Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 30, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 980+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:50 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Administrative

Apologies for the delay. Hectic end-of-week! A little heavy on the fundamental side of things and light on the positioning. More to unpack next week. Have a great weekend!

Fundamental

As an update to our September 29, 2022 letter, Russia responded to the Nord Stream attack suggesting the incident spoke of state-sponsored “terrorism”, all the while “an EU official said the incident had fundamentally changed the nature of the conflict in Ukraine,” per Refinitiv.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Updated September 28, 2022.

In short, Russia’s throwing blame on the US, among others, suggesting it was likely to benefit through a boost in liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales. Russia previously said the leaks were in areas “fully under the control” of US intelligence agencies.

It’s the case that in February 2022, Joe Biden commented that if Russia invaded Ukraine, there would “no longer be a Nord Stream 2,” also.

In response, Nord Stream 1 leaks will be stopped on Monday with no forecasts yet on the future of the pipeline’s operation.

To note, the pipelines were not “supplying gas to Europe when the leaks were first detected, … [but] both had gas in them.” Regardless, the EU will be assessing the application of sanctions.

Moving on, as a recap, this week there was tons of volatility in overseas fixed income and FX markets. In short, the announcement of new fiscal policies coincided with market volatility that prompted reflexive feedback responses, which we dissected in our September 29, 2022 letter.

A cascade of margin calls, during the route to 7-8% yields, would have put in jeopardy 90% of UK pension funds. 

To explain, per Reuters, there are schemes “that pay pensioners a fixed annual amount, often a portion of the final salary they earned as employees.” The schemes invest about 50% of assets in bonds, in order to have cash on hand and pay pension liabilities.

To reduce the effects of market volatility, positions are hedged through derivatives “managed by so-called liability-driven investment (LDI) funds,” Reuters well explained. “For example, pension schemes might pay the floating rate leg of an interest rate swap and receive fixed rates.”

Due to the leverage, market moves have an amplified effect on the funds. Therefore, if bonds fall too much, too fast, more cash must be sent to these LDIs. 

“[P]ositions become loss-making – they are paying out more money in the transaction than they are receiving.”

In some cases, schemes were to have “cash reserves to cope with a 200 bps rise in swap rates over a year. However, 30-year gilt interest rate swaps … rose 360 bps this year and 120 bps in the last few days before the BoE stepped in” and bought bonds, boosting inflation expectations, the thing that monetary tightening was, in part, intended to reduce.

Graphic: Retrieved from Fabian Wintersberger.

Accordingly, pensions sold gilts to “ready cash to meet those collateral calls, or they were kicked out of their derivatives positions because they could not pay up in time and had to sell gilts to avoid having a naked exposure to further sharp moves.”

The BoE’s actions calm the market allowing for the more orderly processing of transactions. 

Still, the UK is seen “out-hiking the Fed in the wake of Kwarteng tax cuts,” while “schemes are running out of cash.”

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg.

The risks don’t just stop there, though, we added. 

For one, there’s damage to be had if FX hedges go awry, which we said would likely prompt a call for collateral, too; investors will “buy overseas assets and hedge away the currency risk,” Jim Leaviss explained. “[I]f you had bought a dollar bond and hedged it, the dollars that you have effectively sold ‘short’ against sterling as the hedge have rallied, and the counterparty to the FX hedge will call for a collateral payment.”

The actions of the recent days likely put investors in a position of less liquid assets to meet the (potential) collateral calls, and this is part of the aforementioned technical factors that are likely to have a bearing on the direction of bonds and yields “over coming months.”

Additionally, some participants speculate the US may run into similar issues as the UK. A single (unconfirmed) participant explained pensions may be “selling equities and other asset classes to meet their swap obligations.”

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg.

Separately, another topic of discussion was the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) telling state-run banks to prepare for the shedding of dollar holdings to buy and assist in propping up the yuan.

Graphic: Retrieved from Reuters’ John Kemp.

This is all the while the Federal Reserve (Fed), to address problems of its own (e.g., real estate affordability) is implementing aggressive monetary tightening (prompting a rise in the dollar and triggering a “reverse currency war”). 

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “So if you want to spend $2,500 a month, you can now buy a house that costs $476,425. For that same monthly payment, you could have purchased a $758,572 house in early 2021.”

As an aside, US mortgage rates hit a 15-year high and home prices are falling.

Graphic: Retrieved via Bloomberg. To note, housing wealth regressions indicate “that every dollar of changes in housing wealth leads to a 38-cent change in consumption.”

China is looking to do less of the same and “spark growth in an economy that’s been dragged down by COVID-19 lockdowns, a real estate crash, and supply chain snags,” which have hurt some US firms including Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL).

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Apple’s manufacturing exposure to China.

That’s the mismatch (i.e., China easy, US uneasy) that’s going on and, per some, the Fed may be acting on a set of lagging indicators; monetary policy action may do more harm than good.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Liz Ann Sonders. “Unbelievable decline in shipping rates … cost to send a 40-ft container from Shanghai to Los Angeles has fallen by 74% from peak and is back to August 2020 levels.”

But, for now, a robust labor market and continued spending by American consumers have some feeling there’s far more room to go before US monetary policy does more harm than good.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. An end of an era is approaching, however, as companies that grew largely over the past years, including Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), seek to reduce headcount and reorganize.

Positioning

All that was said yesterday, and earlier this week, remains valid. In short, the decline prompted traders to demand downside protection, and this wound measures of implied volatility (IVOL).

Graphic: Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). Read, here, to understand backwardation and contango in futures markets.

For IVOL measures to remain wound, something bad needs to happen, in short. Otherwise, as seen yesterday, slightly, the S&P 500 drifted lower while certain IVOL measures, such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) printed a lower high than that observed on Wednesday.

Per SpotGamma, “If the decline in IVOL is very pronounced, relative to the decline in the S&P, that too can aid in a push-and-pull that actually serves to … resist far-reaching weakness.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.

From hereon, the decay and/or removal of the protection that’s been demanded in the past days and weeks may place a like on IVOL and boost markets over a very short term. In the long term, however, weakness is here to stay, says Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan. 

That’s amid impacts of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning bolstering the weakness.

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

A lot more on this positioning, and the rollover of some large fund exposures, which have grasped the attention of many online, in some coming letters.

Technical

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

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

Any activity above the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,688.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $3,722.50 LVNode and $3,771.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,638.25 LVNode puts into play the $3,610.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,554.75 and $3,506.25 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.

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.

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 27, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 950+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 6:45 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Top of mind, yesterday, was the drop in Britain’s currency (GBP) and a surge in bond yields on the back of new fiscal plans and pledged tax cuts, alongside a more easy pace of interest rate hikes by the Bank of England (BoE). See the Daily Brief for September 26, 2022, for context.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Knowing that the fiscal stimulus and an easy-moving BoE would add to inflation that is already high and sticky, traders began pricing emergency rate hikes, all the while conversation around the impacts of the UK’s rising rates on mortgage lending and the “dollar doom loop” surfaced.

In response, the BoE’s Governor Andrew Bailey said they were “monitoring developments in financial markets,” and at the “next scheduled meeting of the impact on demand and inflation from the Government’s announcement, and the fall in sterling, … [t]he MPC [won’t] hesitate to change interest rates by as much as needed to return inflation to the 2% target.”

Per Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C), however, “[m]onetary policy will struggle to save FX when fiscal policy is the culprit.”

Lawrence Henry Summers, a former US Secretary of the Treasury, also commented that he “would not be amazed if British short rates more than triple in the next two years and reach levels above 7 percent.”

That’s “because US rates are now projected to approach 5 percent and Britain, [which] has much more serious inflation, is pursuing more aggressive fiscal expansion and has larger financing challenges.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

On the topic of rising yields and lenders’ disinterest to issue mortgages, among other things, it is the case that bond buying, via tools such as quantitative easing (QE), left room for confidence to eventually run out and the bond market to revolt.

Read our monetary policy explainers published on September 19 and 20.

Per statements authored by Bloomberg’s John Authers, the “UK appears to be the first case of a true disorderly bond selloff, where the moves are so swift that they affect the functioning of the financial system. It’s been triggered by a combination of inflation and rash fiscal policy.”

Accordingly, the actions by policymakers abroad serve to reinforce the earlier discussed “dollar doom loop”; the rising USD, though reducing the impact of inflation in the US, ultimately hurts most dollar-denominated debt servicing (see Latin America in the 1980s).

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Positioning

Seasonally speaking, the week after September options expiry (OPEX) is one of the worst on record. The weakness often persists into October.

To quote Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan:

So, “less support from Vanna and Charm, less support through QT, and less buyback,” presents a “fragile moment” with the next week representing the most “dangerous period” on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

For context, it is the impacts of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning bolstering the weakness.

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

Separately, a hot topic concerns the money that is piling into money funds where “the vast bulk now earns upwards of 2%, with pockets paying 3%, 4% or more.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Money funds, banks, and others are so flush with cash these days that they’re shoveling record amounts into the Fed’s overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility, a short-term instrument that, following the central bank’s 75 basis point hike last week, now pays a rate of 3.05%.”

The theory is as follows: if “cash is yielding 4%, why not just sit in cash while the macro environment clarifies a little bit?”

With traditional 60/40 upended, and the gap “between what banks are paying on deposits and what money-market funds are offering” widening, “money funds are likely to attract more inflows going forward as a result, pushing [the] usage of the RRP facility even higher.” 

Graphic: Retrieved from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

This is all, however, money that is waiting to be deployed, “should market sentiment improve, or asset prices tumble to levels too attractive to pass up.”

Should you, too, desire to pursue guaranteed rates of return, last week Box Spreads were put forth as a solution. These trades “allow market participants to create a loan structure similar to a Treasury bill.” Upon maturity, the Box Spread earns a competitive interest rate.

Price some trades at boxtrades.com.

Graphic: Retrieved from boxtrades.com.

Technical

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

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

Any activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,771.25 and $3,826.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,638.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 and $3,554.75 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.

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.

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.

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 26, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 950+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:30 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. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Overnight news was focused on the drop in Britain’s currency and a surge in bond yields. Per Bloomberg, the UK government’s talk about new fiscal plans and pledged tax cuts, alongside moderate interest rate hikes by the Bank of England (BoE), is the source of the weakness.

That’s because fiscal stimulus, which is part of a strategy to stoke “all-out” growth now, would add to the inflation already high and sticky from supply chokepoints and an easy-moving BoE.

Graphic: Retrieved from Reuters’ John Kemp. This action increases the UK’s competitiveness. It also increases the cost of important items in the UK, like gas for your car and electricity.

“An emergency rate hike would be a damning indictment of the government’s strategy, but it will become increasingly likely if markets fail to stabilize,” said Bloomberg economist Dan Hanson. 

Adding, traders are pricing increased odds of rate increases (~1.75%) by the BoE’s next policy meeting in November. Looking back, in the wake of previous tax giveaways, interest rates rose by a lot to stem the inflationary shock.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “A combination of sharply rising bond yields and a sharply falling currency is very unusual outside emerging markets, and implies doubts over the government’s ability to service its debt.”

The weekend news, has us looking back to our letters on a “self-reinforcing ‘dollar doom loop,’” as Jon Turek of JST Advisors once put forth. It’s the case that the dominant currency for carry, due to easy monetary policies, was the dollar.

However, “the stronger the dollar gets in comparison, the less tenable it becomes as a global reserve,” and this puts pressure on the longer-term trajectory of the currency. 

Knowing that US market liquidity, as well as the dollar’s strong role as a reserve, put the S&P 500 at the center of global carry regimes, an unwinding of carry may compound a market fall affecting nearly all risk assets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Ian Harnett of Absolute Strategy Research. Via The Market Ear.

Accordingly, as put forth in Mr. Blonde’s letter, “[e]ven if you are optimistic about growth and the ability of [the] global economy to digest significant financial conditions tightening, you no longer need to be 100% invested in risky, less liquid, assets when you get a competitive return from risk-free cash.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Mr. Blonde.

Positioning

Following the September options expiration (OPEX), markets tend to have their worst week.

From thereon, the weak seasonality tends to persist for about a month, into mid-October. Given this, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained, “you need to keep selling the rallies, … [as the] war between the structural negative effects, macro flows, and positioning,” is likely to continue.

Graphic: Retrieved from Mr. Blonde.

Dollar strength should feed into margin compression just now “filtering through” and impacting “international dollar-denominated debt.”

That compounds the impact of quantitative tightening (QT) which is manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” as well as the blackout period for buybacks (which were consistently “supporting the market”) and options repositioning.

Read our monetary policy explainers published on September 19 and 20.
Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

At the beginning of the 5-week expiration cycle, Karsan explained, Vanna and Charm flows are reduced; there is “significantly less buyback” of counterparty short stock and futures hedges to “the decay of options which sit at the October monthly expiration.”

So, “less support from Vanna and Charm, less support through QT, and less buyback,” presents a “fragile moment” with the next week representing the most “dangerous period” on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option Delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility and time change, hedging ratios change. For instance, if SPX is at $4,700.00 and IV jumps 15% (all else equal), the dealer may sell an additional 0.2 Deltas to hedge their exposure to the addition of a positive 0.2 Delta. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

Ultimately, “December’s quarterly [OPEX] is now coming into the picture, … [where] volatility is generally highly demanded. When you get a lot of volatility supply in that area, you begin to see people who are short getting back the volatility they were short.”

In other words, equities down, implied volatility down is likely to persist for a little while longer as the risks for a “tail” build; “there’s a window that is opening for long volatility to perform probably starting in about a month or two,” through to “January and March.”

Technical

As of 8:30 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively-skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,771.25 and $3,826.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts into play the $3,638.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 and $3,554.75 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.

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.

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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