Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For October 5, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 1000+ 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.

Administrative

Expect no letter on Friday, October 7, 2022.

Fundamental

Markets printed lower, this morning, ahead of the US cash-open. This bonds, commodities, and equities down phenomenon we’ve unpacked in detail many times before. 

At its core, supply chokepoints and a hot labor market are keeping inflation high and sticky. To lessen this inflation, policymakers are seeking to tighten monetary policy. 

That means raising interest rates and quantitative tightening (QT). 

As we discussed on September 20, the transmission mechanisms of these drivers vary with QT having a very weak transmission “to economic activity but very strong to financial markets.” On the other end are rates that have a stronger transmission to economic activity.

And so, on “the incremental effects on liquidity” these drivers pose, markets are trading more in sync; on the way up, through fiscal stimuli, interest rate decreases, and QE (i.e., buying of US Treasuries and mortgage securities), investors sought more yield elsewhere. 

Risk assets like stocks, crypto, and beyond thus enjoyed a boost.

In a way, the opposite is happening now, and selling across risk -on and -off assets is persistent. 

Liquidity measures (which we began unpacking months ago, and were covered in Bloomberg by Kevin Muir of TheMacroTourist.com, recently, too) show a near-lockstep decline in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). Please check out Kevin Muir’s Substack, too!

Net liquidity (NL) we calculate by taking the size of the Fed’s balance sheet (BS) and subtracting both the amounts in the reverse repo operation (RRP) and Treasury General Account (TGA).

Muir said that “the liquidity created from QE and fiscal stimulus was so great that commercial banks no longer wanted deposits from large institutional clients because there were not enough safe assets available to purchase.” 

This prompted the expansion of RRP (beyond primary dealers to include the mutual funds and non-traditional accounts), a liquidity-draining operation (cash in the system removed through an increase in the number of bonds), through which the Fed would deliver “high-quality collateral with the promise to buy it back in a certain number of days at a higher price,” Muir explained.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Other NL drivers include the TGA which, prior to Covid, was fairly well-balanced by taxes (i.e., money coming in) and the issue of fixed-income securities (i.e., money coming out). 

Post-Covid, the TGA increased a lot and this has “the same effect as QT … [as] bonds are issued and cash [is] withdrawn from the financial system, but the money is not distributed into the economy,” Muir elaborated.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Combining the moves of the RRP and TGA, with the BS, provides us a measure of NL (shown below) that well explains stock price movements, as we’ve put forth in letters before.

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.

And, despite the far-spreading risk-on and -off context (i.e., stocks, crypto, and bonds down), it is believed that the large amounts in liquidity-draining operations (RRP and TGA), the impacts of QT, from hereon, may be lessened; per Muir, “[i]f the Fed had securities on its balance sheet that matched the maturity profile demanded by the institutions engaging in reverse repos, it could sell an amount equal to the total reverse repo balance to these institutions, reducing the need for reverse repos and elicit no change in the financial or real economy.”

“On top of that, the actual amount of monthly QT [$95 billion per month] is not that large,” Muir added. That’s because, over the span of five months, into the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the TGA was up $816 billion. This equates to ~$163.2 or so billion per month of QT.

At the end of the day, though, the programs outlined above do less to provide market support. One can argue that the market has priced the programs and some economic slowing. It is not likely the market has priced the impacts of a sharply slowing economy and business.

That said, some data – less corporate profits falling out of bed – suggests “the stock market tends to do better when EPS growth rates are negative than when they are hugely positive.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Ned Davis Research via MarketWatch. “[A]n inverse relationship between earnings growth rates and the market’s average return.”

The key to explaining this is to remember markets are a forward-looking mechanism. 

“By the time earnings growth rates are extremely high–as they were late last year and early this–they have long since been reflected in stock prices.”

“During such periods, the market has instead shifted its focus to earnings several quarters hence—to factors such as the Fed having to put the brakes on an overheating economy.”

The reverse will happen when the year-over-year growth rate in trailing fourth-quarter EPS is negative; “investors will have shifted their focus to earnings’ likely imminent rebound.”

Positioning

Pending is a final resolution “tied to the incremental effects on liquidity,” (e.g., QT manifesting itself as “$4.5 billion less in demand for assets per day,” and buyback blackout).

Graphic: Retrieved from Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) via The Market Ear.

This is all the while options repositioning may actually make the case for increased fragility, as traders’ falling demand for put protection opens the door to less supportive hedging flows and more impact from macro-type flows (talked about above) if we will.

Graphic: Taken from @Alpha_Ex_LLC who retrieved from Bloomberg. S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) October put option lower in price and volatility.

The last-mentioned SpotGamma explained well: 

“As traders realize that options protection is doing little to protect them, there may be a flip; the sale of volatility, which appears to be a good trade (now), could leave markets vulnerable to an event into which traders are no longer well-hedged. Should something bad happen and traders reach for protection, that could result in limit-down type of movement.”

If unsure of what direction to participate, consider pricing some Box Spreads that offer some competitive and guaranteed interest rates, similar to those earned with Treasury bills.

Technical

As of 6:40 AM ET, Wednesday’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 $3,771.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,826.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the last-mentioned could reach as high as the $3,862.25 HVNode and $3,893.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,771.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,671.00 VPOC and $3,610.75 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.

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, 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 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 29, 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 8:40 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

More clarity surfaces on the turmoil overseas. After announcements regarding new fiscal policy that would feature steep tax cuts, the prices of longer-dated British bonds fell, prior to the Bank of England (BoE) announcing the purchase of longer-dated bonds to restore stability.

Here’s why the BoE did what it did:

In short, market volatility prompted reflexive feedback responses.

British pensions are required to match assets to liabilities “to ensure that promises to pensioners could be honored,” Bloomberg explained. This prompted purchases of long-dated bonds in size. Essentially, pensions would “enter into swap contracts, using [long-dated bonds] as collateral.” 

That’s because “swaps give[] the pension scheme far more capital to assign to those more interesting asset classes with high potential returns rather than having it tied up in boring gilts.”

“If the bet turned out wrong, [pensions would] have to pay something to the counterparty. And, if the collateral suddenly and unprecedentedly took a massive fall, the counterparty would face a margin call.” 

In size, these “margin calls had turned into a cascade,” forcing pensions to sell into weakness.

Talk of fund insolvencies and the effects of that on the economy, executives running day-to-day operations, not the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), implemented quantitative easing (QE), essentially, buying bonds and pushing their yields lower to ease market volatility.

In stories that followed, a London-based banker discussed his worry that the situation came close to looking like “a Lehman moment.” Cardano Investment executive Kerrin Rosenberg also said “if there was no intervention [], yields could have gone up to 7-8% from 4.5% [] and, in that situation, around 90 per cent of UK pension funds would have run out of collateral.” 

In light of the “madness,” the UK’s Simon Hoare said that actions must be taken at the Treasury and government levels. 

Adding, though volatility eased everywhere (e.g., mortgage rates), including in the US markets, the damages are not contained, some explain.

Graphic: S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX), top. 10-year US Treasury yield (INDEX: TNX), bottom.

UK investors will often “buy overseas assets and hedge away the currency risk,” Jim Leaviss of Bond Vigilantes explained. Amid all the volatility, “if 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.”

“Whilst most funds will hold some cash and extremely liquid government bonds against such moves, the size of the recent turmoil probably means that many investors will be having to liquidate credit and other less liquid assets in order to meet these collateral calls.”

Therefore, the aforementioned technical factors have a bearing on the direction of bonds and yields “over coming months.”

Elsewhere, in China, in alignment with a request for state banks to stock up for FX intervention, the “PBOC hit CNH in illiquid hours to have maximum impact,” as “the trouble the PBOC faces is similar to that of Japan – when domestic conditions call for easy policy (vs. US).”

Bob Elliot of Unlimited Funds adds “the moves are likely to be paired with more announcements of macroprudential strategies to slow depreciation. While they will make headlines, most have proven to be reactive and modest in their impact.”

Therefore, “[g]iven weak domestic conditions, the PBOC is very unlikely to prioritize FX over domestic easing – the diff[erence] to the US will only get worse.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Overseas demand for goods from China is weakening as the global economy slows … [and] soaring inflation [among] other headwinds elsewhere suppress global demand.” Accordingly, the “cost of shipping goods from China has slumped to the lowest level in more than two years as the world economy stumbles,” just as the US seeks to build more “resilient supply chains” elsewhere.

Positioning

Measures of implied volatility (IVOL) recorded decreases, yesterday, as traders supplied to the market protection, largely, at the front-end where “options are far more sensitive to changes in IVOL and direction,” as SpotGamma put

“As IVOL declines and the S&P rises, the probability of those options paying out falls. This is reflected by their exposure to direction (or Delta) dropping, also. To re-hedge decreased exposure to Delta, liquidity providers may provide the market with a boost.”

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.

As stated yesterday, in the very near term, the risks are skewed to the upside.

“For pumped-up options far from the money to retain their value, there essentially needs to be an adverse move (in price and volatility). Should nothing bad happen, the probability of these options paying out will fade, as will their exposure to direction (or Delta).”

Over a longer-term, however, weakness may persist into October 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.

Technical

As of 8:30 AM ET, Thursday’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 $3,722.50 LVNode puts into play the $3,771.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,771.25 could reach as high as the $3,826.25 and $3,862.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,722.50 LVNode puts into play the $3,688.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,638.25 LVNode and $3,610.75 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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 28, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 970+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 8:20 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, team, if the quality was lacking these past few days. Extremely busy on my end and I look forward to some detailed letters in the near future! – Renato

Fundamental

“Great powers are waging hot wars involving the flow of technologies, goods, and commodities.”

That’s according to Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar who believes that the pillars forming the context for a low-inflation world are changing, and this is setting the stage for longer-lasting structural inflation.

In short, inflationary impulses are incoming from non-linear geopolitical and economic conflicts. 

Just yesterday, Europe was investigating attacks on pipelines from Russia; there were “major leaks into the Baltic Sea from two Russian gas pipelines at the cent[er] of an energy standoff.”

“The word sabotage springs to mind,” Javier Blas of Bloomberg, said. “In a single day, the conduits, which link Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea, have suffered not one, not two, but three separate major leaks.”

Per reports by Refinitiv, seismologists nearby registered “powerful blasts” that “do not resemble signals from earthquakes.” Instead, the explosions likely correspond with hundreds of “kilos (kg) of dynamite.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. 

Given that Nordstream 1 and 2 are not operational, now, the “leaks are more likely a message: [if truly the culprit], Russia is opening a new front on its energy war against Europe.” 

Accordingly, gas prices were higher but “below this year’s peaks,” Refinitiv reported. Generally, across some benchmarks, prices read “more than 200%, higher than in early September 2021.”

Separately, the Bank of England (BoE) is delaying quantitative-tightening (QT) bond sales and opting to purchase longer-dated government bonds in an attempt to restore stability, which we discussed was at risk on Monday and Tuesday.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Credit Default Swaps (CDSs) are a tool for investors to offload credit risk to other market participants.

As a result, after a near-vertical drop (visible below) in Gilts and British corporate bonds (which impacted mortgage lending, for one), UK yields saw some of their biggest drops on record.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Updated September 26, 2022.

The actions over the past few days complicate the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) objective to reach a return to 2% inflation in the medium term.

Graphic: Retrieved, initially, from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Via The Transcript. Interest rates “may be higher for longer” than expected.

At home, here, in the US, yields on the 10-year topped 4.00%. There is a heightened chance of a Federal Reserve (Fed) bump in rates that brings the target rate to 375-400 basis points, while the UK, in stemming its inflationary pressures, is expected to bump by double that amount.

The action to stem inflation is feeding through to demand. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) said it would ease plans to boost iPhone production “after an anticipated surge in demand failed to materialize,” a Bloomberg report said

“The supply constraints pulling down on the market since last year have eased and the industry has shifted to a demand-constrained market,” said Nabila Popal, research director at IDC. 

“High inventory in channels and low demand with no signs of immediate recovery has OEMs panicking and cutting their orders drastically for 2022,” a fear we said ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood shared, not too long ago.

Positioning

The beginning of the week was characterized by a sideways-to-lower S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and implied volatility (IVOL) metrics, such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), rising.

Per IVOL the term structure, demand for options protections seems to be concentrated in options that are shorter-dated and far more sensitive to changes in direction and volatility.

That means for large shifts in price and/or volatility, hedging ratios (e.g., Delta) shift markedly, too. This prompts “hedging feedback mechanisms in both market directions,” per SpotGamma.

Graphic: Retrieved from VIX Central. Taken from The Market Ear. Updated 9/27/2022.

Moreover, the risks are skewed to the upside, SpotGamma added. 

“For pumped-up options far from the money to retain their value, there essentially needs to be an adverse move (in price and volatility). Should nothing bad happen, the probability of these options paying out will fade, as will their exposure to direction (or Delta). [In] re-hedg[ing] decreased exposure to Delta, liquidity providers [] may provide the market with a boost.”

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.

At the same time, there appears to be some “dealer disintermediation” amid “less incentive to make deep, tight markets” due to “capital constraints,” potentially, explained SqueezeMetrics, the creator of the DIX (Dark Pool Index).

This comes after months of high average readings in DIX (likely as market-makers assembled “basket[s] of S&P 500 stocks to create ETF shares, or to hedge away the exposure of a futures contract[s]”). Typically, high DIX readings are associated with stronger 1-month market returns, particularly when put flows are strong (i.e., lower Gamma exposure readings, like now).

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Overall, the trend change is “suggestive of some second thoughts from the [buy-the-dip] crowd, and perhaps (likely!) some deleveraging from elsewhere,” SqueezeMetrics ended.

Technical

As of 8:20 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to 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.

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 HVNode 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.

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, 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 August 30, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 850+ 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.

Positioning

In our last letter, it was put forth that markets were stretched after a ~20% multi-month advance on macro-type re-leveraging flows (given such things as a strong earnings season) and rotation out of volatility and commodity hedges.

To continue the advance, needed was more macro re-leveraging and demand for positive Delta exposure via equity or options, lower prints of consumer price data, as well as maintenance of a dovish Federal Reserve (Fed) undertone, among other things.

As an aside, participants’ dumping of poor-performing hedges (which we talked about in our last letter) left them “less hedged” and markets far more susceptible to “core macro factors” like “the incremental effects” of liquidity, a negative at present, particularly after OPEX or August monthly options expiration.

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. According to The Macro Compass’ Alfonso Peccatiello, “QT is about to accelerate and the friendly dynamics behind the Fed balance sheet composition which helped risk assets stage a comeback rally in July are likely to fade away in Q4.”

And so, when the Fed’s Jerome Powell gave a message that they would stay tough on the war against inflation, the context was set for much larger trading ranges and increased potential for downside volatility.

Graphic: Text retrieved from Kai Volatility’s Second Quarter (2022) Market Commentary And Outlook. Annotated by Physik Invest’s Renato Leonard Capelj. Read about the second leg down phenomenon, here.

During the subsequent rollover, the shock from Fed comments bolstered demand for protection (i.e., options) and boosted implied volatility, accordingly.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. “There was a huge surge in large trader put buying in the equities space last week as per the OCC data.”

The reason being is that in a falling market, characterized by demand for put options, those who are on the other side of options trades, hedge in a manner that may pressure the market (i.e., the theory is that if customers buy puts, then counterparties sell puts + sell stock to hedge).

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

In our August 18, 2022 letter, we suggested wide Short Ratio Put Spreads would offer traders cheap but efficient exposure across very short time horizons. That trade panned out and, now, traders should be looking to monetize (i.e., turn to cash) these bets into any further declines.

Technical

As of 8:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, just 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 $4,064.00 RTH High pivot puts into play the $4,107.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,133.25 and $4,231.00 POCs, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,064.00 RTH High pivot puts into play the $4,006.25 ONL. Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $3,971.00 and $3,921.00 POCs, 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

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.

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.

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.

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 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 July 29, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 600+ that read this report daily, below!

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. 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.
Updates: Hey, team! I’m offering some updates on the letter and gauging your thoughts, if any.

Been incredibly busy juggling what is, basically, 3 jobs. Here’s a bit about me, if interested. That said, my attention has been elsewhere, to put it simply, so the letters have taken a bit of a hit. Sorry!

The few options I’ve been faced with include (1) lowering the frequency of letters to improve quality and/or (2) continuing pace but increasing simplicity for some time.

I’m aware that many rely on the key levels I provide, daily, as well as some of the narratives and trade ideas often included in the positioning section. Therefore, I’m soliciting feedback and will follow through with the consensus, if any. Have a great weekend!

Fundamental

The Fed’s preferred inflation measure – the personal consumption expenditure deflator (PCE) – is set to update. Per Bloomberg, this measure grew an annualized 7.1% for the second quarter. 

This is on the heels of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) interest rate hike aimed at reining inflation, as well as data that suggests the “drumbeat of recession” growing louder.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “GDP fell at a 0.9% annualized rate after a 1.6% decline in the first three months of the year []. Personal consumption, the biggest part of the economy, rose at a 1% pace, a deceleration from the prior period.”

Yelena Shulyatyeva and Eliza Winger, economists cited by Bloomberg, comment that the fall in GDP growth “raises the risk that the economy will fall into recession by year-end.”

However, based on the research and expert commentary set forth in past letters, the case is the economy may already be in recession.

Notwithstanding, what’s the impact on equity markets (i.e., now earnings compression)?

It’s the consensus that equity markets endured one of the sharpest de-rates in three decades as participants priced the compression in multiples on the rise in interest rates and flow of capital to capital markets – the quantitative tightening (QT) – component.

For context, beyond raising costs to borrow and innovate, higher interest rates may mean future discounted valuations are lower. Additionally, yield-hungry investors may seek less risky assets, now, given that their yields are more attractive.

Recall that in engaging in practices such as quantitative easing (QE), central banking authorities purchase assets from private sector entities through the creation of central bank reserves. The unwind of this through the QT exercise removes reserves from balance sheets either through asset sales or non-reinvestment of the principal sum of maturing securities.

In less complex terms, the Fed’s purchase of assets depressed their yields forcing investors into risk. Liquidity withdrawal ought to have the opposite effect, amplifying the impact of rate hikes.

Adding, per Joseph Wang, who we’ve quoted in the past, with bank deposits expected to drain ~1T by year-end, the competition for cash forces investors to continue “lower[ing] their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Accordingly, the “Fed will continue to hike interest rates until something breaks,” as explained by Andreas Steno Larsen. In ending forward guidance, “the Fed will rely even more on lagging indicators such as the unemployment rate and the monthly CPI report.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Andreas Steno Larsen. “Most leading indicators for inflation point (seriously) down, while early unemployment indicators are ticking up, but the Fed will not admit to it until risk assets have taken another beating.”

“Once unemployment starts increasing alongside weakening momentum in the inflation reports, it will likely be at least 3-6 months too late to pivot.”

The Eurodollar – which reflects the interest offered on U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at banks outside of the U.S. (i.e., participants’ outlook on interest rates) – curve is inverted and implies rate cuts ahead, “6-7 months from now.”

Given the above, portfolios can “stay away from highly speculative assets, own USD cash, and start allocating towards 5-10y+ government bonds,” as Alfonso Peccatiello explained well.

Context: A stronger dollar, on the tightening of liquidity and credit, as well as increased demand and competition for money, does more to pressure risk and, is an equity headwind. 

Additionally, per Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) research, "The simple math on S&P 500 earnings from currency is that for every percentage point increase on a year-on-year basis it’s [] a 0.5 hit to EPS growth.”

Positioning

For the past few sessions, we did much to unpack and understand some of the implications of participants’ market positioning.

In summation, own volatility where the market is likely to not expire. Sell it where the market is likely to expire. Just because implied (IVOL) volatility is at a high starting point does not mean it should be sold, blindly, particularly on the put side, below the market.

Read: Explanations and Applications – Moontower on Gamma.

Technical

As of 6:30 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 $4,111.00 RTH High puts into play the $4,149.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the $4,149.00 VPOC could reach as high as the $4,164.25 RTH High and $4,189.25 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $4,111.00 RTH High puts into play the $4,073.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,041.25 and $4,015.75 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.

Considerations: This week’s advance was strong, based on market internals. Given this information, the rally is to not be sold, blindly.

Graphic: Market Internals (Advance/Decline, Up-Volume/Down-Volume, Tick) 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.

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.

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 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 June 28, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 300+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures rotated higher, along with commodities. Implied volatility was bid. Bonds were lower. 

In the news were some changes to China’s COVID policies, the European Central Bank’s (ECB) intent to follow its peers and raise interest rates in July by 25 basis points, and the Group of Seven (G-7) leaders are talking about geopolitics and placing limitations on Russia. 

At home, mortgage lenders are turning “desperate” as soaring rates roil their industry. Some are bracing for a 20% reduction in business as 30-year mortgage rates level out below 5.75%.

Pursuant to some of our analyses last week, Scion Asset Management founder Michael Burry suggested a “supply gut at retail is the bullwhip effect.” More on this, later.

Ahead is data on trade in goods (8:30 AM ET), S&P Case-Shiller U.S. home price index (9:00 AM ET), consumer confidence index (10:00 AM ET), as well as updates by Federal Reserve (Fed) members (8:00 AM ET and 12:30 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: Though badly timed, last year ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood said inflation would be on its way out due in part to inventory build-ups and their impact on commodity prices.

Graphic: Via Societe Generale SA (OTC: SCGLY).

At the time, she asked whether the velocity of money was depressed given pent-up savings and demand for assets, putting forth disappointing GDP updates (which grew, mostly, on the back of inventories) and slightly negative retail final sales as support for her broader thesis. 

Recall happenings in real estate – the iBuying debacle – late last year. Wood said this: 

“This is unsustainable, … and I’m wondering if even the housing market inflation is going to give way, here.”

Participants were extending moneyness to nonmonetary assets, given monetary policies and an environment of debt and leverage that ultimately cuts into asset price volatility. Ultimately, these trends bolster the risks of carry when volatility does rise and the demand for money pushes deflation, particularly in asset prices.

Read: Daily brief for May 18, 2022.

Graphic: Via the Investment Company Institute. Taken from Joseph Wang. “Investors are selling everything for cash.”

With bank deposits to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, that volatility is happening, now, as investors “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Scion Asset Management’s Michael Burry nods at the “supply gut” in retail. Like Wood, he thinks that it is a deflationary pulse that manifests disinflation in consumer prices, prompting the Fed to reverse itself on rates and quantitative tightening (QT).

Read: DC’s Chartbook #16 on the “fundamental evolution in the global money markets.”

Graphic: Via Societe Generale SA (OTC: SCGLY).

That’s as Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar, who gained much attention this year on his bold market commentary, said the Fed is likely to change course as it “can only deal with nominal [and] not real chokepoints.” This is as “nominal balance sheet and liquidity trends will, at some point, clash with the realities of a garden variety of supply chain issues.”

Graphic: Via @BarnabeBearBull. “[L]ast week 18 Central Banks tightened their monetary policy (12% of all monitored CBs), including 4 of the top 9. Strongest move in a while.”

Positioning: Incredible is the still-depressed volatility skew we’ve talked about ad nauseam on.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from The Market Ear. “Overwriting longs and using the premium to buy downside protection is relatively cheaper now.”

It’s the strong supply of volatility. Participants are hedging, buying into volatility that is closer to current prices, and selling (skew) that which is farther out. 

The counterparts are long that volatility further out, which they may sell into declines, and all of this, together, “results in vol underperformance on market declines,” per Sergei Perfiliev.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Taken from TradingView. The top is S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). The second, from the top, is the Nations SkewDex (INDEX: SDEX), a clearer measure of options skew. The second from the bottom is the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX). The bottom is the Cboe VVIX index (INDEX: VVIX), a naive measure of skew.

For that reason, the volatility that the markets are realizing (RVOL) is heightened and, at times, in excess of that implied.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “SPX 6-month realized volatility is at a level rarely seen outside of major crises; current 6-month implied volatility has been exceeded in just 3 periods since 1940.”

As said, yesterday, given these dynamics, it makes sense to lean toward owning volatility, rather than selling it. A “higher starting point” in IVOL, and a still-present right-tail (from the positioning for a bear market rally), make it so we may position, for less cost, in short-dated structures with asymmetric payouts (call and put side), precisely as we’ve been talking about for half-a-year.

Graphic: Via Pat Hennessy. “[T]he performance of short-dated 1×2 put ratios in SPX this year. Despite being short the tail, the grind lower has been well captured by this trade structure.”

In the near term, from a positioning perspective, the front-running of quarter-end repositioning flow is (and is expected), in part, to add to the equity market upside.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR) on 6/24/2022. Multi-expiry skew in the Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ). Notice the v-shape in the shorter maturity and smirk in the longer maturity. Here’s what that means.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the mid-to-upper 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; activity above the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts in play the $3,943.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $3,982.75 LVNode and $4,016.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,909.25 MCPOC puts in play the $3,885.75 ONL. Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $3,821.50 LVNode and $3,793.25 Ledge, 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.

Balanced (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket) Trade The Status Quo: 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).

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.

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 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 May 27, 2022

The Daily Brief will be on pause till June 7, 2022, due to the author’s travel commitments. Apologies for this inconvenience.

What Happened

Overnight, U.S. equity index futures came off of their Thursday peaks before, late in the morning, trading to a new rally high, at which is a confluence of technical nuances.

Thursday’s cash session was characterized by a near-vertical advance into mid-day. Then, trade became two-sided, a feature of short-covering and not new buying. More on this, later.

In the news was Citigroup Inc’s (NYSE: C) downgrading of U.S. stocks on recession risks and the “elements of a deflating bubble,” while leaning optimistic on China assets due to marginal policy support, there. This is on the heels of similar conclusions put forward by BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

Mortgage rates staged their biggest drop since April of 2020 as “the housing market has clearly slowed, and the deceleration is spreading to other segments of the economy,” the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s (OTC: FMCC) Sam Khater explained.

In other news, Secretary of State Antony Blinken took aim at China, commenting on the U.S.’s intention to “shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance [its] vision for an open, inclusive international system.” This is as the U.S. also plans economic talks with Taiwan.

Pippa Malmgren, who is a former White House adviser and economist we wrote on earlier this week, discussed more of this decoupling and coordination among Eastern and Western powers.

In a two-part series, she explains the challenging of U.S. island bases by China and Russia, as well as their maritime strategies, “island hopping [and] shopping.” Check them out.

Today we received data on PCE inflation, real disposable and personal income, along with consumer spending and trade in goods (8:30 AM ET). University of Michigan Sentiment and five-year inflation expectations come later (10:00 AM ET).

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. 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: At its core, there’s a commitment to cutting liquidity and credit after the spending of COVID-era “benefits and lockdown savings … created a lot of demand,” and inflation.

Graphic: Via the Federal Reserve. Taken from Nasdaq Inc (NASDAQ: NDAQ). “Rates have risen dramatically this year, impacting valuations of stocks and bonds.”

This has consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept the deflationary pressures of prevailing monetary policies at bay.

Graphic: Taken from Nasdaq Inc. “At a very simple level, rising rates increase interest expenses, reducing profits. But they also cause investors, who can earn more interest on safe cash deposits, to demand stronger returns from all other investments too.”

As unpacked, in detail, on May 18, 2022, there is an argument that stock market drops are both a recession and a reflection of the unwind of carry (or investment in long-duration bets with cheap debt) – a deflationary shock.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Tighter financial conditions themselves are a clear success story for the Fed — it is the only way they can reduce inflationary pressures,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

“The Fed has a mandate … to control price stability,” Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan had explained.

“With supply-side economics, the only way that they can control this ultimately is to pull back. And slow capital markets decrease via the wealth effect. Ultimately, there’s a significant lag, so they are not in a position to ultimately control inflation without bringing down markets.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Of course, economic growth is a good thing. But too much of that good thing will just continue to stoke inflation. With that perspective in mind, the slowdown in surprises is positive.”

Accordingly, in our May 25, 2022 commentary, in which we discussed what to search for in the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Knowing that there’s a lag in policy impact, we accurately floated the potential for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to “shift gears” late this summer if further cooling of inflation and “evidence of a growth slowdown.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “After hitting a record above 3% last month, 10-year breakevens are on track for their biggest monthly drop since March 2020. The so-called five-year, five-year forward — the Fed’s favored measure — is set to post its biggest drop in May since August 2019.”

“Policy works with a lag,” as Diane Swonk of Grant Thorton explained. The Fed may pause as it seeks to “catch up but not outrun the market in its effort to tighten credit market conditions.” 

“There is still more progress to be made in bringing inflation expectations down to resonate with the Committee’s target, but current valuations are at least in the realm of acceptable,” Ian Lyngen, who is head of U.S. rates strategy at the Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO), said

“The market is showing some faith in Powell’s inflation-fighting creditability.”

Graphic: Taken from Nasdaq Inc. “Although inflation is high right now, it’s because of Covid and the Ukraine war. Both, hopefully, will pass, and 3%-4% inflation a year from now seems possible if the economy slows to a more normal level. In turn, that means the interest rate that keeps the U.S. economy growing slowly is likely much lower than we might currently be thinking. It might, in fact, be right around where bond rates are now.”

Concluding the fundamental section with remarks from a March 2022 Substack newsletter published by Andreas Steno Larsen of the Stenos Signals Substack.

“I simply don’t find >3.5% territory for the Fed Funds feasible as the hiking cycle peaked at 2.25-2.50% in 2018/2019 and fundamentals have worsened since. Debt loads are much higher, demographics have weakened, and the labour force is smaller, which suggests that the neutral rate is lower, not higher, than in 2018/2019.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “​​The swaps market and consensus forecasts to Bloomberg Economics both imply considerably faster rate hikes, while Bloomberg’s own forecast is more hawkish still.”

Positioning: Per Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) notes, investors poured nearly $20 billion into global stocks (in the week to May 25, 2022).

As I wrote in a SpotGamma note, notable was the reversal in beaten-down areas of the market, as well as the implosion at the front-end of the volatility term structure, affecting protection most sensitive to changes in direction and volatility.

The Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of the VIX or the volatility of volatility (a naive but useful measure of skew), dropped off markedly, too, in comparison to the VIX, itself.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Taken from TradingView. VVIX, top. VIX, bottom.

Further, as stated in SpotGamma’s note, a “falling VVIX (and VIX term structure drop off) may be the product of a collapse in the value of customers’ long put exposures concentrated in very short-dated timeframes (potentially exposures hedging tail risks with respect to the release of FOMC minutes, among other things).”

“It is then as the skew, here, decays, and term structure compresses, that liquidity providers buy back their hedges to the puts they are short (i.e., the vanna dynamic pointed to, earlier).”

This market-generated information helps us give context to this most recent equity market rally that is characterized by a little change in demand for bets on upside further in price and time 

All else equal, this is not a feature of sustainable market rallies.

Why you ask?

Those names that have been most depressed, and are now reversing, were recipients of heavy demand for protection in the months prior.

For this reason – participants being well hedged – selling was orderly, rather than violent as in past episodes of market shock when the reach for protection solicited a cascading reaction that exacerbated underlying price movements due to liquidity providers’ hedging.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research.

The large drop off in term structure, as well as the VVIX versus the VIX, is affecting protection most sensitive to changes in direction and volatility and the unwind of liquidity providers’ short futures and stock hedges to this protection is, in part, playing into this internally weak rally.

So, what? How do you play this? Good question.

It still may make sense to have exposure to underlying markets, synthetically (i.e., own options), as detailed, well, May 25, 2022. Read that letter for detail on how to think about trade structure.

Technical: As of 6:45 AM ET, Friday’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 $4,069.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,095.00 ONH. Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,119.00 VPOC and $4,148.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,069.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,997.75 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as low as the $3,982.75 LVNode and $3,951.00 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.

Definitions

Overnight Highs And Lows (ONH and ONL): 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.

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 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 May 26, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 300+ that read this report daily, below!

Separately, the Daily Brief will be on pause from May 30, 2022, to June 7, 2022, due to the author’s overseas travel commitments. Apologies for the inconvenience and happy trading!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were divergent, albeit nearly flat, after Wednesday’s release of minutes to the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting were less hawkish than expected, bolstering a small expansion of the range to the upside.

Though higher prices were held at the index level, some products like Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) were lower after issuing updates on its production. Yesterday, it was social media and advertising businesses like Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) that fell on forecasts for meager growth.

In other news, Sequoia Capital warned that the current environment for founders is a “crucible moment,” and there is no indication good times will return soon. 

Pursuant to that belief, we have firms like Klarna and Bolt, who just began laying off employees, preparing for slower growth and focusing on “short-term profitability.”

A chief concern, among participants at the World Economic Forum, beyond a global recession and inflation, is the potential for ongoing conflicts to cause “mass starvation” and “political instability around the world.”

Today we get updates on jobless claims, real gross domestic product, and income, as well as final sales to domestic purchasers (8:30 AM ET). Later, pending home sales (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: As was suggested could happen in Wednesday’s pre-market letter, the Federal Reserve (Fed) indicated potential policy flexibility, later this year.

Per the most recent FOMC minutes, officials are determined to achieve price stability with “50 basis-point increases in the target range … at the next couple of meetings.”

“Many participants judged that expediting the removal of policy accommodation would leave the committee well-positioned later this year to assess the effects of policy firming and the extent to which economic developments warranted policy adjustments.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “​​The swaps market and consensus forecasts to Bloomberg Economics both imply considerably faster rate hikes, while Bloomberg’s own forecast is more hawkish still.”

Accordingly, finalized were balance sheet reduction plans. Starting June 1, 2022, Treasury holdings will decline by $30 billion per month, rising to $60 billion per month in September. 

Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) holdings will shrink by $17.5 billion per month, ultimately rising to $35 billion, in accordance with our post-FOMC letter published May 5, 2022.

As stated, previously, with QT, central banks remove assets from their balance sheet either through outright sales or the non-reinvestment of the principal sum of maturing securities.

“QT is a direct flow of capital to capital markets” and the prospects of withdrawing this liquidity, when revealed in December’s FOMC meeting minutes, was what fed into a retreat from risk.

Graphic: Via Reuters.

Overall, the minutes left the tone unchanged and reaffirmed the Fed’s commitment to stable prices.

Bloomberg’s John Authers concludes, well: “If inflation should look as though it might fail to get down even to the revised forecast of 4.3% by the end of the year, there’s still a possibility that the Fed will have to be more hawkish than it currently intends, not less.”

“But at least the path until the end of summer looks clear.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Positioning: We’re carrying forward remarks from notes earlier this week as there has been a limited change in tone.

Based on current positioning, most products we monitor continue to trade in an environment that solicits more volatile hedging of put open interest and realized volatility (RVOL). This is because, naively, we look at participants as mainly owning protection to the downside. 

So, they have asymmetric (positive gamma) exposure to the downside (negative delta). On the other side, liquidity providers have a negative gamma and positive delta that they must sell into weakness and buy into strength underlying to hedge.

It is at a certain juncture, far above current prices (i.e., Zero Gamma), that the volatile effects of hedging this put open interest begin to cool. It is above these levels that participants’ exposure to calls solicits increased hedging activities which promote stability and less volatility.

Graphic: Via Tier1Alpha. “Spot SPX is currently over -8.55% below the gamma flipping point, a distance similar to the drawdown at the end of 2018. We’ll have to see quite a reverse in trend before a substantial regime shift can take place.”

It’s because, naively, we look at participants as financing their bets on the downside with call exposure. On the other side, liquidity providers, then, have a positive gamma and delta trade they hedge by buying into weakness and selling into strength.

We’re definitely not there yet but, based on remarks in past letters (e.g., stretched market and investors bidding “skew on the call side” amid their “fear of missing on the upside”), this letter’s author continues leaning toward strategies that have little to lose in case of further implied volatility (IVOL) compression or weakness into the June FOMC and OPEX.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “[C]all positions were added [above] $4,000.00, with $4,100.00 [and] $4,200.00 adding 10k + 15k [in open interest] respectively. That’s not huge, but it was enough to kink the gamma curve in an interesting way.”

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,951.00 VPOC puts in play the $3,997.75 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,061.00 VPOC and $4,095.00 ONH, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,951.00 VPOC puts in play the $3,909.25 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $3,863.25 LVNode and $3,831.00 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.

Definitions

Overnight Highs And Lows (ONH and ONL): 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 value tests 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 May 19, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 300+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures continued lower as weakness spread overseas. Commodities were mixed and yields were lower. At a high-level, measures of implied volatility held their bid.

Apart from the removal of structural forces underpinning a rally into mid-week, earnings reports played into “fears of the consequences of if inflation is brought under control,” per Bloomberg.

Ahead is data on jobless claims and manufacturing (8:30 AM ET). Later, existing home sales and leading economic indicators (10:00 AM ET). No events are scheduled for tomorrow.

Graphic updated 8:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: On the heels of Target reporting lower profits on costs and tighter margins, the beloved Cathie Wood of Ark Invest chimed in with a note on an explosion in inventories. Late last year, we quoted Wood suggesting businesses were scrambling to increase inventories.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Target announced that sales were up, but profit was down thanks to increasing costs and tightening margins. Also like Walmart the day before, the market rewarded the stock with its biggest one-day decline since the Black Monday crash of October 1987. That’s alarming, although it’s worth pointing out that Target had been a conspicuous beneficiary of the pandemic to date.”

Though early, she said inflation would eventually be on its way out and inventory build-ups were one of the indicators to watch.

“Walmart Inc’s (NYSE: WMT) inventories increased 33% in nominal terms on a year over year basis, translating into 20-25% in real or unit terms, as Target Corporation’s (NYSE: TGT) inventories increased by 42% and 30-35%, respectively,” Wood said.

At the same time, sentiment has plunged to Great Recession levels, all the while consumers are “rebelling against their loss of purchasing power,” and China is in turmoil (talked about May 16).

These comments play into the recession narratives we unpacked earlier this week (May 17 and May 18). Monetary policies sent money to capital and that bolstered deflationary trends. 

Then came the pandemic and the increasing effects of inequality; money was sent to labor, and that bolstered inflationary trends.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Overall wage increases were 6% in April, for the second month running — too high for the Fed’s comfort but at least with no increase. It is the least well paid who are commanding the highest percentage rises.”

As we quoted Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explaining, today’s contractionary monetary policy is a blunt tool and is not equipped to “address the main problem which is a lack of supply to absorb the demand.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “China appears to be gradually easing its lockdown of Shanghai, but that won’t bring immediate relief to global supply-chain congestion.”

Likewise, Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar explained what he felt was “the Fed is pursuing demand destruction through negative wealth effects,” as the “central banks can only deal with nominal” chokepoints.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from The Market Ear. “A stronger dollar, lower equity prices, and higher mortgage rates will weigh on demand growth [and] Over time weaker output demand should lead to weaker labor demand Don’t fight the Fed as this is what Fed wants (slower growth).”

By that token, we must “[c]onsider at least the possibility that the extreme volatility and lack of liquidity [we] see in markets is by design, and the Fed will not be deterred by it, but rather that it will be emboldened by it in its singular pursuit of price stability.”

Why does any of this matter? 

As quoted, yesterday, “[w]ith supply-side economics, the only way that they can control [price stability] is to pull back. And slow capital markets decrease via the wealth effect. Ultimately, there’s a significant lag, so [the Fed is] not in a position to ultimately control inflation without bringing down markets.”

By that token, a stock market drop is both a recession and a direct reflection of the unwind of global carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s sentiment, the gradual build-up of inventories, tightening of financial conditions, and the like, are a reflection of this.

Graphic: Via Guggenheim Partners. Taken from MarketWatch. The “ Fed is headed toward overtightening financial conditions just as employment show some softness.”

Perspectives: Recall that the indexes are trading relatively strong, in comparison to constituents, especially those that are smaller technology and growth companies.

Essentially, “we’re two-thirds of the way through a dot-com type collapse,” we quoted Simplify Asset Management’s Mike Green explaining.

“It’s just happened underneath the surface of the indices which is [that] … dynamic of passive flows supporting the largest stocks within the index, whereas the smaller stocks can be influenced to a greater extent by the behavior of discretionary managers.”

Pursuant to those remarks, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Marko Kolanovic says there are significant opportunities in the beaten areas of the market.

“I almost refuse to talk about ‘where should I buy S&P?’” he said adding that “[m]ost of the bad things have happened already this year.”

“There will be no recession this year, some summer increase in consumer activity on the back of reopening, China increasing monetary and fiscal measures.”

Per the earlier quoted Pozsar, Kolanovic, like Wood, maybe too early in his calls.

“Banks’ stock buybacks are lowering SLRs [], and the Fed is about to embark on QT,” Pozsar says. For context, QT (Quantitative Tightening) is the central banking authorities’ removal of balance sheet assets via sales or the non-reinvestment of the principal sum of maturing securities. 

The dynamic is as follows: if bonds are sold, their values fall and yields rise, thus pushing yield-hungry investors into less risky asset categories.

“These nominal balance sheet and liquidity trends, will at some point clash with the realities of a garden variety of supply chain issues,” as a result of geopolitical chokepoints.

Graphic: Per Bloomberg, “[E]very $1 trillion of QT will equate to a decline of roughly 10% in stocks over the next 12 months or so.”

Given Pozsar’s findings, the Fed is likely to do QE again in the summer of 2023. 

Checking Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE), a reflection of participants’ outlook for U.S. interest rates, shows the peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – at around June 2023.

Positioning: This week’s expiration of options on the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), per SpotGamma, pulled forward the positive effects of volatility compression heading into the large May monthly equity and index options expiration (OPEX).

“Barring a forced re-pricing, we saw what was already little fuel to the upside drained into the weighty VIX options expiration (as bets on the VIX decay, this leads to hedging that bolsters S&P 500 upside),” SpotGamma said. 

“Following this event (and the coming monthly May OPEX), we see the door open to lower prices amid the removal of “max put” positioning which “clears the way for lower-lows.”

Heading into the monthly OPEX, if the S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) is well below $4,000.00, “the buyback of short futures to short put exposures that no longer require liquidity providers to hedge,” may bolster a sharp reversal.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. Taken from The Market Ear. “Deep short gamma where dealers are trapped in selling low and buying high and the poor liquidity environment, where the pushing of deltas (both ways) gets even more magnified due to non-existent volumes. This dynamic works both ways.”

Technical: As of 8:30 AM ET, Thursday’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, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,862.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $3,908.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,061.00 virgin point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,862.75 LVNode puts in play the $3,836.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNodes could reach as low as the $3,795.75 and $3,727.25 HVNodes, 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

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.

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.

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 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.