Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 4, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

Editor’s Note: Hey team, thanks again for your reading of this daily newsletter. Due to travel commitments, I will not be writing reports consistently for the rest of this month.

Don’t expect any updates until Monday, April 11, 2022. Thereafter, coverage may be sporadic for the rest of the month.

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were higher after exploring lower, briefly. Commodities were mixed while bonds were lower and implied volatility measures were bid.

In terms of news, the European Union said it was interested in penalizing Russia, further, for its actions in Ukraine. This is as China battles new COVID-19 sub-strains. 

Ahead is data on factory and core capital equipment orders (10:00 AM ET). 

Graphic updated 5:45 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. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: In the face of geopolitical tension, supply pressures, and inflation, consumer sentiment is at or below pandemic levels, prompting the Federal Reserve (Fed) to destimulate.

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) research. “Confluence Of Risks Halts Positive Credit Momentum.

“It has entered 2008-09 territory and is not far from all-time lows in the ‘80s when inflation and interest rates hit double digits,” ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood explained in a Twitter discussion on yield-curve inversions and aggressive action by the Federal Reserve, as well as inflation.

“The economy succumbed to recession in each of those periods. Europe and China are also in difficult straits. The Fed seems to be playing with fire.”

In accordance, the Macro Compass’ Alfonso Peccatiello explains that his credit impulse metrics, which lead economic activity and risk asset performance, imply a slowdown in earnings.

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass.

Still, in spite of these metrics, on average, recessions happen 12 to 24 months after the first yield curve inversions, according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF).

Post-inversion S&P 500 performance, actually, is often positive.

Graphic: Via Jefferies Financial Group. Taken from The Market Ear.

Bolstering the call for positive equity market performance are strong seasonality trends during Fed-rate-hike episodes, a contraction in equity risk premia, and “still accommodative” monetary policy, per explanations by rates strategist Rishi Mishra. 

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “Equities are a real asset as they make a claim on nominal GDP. In the post-financial crisis era, weak economic activity and lower inflation pushed down nominal GDP, raising the equity risk premium and reducing the bond term premium. So as long as economies grow, revenues and dividends should also grow. The dividend yield can be thought of as a real yield. Equity risk premia have started to decline in the post COVID cycle but remain higher than in the pre-financial crisis era.”

“[T]he 3ms2s vs 2s10s spread (or the 3m2s10s fly) is the widest it has been since the end of 1994. The widening of this fly is indicative of the fact that while the Fed shifted its guidance from dovish to extremely hawkish, the policy is still accommodative.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Taken from Rishi Mishra.

Positioning: The equity market’s ferocious end-of-March rally, which placed the S&P 500 back above a key go/no-go level – the 200-period simple moving average – may have been in part the result of institutional investors purchasing equities ahead of quarterly reporting.

“Remember that stocks settle T+2, meaning that shares are actually owned by buyers two business days after they are purchased in the market,” says Interactive Brokers’ Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR) Steve Sosnick. 

“That means that institutions who wanted to show stock positions on their quarterly reports would have needed to purchase those shares no later than Tuesday the 29th. The sharp end-of-day runups that we saw on Monday and Tuesday had the hallmarks of aggressive institutional buying.”

According to Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) analyses, “[a]ggregate equity positioning has now risen off the lows but only to the 22nd percentile and is still well below neutral.”

That said, quarter-end rebalances and options expirations (OPEX) likely do little to upset the balance of trade. Based on a lot of the insights shared in this letter, barring some exogenous event, the market is in a position to drift or balance.

This, as a result, may solicit a “stronger impulse to chase the rally,” at which point JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists say they would “generally be more concerned.”

A collapse (or convergence) in volatility metrics for different asset classes (like the Merrill Lynch Options Volatility Estimate [INDEX: MOVE] and Cboe Volatility Index [INDEX: VIX]) would bolster the “drift or balance” thesis.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest.

Technical: As of 5:45 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,527.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,562.50 spike base. Initiative trade beyond the spike base could reach as high as the $4,583.00 VPOC and $4,611.75 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,527.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,501.25 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,469.00 VPOC and $4,438.25 HVNode, or lower.

Considerations: Spikes often 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). 

In a spike up (down) situation, trade below (above) the spike base, negates the buying (selling).

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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, 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 February 28, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower in light of an escalation of geopolitical tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the world.

Western powers imposed harsh sanctions including the exclusion of some Russian lenders from the SWIFT messaging system “that underpins trillions of dollars worth of transactions,” globally.

As the Russian ruble lost ⅓ of its value and costs of insuring Russian government debt rose, the Bank of Russia (BoR) doubled its key interest rate to 20% and imposed some capital controls to take from the risk of a potential run on banks. Policymakers also banned foreign security sales.

The odds of an aggressive lift-off in interest rates by the Federal Reserve declined, accordingly. The market is now pricing in under six hikes for 2022 as crisis opens room for policy mistakes.

Ahead is data on trade in goods (8:30 AM ET), Chicago PMI (9:45 AM ET), and Fed-speak by Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic (10:30 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: As of February 27, 2022, there are reports that with its invasion of Ukraine, “Moscow was frustrated by the slow progress caused by an unexpectedly strong Ukrainian defense and failure to achieve complete air dominance.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, locations of Russian controls and attacks.

At present, Russia has only committed 50% of its available firepower to the war and solicited the involvement of neighboring allies. Still, even at 50%, it’s rough.

Russian markets, to put it simply, are in turmoil as a result of this conflict. Its policymakers, to stem the bleed, have banned foreigners from selling assets.

Graphic: Via Topdown Charts, Russian assets are imploding.

Accordingly, sentiment is as bad as it was in 2020, 2016, the period spanning 2008-2009, as well as the period just after the topping of the tech-and-telecom bubble. 

Graphic: Via Topdown Charts, “sentiment basically as bad as the COVID crash.”

In light of the world’s response to this conflict, Russia, too, has heightened its nuclear readiness.

Moreover, over the weekend, Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar, in gauging the implications of conflict and sanctions, explained that excluding Russia from SWIFT may lead to missed payments and overdrafts similar to that experienced during March of 2020.

“Banks’ inability to make payments due to their exclusion from SWIFT is the same as Lehman’s inability to make payments due to its clearing bank’s unwillingness to send payments on its behalf,” he noted.

“The consequence of excluding banks from SWIFT is real, and so is the need for central banks to re-activate daily U.S. dollar funds supplying operations.”

In light of this, some have advanced a narrative around a potential run on Russian banks.

However, former BoR official Sergey Aleksashenko, in an alarmed yet less pessimistic take on CNBC, suggested a “low likelihood” of a run on the ruble.

Further, in light of the deceleration at home in the U.S., Pozsar concludes that “the Fed’s balance sheet might expand again before it contracts via QT (quantitative tightening).”

Graphic: Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass. He says “YTD: 2022 hikes priced in up from 3 to 6-7. Curves big-time flatter. Inflation expectations 10 bps lower. Real yields higher 40-50 bps. Credit spreads wider. Cyclical growth impulse fading away. Not a risk-on environment.”

Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Chief Strategist Steve Sosnick adds: “The tide of money is still positive, and it should provide a cushion for nervous markets as long as that remains the case. But when we consider that monetary conditions are supposed to be changing, volatility should persist if the monetary tide actually ebbs as expected.”

Perspectives: “​​Geopolitical catastrophes tend to be worse than believed in the short term but less than believed in the long term,” Ophir Gottlieb of Capital Market Laboratories notes

Similarly, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) head of global equity strategy Mislav Matejka says that “If one is selling on the back of the latest geopolitical developments now, the risk is of getting whipsawed.”

“Historically, [the] vast majority of military conflicts, especially if localized, did not tend to hurt investor confidence for too long, and would end up as buying opportunities.”

Graphic: Via Tier1Alpha. Taken from The Market Ear

Positioning: Strong passive buying support persists in the face of a lower liquidity, negative-gamma, high-volatility regime.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Taken from The Market Ear.

Adding, in light of the liquidation into last Thursday’s open (after which there was a large reversal), the VIX futures term structure, though in backwardation, was not as steep as in past moments of true panic.

IBKR’s Sosnick explains that “Even though VIX futures [were higher on Thursday morning] across the board and the curve has further steepened, neither the spot level nor the curve are yet demonstrating panic.” 

“I interpret the message of the market to be that we should continue to expect volatility – remember that volatility encompasses moves in both directions – but not to expect that a major bottom was put into place in recent sessions.”

With realized volatility is heightened and implied volatility not performing, so to speak, @darjohn25 explains, try to avoid “any short gamma on all short-dated tenors—you want to own the short term stuff for the foreseeable future.”

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

Gap Scenarios Potentially 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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,285.50 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,345.75 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,371.00 VPOC and $4,395.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,285.50 HVNode puts in play the $4,227.75 HVNode and overnight low (ONL) area. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode/ONL could reach as low as the $4,177.25 HVNode and $4,137.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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.

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 27, 2022

Editor’s Note: Our newsletter service provider is not working, today. Our apologies if you were not able to receive the note via email, as usual.

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures explored lower before later recovering the prior day’s weak close after hawkish statements from the Federal Reserve (Fed). 

This is as some metrics continue to show buying support and any compression in volatility may serve to bolster a move higher.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, gross domestic product, durable goods orders, and core capital equipment orders (8:30 AM ET), as well as pending home sales (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Comments shared by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) revealed asset purchases would stop in March.

After, the Fed is likely to hike the fed funds rate, but this is in the face of an economy that’s stronger than at the start of the last hiking cycle.

Graphic: Per Topdown Charts, “the Fed has placed itself behind the curve, and needs to catch up.”

Still, despite expectations being met, the hawkish tone was enough to tip the equity market

Graphic: Per Bloomberg, “the message Powell gave in his press conference was clear and loud enough to drive a massive reversal.”

This wasn’t unexpected. 

On average, under Chair Jerome Powell, the market tends to give up its intraday gains after an FOMC announcement.

Graphic: “[S]tock markets don’t like listening to Jay Powell.”

With the flatter yield curve (spread of 10-year over two-year Treasury yields), per Bloomberg, this implies that “rates will need to rise in the short term but won’t have to stay high.”

“In other words, the bond market still thinks that the Fed will beat inflation without breaking anything, … and the words at the press conference were enough to engineer a noticeable tightening of financial conditions while still leaving stock markets close to their all-time high.”

Adding, per Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), rate hikes are set to occur in March, June, September, and December with the balance sheet runoff starting July. 

As noted yesterday, an “abundance of excess liquidity could provide a cushion as the Fed drains liquidity, a cushion that did not exist in 2018.”

Perspectives: Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Chief Strategist Steve Sosnick suggests that “Even when we saw relatively higher short-term rates and a flattish curve, equities were able to push to what were then all-time highs. The risk of course is that those highs were about 30% below current levels.”

Also, per Grit Capital, opportunity in growth equities will occur as follows: 

“(1) Investing in free-cash-flow generative names that pull cash flows forward, shortening their duration (i.e., Microsoft Corporation [NASDAQ: MSFT] now trades at a lower P/E multiple than Retail Chain Costco Wholesale Corporation [NASDAQ: COST]). (2) Once the rebound takes hold, invest in high-growth companies that dominate their niche and are positioned in industries with rapid market expansion.”

Positioning: Expectations are for heightened volatility so long implied volatility is bid and markets continue to trade in a negative-gamma environment (wherein an options delta falls with stock price rises and rises when stock prices fall).

Factors that ought to support a counter-trend rally include the compression in volatility and strong buying support (measured by liquidity provision on the market-making side), after, as SpotGamma suggests, “markets have hit a ‘lower bound.’”

According to comments made by SqueezeMetrics, “traders (professional) bought tons of E-minis, and dealers facilitated.”

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

A compression in volatility marks down the positive delta (directional exposure) of options counterparties are short. The positive vanna flow – “covering” of short-delta stock/futures hedges – is what could drive markets higher. 

Conversely, volatility could expand and that would have the opposite effect.

We shall watch the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) and VIX term structure for clues. Backwardation (inversion) in the term structure points to continued fear, instability.

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

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

The spike base is at $4,381.00 /ES. Above, bullish. Below, bearish.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,346.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the $4,415.00 VPOC could reach as high as the $4,449.00 VPOC and $4,486.75 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,346.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,263.25 overnight low (ONL). Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $4,212.50 RTH Low and $4,177.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

Vanna: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to volatility.

Charm: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time.

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

Inversion Of VIX Futures Term Structure: Longer-dated VIX expiries are less expensive; is a warning of elevated near-term risks for equity market stability.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 10, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower alongside bonds and most commodities.

Ahead is data on wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET) and Fed-speak (12:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Improvements in the U.S. labor market and increased hawkishness from the Federal Reserve are some of the factors playing into a recent rotation.

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

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

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

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

Why are higher rates scary? 

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

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

Graphic: From Sundial Capital Research. Posted by Bloomberg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why? 

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

Vanna: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to volatility.

Charm: The rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time.

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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