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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 16, 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 auctioned lower after a failed attempt to solicit strong buying on a break of Friday’s regular trade high. 

Coincidentally, after a test of an anchored volume-weighted average price level, some measures from China had traders concerned about global growth, and that fed into a risk-off sentiment and probe further into Friday’s range.

Moreover, ahead is data on Empire State Manufacturing (8:30 AM ET).

Today, we add light context to our narratives with an aim to elaborate further in letters later this week. Take care!

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: Data from China shows contraction in light of COVID-19 troubles.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s John Authers explains that a contracting China “would be a deflationary force for the rest of the world.”

Graphic: Via Stenos Signals. “China imports vs. Commodities – the most important macro chart in the world right now.”

Andreas Steno Larsen, of the Stenos Signals letter, recently talked about this “lack of economic activity in China,” as well as “slowing demand in the West,” both of which are to “lead inflation expectations lower.”

Graphic: Via CrossBorder Capital. “Latest weekly Fed liquidity injections and the S&P 500. Bigger the bull, the harder they fall? Fed trying to crash [the] economy to kill inflation [and] Wall Street is the victim.”

Notwithstanding, the Federal Reserve (Fed) remains on track “to deliver substantial QT and rate hiking,” all the while investors “hold a relatively risk-friendly position in equities and credits.”

Graphic: Via Societe Generale SA (OTC: SCGLY). Taken from The Market Ear.

Steno Larsen explains: “That disconnect [between sentiment and exposure to risk] will have to wane before I truly dare to re-add risk asset exposure to my list of recommendations.”

Graphic: Via @TheBondFreak. University of Michigan Sentiment.

Pursuant to that remark, Authers notes that the latest Chinese data emboldens the risks of a recession which Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar explains is not enough.

“[T]he risk of recession, whether it is real or merely implied by an inversion of the yield curve, won’t deter the Fed from hiking rates higher faster or from injecting more volatility to build up negative wealth effects, and signs of a recession might not mean immediate rate cuts to ramp demand back up.”

“Rallies could beget more forceful pushback from the Fed – the new game.”

Graphic: Via @TheBondFreak. “2/10s spread has delivered its message. The long end is beginning to trend lower. NOW…it’s time to start watching the 3m/10yr spread, which will likely invert as the Fed continues with its rate hikes to kill demand, cause a recession, but “us” from inflation.”

Per Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), baseline forecasts assume “no recession” and imply the S&P 500’s P/E ends unchanged at 17x. 

“A recession would see the index fall by 11% to $3,600.00 as the P/E drops to 15x.”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Taken from The Market Ear. A recession brings S&P 500 to $3,600.00.

Positioning: Early on Friday morning, we approached trade too optimistically but, to our credit, we focused on participating with as little risk as possible, via the use of complex strategies, as validated by quoted research.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The VIX’s “high starting point leaves vol high overall, and we like strategies with a short volatility bias, including put selling and 1×2 call spread overlays.”

Heading into Monday’s regular trade, little has changed and indexes are holding well, relative to some constituents.

This is as participants are hedged and volatility markets remain well-supplied, due in part to suppressive volatility selling, as well as passive flows supporting the largest index constituents.

Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan hypothesizes: “If a meaningful [volatility] event has happened within the last year, participants are more likely to be prepared for the move. So the ‘2nd event’ dramatically underperforms [implied volatility] skew expectations.”

“Take Jan/Feb 2016, Oct-Dec 2018, &…Sep 2020? All these ‘2nd Events’ ended up being as meaningful as their 1st events, if not more, for markets, but were much more orderly [and] accompanied by poor [volatility] performance.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “For all the recent declines — the S&P 500 is down more than 13% from its high on March 29 — stress indicators also aren’t at levels seen during comparable slumps. Fewer than 30% of the benchmark’s members have hit a one-year low, compared with nearly 50% during the growth scare in 2018 and 82% during the global financial crisis in 2008.”

Given the aforementioned supply and demand dynamic, we continue to observe “divergence in the volatility (movement of underlying equity market up and down) realized, versus that which is implied by options activity,” SpotGamma says. 

Graphic: Via @HalfersPower. “1 day return distribution when QQQ ROC[1] > 3.7%. Historically you can expect the weakest relative mean forward returns, and second-highest mean realized volatility amongst deciles.”

For “divergences in volatility realized and implied to resolve, it would likely take forced selling. Liquidity providers’ response to demand for protection would, then, likely exacerbate the move and aid in the repricing of volatility to levels where there would be more stored energy to catalyze a rally.”

All else equal, SpotGamma adds, there is no catalyst to rally until the May 20, 2022 options expiration (OPEX). Till then, rallies are subject to failure.

Graphic: Via SqueezeMetrics. Updated May 13, 2022. “VIX compressing to 30 on a modest pre-market rally with dealer gamma exposure more negative than it’s been in years is not how you get sustained rallies—it’s how you get energy for bigger downside moves.”

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,013.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,036.00 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the $4,069.25 high volume area (HVNode) could reach as high as the HVNode and $4,119.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,013.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,3978.50 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,943.25 HVNode and $3,899.00 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

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 13, 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 indices probed higher, above Thursday’s trade, which established a new swing low. The Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) fell while yields were bid and commodities mixed.

Today, we’ll get into some key narratives including crypto turmoil and financial conditions, as well as a validation of some of our trade theses.

Ahead is data on import prices (8:30 AM ET), University of Michigan consumer sentiment and inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Neel Kashkari (11:00 AM ET).

Take care and watch your risk.

Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range./ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: In the news, panic in the cryptocurrency markets eased and Tether (CRYPTO: USDT-USD), the world’s largest stablecoin, backed by commercial paper and U.S. Treasuries, climbed back to par.

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Teresa Ho said there would be little impact on traditional funding markets while, according to Barclays PLC’s (NYSE: BCS) Joseph Abate, redemptions in Tether, which has a market value just shy of $90-100 billion, would only “cause meaningful strains in money markets should they exceed half of the stablecoin’s total holdings.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Also in the news are rising interest rates (e.g., mortgage rates up to ~5.30%) and a weak equity market (e.g., S&P 500 lower ~20%), among other things, feeding into a tightening of financial conditions (which is how monetary policy impacts the economy).

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

“Financial conditions for households and businesses wanting to borrow or raise capital tightened again last week and are the most restrictive since the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and before that 2012,” Reuters’ John Kemp said.

Graphic: Via John Kemp.

This is as inflation has become “deeply embedded,” spreading from the energy and raw materials-intensive merchandise sector to services.

Graphic: Via John Kemp.

“Rapid service sector price increases usually signal the imminent arrival of a recession,” Kemp said, pointing to decisions by some public companies like Uber Inc (NYSE: UBER), Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR), and Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) to slow growth and cut labor forces as a validation of slowing momentum.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “I think we’re primed for a big distressed supply surge,” said Phil Brendel, a distressed debt analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. “Everyone gets comfortable and complacent on credit and then when it turns, you tend to see these massive spikes.”

The accelerated selling of equities (~$6.2 billion), bonds (~11.4 billion), cash (~$19.7 billion), and some commodities (~$1.8 billion in gold), over the last week, per Bank of America Corporation’s (NYSE: BAC) Michael Hartnett is capitulation. 

“The definition of true capitulation is investors selling what they love,” Hartnett said, gauging the prospects that stocks have hit a near-term bottom. “Fear and loathing suggest stocks are prone to an imminent bear market rally, but we do not think ultimate lows have been reached.”

Positioning: In past commentaries, we talked about ways to play a returns distribution that is skewed to the upside (albeit, with large negative outliers).

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. A higher DIX/GEX ratio has historically been associated with S&P 500 outperformance in the subsequent month. A very low DIX/GEX ratio has historically been associated with positive S&P 500 performance in the subsequent month, though there are many more negative outliers.

The following Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) remark is a validation of what we’ve discussed:

“Even though the VIX’s reaction to recent spot downside has been mild, its high starting point leaves vol high overall, and we like strategies with a short volatility bias, including put selling and 1×2 call spread overlays.”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Taken from The Market Ear.

Mainly, zero- and low-cost bets ($0.00-$1.00 debit to open) that deliver asymmetric payouts (sometimes in excess of $10.00 credit to close) in case of violent and short-lived reversals. 

Personally, this letter’s author is structured positive delta and gamma in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) via ratios spread (1×2) and butterfly (1x2x1) structures.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research, the return profile, at expiry, of a classic 1×2 (long 1, short 2 further away) ratio spread.

As stated before, width and timing are everything. 

Too much time or too narrow may result in asymmetric losses when the demand for upside bets further out in price and time bids the skew that you’re short, relative to the at-the-money volatility you own.

Ten to fifteen days to expiration and 500-1000 points wide, in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), one of the hardest hit of the indexes, work well. 

An easy check is whether the spread prices for a debit or credit to close if the underlying moves to the long strike of the spread, all else equal.

Debits (which may run as low as $0.00, depending on trade location) can be offset with credits from put sales.

Graphic: Chart of the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX).

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, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a higher potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,978.50 low volume node (LVNode) puts into play the $4,011.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,069.25 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,119.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,978.50 LVNode puts into play the $3,943.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,899.00 VPOC and $3,862.75 LVNode, 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: Gap scenarios are in play.

Gaps ought to fill quickly. Should they not, that’s a signal of strength; do not fade. Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator.

Auctioning and spending at least 1-hour of trade back in the prior range suggests a lack of conviction; in such a case, do not follow the direction of the most recent initiative activity.

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.

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 12, 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 auctioned lower, mostly, alongside most commodities and crypto.

Notable is how orderly the selling has been, particularly in the equity space. That’s due in part to suppressive volatility selling, as well as passive flows supporting the largest index constituents.

The fundamental narrative has changed little. Chief among participants’ worries are growth and inflation, the monetary response to the two, as well as chokepoints not limited to supply chains.

Ahead is data on jobless claims and the producer price index (8:30 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Mary Daly (4:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 7:15 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: In Wednesday’s morning letter, we talked about the expectations for annual inflation to have peaked and month-on-month inflation to have risen a small amount.

Per Bloomberg, “the broader CPI rose 0.3% from the prior month and 8.3% on an annual basis, a slight cooling but still among the highest readings in decades.”

Stocks were sold, after, on the limited change to the broader fundamental outlook. The hardest hit was growth and technology, including cryptocurrency. 

“Now that central banks are unwinding monetary support, growth stocks’ valuations have further to fall,” Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) strategists including Robert Buckland said

Notwithstanding, “any stabilization in nominal yields should eventually help to stabilize real yields and hence equity valuations.” 

This is because higher rates play into bigger discounts on future profit.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Positioning: Orderly selling continues.

Despite falling about the same distance (peak to present low) during the equity market rout of 2020, selling, this time around is steady and there is no panic, and that’s partly the result of there being “plenty of put-buyers, but nearly as many sellers,” according to SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, using off-exchange short sales as a proxy for buying activity, we see implicit buying support, and that’s due in part to “passive flows” which ultimately end up “supporting the largest stocks,” hence the index’s strength versus smaller (and much weaker) constituents.

Taken together, some metrics this letter often looks to for insight into the potential distribution of future returns, carry less weight; it’s odds and when the largest stocks succumb to fundamental weaknesses, for lack of a better way of expressing it, that likely takes the indexes with it.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. A higher DIX/GEX ratio has historically been associated with S&P 500 outperformance in the subsequent month. A very low DIX/GEX ratio has historically been associated with positive S&P 500 performance in the subsequent month, though there are many more negative outliers.

Moreover, with the S&P 500’s break of $4,000.00, an area around which there is a lot of open interest, particularly on the put side, “increases capitulation risk” in the case participants start reaching for protection and indirectly taking from market liquidity as liquidity providers sell into weakness to hedge.

Notwithstanding, later this month is a large options expiration (OPEX), and expected is the roll-off of a large amount of put-heavy negative gamma. Per Pat Hennessy of IPS Strategic Capital, returns one to two weeks prior are skewed bullish.

Ways to participate in upside, while limiting downside, markedly, were discussed on May 10. Making money is one thing. Not losing money is another.

Lose less when wrong. Make more when right.
Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

Technical: As of 6:45 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 $3,907.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $3,943.25 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,011.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,069.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,907.75 MCPOC puts in play the $3,862.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,862.75 LVNode could reach as low as the $3,816.75 and $3,780.75 LVNodes, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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 March 3, 2022

Editor Note: In light of travel commitments, there will be no Daily Brief published tomorrow, March 4, 2022. Thank you for the support and see you next week!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were sideways to lower while commodity and bond products remained bid. Cross-asset volatility measures remain heightened in the face of uncertainties with respect to geopolitical tensions and monetary policy action.

To note, in light of the economic war waged on Russia, participants received positive news from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell who ruled out a 50 basis-point hike.

Moreover, ahead is data on jobless claims, productivity, labor costs (8:30 AM ET), ISM services, factory orders, core capital equipment orders, and Fed-speak by Jerome Powell (10:00 AM ET), as well as John Williams (6:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Positioning: Skipping the fundamentals section and will follow up on (and add to) some notes established in Wednesday’s commentary.

Mainly, cross-asset volatility is spiking as investors are seeking protection against the uncertainties posed by geopolitical tensions and monetary policy action.

Graphic: Via @EffMktHype. “Rate vol through the roof, FX picking up steam while equity vol arguably still cheap in comparison despite being at the high end of its 1-year end.”

As explained, however, the equity market’s pricing of risk (which we can take as being reflected by the CBOE Volatility Index [INDEX: VIX]) is not moving lock-step with that of measures in FX and rate markets.

“The fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another; regardless of the cause, it seems that equity and bond market participants are not (quite) on the same page,” is the direct quote.

In the subsequent text, I did little to mention the implications of liquidity supply at the index level. This realization came to me while writing some commentary for SpotGamma (who just launched its Hedging-Impact of Real-Time Options indicator or HIRO).

Moreover, the evolving monetary frameworks and intention to take from the max liquidity – which pushed participants out of the risk curve and promoted a divergence from fundamentals – has the effect of removing market excesses that have found their way into volatility markets.

Graphic: Taken from The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. Annual listed option volumes.

Taking a look at the U.S. high yield OAS (option-adjusted spread), participants see a “risk-off” bottom; deteriorating credit conditions are a bearish leading indicator and that’s likely been reflected by the bond market’s pricing of risk (but not equity markets, as noted above).

Graphic: Via St. Louis Fed. ICE BoA High YIeld OAS.

Tempering equity market volatility is likely supply, particularly at the index level, whereas elsewhere, at the single-stock level, underlying components are volatile.

As explained in the SpotGamma note: “We’re using the VIX as a proxy for equity market volatility while underlying components are actually very volatile.” 

“There is a decline in correlation, and this is due to suppressive counterparty hedging of the most dominant customer positioning.”

The dominant positioning at the index level is best explained as follows:

  • Customers have positive directional (delta) exposure to the equity markets.
  • The indexes (in which there are tax advantages, cash-settlement, among other things) provide participants exposure to a diversified and liquid hedge, easy to get in and out of.
  • To hedge positive delta exposure against drops, customers will purchase downside put protection. Puts carry a negative delta and their gains are multiplied to the downside (positive gamma). 
  • To reduce the cost of this hedge, they sell upside call protection (also a negative delta trade). This “offset” so to speak can be initiated as a ratio to the protection carried on the downside (e.g., 2 calls for 1 put, and so on), and this feeds into skewness, also.

Options counterparties, who are on the other side of this customer activity, have positive exposure to direction. 

In selling a put, the dealer has positive exposure to the direction (meaning the position makes money, all else equal, with trade higher), but their losses are multiplied with movement to the downside (negative gamma). 

To hedge this put exposure, all else equal, they must sell into weakness and buy strength.

On the call side, however, the counterparty has positive exposure to delta and gamma (meaning gains are multiplied to the upside).

To hedge this call exposure, all else equal, they must buy into weakness and sell strength.

When, in the normal course of action, protection decays (given that time and volatility trend to zero), counterparty positive delta exposure decreases.

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

This solicits the buy-back of short futures hedges (static negative delta against dynamic positive delta options exposure) that can support the market.

As we’ve seen, a feature of falling markets is the demand for protection. When this protection is monetized (or decay ensues), options counterparties add to the market liquidity (i.e., buying back short futures hedges).

A feature of rising markets is the supply of protection (and more active hedging of call options). 

Further, as markets rise, volatility falls. Participants’ demand for yield drives participants further out the risk curve (i.e., they sell more volatility) and this can solicit even more supply.

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

As explained in the SpotGamma note: “The counterparty is left carrying more positive exposure to delta and gamma (meaning gains are multiplied to the upside). As time and volatility trend to zero, the sensitivity of these options to underlying price (gamma) increases.”

“When gamma increases, counterparties add more liquidity (i.e., sell [buy] more into strength [weakness] against increasing [decreasing] positive delta exposure).”

Amidst this most recent leg higher, volatility has fallen (some) and the heavily-demanded put protection amidst earlier trade lower has solicited decreased hedging. The buyback of hedges has bolstered sideways to higher trade.

Pursuant to that remark, however, participants are still adding to their negative delta options exposure. They’re doing this via call sales (downward sloping HIRO line, below).

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator.

Moreover, given the build in open interest in options at higher strike prices – through naive assumptions and data collected from HIRO, among other measures – we surmise options counterparties are tending to add to the market liquidity and this is stabilizing.

Graphic: Updated 3/2/2022. There is rising interest in options at higher strike prices.

“As the highly-demanded put protection decays, dealers have less exposure to positive delta. To re-hedge this, dealers buy back (cover) existing short (negative-delta) futures hedges,” SpotGamma further explains. “At the same time, as markets trend higher, … the additional interest in options participants supplied on the call side solicits increased hedging.”

From above, we surmise counterparties are long and therefore tend to sell (buy) into strength amid increasing (decreasing) positive delta exposure. 

As short-dated activity clusters in the area just north of the most recent week-long consolidation area, and this protection decays, dealer exposure to positive delta (gamma) falls (rises). 

“Taken together, dealers add to the market liquidity. When there is rising liquidity, volatility (a measure of how ample liquidity is) falls.”

It is options market activity and associated hedging – the supply of liquidity – that’s tempering equity market volatility relative to that of rates and FX.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “There’s been a big pop in put volumes for the higher yield bond ETFs: JNK, HYG, and LQD. This syncs with the idea this sell-off is based mainly on rates with a side of geopolitics.”

Hope that better explains index-level volatility and the decline in correlation by constituents.

As an aside, these forces are, too, amplified by the general trend toward “passive” investing. This is a topic for another time, though.

Graphic: Per Nasdaq, “we’ve seen patches of retail selling of stocks that have mostly lasted for less than a week (blue bars in Chart 2). Interestingly, ETFs (yellow bars) remained net buy every single day, albeit at lower levels than usual in the last week of January.”

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 middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket): Rotational trade that denotes current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Balance-areas make it easy to spot a change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend). 

Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,395.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,464.75 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,395.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,346.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,346.75 could reach as low as the $4,285.50 HVNode and $4,227.75 overnight low (ONL), 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.

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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