Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For September 19, 2021

Editor’s Note: Late today. So sorry! The main takeaway is that we’re in a window of volatility and participants should focus on leveraging rich skew and complex spreads to hedge or speculate on sideways to lower trade.

Market Commentary

  • SPX below balance, 50-day SMA.
  • Ahead is a 2-day FOMC meeting.
  • Concerns around the debt ceiling.
  • Rich skew makes hedging easier.
  • Post OPEX volatility likely in play.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower, last week, into Friday’s quadruple witching derivatives expiry. 

Of interest this week is a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Graphic updated 5:30 PM ET Sunday. 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. 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. 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: During the prior week’s trade, on weak breadth, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a balance-area breakout and separation of value below the S&P 500’s 50-day simple moving average (i.e., a visual level likely paid attention to by short-term, technically-driven market participants who generally are unable to defend retests).

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

We now monitor for rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) which portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a waning economic recovery, heightened valuations in the face of strong EPS expectations, the prospects of stimulus reduction, non-seasonally aligned flows, impactful options and equity market dynamics, divergent sentiment, as well as fears of a mid-cycle transition.

In a Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) note posted by The Market Ear, analysts “believe it is a critical period for many investors and companies that manage performance to calendar year-end. Such pressures boost volumes and volatility as investors observe earnings reports, analyst days and managements’ guidance for the following year.”

At the same time, inflows into equities are exploding to the upside as JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) technicians “do not see a pattern on the [S&P 500] chart or any cross-market dynamics that would suggest the market is set for a lasting bearish reversal. The late-Aug systematic sell signals lose statistical significance into next week and the seasonal trends improve into early-Oct.”

Graphic: Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) charts equity flows, via The Market Ear.

That said, we hone in on risks.

If concerns like the debt ceiling are not resolved, some economists argue, according to Bloomberg, “that an announcement on tapering is likely to be delayed to December, and that Treasury yields could fall further as a result.”

We note that – as Goldman Sachs writes – “The upcoming debt limit deadline is beginning to look as risky as the 2011 debt limit showdown that led to Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US sovereign rating and eventually to budget sequestration, or the 2013 deadline that overlapped with a government shutdown.”

On the other hand, according to SqueezeMetrics, “the current combination of weak put flows and large customer vanna exposure” is fragile; “people are [still] overexposed to changes in VIX, and will be hurt more than usual if VIX starts moving up. Historically, this means SPX down, VIX up.”

Following SqueezeMetrics’ remarks, SpotGamma adds that “over 50% of stocks [had] their largest gamma position” roll-off Friday. This suggests an increased potential for volatility heading into the September 21-22 FOMC event.

In this post-quad-witching window of non-strength, we may, as a result, use the rich skew to hedge (see below Weekly Trade Idea section).

Moreover, for today, given an increased potential for heightened volatility and initiative trade, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,437.75 micro-composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,481.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $4,481.75 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,510.00 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,526.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,437.75 MCPOC puts in play the $4,393.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,393.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $4,365.25 LVNode and $4,341.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

We note that the $4,481.75 and $4,393.75 HVNodes intersect key anchored volume-weighted average price levels. These are 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.

Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 5:30 PM ET Sunday.

Key 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.

Weekly Trade Idea

Please Note: In no way is the below a trade recommendation. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Options offer an efficient way to gain directional exposure. 

If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she could buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Additionally, one can spread, or buy (+) and sell (-) options together, strategically.

Commonly discussed spreads include credit, debit, ratio, back, and calendar.

  • Credit: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +1 option farther out of the money.
  • Debit: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -1 option farther out of the money.
  • Ratio: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -2 options farther out of the money. 
  • Back: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +2 options farther out of the money.
  • Calendar: Sell -1 option. Buy +1 option farther out in time, at the same strike.

Typically, if bullish (bearish), sell at-the-money put (call) credit spread and/or buy a call (put) debit/ratio spread structured around target price. Alternatively, if the expected directional move is great (small), opt for a back spread (calendar spread). Also, if credit spread, capture 50-75% of the premium collected. If debit spread, capture 2-300% of the premium paid.

Be cognizant of risk exposure to direction (delta), time (theta), and volatility (vega). 

  • Negative (positive) delta = synthetic short (long). 
  • Negative (positive) theta = time decay hurts (helps).
  • Negative (positive) vega = volatility hurts (helps).

Trade Idea: SELL -1 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 29 SEP 21 4400/4300 PUT @.65 CREDIT LMT

I’m neutral to bearish on the S&P 500 and I think the index may slide toward $4,300. I will structure a spread below the current index price, expiring in about 2 weeks. I will buy the 4400 put option once (+1) and sell the 4300 put option twice (-2) for a $0.65 credit. Should the index not move to my target, I keep the $65 credit. Should it move to $4,300, I could make $10,065.00 at expiry. Should the index move past $4,200.00 or so, I may incur unlimited losses. My goal, with this spread, is to capture the initial credit and close for additional credit if the index moves lower. 

If necessary, I will hedge the position by either (A) selling futures, (B) widening strikes, (C) buying a far out-of-the-money put option to cap downside in case of an unpredictable move lower, or (D) roll strikes down in price and out in time.

News And Analysis

An essay on why you keep losing money as a trader.

August retail sales reflect strong consumer demand.

UBS: Resist temptation to time market despite highs.

U.S. debt ceiling fight could cause markets to tumble.

Nasdaq on whether Rule 605 works better in dollars.

Rally driven less by reflation prospects; TINA to stock.

Higher U.S. CGT proposal spurs a PE and M&A rush.

If a CEO talks like Kant, think twice before investing.

New vehicle prices surge amid global chip shortages.

Active managers’ performance disappointing in 2021.

DeFi is disrupting but not derailing traditional finance.

OpenSea admitted recent incident as insider trading.

SEC looks to greater oversight of the crypto markets.

Central bank digital currency; cash for the digital age.

White House to put forward three CFTC nominations.

Some key lessons from NYC’s first SALT conference. 

Let’s Hang Out

Salt Lake City, UT September 28-30

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 1, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures trade sideways to higher overnight. VIX, bonds, dollar were all lower.

  • Inflows and options and peak growth, oh my!
  • Ahead: Employment and manufacturing data.
  • Indexes are positioned for directional resolve.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher overnight as participants get past reports of European hawkishness, as well as position for directional resolve on the basis of new fundamental data.

Ahead is data on ADP employment (8:15 AM ET), Markit manufacturing PMI (9:45 AM ET), ISM manufacturing index, and construction spending (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity approximation. 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: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on positive but weak intraday breadth and middling market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade within Monday’s range. This is significant because it was a validation of Monday’s emotional price discovery.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade or balance (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit). 
Graphic: Market Internals (Advance/Decline, Up-Volume/Down-Volume, Tick) displayed as Peter Reznicek at ShadowTrader teaches. Though positive, readings were weak and supportive of responsive trade, similar to what market liquidity (via Bookmap) was showing.
Gap Scenarios In Play: 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.

Further, the aforementioned responsive trade is happening in the context of peak growth and a moderation in the economic recovery, as well as some of the dynamics unpacked in-depth yesterday (e.g., non-seasonally aligned inflows, impactful options market dynamics, divergent sentiment, and fears of a mid-cycle transition). 

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory; to elaborate, on one hand, yes, inflows and divergent sentiment are a green light with respect to the advance in equities (i.e., markets tend to climb a wall of worry given – all else equal – a decay in options skew and removal of hedges, among other things). 

“I use this analogy of a jet,” Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained, referencing the three factors – the change in the underlying price (gamma), implied volatility (vanna), and time (charm) – that are well known to impact an options exposure to directional risk or delta. “As volatility is compressed, those jets will keep firing because … the hedging vanna and charm flows, and whatnot will push the markets higher.”

On the other hand, as Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) believes, “The Dow is forecast to have peaked and will gradually decline during the next year. Risks are heavily weighted to the upside, but peak growth, inflation and Fed tapering could weigh on equity markets.”

Graphic: Bloomberg data on S&P 500 seasonality.

Moreover, for today, given the increased potential for balanced trade, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,529.25 low volume area (LVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,542.25 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,556.25 and $4,592.25 Fibonacci extensions.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,529.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,521.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,510.00 figure (which corresponds with a regular-trade high and small gap) and $4,481.75 HVNode.

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

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on 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.

POCs: POCs 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.

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket): 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).
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET. Note the developing balance area (HVNode) surrounding just short of the ONH. 

News And Analysis

Home prices continue to gain, more double-digit growth.

There is no such thing as an independent central bank.

Beginning to see churn below the surface amid outlook.

Shell plans to install 50,000 U.K. on-street EV chargers.

China manufacturing slows first time since March 2020.

Wall Street traders driving record are loaded on hedges. 

China Evergrande says construction of projects stalled.

‘Forever Changed’: CEOs are dooming business travel.

SEC boss: Crypto platforms need regulation to survive.

‘Egregiously mishandled’: Afghanistan dents Biden team.

SEC boss: Banning Payment for Order Flow is on table.

Euro-area inflation may justify end to ECB’s crisis mode.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 31, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures, VIX sideways to higher. Commodities, bonds, dollar lower.

  • Ahead: Home prices, PMI, and more.
  • The path of least resistance is higher.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher overnight alongside an absence in fundamental catalysts.

Ahead is data on the Case-Shiller national home price index (9:00 AM ET), Chicago PMI (9:45 AM ET), and consumer confidence index (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity approximation. 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: As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on weak intraday breadth and middling market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by further price discovery. 

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

Despite the low volume, p-shaped profile structures (which denote short covering), and a lack of intraday range expansion, the aforementioned trade is significant because it suggests continued bullishness after a v-pattern recovery.

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.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of non-seasonally aligned inflows, impactful options market dynamics, divergent sentiment, and fears of a mid-cycle transition. 

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory; to elaborate, on one hand, August, over the past 25 years, has historically been the largest month for equity outflows. According to Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) Scott Rubner, “We have seen none of these outflows and it has been buying the dip (TINA).”

Given this divergence from the norm, an advance (such as the one we’re in presently) is not “welcomed and may lead to a quick right tail edging … [as] option volume notional is 120% of stock volume notional.”

To put it simply, 75% of the options being traded expire within two weeks. The related hedging flows of these directionally sensitive options can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks.

To put it simply, option flows impact the underlying’s price, markedly.

We couple this so-called right-tail hedging with the structural positioning that drives the market through the three factors – the change in the underlying price (gamma), implied volatility (vanna), and time (charm) – that are well known to impact an options exposure to directional risk or delta.

“Charm is a major driver for support in the markets,” said Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility Advisors. “All of that support is leading up to and accelerating into that Monday-Wednesday window” ahead of OpEx. “And then the window really opens for lack of support. It’s not like there’s a bunch of selling all of a sudden. It’s a window of non-strength; a lack of these supportive flows that have been there prior.”

With the August monthly options expiration (OPEX) behind, the focus shifts to September, at and around the same time Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) Michael Wilson expects a formal signal – which would align with Karsan’s window of non-strength – on the taper of asset purchases, leading to a mid-cycle transition and 10% S&P 500 correction.

Options 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.

“Assuming a stable equity risk premium at 345bp, P/Es would fall to 19x, or 10% lower.”

Graphic: Morgan Stanley unpacks mid-cycle transition thesis. Image retrieved from ZeroHedge.

Moreover, for today, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,524.00 low volume area (LVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,542.25 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,556.25 and $4,592.25 Fibonacci extensions.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,524.00 LVNode puts in play $4,510.00, the convergence of a regular-trade high and LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,510.00 figure could reach as low as the $4,481.75 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,454.25 LVNode.

To note, the $4,454.25 LVNode corresponds with an anchored volume-weighted average price (VWAP), 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.

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

Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on 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.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Inventories continue to constrain home purchase activity.

The Fed now risking too-slow taper after too-fast in 2013.

A fast lane for the ECB to taper purchases ahead of Fed.

OPEC+ faces mixed market signals after U.S. pressures.

Capital raises from infotech sector simmering down July.

Fitch Ratings unpacks commodities and energy research.

Battery storage capacity likely to double inside California.

Moderna creates twice as many antibodies as Pfizer vax.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 14, 2021

Market Commentary

U.S. equity index futures sideways overnight.

  • Dems agree to $3.5T tax, spending plan.
  • Fed Chair Powell semi-annual testimony.
  • Earnings begin with a bang and continue.
  • Equity indexes mixed; sideways to lower.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures resolved lower after underlying breadth metrics failed to support the post-CPI recovery.

Thereafter, indices traded sideways overnight alongside news Senate Democrats on the Budget Committee agreed to a $3.5 trillion spending bill. The bill would carry President Biden’s economic agenda without Republican support. 

Ahead, participants are expecting testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, earnings releases from heavily weighted index constituents, as well as the latest Fed Beige Book.

Graphic updated 6:44 AM ET.

What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open just inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by an intraday liquidation break and the subsequent acceptance below a Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) anchored from the CPI release (blue in color on the below profile graphic).

Liquidation Breaks: The profile shape suggests participants were “too” long and had poor location. Such dynamic offers responsive buyers (initiative sellers) favorable entry (exit).

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

Prior to the liquidation, breadth metrics were firmly negative. Despite what appeared to be a strong recovery post-CPI, internal divergences via breadth metrics became more pronounced, while profile dynamics revealed weak commitment at higher prices and an abundance of poor structures (e.g., low-volume areas). 

Graphic: Equity index leaders rose in price as internal divergences – like the ratio of advancers to decliners – grew. Noting a bigger divergence in internals tracking Nasdaq issues. 

This push-pull and divergence comes ahead of the options expiration (OPEX) cycle which starts on the third Friday of each month (July 16). Associated hedging forces make it so there’s more liquidity and less movement. In other words, the market tends to pin.

Options 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.

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.

Thereafter, according to SpotGamma, “[t]he week after expiration the market tends to experience its largest intraday volatility which corresponds to the reduction in large options positions, and the hedging associated with them.”

Graphic: Volatility before and after OPEX, via SpotGamma.

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,365.75 low volume area (LVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,375.00 untested Point of Control (POC), first. Then, the $4,383.75 regular trade high (RTH High) and $4,398.50 Fibonacci extension come into play.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,365.75 LVNode pivot puts in play the $4,353.25 LVNode. Trade beyond that figure puts in play the high volume areas (HVNodes) at $4,343.25 and $4,314.75.

Significance Of Prior ATHs, ATLs: Prices often encounter resistance (support) at prior highs (lows) due to the supply (demand) of old business. These areas take time to resolve. Breaking and establishing value (i.e., trading more than 30-minutes beyond this level) portends continuation.

POCs: POCs 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.

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.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in call strikes at and below the price in the cash-settled S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), yesterday. Noting, yesterday and over the past few weeks, there’s been increased activity in long-dated put options. 

News And Analysis

Politics | Senate Democrats Agree to $3.5T tax, spending plan. (BBG)

Markets | ‘A free put on the market’: CIO on volatility dislocation. (BZ)

Energy | OPEC reaches agreement with UAE over oil production. (WSJ)

Economy | Weekly mortgage refinances spike 20% on rate drop. (CNBC)

Mobility | EU set to call time on combustion engine in decades. (REU)

Economy | Broker says NYC’s real estate market is heating up. (CNBC)

Markets | Delta posts first profit since 2019 on aid, better revenue. (CNBC)

Economy | China’s GDP and the five things to keep an eye on. (FT)

Economy | Inflation climbs higher than expected; CPI up 5.4%. (CNBC)

Markets | Goldman, JPM pivot to M&A amid fading trade boom. (FT)

Mobility | Norwegian Cruise Line sues on vaccine passport ban. (CNBC)

Politics | China deals another blow to its cryptocurrency miners. (BBG)

Markets | Wood sells China tech stocks, warns of valuation reset. (BBG)

Economy | JPMorgan Chase CEO uber bullish on U.S. consumers. (Axios)

What People Are Saying

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For June 15, 2021

Market Commentary

Index futures exit balance, discover higher prices.

  • The calm before the storm (FOMC).
  • Ahead: Production, PPI, retail sales.
  • Indices trade higher, then sideways.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures traded higher ahead of key releases on U.S. industrial production, producer prices, and retail sales. Tomorrow, of bigger concern, is Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) rate decision.

As stated in Monday’s commentary, the FOMC will likely not change its forward guidance on interest rates or asset purchases. That’s according to Moody’s which noted: “The statement will likely strengthen the FOMC’s assessment of the acceleration in inflation and possibly mention the central bank has the tools to address inflation if needed. This would be an effort to keep long-term inflation expectations in check.”

Graphic updated 6:43 AM ET.

What To Expect: Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 may open just outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity. 

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade above the $4,249.00 minimal excess high.

Initiative Buying: Buying within or above the previous day’s value area.

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.

This move higher, across the broad market, comes as participants attempt to jack up prices in accordance with their views on issues like inflation, COVID-19, employment, supply chains, and more. Adding, measures of breadth indicate index constituents are participating.

Graphic: Advance/Decline Lines for broad market indices suggest breadth has improved, via MarketInOut.

On the other hand, metrics, such as S&P 500 skew – a measure of perceived tail risk and the chances of a black swan event – suggest participants are pricing the slope of implied volatility higher. At the same time, sentiment cooled and individual stock volatility rose.

Further, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,238.00 spike base puts in play the $4,249.00 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,258.00 overnight high (ONH) and $4,270.25 Fibonacci price extension.

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).

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.

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 worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,238.00 spike base puts in play the $4,229.00 point of control (POC). Thereafter, if lower than the $4,227.00 composite high volume area (HVNode), the $4,213.75 balance area low (BAL) comes into play. 

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.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 follow-through on breakouts. Russell struggles with past peaks. Dow puts in reversal candle at a longer-term trendline.
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in put strikes at and below in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX), Monday. The same is true for the cash-settled Nasdaq 100 Index (INDEX: NDX). Note, however, a bid in far out-of-the-money calls on Nasdaq, through FOMC. This activity supports a rotation back into technology and growth, possibly.

News And Analysis

Politics | China calling U.S. ill after Biden rallies G-7 against Beijing. (BBG)

Politics | EU, U.S. agree to a five-year truce on Boeing-Airbus trade. (BBG)

Economy | EU is set to lift travel curbs for U.S. residents this week. (BBG)

Politics | House antitrust bills taking a tight aim at technology giants. (Axios)

Economy | Dimon said JPMorgan hoarding cash due to inflation. (CNBC)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Politics | White House releases national strategy for domestic terror. (Axios)

FinTech | Mark Cuban suggesting ‘banks should be scared’ of DeFi. (CNBC)

Economy | The bubbliest housing markets flash 2008-type warnings. (BBG)

FinTech | Bitcoin’s most significant code improvement was approved. (Axios)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For June 12, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: Index futures exit balance, attempt to discover higher prices.

  • One big thing: Inflation temporary.
  • Ahead: FOMC 2-day rate meeting.
  • Indices were divergent but higher. 

What Happened: Last week, the movement was both volatile and mechanical, halting short of key visual references.

This technically-driven trade denotes a lack of interest by institutional participants, at record highs; supply chain uncertainties and rising inflation, fiscal and monetary tightening, COVID-19 concerns, political risks, employment, and the like, are some of the emerging concerns larger participants have been looking to price in.

Further, on Thursday, participants were provided more clarity on the hot topic of inflation. 

Why is inflation such a hot topic? In short, as described in prior commentaries, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive). With the rapid recovery, though, market participants were fearful that rates would rise to protect the economy from overheating. 

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

Further, despite hot prices, consumer price index (CPI) data, Thursday, suggested inflation would be temporary. Thereafter, U.S. stock index futures broke balance, and rates on the 10 Year T-Note went lower as participants now thought it was more likely the Federal Reserve would maintain its easy monetary policy.

Coinciding with that breakdown in yields, the Nasdaq 100 and Russell 2000 ended the week strong while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average traded relatively weak, taking back Thursday’s vertical price rise on the CPI number.

Notwithstanding, there has been an inclination to talk taper.

This was evidenced by some big option bets, earlier this year; of interest was one Eurodollar bet – carrying a notional value of $40 billion – focused on a potential surprise at the Jackson Hole symposium, used in the past to signal policy changes. 

Graphic: Eurodollar bet on SHIFT’s institutional platform. The purchase of 98.00 strike put options suggested traders were looking to add “two Fed hikes to [current] expectations.”

In a statement, Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk said that despite investors not fearing an immediate change in course on monetary policy, inflation has surprised and will likely be the basis for taper talk at Jackson Hole, later this year. 

“I always expected tapering talk to begin more openly at the Jackson Hole meeting. It hasn’t changed my view. Some people thought the Fed would get closer to full employment before they did liftoff on tapering,” Swonk said.

In terms of the impact on equities, looking back, according to The Market Ear, even during the so-called Taper Tantrum, in the early 2010s, rates settled in a wide range, and equities rallied big. 

Graphic: Nasdaq 100 rallies in 2013 after rates settle in a wide range, via The Market Ear.

Moreover, next week is a large monthly options expiration (OPEX). This is noteworthy because 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. 

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.

Gamma: 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.

Aside from the Fed meeting and OPEX, some outlier risks remain; with VIX spreads at their lows, S&P 500 skew – a measure of perceived tail risk and the chances of a black swan event – rose dramatically over the past few weeks. At the same time, sentiment cooled considerably, while individual stock volatility increased the potential for another meme stock de-risking event.

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,227.00 high volume area (HVNode), a pivot on the composite profile.

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.

Given the minimal excess high at $4,249.00, as well as the subsequent liquidation – a typical response – and lower value, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

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. 

Like Friday, in the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,227.00 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,249.00 minimal excess high. Initiative trade beyond that figure could reach as high as the $4,270.00 161.80% Fibonacci price extension and $4,294.75 127.20% extension.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,227.00 HVNode confirms a failed balance-area breakout. In such a case, the $4,213.75 low volume area (LVNode) comes into play first. Thereafter, if lower, participants ought to look for responses at the $4,206.25, $4,198.75, and $4,177.25 HVNodes.

Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). Note the weakness in the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. 
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in put strikes at and below current prices in the larger cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 Index (INDEX: NDX), last week.

News And Analysis

Markets | Shorts squeezed; Fed (kind of) buys cryptocurrency bonds. (BBG)

Economy | Fed to announce taper in August or September on inflation. (REU)

Energy | OPEC sees more demand for oil with H2 growth quickening. (S&P)

Economy | The U.S. is experiencing temporary cost-push inflation. (Moody’s)

Economy | Pent-up demand, supply shortages improve credit recovery. (S&P)

Politics | Biden’s China policy emerging – and it looks like Trump’s. (WSJ)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Venture | Funding, new unicorns, exits continue at a strong pace. (CB)

FinTech | G-7 dialogue on crypto to hasten the disintermediation. (Moody’s)

Trading | How to keep the gamma squeeze going with put sales. (SG)

Aviation | In aviation, the revolution likely will not be supersonic. (WSJ)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 24, 2021

Quick Note: From May 25 to May 28, the daily newsletter will be off as I will be on a trip. It would not be fair for me to provide lackluster content since I won’t have all the tools at my disposal.

Market Commentary

Index futures in balance.

  • The U.S. may be facing deflation.
  • Ahead is CFNAI data, Fed speak.
  • Stock indexes sideways to higher.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher overnight alongside renewed political tensions, cryptocurrency volatility, as well as a crackdown by China on commodity speculation.

Graphic updated 7:50 AM EST.

What To Expect: Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity. 

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by the responsive selling that surfaced at and above the $4,177.25 high volume area (HVNode). This is not all too significant given the large monthly options expiration. Still, according to SpotGamma, “[w]hile roughly 1/3 of total QQQ gamma rolled off on Friday, … [the] QQQ remains under the control of put options,” a source of potential volatility in the Nasdaq 100.

Responsive Selling: Selling in response to prices above area of recent price acceptance.

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.

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.

Options 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.

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.

As stated in Sunday’s weekly note, equities are in a seasonally weak period. At the same time, inflation and uninspiring economic data are major worries investors are attempting to price in. That said, however, during the May 19 reversal, in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100, participants increased exposure to the upside with relatively cheap, longer-dated calls.

Further, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,177.25 puts in play the $4,227.00 point of control (POC). Initiative trade beyond the POC could reach as high as the $4,238.00 overnight all-time high. 

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.

Initiative Buying: Buying within or above the previous day’s value area.

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 worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,177.25 puts in play the $4,122.25 HVNode. Thereafter, if lower, key references include the $4,071.00 POC and $4,050.75 low volume area (LVNode). Long-biased traders are cautioned on trade below the LVNode. 

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). The Nasdaq is regaining relative strength. A rotation would be bullish, or supportive of a new leg higher (if one were to happen).
Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for last week. Though activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, increased trade in farther-dated call-side strikes is observed as a commitment to higher prices.
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in put strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 Index (INDEX: NDX), last week. To note, however, participants began paying up for longer-dated upside exposure (evidenced by call activity).

News And Analysis

Economy | Cathie Wood: U.S. “setting up for a massive period deflation.” (BBG)

Economy | European labor market’s capacity to absorb shocks varies. (Moody’s)

Markets | How a global minimum corporate tax could impact markets. (WSJ)

Markets | Goldman sees oil hitting $80/bbl despite likely supply return. (REU)

Security | Three disasters show gaps in the $1.7T infrastructure plan. (BBG)

Markets | Mainstream markets shrug volatile $1T crypto flash crash. (BBG)

Trade | Sea change: global freight sails out of the digital dark ages. (REU)

Politics | EU weighs sanctions over so-called ‘hijacking’ of Ryanair jet. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | HSBC CEO says bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are not for them. (REU)

FinTech | Robinhood to allow users to buy into IPOs ahead of debut. (REU)

FinTech | VCs are predicting new areas of consumer fintech disruption. (BI)

Environment | Unpacking the problems with reinforced concrete. (Convo)

Markets | First warning sign in global commodity boom flashes in China. (BBG)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For May 16, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: Index futures are back in balance.

  • Economic data failing to surprise.
  • JPM: “Market is a little oversold.”
  • Indices reject lower prices, rotate.

What Happened: Last week, U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower alongside the release of uninspiring economic data.

In particular, the S&P 500 advertised prices below a key consolidation area but failed to solicit aggressive selling. Thereafter, participants rotated the index back inside the aforementioned consolidation, suggesting they were seeking more information to base a directional move. 

As stated in the last few weekly commentaries, participants have a lot to account for in positioning themselves during one of the weakest stretches of the year. Among their worries are inflation expectations – in part due to “choke points in global supply chains” – and stalling retail sales, as well as consumer price and job data misses. At the same time, sentiment and positioning metrics are waning while inflows remain strong, across the globe, and many year-end index targets remain clustered at and above current prices.

Of all the factors mentioned, inflation is a key concern. Why? Generally speaking, inflation and rates move inverse to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money more attractive). With the rapid recovery, though, market participants are fearful that rates may have to rise to protect the economy from overheating.

Higher rates have the potential to reduce the present value of future earnings, making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive. To note, however, rates remain rangebound; rates on the 10 Year T-Note sit below their March high and are likely to continue higher, which, according to research by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM), the market will likely absorb.

In fact, JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic, in a CNBC appearance, said that the market is a little oversold, and his S&P 500 target of $4,400.00 remains in play.

“I think market is now actually getting cheap, in some sense,” Kolanovic said. “I think we’re at the end of this upset. I think the market is going to go higher here. That said, we do still again prefer reflationary themes.”

Looking back, also, according to The Market Ear, even during the so-called Taper Tantrum, in the early 2010s, rates settled in a wide range, and equities rallied big. 

Graphic: Nasdaq 100 rallies in 2013 after rates settle in a wide range, via The Market Ear.

To add, technically speaking, after testing into a composite low volume area (LVNode), the S&P 500 rejected lower prices and quickly traded back to the valuable $4,177.25 high volume area (HVNode).

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.

This volatility was expected; coming into the May 13 reversal, stock indexes were positioning for a vicious rebound as near-term downside discovery reached a potential limit, based on market liquidity metrics and the inventory positioning of participants. According to SqueezeMetrics, the steepness of the GammaVol (GXV) curve suggested there was more risk to the upside than the downside.

More On Gamma: In the simplest way, gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades to 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.

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,177.25 HVNode pivot.

That said, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the index trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,177.25 HVNode may reach as high as the $4,227.00 POC. Initiative trade beyond the POC could reach as high as $4,238.00 overnight high (ONH) and $4,294.75 Fibonacci price extension, a typical recovery target.

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.

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

In the worst case, the index trades lower; activity below the $4,177.25 HVNode has the potential to reach the $4,136.25 HVNode. Beyond that level, of interest is the $4,122.25 HVNode, the $4,104.75 LVNode, and the $4,069.25 HVNode. 

Trading below the $4,029.25 overnight low (ONL) suggests a continuation of the bear trend. Caution longs.

Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in put strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 Index (INDEX: NDX), last week. It appears that participants were positioning themselves in strikes across further-dated expiries (e.g., June 18, 2021) suggesting more commitment.

News And Analysis

Markets | Rates remain resilient after the recent inflation scare. (MND)

Markets | Caught-short strategists are a stealth market accelerant. (BBG)

Ratings | Out-of-court restructurings may lead to repeat defaults. (S&P)

Energy | Oil, and gas benefiting from rising crude, value rotation. (BBG)

Energy | Colonial Pipeline resumes normal operations after hack. (Axios)

Markets | Selected indicators – global automotive manufacturing. (REU)

Ratings | Risk of supply chain financing, partial asset sell-downs. (S&P)

Economy | U.K.’s worse recession to turn into a stronger recovery. (S&P)

Economy | Don’t you dare say stagflation; safeguards are slipping. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Working | Reimagining the workplace – adapting to new normals. (S&P)

Banking | US banks could cut nearly 200K jobs over the next decade. (FT)

Space | China has made history with its successful Mars landing. (Axios)

FinTech | Cryptocurrency, and blockchain must lead in sustainability. (TC)

Energy | California Governor proposes a $3.2B EV investment plan. (TC)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

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

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: After prices were advertised below balance in the week prior, responsive buyers in the S&P 500 began a rally that found acceptance back inside a larger balance-area, near the $3,800 high-open interest strike.

Thereafter, initiative buyers extended the S&P 500’s rally, breaking the index above its $3,824.25 balance-area high (BAH), before establishing acceptance near the $3,850.00 price extension, an upside target, and auctioning back into range, repairing poor structures left in the wake of discovery.

What Does It Mean: In light of a failed breakdown in the week prior, U.S. stock indexes were best positioned for further downside discovery. However, after what appears to be aggressive buying in response to prices below value, it was clear that was not the case.

This leads to the following question: why did selling stop on January 15? One answer, aside from a positive start to the earnings season and prospects for further stimulus, may be OPEX, the January 15 option expiry. On expiration days, delta and gamma exposures change — depending on how derivatives exposure is removed or rolled — which causes dealers to adjust hedges.

According to SpotGamma, the January 15 expiry “resulted in a ~50% reduction in single stock gamma … [which] creates volatility because, as large options positions expire[], are closed and/or rolled, dealers have large hedges they need to adjust. There is a trove of data to suggest that the bulk of single stock call activity is long calls, and based on that we believe dealers (who are short calls vs long stock) therefore have long stock positions to sell.”

Put more simply, the price action may have been attributable to the sale of long stock that hedged expiring short derivatives exposure above the market (i.e., call side).

Per the SpotGamma S&P 500 dealer hedging graphic for the January 15 expiry below, “The black line was the mark on Thursday evening, with the red line being the forecasted position on Tuesday. This red line being substantially lower than the black suggests that dealers had to reduce delta exposure as a result of expiration. Note there is a larger shift at overhead prices suggesting this was a ‘call heavy’ expiration.”

Graphic 1: SpotGamma S&P 500 dealer hedging graphic for the January 15 options expiry

After the VIX (i.e., CBOE’s Volatility Index) expiry on January 20, alongside the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the prospects for a rally improved as “event premium in IV dries up … [and] put values drop, which allows dealers (who are short puts) to buy back short hedges … [fueling] a quick rally up to the 3850SPX/385SPY level (green arrow).”

Graphic 2: SpotGamma S&P 500 Gamma Levels

Adding, the number of put options sold to open exceeded the number bought to open, per SpotGamma, suggesting increased confidence in higher prices as market participants look to options for income, and not insurance.

Historically, the returns after such developments are mixed — more often the appearance of strong initiative buying surfaces (e.g., August and January 2020) before a liquidation helps correct excess inventory, and bring sense back into the market.

Graphic 3: SpotGamma plots opening option positions.

What To Expect: During Friday’s session in the S&P 500, responsive buying surfaced after a test of the $3,818.25 High-Volume Node (HVNode), above the $3,813.50 ledge (below which is a pocket of low-volume).

In the simplest way, high-volume areas 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, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of value for favorable entry or exit.

After the S&P 500 found acceptance above the $3,813.50 ledge and $3,824.25 BAH, it encountered responsive selling near the $3,840.75 HVNode, the site of a downtrend line. Since the selling transpired at a visual level, market participants know that technically-driven, short-term traders in control. In other words, institutions (e.g, funds) tend not to transact at exact technical levels.

Given the aforementioned dynamics, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. The S&P 500’s higher-time frame breakout remains intact, per graphics 7, 8, and 9.
  2. Late last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggested equities would rally 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 downgraded growth and expressed the limited potential for further upside.
  3. The earnings of heavily weighted index constituents suggests participants discount improved speculative flows and delta (e.g., presence of committed buying or selling as measured by volume delta). Please see graphics 4, 5, and 6.
Graphic 4: Supportive order flow in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, on January 20 trend day.
Graphic 5: Supportive order flow in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, on January 22.
Graphic 6: Speculative derivatives activity for the week ending January 23, 2021.
Graphic 7: Daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

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 $3,840.75 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance or initiative buying to take out the $3,859.75 overnight all-time high (there is a low probability that overnight all-time highs end the upside discovery process). Thereafter buying continues as high as the $3,884.75 price projection, or double the width of the balance-area, the typical target on a balance-area breakout.

In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below $3,824.25 BAH, would favor continuation as low as the $3,763.75 BAL.

Graphic 8: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

Conclusions: Despite broad-market indices being in a longer-term uptrend, the odds of substantial upside resolve are low. Participants ought to look for favorable areas to transact, such as those high-volume areas in the S&P 500 featured in graphic 8.

All in all, the risk and reward dynamics, at these price levels, are poor.

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

Levels Of Interest: $3,884.75, $3,859.75, $3,840.75 HVNode, $3,824.25 BAH, $3,763.75 BAL.

Cover photo by Jayant Kulkarni from Pexels.