Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For September 4, 2021

Editor’s Note: Before getting into today’s commentary, we take a moment to reflect on the following quote taken from page 123 of The Disciplined Trader by Mark Douglas. 

“For years, many people in the academic community believed that the markets were random; this is a perfect example of their general lack of understanding of human nature. People act as a force on prices in perfectly logical ways, when you understand the logic of their fears.”

Also, given Labor Day, markets are closed Monday, September 6. As a result, Daily Briefs will resume Tuesday, September 7. Thank you and have a great extended weekend!

Market Commentary

Equity index futures traded sideways to higher last week.

  • Reality throwing a wrench in seasonality.
  • Ahead: Light calendar to base decisions.
  • Equity indices rising; SPX above 50-day.
  • Positioning risks mount case for volatility.
  • A couple trade ideas for the week ahead.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned mostly sideways to higher, into Friday’s nonfarm payrolls miss.

Next week participants have a light calendar to base decisions around.

Graphic updated 10:30 AM ET 9/4/2021. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect: During the prior week’s trade, on mostly lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by new all-time highs in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. 

This is significant because the sideways to higher trade marks acceptance, or a willingness to transact at higher prices after a v-pattern recovery, above the key 50-day simple moving average.

V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation.
Graphic: S&P 500 maintaining prices above the 50-day simple moving average. This moving average can be looked at as a key dynamic level on any move lower. Losing that particular level likely changes the tone.

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

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory

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

Given this divergence from the norm, advances are not “welcomed and may lead to a quick right tail hedging … [as] option volume notional is 120% of stock volume notional.” 

To put it simply, an increased share of options being traded expires within two weeks. The hedging of these directionally sensitive options can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks. 

As a result, option flows impact the underlying’s price, markedly. 

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

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

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. Based on his analysis, Pat sees that the “2 weeks prior to OPEX (e.g., 7/30/21 to 8/6/21 in this late-cycle) [have] been extremely bullish.”

With the August monthly OPEX behind us, the focus shifts now to September. At and around the same time, Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) Michael Wilson expects a formal signal (which would align with Karsan’s window of non-strength) on the taper of asset purchases, that could lead to a mid-cycle transition and possibly an S&P 500 correction.

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

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down S&P 500 OPEX returns. Pat sees that “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since.”

Adding, the eventual reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – a removal of liquidity – may exacerbate any sort of risk-off scenario in which participants try to get ahead of whatever cascading reaction may come with a taper.

As Karsan explains: “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

SpotGamma – in a September 2, 2021 note – echoed the possibility of volatility; “markets are fast approaching a window of volatility which could produce some pretty sharp volatility: 9/15 VIX expiration, 9/17 Quarterly OPEX and the 9/22 FOMC. This lineup is particularly interesting as we believe that expiration leads to a pickup in volatility – however, traders may hold the pause button on selling that volatility due to the FOMC. This could catch less sophisticated vol sellers off guard and lead to some exacerbated volatility.”

Others, like SqueezeMetrics – which sees “the current combination of weak put flows and large customer vanna exposure” as fragile – suggest that volatility risks have risen, too.

Given the big picture context (i.e., status quo – higher prices – in the face of volatility risks) participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,527.75 high volume area (HVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,550.00 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the Fibonacci extensions at $4,556.25 and $4,592.25.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,527.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,510.00 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as low as the $4,495.00 and $4,481.75 HVNodes.

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

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 10:30 AM ET 9/4/2021.

Weekly Trade Ideas

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

Options offer an efficient way to gain directional exposure. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trade Idea 1: SELL -1 1/2 BACKRATIO GOOGL 100 17 SEP 21 2770/2670 PUT @.15 LMT

I’m neutral on Alphabet Inc and I think the stock may travel sideways to lower over the next couple of weeks, toward $2,770.00, or the volume-weighted average price anchored from the July 28 gap. I will structure a spread below the current stock price, expiring in 2 weeks. I will buy the 2770 put option once (+1) and sell the 2670 put option twice (-2) for a $0.15 credit. Should the stock not move to my target, I keep the $15 credit. Should it move to $2,670.00 I could make $10,015.00 at expiry. Should the stock move past $2,570.00 or so, I may incur unlimited losses. My goal, with this spread, is to capture the initial credit and close for additional credit if the stock moves lower.

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

Trade Idea 2: SELL -1 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 (Weeklys) 10 SEP 21 4480/4430 PUT @.25 LMT

I’m neutral on the S&P 500 and I think the index may travel sideways to lower over the next week, toward its key moving averages. I will structure a spread below the current index price, expiring in 2 weeks. I will buy the 4480 put option once (+1) and sell the 4430 put option twice (-2) for a $0.25 credit. Should the index not move to my target, I keep the $25 credit. Should it move to $4,430.00, past the 20-day simple moving average, I could make $5,025.00 at expiry. Should the index move past $4,380.00 or so, beyond the 50-day simple moving average, I may incur unlimited losses. My goal, with this spread, is to capture the initial credit and close for additional credit if the index moves lower.

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

News And Analysis

Moody’s Weekly Market Outlook on Ida, gas, and inflation. 

Reinventing tail risk: a fresh look at market crash protection.

Kansas City Southern mulls $27B CP Rail bid after ruling.

ARK Invest on commodities, innovation, economic signals.

Taliban relies on financing from China following withdrawal.

Hedge Funds cut exposure to stocks that count on China.

Three hours a week: China has put limits on video gaming.

Global gas prices threatening to dent economic recovery.

Are Treasuries in a cautious stance as debt story unfolds?

Could the macro theme/picture be an edge for day traders?

George Soros: Investors in China face a rude awakening.

400,000 homeowners enter the final month in forbearance.

Let’s Hang Out

Los Angeles, CA September 10-12

Salt Lake City, UT September 28-30

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 3, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity indexes were sideways to higher with most commodities, yields, and the dollar. 

  • Ahead: NFP, unemployment, and more.
  • Participants await context on Fed taper.
  • Indexes positioned for directional move.
  • Market is closed Monday, September 6. 

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher overnight ahead of Friday’s jobs report which may provide market participants context with respect to the Federal Reserve’s intent to de-stimulate.

Ahead is data on nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings (8:30 AM ET), as well as Markit services PMI (9:45 AM ET) and ISM services index (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect: As of 6:40 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on positive intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade sideways above the $4,526.25 level, a prominent high volume area (HVNode).

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade or balance (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit).

This is significant because of acceptance, or a willingness to transact at higher prices. We’re carrying forward the presence of poor structure left behind prior trade.

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

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

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of Friday’s jobs report. This report may have strong implications on the equity market; to elaborate, the data release will provide market participants color with respect to the Federal Reserve’s intent to wind down stimulus.

Forecasted is the addition of 725,000 jobs in August, according to Bloomberg, a moderate pace in comparison to months prior. 

A strong report would suggest a success, on the part of businesses, to hire after months of crunched labor supply. On the other hand, “The softening in employment activity would be consistent with other economic data that have weakened since the surge in Covid case counts due to the delta variant,” Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) economists said.

Bloomberg’s Katie Greifeld adds: “[R]ates are more likely to push higher on the heels of an unexpectedly strong jobs print than they are to fall in the wake of a weak one. With that dynamic in mind, bet against bonds.”

Graphic: Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) data plotted by Bloomberg. 

To note, a softer report may pause any talk of taper to asset purchases. A reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – a removal of liquidity – could prompt a sort of risk-off scenario in which participants try to get ahead of whatever cascading reactions may come with the taper.

In other words, as Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained to me: “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,545.75 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH puts in play the $4,556.25 and $4,592.25 Fibonacci extensions. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,526.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,510.00 level, a regular trade high (RTH High), and gap. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High and gap puts in play the $4,481.75 HVNode and $4,454.25 LVNode.

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

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

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

Initiative Buying (Selling): Buying (selling) within or above (below) the previous day’s value area.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Moody’s Weekly Market Outlook on Ida, gas, and inflation expectations. 

Short bets rise against consumer discretionary stocks as stimulus fades.

Traders set to test Powell’s push to delink hikes from bond-buying taper.

Three doses could become a standard COVID regimen, Dr. Fauci says.

The Western U.S. drought is forecasted to continue through fall at least.

U.S. structured finance issuance totaled $57B in August, rising 65% YoY.

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For September 1, 2021

Market Commentary

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

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

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

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

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade or balance (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit). 
Graphic: Market Internals (Advance/Decline, Up-Volume/Down-Volume, Tick) displayed as Peter Reznicek at ShadowTrader teaches. Though positive, readings were weak and supportive of responsive trade, similar to what market liquidity (via Bookmap) was showing.
Gap Scenarios In Play: Gaps ought to fill quickly. Should they not, that’s a signal of strength; do not fade. Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator.

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Bloomberg data on S&P 500 seasonality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET. Note the developing balance area (HVNode) surrounding just short of the ONH. 

News And Analysis

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

There is no such thing as an independent central bank.

Beginning to see churn below the surface amid outlook.

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

China manufacturing slows first time since March 2020.

Wall Street traders driving record are loaded on hedges. 

China Evergrande says construction of projects stalled.

‘Forever Changed’: CEOs are dooming business travel.

SEC boss: Crypto platforms need regulation to survive.

‘Egregiously mishandled’: Afghanistan dents Biden team.

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

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

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 31, 2021

Market Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

What To Expect: As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

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

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

V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

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

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

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

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

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

To note, the $4,454.25 LVNode corresponds with an anchored volume-weighted average price (VWAP), a metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

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

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Inventories continue to constrain home purchase activity.

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

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

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

Capital raises from infotech sector simmering down July.

Fitch Ratings unpacks commodities and energy research.

Battery storage capacity likely to double inside California.

Moderna creates twice as many antibodies as Pfizer vax.

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 24, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index and commodity futures trade higher overnight. Yields and VIX are higher, too.

  • Unpacking drivers behind market.
  • Ahead: Data on new home sales.
  • Eyeing digestion, sideways trade.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures explored higher prices overnight as investors looked to position themselves for the upcoming Jackson Hole Economic Symposium August 26-28, 2021. The Russell 2000 is leading the pack alongside the Nasdaq 100.

Ahead is data on new 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. See here for more on the Dark Pool Index (DPI) and Gamma (GEX). A higher DPI approximation is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX approximation, the more volatility. SHIFT data used for options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index from 0-100.

What To Expect: As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open just inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on strong intraday breadth and middling market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade above the $4,476.50 overnight high (ONH). This is significant because Monday’s trade took back 100% of last week’s liquidation, completing a v-pattern recovery.

V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of impactful options market dynamics, moderating growth, and inclination to taper stimulus in spite of a resurgence in COVID-19.

Some of the implications of these themes on price are supportive and contradictory; to elaborate, “[t]he good news is that our economic recovery is unlikely to fully reverse, given lack of political will for a return to stricter lockdown measures. But evidence of a slowdown in third-quarter economic activity will continue to mount in the coming weeks, putting the Fed’s 7 percent real GDP growth projection for 2021 out of reach,” strategists at Guggenheim noted.

“This string of weaker data will likely prompt the Fed, led by Chair Powell and Governor Brainard, to take a more cautious approach to the timing and speed of tapering plans, in turn keeping Treasury yields low.”

At the same time, briefly, we should touch on the so-called sale of any volatility spike which can – through the process of hedging – support the market. Here’s just one example that’s been receiving a lot of attention.

“In theory, if a stock was dropping and the retail masses all started to sell puts, they could push market makers to start buying large blocks of shares,” SpotGamma, an important voice in the space, says. “This could stabilize a dropping stock.”

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book. For instance, in selling a put, customers add liquidity and stabilize the market. How? The counterparty long the put will buy (sell) the underlying to neutralize directional risk as price falls (rises).

Moreover, for today, given expectations of heightened volatility and responsive trade, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

Responsive Buying (Selling): Buying (selling) in response to prices below (above) an area of recent price acceptance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,481.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,492.00 overnight, minimal excess all-time high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,511.50 and $4,556.25 Fibonacci extensions.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,481.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,454.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,427.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,393.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC).

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

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

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

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

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Ignoring Risk: S&P 500 doubles to the fastest bull market.

Moviegoers return, but COVID, streaming threaten theater.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell navigating inflation debates.

S&P Global unpacks digital asset infrastructure – custody.

Existing home sales back on a rise as inventory improves.

Latin American conditions are painting a favorable portrait.

Funds trimming hawkish Fed bets as Jackson Hole looms.

Ten cities successfully weathering COVID on management.

Cumberland Advisors: Who is working and who is not yet?

PBOC will boost its credit support, stabilize money growth.

USDC reserve to be converted into less risky investments.

Year-to-date loan default volumes down 88% versus 2020.

Bank acquisitions of big fintechs rare amid startup growth.

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 19, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures continued yesterday’s late-day liquidation.

  • Chop-chop: Fed nears time to taper.
  • Busy morning in regards to releases.
  • Range is wide; volatility may persist.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower overnight alongside the increased prospects of stimulus reduction in 2021.

Ahead is data on jobless claims (8:30 AM ET), Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index (8:30 AM ET), and the index of leading economic indicators (10:00 AM ET). 

Graphic updated 6:45 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. See here for more on the Dark Pool Index (DPI) and Gamma (GEX). A higher DPI approximation is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX approximation, the more volatility. SHIFT data used for options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index from 0-100.

What To Expect: As of 6:45 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a higher potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a close below the $4,422.75 balance area high (BAH) and 20-day simple moving average (SMA).

This is significant because the BAH marked a go/no-go level on a prior breakout and the SMA – a metric that ought to solicit a response by short-term (i.e., technically driven) participants who may be unable to defend retests – broke. As a result of this failure, odds supported the move to the $4,365.25 balance area low (BAL), the lower end of the balance.

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

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

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a shift in the tapering debate, ahead of the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium August 26-28, 2021. This theme’s implications on price are contradictory; to elaborate, the summary of the late July Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting suggests an inclination to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year.

Graphic: S&P Global unpacks Federal Reserve balance sheet hypotheticals.

As an aside, markets went on a historic tear over the past year or so given monetary frameworks and max liquidity, so to speak. Add in the growth of derivatives exposure and potential for offsides positioning, even the slightest reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – the removal of liquidity – has the potential to prompt a cascading reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, in a conversation with me for a Benzinga article, said: “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

Graphic: SpotGamma data suggests the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) may open in short-gamma territory. To note, 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.

Moreover, for today, in light of higher volatility and responsive trade expectations – given overextension from value (i.e., fair prices for two-sided trade as derived from the volume profile) and a test of a key anchored volume-weighted average price (VWAP) – participants may make use of the following frameworks.

More On 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.
Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (NYSE: SPY) flirts with key downside anchored VWAPs. A key downside level in SPY lies at $427.95, currently. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,381.75 low volume area (LVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,393.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $4,411.75 high volume area (HVNode) and the aforementioned $4,422.75 BAH.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,381.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,365.25 BAL/LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the BAL/LVNode could reach as low as the $4,341.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,315.25 HVNode.

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

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

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:45 AM ET.

News And Analysis

Landlords from Florida to California are jacking up rents.

COVID vaccines are less effective against new variants.

UK Fintech market runs hot but fear of bubble premature.

Tencent warns of more China tech curbs after growth hit.

A closer look at the investment/speculative-grade divide.

US restaurants up prices to offset labor inflation, demand.

Disenchanted investors help drive the record gold prices.

A complete Fed balance sheet normalization years away.

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For August 15, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures are set to open sideways Sunday after a divergent advance on light volume and poor structure.

  • Fundamental context – the good and bad.
  • Ahead a heavy week in terms of releases.
  • A narrow rally on unsupportive dynamics.
  • A simple way to hedge off your downside.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher last week as the baseline Dow Jones Industrial Average is forecast to have peaked, according to Moody’s.

Ahead is data on the Empire State manufacturing index (8/16), retail sales (8/17), industrial production (8/17), capacity utilization (8/17), business inventories (8/17), NAHB home builders’ index (8/17), building permits (8/18), housing starts (8/18), Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes (8/18), jobless claims (8/19), Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index (8/19), and the index of leading economic indicators (8/19).

Graphic updated 9:30 AM ET Sunday. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. See here for more on the Dark Pool Index (DPI) and Gamma (GEX). A higher DPI approximation is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX approximation, the more volatility. SHIFT data used for options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index from 0-100.

What To Expect: During the prior week’s trade, on weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade above the $4,422.75 balance area high (BAH). This trade is significant because it validated a balance area breakout.

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

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of peak growth, moderating inflation, renewed fiscal stimulus efforts, and increased odds of Fed tapering early next year. 

The implications of this fundamental context on price are contradictory; to elaborate, as Michael Gayed of The Lead-Lag Report recently said, narrow high yield spreads offer little potential for capital growth, and “conditions that favor higher volatility – the Fed backing off stimulus measures, the upcoming battle over the debt ceiling, high current inflation and/or longer-term deflation – could be not far off into the future.”

As an aside, this leads us into the narrative on the so-called shift from monetary to fiscal; in a conversation for a Benzinga article, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan said the following: when liquidity is removed, as policymakers look to fiscal policy to address inequality, for instance, corporations may have to worry about making money, again.

“We’ve seen this throughout history,” Karsan said in reference to this thesis playing out over the next decade, at least. “These cycles are a lot shorter than the monetary supply-side cycles but they tend to be very bad for multiples and great for economic growth.”

Adding, in Friday’s note, the theme of liquidity was discussed. Simply put, the gap between the rates of growth in the supply of money and the gross domestic product turned negative for the first time since 2018.

“Put another way, the recovering economy is now drinking from a punch bowl that the stock market once had all to itself,” said Doug Ramsey, Leuthold Group’s chief investment officer.

Graphic: According to Bloomberg, “While stocks kept rising during frequent negative Marshallian K readings in the 1990s, the pattern since the 2008 global financial crisis — a period when the central bank was in what Ramsey calls a “perpetual crisis mode” — begs for caution.”

Moreover, for next week, given expectations of middling volatility and responsive trade, on factors like the upcoming August 20 monthly options expiration, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,459.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,463.25 minimal excess high. Initiative trade beyond the minimal excess high could reach as high as the $4,470.75 and $4,483.75 Fibonacci-derived price targets.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,459.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,439.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the $4,439.00 VPOC could reach as low as $4,430.00 – a visual low likely generated by short-term (i.e., technically driven) participants who may be unable to defend retests – and the previously discussed $4,422.75 BAH.

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

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

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

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 9:30 AM ET Sunday.

Weekly Trade Idea

Please Note: In no way is the below a trade recommendation. It’s a response to a solicitation for simple ways to hedge against a move lower, into the end of the month.

Options offer an efficient way to gain directional exposure. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trade Idea: BUY +1 BUTTERFLY SPX 100 (Weeklys) 31 AUG 21 4450/4400/4350 PUT @4.90 LMT.

Thesis: I’m neutral to bearish on the S&P 500 and I think the index may trade sideways to lower into the next month. I will structure a spread below the current index price, expiring in 15 days. I will buy the 4450 put option once (+1), sell the 4400 put option twice (-2), and buy the 4350 put option once (+1) for a $4.90 debit or so. Should the index not move to my target, I may lose the $490 debit. Should it move to $4,400.00, I could make $4,510.00 (i.e., the $5,000.00 payout less debit at entry) at expiry. Should the index move below $4,354.90, I may lose the entire $490 debit. My goal, with this spread, is to close for credit (e.g., $9.80-14.70) if the index moves lower. Note that this trade carries a positive theta at entry.

If necessary, I will hedge the position by either (A) buying S&P 500 futures, (B) narrowing strikes, (C) selling call credit to reduce cost, or (D) roll strikes up in price and out in time.

News And Analysis

Rates recovering; realtors see price moderating.

This turning point for markets merits a hard look.

Market disruptions as Fed balance sheet swells.

Job data eases fears of a slowdown in recovery.

U.S. high yield default rate lowest start in 14 yrs.

Delta variant will not impact Fed’s tapering plan.

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For July 3, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: U.S. equity index futures diverge in their attempt to discover fair prices for two-sided trade.

  • Economy is set for sustained boom.
  • Ahead is a light economic calendar.
  • SPX, NDX, DJI higher. RUT coiling.

Summary: Last week, U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher into Friday’s employment report. The release showed an addition of 850,000 jobs in June, the strongest employment gain since last summer. 

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 led the week-long rally, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed closely behind. Though the Russell 2000 did end lower, it has been building energy for a break.

Considerations: It was the beginning of April JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Jamie Dimon wrote strong consumer savings, an increased pace in COVID-19 coronavirus vaccinations, and unprecedented efforts to spur economic activity could mean that a boom lasts as long as 2023.

Dimon’s comments remain valid. Months after, officials are hard at work in helping the U.S. reach herd immunity with vaccines that produce antibodies for the most well-known variants of COVID-19. Additionally, the economy is making progress toward meeting the Federal Reserve’s objectives for employment and inflation; just a couple of weeks ago the institution brought forward the time frame on when it will raise interest rates. 

In a statement, BlackRock strategists noted: “We believe the Fed’s new outlook will not translate into significantly higher policy rates any time soon. This, combined with the powerful restart, underpins our pro-risk stance.”

Alongside that news, the equity market sold violently, into Quadruple Witching, or the large expiry of futures and options. Thereafter, indexes staged a massive reversal, and the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), a measure of the stock market’s expectation of volatility, traded to its lowest level since February 2020.

According to SpotGamma models, up to 50% of the gamma in and across the S&P 500 complex was taken off the table that expiry.

This, as SpotGamma has said in the past, “creates volatility because, as large options positions expire[], are closed and/or rolled, dealers have large hedges they need to adjust.”

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

After that exposure was cleared, the prospects for a rally improved, boosted by the buying back of short put hedges as volatility imploded.

Last week, though, things became a tad frothy with the number of put options sold-to-open seeing heightened levels.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s analysis suggests equity put options were sold-to-open (red arrow). 

Put sales, which can be part of sophisticated volatility-based trading strategies, often suggest increased confidence as market participants look to options for income, and not insurance.

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

Kris Sidial – co-chief investment officer at The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund – and I recently held a conversation regarding meme stock volatility, market structure, and regulation. He noted that ongoing risk-on dynamics can be traced back to factors like Federal Reserve stabilization efforts, and low rates, which incentivize risk-taking.

“The growth of structured products, passive investing, the regulatory standpoint that’s been implemented with Dodd-Frank and dealers needing to hedge off their risk more frequently, than not,” are all part of a regime change that’s affected the stability of markets, Sidial notes. “These dislocations happen quite frequently in small windows, and it offers the potential for large outlier events,” like the equity bust and boom during 2020. “Strength and fragility are two completely different components. The market could be strong, but fragile.”

That dynamic is playing out as Cem Karsan, founder at Kai Volatility, notes volatility is dramatically oversupplied. As a result, as implied volatility drops, options gamma – an option delta’s sensitivity to market price changes – rises. Associated hedging forces make it so there’s more liquidity and less movement. In other words, the market tends to pin.

Still, in line with Sidial’s comments, Karsan believes expected distributions are fat-tailed, given “fragility.” In other words, it’s hard for the market to unpin. Should it unpin, however, there’s “not enough liquidity” to absorb leverage on the tails.

Given this, Karsan finds it interesting to sell at-the-money option structures to fund out-of-the-money structures. Alternatively, knowing what forces – e.g., charm or the rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time – decay poses on so-called “dealer positioning,” going into the July option expirations (OPEX), one could look into long calendar put spreads on the S&P 500.

In such a case, traders are short puts in July and long puts on forward. This way, you’re collecting decay as a result of realized pinning. Here’s Karsan’s full take, from the source.

Graphic: The risk profile of a long put calendar spread, via Fidelity.

After mid-July, though, the window for fundamental dynamics (e.g., a shift in preferences from saving and investing to spending, monetary tightening, seasonality, or a COVID-19 resurgence) to take over is opened. 

In a note on COVID resurgence, to not venture too far off into the abyss, I cite strategists led by JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic who last year correctly suggested equities would continue rallying on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies. 

“The delta variant should not have significant repercussions for the pandemic situation in developed markets (e.g. Europe and North America, which have [made] strong progress in vaccinations) due to the level of population immunity.”

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to Friday’s $4,323.00 untested Point of Control (POC).

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

That said, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the index trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,323.00 POC puts in play the $4,347.00 excess high. Initiative trade beyond the excess high could reach as high as the $4,357.50 Fibonacci-derived price target.

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

In the worst case, the index trades lower; activity below the $4,323.00 POC puts in play the untested POC at $4,299.00, as well as the POC and micro-composite HVNode at $4,285.00. Thereafter, if lower, participants may look for responses at the $4,263.25 LVNode, $4,247.75 LVNode, as well as the $4239.25 HVNode and $4,229.00 POC.

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

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

For a full list of important levels, see the 65-minute profile and candlestick chart, below.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were committing the most capital to call strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), last week. This activity denotes (1) stock replacement, (2) hedges for underlying short positions, or (3) speculation on the upside. Also, there was a meaningful bid in September puts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. This dynamic suggests participants, despite their commitment to higher prices, are hedging against near-term risks, like the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

News And Analysis

Markets | The premium Elon Musk adds to Tesla, other ventures. (Kyla)

Markets | Forward-looking indicators point to improving credit trends. (S&P)

Travel | TSA screenings surpassed 2019 levels in a pandemic first. (CNBC)

Energy | WH is worried about high oil prices, sees enough supply. (REU)

Energy | An overview of data from IEA’s Energy prices database. (IEA)

Energy | OPEC ends Friday’s meeting without a deal for agreement. (CNBC)

Agriculture | Dry weather damage spells trouble for U.S. spring crops. (S&P)

Economy | States ending jobless benefits early hit labor milestones. (REU)

Markets | Spotlight turning to mergers, acquisition for fintech SPACs. (S&P)

Economy | Jobs gain largest in 10 months; employers up wages. (REU)

Energy | Cal-ISO, utilities ask consumers to conserve amid heatwave. (S&P)

Economy | Economic growth hiccup to derail credit spread stability. (BBG)

Markets | Record S&P 500 masks fear trade gripping stock market. (BBG)

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | BTC mining now easier, more profitable after crackdowns. (CNBC)

FinTech | ‘Flight to quality’ as private insurtechs draw big investments. (S&P)

FinTech | Bank customers cement relationships with digital channels. (S&P)

Markets | Money-losing companies sell record stock, flashing signal. (CNBC)

Markets | Wall Street rebels warning of ‘disastrous’ $11T index boom. (BBG)

Mobility | When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gas cars? (REU)

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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