 

Given OPEX, though, we ought to give more weight to continued balance (i.e., sideways trade).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,723.50 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,735.25 and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

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.

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

VPOCs: 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.

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. 

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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