Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Green Shoots’

Notice: Physik Invest’s daily market commentaries will be suspended until further notice.

Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience, thank you for the support, and see you next week!

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures closed lower, last week.

What Does It Mean: Heading into last week’s Federal Reserve policy update, stock index futures were in balanced, two-sided trade as participants looked for more information to base their next move. 

Then, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell discussed his organization’s commitment to an inclusive recovery. At the same time, the central bank announced it expects real GDP to grow 6.5% and inflation to rise as high as 2.4% this year.

The comments were immediately followed by a vertical price rise.

Thereafter, participants that caused the vertical price rise traded out, evidenced by the index trading lower into Friday’s derivative expiry.

Important to note is that despite the attempted pricing in of rising debt levels and inflation, a divergence in bond and equity market volatility persists. Historically, fear across markets tends to move in tandem. That hasn’t been the case for a number of weeks, now (e.g., Graphic 1).

Graphic 1: Divergence in volatility across the bond and equity market. 

What To Expect: Directional resolve.

Why? The passage of a large derivative expiry, the resolve of the vertical price range that occurred in the face of Federal Reserve policy updates, as well as market liquidity metrics suggesting opportunistic buying or short covering into weakness, and increased buying pressure (as witnessed through measures like DIX and options activity).

More On 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.

More On Option Expiration (OPEX): 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 worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.
Graphic 2: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending March 19, 2021. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short- and long-dated tenors, in strikes as high as $435, which corresponds with $4,350.00 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic 3: Index option traders add to call buying and put selling, a bullish dynamic. 

What To Do: In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to the VWAP anchored from the $3,978.50 overnight rally-high, as well as the high-volume area (HVNode) near $3,900.00.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): Metrics 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.

More On Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high-volume (HVNode). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low-volume area (LVNode) which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above the $3,900.00 volume area, and VWAP anchored from the $3,978.50 peak, taking out Friday’s minimal excess high. This would suggest buyers, on average, are in control and winning since the March 17 rally-high.

More On 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.

Any activity below the VWAP anchored from the $3,978.50 peak may (1) leave the $3,900.00 HVNode as an area of supply, offering initiative sellers favorable entry and responsive buyers favorable exit.

Graphic 4: Profile overlays on a 30-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic 5: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: The go/no-go level for next week’s trade is $3,900.00.

Any activity at this level suggests market participants are looking for more information to base their next move. Anything above (below) this level increases the potential for higher (lower).

Levels Of Interest: $3,900.00 HVNode.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 3/17/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures liquidated as investors weighed the implications of rising yields ahead of outcomes on a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

What Does It Mean: Heading into Wednesday’s session, which ought to be volatile as participants position themselves in response to new economic projections, responsive trade is the course of action.

This notion is supported by market liquidity metrics, which suggest buying pressure is leveling out, and options activity, which points to a build in interest at the $4,000 S&P 500 level, ahead of Friday’s monthly option expiration (OPEX).

More On Option Expiration (OPEX): 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 worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open just outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

During Tuesday’s trade, participants established minimal excess at a new all-time rally-high before auctioning the S&P 500 below its $3,947.75 spike base, negating the bullishness of Monday’s end-of-day trade.

More On 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).

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.

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 finds acceptance (i.e., resolves higher or sideways), above the $3,931.00 Virgin Point of Control (VPOC). In the worst case, the S&P 500 finds acceptance (i.e., resolves lower or sideways) below the $3,931.00 VPOC.

In case of higher prices, participants may look to auction as high as the $3,948.00 VPOC and $3,970.75 rally-high. In case of lower prices, participants can look to the $3,904.25 low-volume area (LVNode) for a response.

More On Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high-volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low-volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

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

More On POCs: POCs (like HVNodes described above) are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Levels Of Interest: $3,931.00 VPOC.

Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘The Flow Won’

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: Amid a volatile, news-heavy week, after a slew of earnings reports by heavily weighted index constituents, and an FOMC meeting that made no change to existing monetary policy, financial markets experienced a rapid de-risking, similar to what transpired prior to the sell-off in February 2020.

What Does It Mean: After extending the S&P 500’s rally, as well as establishing acceptance near the $3,850.00 price extension, an upside target, and excess (i.e., a proper end to price discovery), participants auctioned back into range, repairing poor structures left in the wake of initiative buying.

The action found acceptance below the $3,824.00 – $3,763.75 balance-area, invalidating the prior week’s break-out to new highs.

Since then, market participants were witness to violent two-sided trade, a result of the market transitioning into a short-gamma environment (Graphic 1).

In such case dealers hedge derivatives exposure by buying into strength and selling into weakness. This, will exacerbate volatility.

Graphic 1: SpotGamma data suggests S&P 500 has entered short-gamma environment

In a conversation for a Benzinga article to be released this coming week, I spoke with Kris Sidial, co-chief investment officer at The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund, regarding GameStop Corporation (NYSE: GME) share price volatility, market microstructure, and regulation.

According to Sidial, the dynamics that transpired in GameStop can be traced back to factors like Federal Reserve stabilization efforts, and low rates, which incentivize risk taking (see Graphic 2).

“The growth of structured products, passive investing, the regulatory standpoint that’s been implemented with Dodd-Frank and dealers needing to hedge off their risk more frequently, than not,” are all part of a regime change that’s affected the stability of markets, Sidial notes. 

“These dislocations happen quite frequently in small windows, and it offers the potential for large outlier events,” like the equity bust and boom during 2020. “Strength and fragility are two completely different components. The market could be strong, but fragile.”

The aforementioned regime change is one in which dealer exposure to direction and volatility promotes crash up and down dynamics. Last February, the market was heavily one-sided with participants, like target date funds (e.g., mutual funds), selling far out-of-the-money puts on the S&P 500 for passive yield, and investors buying-to-open put options in an increasing amount for downside exposure, thus exacerbating volatility. 

Graphic 2: Newfound Research unpacks market drivers, implications of liquidity.
Graphic 3: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

Last week, per Graphic 4, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, saw a rise in purchases of downside protection with time, which will likely lead to an increase in implied volatility and sensitivity of options to changes in underlying price.

These risks will be hedged off by dealers selling into weakness (see Graphic 3), thereby exacerbating downside volatility.

Graphic 4: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, for the week ending January 30, 2021.

The activity was most concentrated in put options with a strike price of $361, corresponding with $3,610 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX). This, alongside the market’s entry into short gamma, and an inversion of the VIX futures term structure (see Graphic 5), in which longer-dated VIX expiries are less expensive, is a warning of elevated near-term risks for equity market stability.

Graphic 5: VIX Futures Term Structure per vixcentral.com.

What’s more? Aside from breaking technical trend (Graphic 6) is DIX, a proxy for buying derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side) declining, and the presence of divergent speculative flows and delta (e.g., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta).

Graphic 6: Cash-settled S&P 500 Index experiences technical breakdown.
Graphic 7: DIX by SqueezeMetrics suggests large divergence between price and buying on January 27.
Graphic 8: Divergent Delta in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500.

What To Expect: In light of the technical breakdown U.S. stock indexes are best positioned for downside discovery.

As a result, participants ought to zoom out, and look for valuable areas to transact.

Graphic 9: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

In Graphic 9, the highlighted zones denote high-volume areas (HVNodes), which can be thought of as building blocks.

A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high-volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low-volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, as they have in the week prior, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of value for favorable entry or exit.

Additionally, it’s important to remember what the market’s long-term trajectory is: up.

Late last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggested equities would rally short-term with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000 on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies. Since then, Kolanovic has downgraded growth and suggested the limited potential for further upside despite odds of a sustained economic recovery.

Note, Kolanovic has not called for an implosion in equity markets. Instead, the market is due for some downside discovery given a moderation in the recovery.

Given the above dynamics, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 takes back Friday’s liquidation and auctions above the $3,727.75 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance.

In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below the $3,689.50 HVNode, would favor continuation as low as the $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes. Note that the second to last HVNode corresponds with the $361 SPY put concentration, which may serve as a near-term target, or bottom, for this sell-off, given last week’s activity at that strike.

Graphic 10: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: Participants ought to look for favorable areas to transact, such as those highlighted areas in the S&P 500, featured in Graphic 9.

Big picture, the sell-off ought to be bought, just not yet. Per Graphic 11, euphoria is still too high.

Graphic 11: Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) sentiment indicators.

Levels Of Interest: $3,727.75, $3,689.50, $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes.

Cover photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 1/27/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: After a failure to resolve higher, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision and earning reports by mega-cap stocks, U.S. index futures sold heavy overnight.

What Does It Mean: During Tuesday’s regular trade in the S&P 500, market participants were unable to maintain prices above the $3,852.50 ledge, increasing confidence among responsive sellers.

Graphic 1: Internally, it appears that the market is running out of steam.

What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open on a gap, outside of prior-balance and -range, suggesting the potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Given that the market failed to drum up initiative buying after an upside break of the $3,852.50 ledge, in addition to profile structures denoting the presence of excess (which forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends sustained reversal) participants can expect increased confidence among responsive sellers.

Therefore, attention moves to the $3,824.00 – $3,763.75 balance-area.

Balance-areas denote range-bound trade. The longer participants spend time transacting within a narrow range of prices, the more valuable those prices become. Should the market initiate out of balance and return, participants left out in the move will respond as the area offers favorable entry.

Re-entry into the balance-area may portend further downside participation, as low as the $3,763.75 boundary. Participants should keep in mind that the area is valuable and will be the site of responsive buying. The near-term bullish narrative remains intact, as long as participants maintain prices above the $3,763.75 boundary. Trade beneath $3,763.75 would be the most negative outcome and may portend further downside discovery, as low as the $3,727.75 high-volume node (HVNode), a favorable area to transact in the past.

The go/no-go for upside is the $3,824.00 balance-area boundary. The go/no-go for downside is $3,763.75 balance-area boundary.

Above $3,824.00 puts in play the $3,852.50 ledge. Below $3,763.75, participants ought to look to the $3,727.75 HVNode.

Levels Of Interest: $3,852.50 ledge, $3,824.00 balance-area high, $3,763.75 balance-area low, $3,727.75 HVNode.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 12/16/2020

What Happened: Ahead of today’s Federal Reserve policy decision, U.S. index futures auctioned higher overnight.

What Does It Mean: During Tuesday’s regular trade, the S&P 500 initiated up to the $3,667.75 high-volume node, a valuable price, before sellers responded, extended lower, and then buyers retook control, one time framing higher into the close.

Given that Monday’s selling activity was negated yesterday, the S&P 500 sits in a tactically bullish position, confirming the higher-time frame upside breakout which targets prices as high as $4,000.

Pictured: Daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

Adding, the overnight auction brought the index back above its most valuable price over the past two weeks of trade, the most positive outcome.

What To Expect: In light of the overnight gap higher, the following frameworks apply for today’s trade.

In the best case, buyers maintain conviction through the Federal Reserve event, and hold the index above the $3,667.75 high-volume node. Thereafter, upside references include the high-volume node at $3,707.75, and then the prior all-time rally high.

In the worst case, if the S&P 500 is brought back below $3,667.75, participants would look to whether the auction — again — resists last Friday’s range. As stated yesterday, accepting Friday’s range puts in play the minimal excess lows near $3,625.00. Any activity below $3,625.00 would put in question the higher-time frame breakout.

Levels Of Interest:  $3,667.75 high-volume node is the go/no-go level today.

Key Takeaways: In the face of volatile positioning, and the S&P 500’s balancing activity, the macro- and technical-landscape remains bullish.

In support of a rally is the (1) return of systematic strategies, (2) seasonality, and (3) a weaker dollar, among other factors.

Still, the Fed decision and rebalancing are around the corner, while sentiment and other positioning metrics are at extremes. It’s a time to get picky with trades.

Bonus: Here is a look at a few of the opportunities unfolding.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE: CMG) – Potential for upside breakout and continuation. Upgraded on Wednesday.

Shopify Inc (NYSE: SHOP) – Balance just shy of channel boundary. Potential for upside breakout and continuation.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) – Acceptance after higher-time frame balance-breakout.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ: AMD) – Acceptance after higher-time frame balance-breakout.

Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT) – Acceptance after higher-time frame balance-breakout. Potential remains for a push to the balance-area projection.