Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 24, 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 index futures auctioned sideways to lower while measures of implied volatility expanded, which suggests increased fear and demand for protection.

This is in the context of an environment wherein the equity market, in particular, is positioned for heightened volatility, albeit potential strength, after Friday’s large monthly options expiration.

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

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: “The ratio of stocks hitting 52-week lows is at the highest since March 2020,” according to The Market Ear

In fact, in the face of a traditionally bullish period, seasonally, this is the worst January on record for the Nasdaq.

Graphic: Per Bloomberg, “Down almost 12% in January, the Nasdaq 100 is on course for its worst month since the 2008 global financial crisis. On any four-day basis, the current streak of 1% drops was the first since 2018.”

This weakness is in the context of months of divergent breadth by lesser weighted index constituents, geopolitical tensions, the prospects of reduced stimulus to combat high inflation, poor responses to earnings results, and disappointments in real demand and growth.

Graphic: @MacroAlf plots credit impulse as a percent of GDP and SPX year-over-year earnings.

The tone amongst retail participants is changing, too, with outflows starting for the first time since a major rush in account openings. When asked whether the selling is over, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) prime brokerage data suggests no.

This is in opposition to the typical trend into the start of the Federal Reserve (Fed) hiking cycles.

“U.S. equities have stumbled significantly on their way toward the first hike of this cycle, which is not the norm,” Jefferies Financial Group (NYSE: JEF) explained. “Performance tends to be poor immediately after the first hike, and can be worse if stocks are weakly into the first hike.”

Notwithstanding, Jefferies adds, “the SPX was higher in the 12 months that followed the start of each of the last 7 hike cycles.”

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

With some of that context in mind, what is there to look forward to? The corporate buyback blackout window ended after the close of business, Friday, and equity inflows remain robust.

What is there to be wary of? 

Well, given that “risk is being repriced to fit the world where real rates are a lot higher, and the Fed put [is] much lower thanks to the Fed’s need to fight inflation,” this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting shall provide market participants more context as to the “timing and pace of QT” which may assuage fears unless the Fed is all out to “drop QE next week itself.”

The odds of that happening are low.

Graphic: Per Bloomberg, “As Savita Subramanian of Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) shows in the following chart, expected earnings are far less helpful in explaining market outcomes since 2010 than they were before. Meanwhile, changes in the Fed’s balance sheet, the amount of money it’s making available to markets, have become hugely important.”

As Bloomberg’s John Authers puts it well: “Despite many scares, money has stayed plentiful for the last decade, rates have fallen, and anyone who did much to protect themselves against the risk of a decline would have done badly by it.”

Graphic: As Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) “shows in this chart, companies are becoming ever more profitable in a way that seems to be sustained.”

Positioning: The major broad market indices – the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and Russell 2000 – are in an environment characterized by negative gamma and heightened volumes. 

Graphic: Per Tom McClellan, “Persistently high volume late in QQQ is a sign of overly bearish sentiment worthy of a bottom. Key caveat: just because one notices a sentiment indication which should matter does not mean it has to matter right away.”

The negative gamma – in reference to the options counterparties reaction “when a position’s delta falls (rises) with stock or index price rises (falls)” – is what compounds the selling. 

With measures of implied volatility expanding, as is the case when there is heightened demand for downside put protection (a positive-delta trade for the dealers), protection is bid and the dealer’s exposure to positive delta rises, which solicits more selling in the underlying (addition of short-delta hedges).

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).

Moreover, in negative-gamma, dealers are selling weakness and buying strength, taking liquidity. 

That’s destabilizing but it appears that “Friday in the markets did not have abnormal liquidity across S&P500 stocks.”

Graphic: Per @HalfersPower on Twitter, liquidity rankings for S&P 500 components. 

High readings in indicators like the put/call volume ratio, which denotes heightened trade of puts, relative to calls, as well as how calm equity market volatility is relative to rate volatility, could be the result of adequate hedging into the monthly options expiration (OPEX) and this week’s FOMC meeting.

“A very nasty flush out on a key polarized psychological level (S&P 500 $4,500.00) on the highest negative gamma day on an OPEX,” said Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group on the increased potential for relief as a result of aggressive dip-buying. 

“Aggressive shorts piling in on an already dismantled tech selloff, leading into FOMC meeting after an 8% decline in the market, and Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) reporting earnings.”

Sidial’s opinion that the market is due for a counter-trend rally, in the face of an environment in which “there does not seem to be a direct hazard,” is aligned with the expectation that removal of put-heavy exposure, post-OPEX, and a reduction in embedded event premiums tied to the approaching FOMC, opens up a window of strength, wherein dealers have less positive delta exposure to sell against.

Technical: 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 lower part of a balanced skewed overnight inventory, 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 higher; activity above the $4,381.50 regular trade low (RTH Low) puts in play the $4,449.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,486.75 RTH High and $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,381.50 RTH Low puts in play the $4,349.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the $4,349.00 VPOC could reach as low as the $4,299.00 and $4,233.00 VPOC, or lower.

Considerations: The daily, weekly, and monthly charts are in alignment. 

The loss of trend across higher timeframes suggests a clear change in tone. This does not discount the potential for fast, but short-lived counter-trend rallies.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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.

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 21, 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 index futures auctioned sideways, mostly, after a weak close, Thursday.

Measures of implied volatility remained bid while bonds rose after yields briefly surpassed 1.9%.

Ahead is data on leading economic indicators (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

Fundamental: The Nasdaq dipped into correction territory as stocks extended lower, Thursday.

Weakness was compounded by geopolitical tensions, the prospects of reduced stimulus to combat high inflation, as well as poor responses to earnings results.

Shares of Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) just missed the round $3,000.00 figure and Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ: PTON) fell on waning demand, while Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) traded down just over 20.00% on a weak subscriber outlook.

“Thursday’s trading pattern looks exactly like a typical session from the summer of 2007 as the sub-prime crisis was beginning to send the first shock waves through the stock market,” said Bloomberg’s John Authers on wild changes in sentiment exacerbating the volatility. 

“Big changes of direction in the last hour, with no obvious news to trigger them, became a fact of life.”

Moreover, with pandemic-era speculation still embedded in prices, Authers adds, the removal of central bank liquidity opens the door to even lower prices as the “process to correct a lot of excess is now underway.”

Regardless of how aggressive contractions in monetary policy are, the Federal Reserve will spell out its plans well in advance, Fed Governor Christopher Waller explained

“I don’t see a 50 basis point hike in March. We have not prepared markets for anything that dramatic. One of our key themes has been not to surprise market, giving well enough advance, in terms of what we’re trying to do.”

Graphic: Per The Market Ear, “Equities usually deliver lower returns but with lower volatility during faster Fed hiking episodes.”

At present, a full 25 basis point hike is priced by March. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, there are four rate hikes priced for the year.

Per S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) analyses, these hikes are likely to “cause shorter-term rates, such as the 1- and 2-year Treasury yields, to climb more rapidly than longer-term rates,” potentially pressuring consumer credit, and increasing the costs of loans.

“By launching the reduction in the balance sheet, the Fed could match the rise in short-term rates with a similar rise in longer duration rates,” thus reducing the Fed’s need to hike rates, S&P Global explained.

“Given mortgage rates and corporate borrowing costs are more impacted by movements in 10-year yields than 3-month rates, the Fed funds target rate may not need to be increased as aggressively to get inflation under control,” James Knightley, an ING Groep NV (NYSE: ING) economist, added.

Positioning: Per Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) prime brokerage data, investors are deploying a more defensive tilt to portfolios in the face of a deceleration in sales and margin compression.

This “stock liquidation played into the large negative gamma position which accelerated selling into the close,” according to options modeling and analysis service SpotGamma.

For context, “when a position’s delta falls (rises) with stock or index price rises (falls), the underlying is in a negative-gamma environment.”

In such an environment, the expansion of volatility as a result of demand for downside (put) protection (a lot of which is short-dated and increasingly sensitive to direction) for instance, leaves dealers compounding weakness. 

Graphic: Implied volatility term structure shifts higher, mostly at the front-end.

Therefore, in the case of heightened demand for downside put protection (a negative-delta trade), higher implied volatility increases dealer exposure positive delta. 

To offset this positive delta exposure, dealers sell more underlying, exacerbating weakness.

The passage of the monthly options expiration (OPEX) ought to clear some of the put-heavy positioning; “removal of this exposure post-OPEX,” coupled with a reduction in embedded event premiums tied to the approaching Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event, “will leave dealers with less positive delta exposure to sell against.”

This opens up a window of strength wherein dealers are to take less liquidity (buy strength and sell weakness) and pressure less the market in hedging put-heavy positioning. 

Graphic: Taken from The Market Ear. In a lower liquidity environment, dealer hedging matters more.

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

Spikes: 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 base is $4,549.00.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,471.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,581.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,619.00 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,471.00 POC puts in play the $4,425.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the $4,425.00 VPOC could reach as low as the $4,349.00 and $4,299.00 VPOCs, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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.

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 13, 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 index futures diverged from commodity and bond products. Measures of implied volatility showed signs of bottoming. The dollar continued a plunge. 

Overall, the stance is neutral as the “hottest U.S. inflation in 39 years sets up March rate liftoff.”

Ahead is data on jobless claims and producer prices (8:30 AM ET). The Federal Reserve’s Lael Brainard will have a confirmation hearing (10:00 AM ET), Tom Barkin will speak later (12:00 PM ET), with Charles Evans speaking last (1:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 5:55 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: The consumer price index printed 7%, rising 0.5% from November. 

Much of the increases were attributed to shelter, used vehicles, and food.

With unemployment falling and inflation proving stubborn, monetary policymakers have been emboldened to tighten, raising rates in March and (later) shrinking the balance sheet. 

“In terms of where the Fed is on their dual mandate — inflation and the labor market — they’re basically there,” Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Plc (NYSE: BCS), said on Bloomberg Television. “I don’t really think anything stops them going in March except one of these kind of outlier events. I think they’re ready.”

Market reaction was muted, mostly, with commodities bearing the brunt of the bullishness.

The calm reaction in equities, ahead of the earnings season, and bonds “showed that there was nothing particularly surprising in the [CPI] report, and that traders were confident that prices already covered the risks,” Bloomberg’s John Authers explained

“Fed funds futures barely budged, leaving a first rate hike in March almost fully priced. As they did before these numbers came out, dealers feel certain that the Fed will hike at least three times this year, while a fourth in December is seen as a 50-50 call.”

Graphic: Via Callum Thomas of Topdown Charts, “With the composite measure of inflation expectations at 40-year highs it’s fair to suggest that the Fed may have some catching up to do as it kicks off the transition away from easing.”

As an aside, there was a big drop in the dollar. In raising rates, currencies ought to attract money. Right? 

“[T]he combination of another really bad inflation number and an insouciant bond market response has been enough to knock the dollar off course. Many factors drive currencies, but this is consistent with a view that the rate hikes already priced in, and supporting the dollar until now, won’t be enough to head off inflation.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “a weaker dollar makes imports more expensive and increases inflation.”

Positioning: On January 7, this commentary suggested metrics of options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side) were positively skewed, even more so than before.

What followed was upside resolve, exacerbated in part by the compression in volatility and unwind of hedges to destabilizing customer options activity (i.e., put buying and call selling).

What now?

Scott Rubner of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) had the following to say.

“I am in the process of writing flow-of-funds note for February. My gut tells me to be bearish in February for when the ‘January Inflows’ run out. However, I just re-ran the CURRENT SET-UP for January and the conditions are not in place for a larger correction (>5%). Said another way, I want to be bearish, but this is the consensus. Investors are short, hedges are too big, everyone has on the puts, sentiment is negative (lowest in 86 weeks), I think everyone is already looking for the correction, and this may shift into buying dip alpha.”

So, what does all that mean? 

Demand for downside protection, as already touched on, coincided with customers indirectly taking liquidity and destabilizing the market as the participant short the put sold underlying to neutralize risk.

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).

Expansion in implied volatility increases the directional exposure of that protection. 

This is good for put buyers and bad for put sellers, simply put. As a result, in weakness, hedging of these contracts pressures markets further, making for violent up and down trade.

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

As volatility contracts, however, and underlying prices rise, the directional exposure of protection declines. This is bad for put buyers and good for put sellers. In offsetting this decline in directional risk, counterparties will unwind earlier hedges to bearish customer options activity. 

The unwind of these hedges, as SpotGamma explains, “likely invokes supportive dealer hedging flows with respect to time (‘charm’) and volatility (‘vanna’).”

Couple this flow with strong passive buying support, as evidenced by metrics quoted elsewhere in this newsletter (e.g., DIX), the odds that markets continue to rally (or trade sideways, at least, short-term), in the face of “above-trend growth” and a record year of buybacks, as well as other things, seem good.

Graphic: Taken from The Market Ear. Goldman Sachs’ Scott Rubner: “The GS corporate buyback desk expects a record year for executions of $975B or >$4B per day.”

Technical: As of 5:55 AM ET, Thursday’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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades 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 $4,756.00 LVNode and $4,779.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,717.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,674.25 HVNode and $4,643.00 VPOC, or lower.

Considerations: As evidenced by the volume-weighted average price anchored from the release of FOMC minutes (blue color, below), the average buyer, since that, is winning.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 10, 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 index futures auctioned lower alongside bonds and most commodities.

Ahead is data on wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET) and Fed-speak (12:00 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: Improvements in the U.S. labor market and increased hawkishness from the Federal Reserve are some of the factors playing into a recent rotation.

With yields climbing and the 10-year benchmark breaking out toward 2.00%, there’s been a clear move out of growth- and innovation-names to value- and cyclical-type stocks.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “Markets face increasing volatility as investors grapple with how to reprice assets as the pandemic liquidity that helped drive equities to record highs is withdrawn.”

This is just as Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) announced that it expects four interest rate hikes this year (in MAR, JUN, SEP, and DEC) and a balance sheet runoff to begin in July.

“Valuations are at historical highs, companies are raising billions based on fairy dust, and the Fed is signaling a tightening cycle,” said Jason Goepfert of Sundial Capital Research. “All of these are scaring investors that we’re on the cusp of a repeat of 1999-2000.”

Why are higher rates scary? 

Though higher rates are to fend off inflation, they have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings making stocks (especially high growth) less attractive.

For context, at no other point since the dot-com bubble has so many constituents have fallen while the index was so close to its peak.

Graphic: From Sundial Capital Research. Posted by Bloomberg.

Despite participation continuing to narrow, equities should be able to withstand rate hikes and balance sheet runoff amidst above-trend growth and a looming rebound in some international markets, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) adds.

“As long as yields are rising for the right reasons, including better growth, we believe that equities should be able to tolerate the move,” a JPMorgan note said. 

“The rise in real rates should not be hurting equity markets, or economic activity, at least until they move into positive territory, or even as long as real rates are below the real potential growth.”

Positioning: As discussed in Friday’s detailed write-up, bonds and equities are down.

That’s due in part to the bond-stock relationship being upended as a result of monetary tightening to combat inflation.

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

As explained Friday, we mention this (broken) relationship as it forces us (participants, in general) to look elsewhere for protection. 

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

If interested, read this primer on “Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure, and Skew.”

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

All that means is that we can look to the options market for context on where to next.

According to options modeling and data service SpotGamma (learn more here), the S&P 500, in particular, based on an earlier demand for protection is set up for higher volatility.

“End-of-week compression in volatility, in spite of a high-volatility, negative-gamma regime characterized by dealer hedging that exacerbates movement, sets markets up for instability in case of even lower prices and demand for protection.”

Why? 

Knowing that demand for downside protection coincides with customers indirectly taking liquidity and destabilizing the market as the participant short the put will sell underlying to neutralize risk, participants ought to keep their eye out on whether implied volatility expands or contracts.

All else equal, higher implied volatility marks up options delta (exposure to direction) and this leads to more selling as hedging pressures exacerbate weakness.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.
Graphic: Per Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR), VIX futures show little concern; “An inverted curve, or even a flattish one, indicates a shortage of available volatility protection.  We saw that as recently as a month ago, but not now.”

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

In ending this section, Friday’s put-heavy expiration removed some negative gamma that was adding to instability, at least at the index level. 

Though markets will tend toward instability so long as volatility is heightened and products (especially some constituents) remain in negative gamma, the dip lower and demand for protection may serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher).

“Failure to expand the range, lower, on the index level, at least, likely invokes supportive dealer hedging flows with respect to time (‘charm’) and volatility (‘vanna’),” SpotGamma adds.

At present, there’s a push-and-pull; “no-touch” garbage stocks in the S&P and Nasdaq 100 are gaining strength. If this dynamic persists, in light of what was discussed above, what happens?

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

Spike Scenario Still 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).

Spike base is at $4,761.25. Above, bullish. Below, bearish.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,647.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode).

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,629.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,585.00 and $4,549.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

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

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.

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.

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

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

About

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

Capelj 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 7, 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

Equity index futures auctioned sideways, mostly, ahead of important economic releases such as data on Nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings (8:30 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak (10:00 AM and 12:15 PM ET), and consumer credit data (3:00 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: Participants will receive further clarity around payrolls data.

According to Bloomberg, the expectation is that Friday’s jobs report ought to show the addition of about 450,000 workers, last month. 

“[T]he so-called whisper number has already jumped to 500,000,” in light of this “Wednesday’s consensus-busting ADP Research Institute data that showed U.S. companies added the most jobs in seven months.”

This is all the while major equity indices are down on the week, “fueled by one of the most intense bouts of selling by professional speculators since the financial crisis.”

Per Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) prime broker data, the sale of highly valued growth stocks reached levels not seen in more than 10 years. Selling worsened after minutes to the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting pointed to faster hikes and balance sheet normalization.

As higher rates are to fend off inflation, they, too, have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings making stocks (especially high growth) less attractive. 

“A strong [payrolls] print will see the market factor in hikes/quantitative tightening even earlier,” strategists at Mizuho International Plc said. “We’d therefore prefer to be positioned for more equity downside, and for higher yields.”

Positioning: Bonds down, equities down. Interesting, right?

Fresh in my mind is a conversation I had with Karan Sood, CEO and Managing Director, Head of Product Development at Cboe Vest Financial LLC, regarding his firm’s packaged options and volatility targeting strategies that help investors manage their portfolio volatility.

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

“Bonds have been giving you really good returns because interest rates have been going down since the 1970s when they peaked at about 11%,” Sood explained to me. 

“That’s changing now; we’re at the zero bound, and it’s unlikely that will be as a strong of a tailwind. Worse, it could be a headwind if interest rates start to rise.”

As a result of this dynamic, coupled with participants’ increased exposure to rate and equity market risk which can play into cross-market hedging and de-leveraging cascades, 60/40 can be somewhat of a poor hedge.

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

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

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday’s session unwound some of the single-stock bullishness (in stocks like Tesla) that fed into the S&P 500, itself; an expansion in volatility coincided with the demand for downside (put) protection and supply of upside (call) protection.

Conditions settled, Thursday. Though positioning metrics had little to offer in terms of predicting movement, implied volatility remained heightened and many products did not expand range.

All else equal, higher implied volatility marks up options delta (exposure to direction). 

Knowing that demand for downside protection coincides with customers indirectly taking liquidity and destabilizing the market as the participant short the put will sell underlying to neutralize risk, participants ought to keep their eye out on whether implied volatility expands or contracts.

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

Higher implied volatility, higher delta, more selling. Hedging pressures will exacerbate weakness, as a result of real selling (as talked about above), at the index and single-stock level.

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

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

As stated yesterday, though the dip lower and demand for protection may serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher), markets will tend toward instability so long as volatility is heightened and the market remains in short-gamma territory.

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

Spike Scenario 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).

Spike base is at $4,761.25. Above, bullish. Below, bearish.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,756.00 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,691.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,647.25 and $4,629.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

About

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

Capelj 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 6, 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

Equity index futures were lower on some hawkish commentary from the Federal Reserve.

Ahead is data on jobless claims and trade deficit (8:30 AM ET), the ISM services index, factory orders, and core capital goods orders (10:00 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak (1:15 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Yesterday, participants were provided further clarity around the Federal Reserve’s intent to hike interest rates and taper the pace of asset buying. 

“At first blush, the December FOMC minutes read hawkish, and the market reaction supports this,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer for Cornerstone Wealth. 

“The fact that FOMC participants are discussing faster and more aggressive rate hikes, alongside a faster pace of balance sheet normalization than the last hiking, indicate that the Fed put for the stock market has been repriced lower.”

The news coincided with a fast move higher in Treasury yields and weakness in the growth- and innovation-heavy Nasdaq-100. 

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, JPMorgan Chase & Co analyzes sector and yield correlations.

This is as higher rates have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

Recall yesterday’s commentary touching on the implications of tight monetary frameworks and less liquidity, so to speak. 

In short, easy monetary frameworks pushed participants out the risk curve. 

As a result, removal of liquidity, in the face of increased exposure to risk across different assets, can result in “hedging and de-leveraging cascades that affect the stability of all markets,” as well put in one article I recently wrote.

“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,” is one way to put it, additionally.

Positioning: Wednesday’s session unwound some of the single-stock bullishness that fed into S&P 500, itself. 

Recall that 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.

Heading into Wednesday, volatility continued compressing. This is all the while the counterparty to the aforementioned trade was 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).

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

The tone changed, however. According to SpotGamma data (click here to learn more about access), customers sold upside (call) and bought downside (put) protection. The demand for puts accelerated after the release of FOMC minutes as can be seen via the chart, below.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator suggested negative options delta trades in SPY likely had dealers selling into the close.

That demand for protection coincided with an expansion in volatility; all else equal, higher implied volatility marks up options delta (exposure to direction).

Graphic: SHIFT Search confirms SpotGamma data.

With put buying, for instance, customers are indirectly taking liquidity and destabilizing the market as the market maker short the put will sell underlying to neutralize directional risk.

Higher implied volatility, higher delta, more selling. Hedging exacerbated weakness at the index and single-stock level, yesterday.

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

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

Though the dip lower and demand for protection may serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher), markets will tend toward instability so long as volatility is heightened and the market remains in short-gamma territory.

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

Spike Scenario 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).

Spike base is at $4,761.25. Above, bullish. Below, bearish.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,756.00 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,691.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,623.00 point of control (POC), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

About

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

Capelj 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 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
Methodology

Theory Applied: Contextualizing Recent Market Volatility

With SpotGamma, Physik Invest’s Renato Leonard Capelj unpacks recent market movements from an options positioning perspective.

Coverage includes the following:

  • Definition and application of first and second order options greeks.
  • Implications of the November and December options expirations.
  • How current positioning may dictate trade in Q1 2022 and beyond.
  • Expert commentary and much more!

Click below to learn more!

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 17, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to lower.

This is alongside news that South Africa’s hospitalization rates plunged, Democratic leaders abandoned plans to pass a $2 trillion social spending and climate plan, and central banks looked to fight inflation with tighter monetary policies.

Ahead is Fed-speak at 8:30 AM ET and 1:00 PM ET. Today, also, is a large derivatives expiry.

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

After an open outside of prior-range and -value (i.e., levels at which 70% of the day’s volume was transacted), the S&P 500 Index took back the near-vertical post-Federal Open Market Committee price rise. 

As evidenced by the volume-weighted average price anchored from FOMC, the average buyer, since that event is in a losing position. Ouch!

There are some factors (outside of lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics) that pointed to a difficulty – at least on the index level – to expand directionally. Read more here!

The expectation, though, after this week is for an expansion of range amidst a reduction in the sticky options-related hedging forces that promote consolidation/pinning.

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 SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap.

Context: Keeping it brief, today.

For numerous days now, there has been no shortage in notes forecasting market moves the year ahead. What is common, among these notes, is a belief that markets ought to be bullish going into 2022. Later, though, there are threats that could dent performance.

What does that mean? In sticking to the ruling narrative, so to speak, participants are anchored to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) intent in adjusting monetary policy.

Based on comments earlier this week, the Fed will accelerate its taper to bond-buying. Thereafter, “the plot now shows three hikes for next year.”

So, why does this matter to me?

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. 

Couple that notion with some markedly divergent breadth and extreme relative weakness, especially in rate-sensitive names, pension rebalancings, increased exposure to leverage, among other things, it’s easy to lose sight of the positives

As stated, previously, though, 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.

In support is relentless, seasonally-aligned “passive buying support” in the face of expectations there will be “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades.”

Graphic: Positively skewed return distribution amidst “natural, passive buying,” and supportive positioning metrics. Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

That’s all good to know. However, tell me what I should know for right now.

Sure. 

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

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

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.

Couple that with participants’ commitment of capital to strikes higher in price and out in time, the bullish thesis is emboldened. 

I end with a note from options modeling service SpotGamma: “There was a VIX low around November 5th, and using that as a barometer … the current VIX structure remains elevated above those Nov ‘blue sky’ levels (pre-Omnicron, pre-Taper concerns).”

“There is a fairly large expiration on 12/31, and we’d anecdotally note that implied vol often holds a bid into that expiration. The point here is that there is arguably a bit more ‘vanna fuel’ left in the tank, but it’s going to take ‘real buyers’ (i.e. not volatility short covering) to continue the Santa Rally.”

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 middle part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,647.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,690.25 micro-composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,709.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,615.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the SIGNPOST could reach as low as the $4,597.25 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,581.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

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.