Categories
Methodology

Successful Traders’ Tips To Beat The Markets

Separate from his work at Physik Invest, founder Renato Leonard Capelj is an accredited journalist interviewing prestigious global leaders in business, government, and finance.

In his desire to learn and apply the methods of those others who are far more experienced, Capelj has a long list of interviews you may find helpful in strengthening your understanding of markets.

March 10, 2023: Portfolio Manager Prefers Option, Bond Overlays To Hedge Big Uncertainty Facing Markets

Capelj spoke with Simplify Asset Management’s Michael Green about cutting investors’ portfolio volatility while amplifying profit potential.

In response to uncertainty, Green says investors can park cash in short-term near-risk-free bonds yielding 5% or more, as well as allocate some capital to volatility “to introduce a degree of convexity,” risking only the premium paid. Alternatively, investors can take a more optimistic long view and position in innovations like artificial intelligence or next-generation energy production.

Michael Green of Simplify Asset Management

January 8, 2023: Two Major Risks Investors Should Watch Out For In 2023

Capelj spoke with The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial about his market perspectives.

Naive measures like the VVIX, which is the volatility of the VIX or the volatility of the S&P 500’s volatility, are printing at levels last seen in 2017, Sidial explains, noting this would suggest “we can get cheap exposure to convexity while a lot of people are worried.”

“Even if inflation continues, the rate at which it rises won’t be the same. Due to this, CTA exposures likely will not perform as well as they did in 2022, and that’s why you may see more opportunities in the volatility space.”

Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group

June 28, 2022: Former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan Talks Recession Odds, Capturing A Macro Edge

Capelj spoke with Damped Spring Advisors’ Andy Constan about what investors should focus on and how he creates trades that lose him less money.

Constan’s trades are constructed around two- to four-month time horizons and are structured long and short using defined-risk options trades like debit or credit spreads, depending on whether volatility is cheap or expensive.

I want deltas and leverage. My macro indicators give me an edge on price and in the worst case, the loss is limited to 10%, if everything has to go against me all at once. I can be 100% invested and only risk 10%.”

Andy Constan of Damped Spring Advisors

May 16, 2022: 42 Macro’s Darius Dale On His Wall Street Story, The Markets: ‘This Is Not The Financial Crisis’

Capelj spoke with 42 Macro’s Darius Dale about his Wall Street story and perspectives on life and markets.

“We’re tracking at an above-potential level of output in terms of the growth rate of output. We’re also slowing and the pace of that deceleration is likely to pick up steam in the coming quarters.”

By 2023, that process is likely to “catalyze pressure on asset markets through the lens of corporate earnings and valuations you assign to a lower level of growth.”

Darius Dale of 42 Macro

July 22, 2021: ShadowTrader’s Peter Reznicek On His Early Days, Tips For Success And Evolution

Capelj spoke with ShadowTrader’s Peter Reznicek about his start, perspectives, success tips, and visions for the future.

Reznicek recalled two turning points in his trading career.

The first was learning from expert floor traders involved with the thinkorswim team.

“That was really the genesis of where I started to learn the broken-wing butterflyratio spread and things like that,” he shared.

Floor traders, according to Reznicek, had low capital requirements. As a result, they could put on strategies like the 1×2 ratio — a debit spread with an extra short option — for a low cost.

(See parts 12, and 3 of ShadowTrader’s how-to series on ratio spreads.)

“On the floor, it is either go big or go home,” he chuckled, remarking that ratio spreads were the way of the casino. “You either get rich or they take your house. So, why would you put on any other spread?”

The next big turning point was Jim Dalton, who’s been a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, as well as a member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and senior executive vice president of the CBOE during its formative years.

“I’m still in touch with him on a regular basis and I consider him a friend,” Reznicek said in a discussion on Dalton’s works like Mind Over Markets and Markets in Profile, as well as his use of WindoTrader Market Profile software. “I went to Chicago twice to see him teach live … and I came home from those seminars with five, six, 10 pages of notes. The nuances of profile continue to mold me.”

Peter Reznicek of ShadowTrader

July 26, 2021: Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan Unpacks Implications Of Fed Taper, Shift To Fiscal Policy And More

Capelj spoke with Kai Volatility Advisors’ Cem Karsan about the implications of record valuations and the growth of derivatives markets on policy, the economy, and financial markets.

“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.”

Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility Advisors

July 13, 2021: Ambrus Group CIO On Taking Advantage Of Volatility Dislocations

Capelj spoke with The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial to understand how to capitalize on volatility dislocations.

Unlike standard tail-risk funds which systematically buy equity puts, Ambrus’ approach is bespoke, cutting down on negative dynamics like decay with respect to time.

Given dislocations across single stock skew, term structure, and volatility risk premium, Ambrus will position itself in options with less time to maturity, buying protection up to six weeks out.

“The market will underestimate the distribution,” Sidial said in a conversation on Ambrus’ internal models that spot positional imbalances to determine who is off-sides and in what single asset. “We’re buying things that have happened before and we’re looking for it to carry a heavier beta when the sell-off happens.”

So, by analyzing flow, as well as using internal models to assess the probabilities of deleveraging in a risk-off event, Ambrus is able to venture into individual stocks where there may be excess fragility; “I know if stock XYZ goes down five percent, it’s going to go down 10% because this fund needs to deleverage.”

To aid the cost to carry, Ambrus utilizes defined-risk, short-volatility, absolute return strategies.

“I’m basically giving you a free put on the market – with a ton of convexity – with something that offers a payout that’s just more than a regular put,” Sidial summarized. “If the market doesn’t do anything, and we do an amazing job, we’re flat and you made money on all your long-only equity exposure.”

“You had a free hedge the entire time.”

Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group

February 1, 2021: Volatility Arbitrage Trader Talks GameStop, Market Microstructure, Regulation

Capelj spoke with The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial about the meme stock debacle of 2021.

“You have distressed debt hedge funds that focus on shorting these types of companies. Melvin Capital is the one that is singled out due to the media, but they aren’t the only ones.”

Market participants added to the crash-up dynamics. Retail investors aggressively bought stock and short-term call options, while institutional investors further took advantage of the momentum and dislocations.

“You have this dynamic in the derivatives market where there is a gamma squeeze when people are buying way far out-of-the-money calls, and dealers reflexively have to hedge off their risk,” Sidial said.

“It causes a cascading reaction, moving the stock price up because dealers are short calls and they have to buy stock when the delta moves a specific way.”

The participation in the stock on the institutional side has not received much attention, he said. 

“We’ve noticed that some of the flow is more institutional,” he said in reference to activity on the level two and three order books, which are electronic lists of buy and sell orders for a particular security.

“You have certain prop guys and other hedge funds that understand what’s going on, and they’re trying to take advantage of it, as well.”

This institutional activity disrupted traditional correlations and caused shares of distressed debt assets like GameStop, BlackBerry Ltd, and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc to trade in-line with each other.

“This was not some WallStreetBet user, … if you look at how some of these things were moving premarket, you would see GME drop like 2%, BB’s best bid would drop and AMC’s best bid would drop. That’s an algo.”

The takeaway: although the WallStreetBets crowd is getting most of the blame, institutions are also at fault for the volatility.

Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group
Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 22, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read free by thousands of subscribers. Join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 8:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /MES open is inside of the prior day’s range./MES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. The lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility. UMBS prices via MNDClick here for the economic calendar.

Administrative

Recall our past letters pondering the use of the yuan for settlements in the East. Well, there’s been progress on that end.

Also recall “the recycling of petrodollars by oil-rich nations” fueling “several emerging market debt crises” and prompting “the creation of a more speculative, debt-fueled economy in the US.” Is this a reversing trend? We shall unpack in a future letter, soon.

Fundamental

The Federal Reserve (Fed) is likely to bump its current target rate up 25 basis points to 4.75-5.00%. Failing to bump interest rates would likely send the wrong message about financial stability. To give up on the inflation fight (a pause or interest rate cut) would tell investors “look out below,” Bloomberg summarizes.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool.

The path after is less certain, though most think there is likely to be at least one additional hike in the coming months. The catch is that if market-induced financial tightening persists through the second quarter, it would substitute for rate hikes. 

Assuming the Fed publishes its summary of economic projections (SEP) or dot plot, they will likely show the governors “getting less aggressive,” adds Bloomberg’s John Authers.

If we recall, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan talked about the Fed not wanting liquidations; they want a slow sale, not a fire sale. So, with there being a lag, the Fed may want to slow and assess, carefully telegraphing this being not a pivot. A pivot would probably inspire confidence among investors to own assets “mak[ing] things hotter,” Karsan explains, noting that the Fed really needs to walk up the long end of the yield curve. Recall that the long end fell considerably on the back of the turmoil and intervention, as well as recent data (e.g., housing starts showing more supply, likely a mortgage application booster that would further “make things hotter”).

Read: US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Falls To A Five-Week Low Of 6.48%; Purchase Applications Gauge At Highest Since Early February

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Additionally, there’s been lots of talk about volatility in bond markets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

In large part the result of low liquidity, Treasury volatility could prompt the Fed to adjust their quantitative tightening or QT (i.e., the flow of capital out of capital markets) program, instead. Just as quantitative easing or QE (i.e., the flow of capital into capital markets) did little to spark off inflation, it’s unlikely that temping QT would disrupt efforts to rein inflation. 

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) Liquidity Tool. Per a Bloomberg article, “the spread between offered prices and what sellers will accept has widened for all maturities, … a sign of thinning market depth” and illiquidity.

Adjusting QT, which is contributing to the excessive volatility, “would be preferable to not raising rates … [since] an abrupt pause in rate hikes would likely resurrect the notion that there’s, indeed, a Fed ‘put’ designed to bail out Wall Street at the first sign of stress,” a potential catalyst for market upside, says Robert Burgess.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Positioning

In Tuesday’s letter, we talked about the potential for fears of downside easing and fears of missing out (i.e., FOMO) on upside rising. Specifically, the letter said the following: 

“A response may be FOMO-type demand for call options exposures, coupled with CTAs further ‘raising their equity exposure’ on trend signals and lower volatility, boosting markets into a ‘more combustible’ state as explained on 2/17. This fear of missing out is visible in options volatility skew; traders are hedging those tail outcomes.”

In support of the most recent strength, per JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) trade desk commentary, there is a buy skew. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) strategists agree, noting that flows are almost entirely “cover-driven.”

Recall that traders sought protection amidst all the calamities recently. Accordingly, measures of implied volatility or IVOL including the Cboe Volatility Index or VIX rose (e.g. traders demand exposure to downside put protection by way of S&P 500 options which bids options prices and manifests higher IVOL and counterparty pressure from their equity future/stock sales to hedge this demand). These same measures of IVOL are now falling as traders’ closure of protection results in counterparty pressures being lifted (helping explain, in part, the above “cover-driven” remark by GS).

Does this rally have breadth behind it? Look no further than market internals. 

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg via Liz Young. “The Nasdaq’s Cumulative Advance-Decline line has parted ways with index direction in recent days. In other words, the index has rallied despite weak breadth (more stocks falling than rising), the two lines are likely to find their way back together somehow…”

A pause before the Fed announcement, and then breadth catches up to price?

Or, has the typical post-Fed IVOL boost been spent?

Regardless, we maintain that low-cost call options structures as proposed in previous letters worked (and may continue to work). Notwithstanding, look for opportunities to play the downside should markets trade higher into a “more combustible” position. 

More on trade ideas in the next letters. Take care.

Technical

As of 8:15 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,038.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,059.25, $4,071.75, and $4,082.75.

Key levels to the downside include $4,017.00, $3,994.25, and $3,977.00.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

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


About

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. 

Separately, Capelj is an accredited journalist with past works including interviews with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com. Find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram. Find Capelj on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Only follow the verified profiles.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes. Capelj and Physik Invest manage their own capital and will not solicit others for it.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 20, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read free by thousands of subscribers. Join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 8:10 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /MES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /MES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. The lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility. UMBS prices via MNDClick here for the economic calendar.

Fundamental

As well summarized by Eric Basmajian, inflation, and growth are on a downward trajectory. Most leading indicators “suggest recessionary pressure will be ongoing.” The banking crisis and response, which will ultimately “cause a tightening of lending to the private economy,” likely exacerbates the ongoing recessionary pressures.

Breaking: UBS To Buy Credit Suisse In $3.3 Billion Deal

Most strategists including the Damped Spring’s Andy Constan agree. In a recent video, Constan detailed the implications of policymakers’ intervention. In short, an asset fire sale was turned into a managed sale, and a reduction in credit creation will tighten financial conditions, slowing the economy and inflation.

“Small banks that are facing deposit outflows will see earnings and margins collapse as their cost of funds surges from 1% or 2% on deposits to 4% or 5% at the Fed funding facility,” Basmajian summarizes, noting that the increase in the Federal Reserve (Fed) balance sheet came from the discount window, new bank funding facilities, and spillover from the FDIC insurance backstop, all of which are not to be confused with quantitative easing or QE (i.e., monetary stimulus and a flow of capital into capital markets). 

Graphic: Retrieved from Bank of American Corporation (NYSE: BAC) via The Market Ear.

“As deposits leave regional and smaller banks for more yield and safety, they will flow into bigger banks that do less lending or into money market funds that don’t drive credit creation.” Consequently, there will be “a significant tightening of lending standards, and a credit crunch on the private economy as regional and smaller banks face massive funding pressure.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) via The Market Ear. “MS models show that a permanent +10pt tightening in lending standards for C&I loans leads to a 35bps rise in the unemployment rate over the next two years. Historically, recessions have arrived more than half a year after jobless claims begin a sustained rise.”

Traders are conflicted about the Fed’s coming interest rate decision. Many were expecting a couple more hikes of at least 25 basis points in size. However, following the recent bank turmoil in the US and abroad, it appears that traders think it will be one additional 25 basis point hike before rate cuts ensue in mid-2023.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool.

Historically, selling markets on the last Fed rate hike is a good strategy, Bank of America found.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bank of American Corporation (NYSE: BAC) via The Market Ear.

Positioning

Top-line measures of implied volatility or IVOL including the Cboe Volatility Index or VIX are higher heading into Monday’s trade.

Macro uncertainties have some frightened, hence “equity volatility present[ing] itself in a much stronger way,” said The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. For this equity volatility (i.e., implied volatility or IVOL) to continue performing well, realized volatility or RVOL (i.e., the movement that actually happens and is not implied by traders’ supply and demand of options) must shift and stay higher as well (note: in many ways RVOL and IVOL reinforce the other during extreme greed or fear events.

Though big options expiries (OpEx) “may help unpin the market” and manifest market downside and follow-through in RVOL needed to keep IVOL performing, the window for this to happen may be closing.

The monetization of profitable options structures, as well as volatility compression and options decay, may result in counterparties buying back their short stock and/or futures hedges (to the short put positions they have on), thus boosting the market (particularly the depressed and rate-sensitive Nasdaq 100).

If the market rallies, that has the potential to “make things hotter” in the economy, explained Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, which emboldens policymakers to make and keep policy tighter. So, barring follow-through to the downside, any equity market upside that arises is likely limited, as a disclaimer, some think.

Apologies for rushing this section, today. More on positioning in the coming letters.

Technical

As of 8:10 AM ET, Monday’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 negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,946.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $3,970.75, $3,994.25, and $4,026.75.

Key levels to the downside include $3,912.25, $3,891.00, and $3,868.25.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 (FUTURE: /MES) bottom-middle.

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

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


About

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. 

Separately, Capelj is an accredited journalist with past works including interviews with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com. Find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram. Find Capelj on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Only follow the verified profiles.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes. Capelj and Physik Invest manage their own capital and will not solicit others for it.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 17, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read free by thousands of subscribers. Join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 8:50 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /MES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /MES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. The lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility. UMBS prices via MNDClick here for the economic calendar.

Fundamental

Higher asset prices boosted household wealth and demand; consumers’ increased ability to spend more wealth pushed up inflation. If policymakers use their tools to lower household wealth and demand, this should cut down on inflation.

Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan says the latter was a policy objective and recent financial institution failures are a sign of follow-through; excesses and speculation are being removed, as policymakers desired.

Policymakers don’t want liquidations, however. They want lower asset prices. Recent events put policymakers in an odd position after raising rates non-stop. In the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) case, and we paraphrase Karsan, policy/rates moved very quickly with little pause. With there being a lag, the Fed may want to pause and assess. However, they have to telegraph this carefully so that the market does not read it as a pivot. If the market rallies, that “makes things hotter,” Karsan says.

There’s already been an overreaction in the bond market, he adds, which is not ideal. The Fed does not want the long end of the yield curve to fall, as it has on the back of the turmoil and intervention, as well as data including housing starts which show more supply coming onto the market, likely a mortgage application booster in the near term.

Graphic: Retrieved from USTreasuryYieldCurve.com.

Even at the front end, there’s been lots of movement. This has “forc[ed] widespread risk liquidation,” Bloomberg says. Take a look at the Three-Month SOFR (FUTURE: /SR3), a tool used to hedge USD short-term interest rates.

Graphic: Retrieved from Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform.

The consensus, which Karsan agrees with, is that the Fed moves forward with a 25 basis point hike while telegraphing it wants the long end of the curve to rise or higher for longer as it is colloquially referred to.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool.

It is possible for the US policymakers to adopt a meeting-by-meeting stance, as their counterparts have in Europe, letting uncertainties regarding the likes of Credit Suisse Group AG (which just received a ~$54 billion or so liquidity backstop and is mulling a combination with other lenders), SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ: SVB) and First Republic Bank (NYSE: FRC) pan out.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “[T]he credit extended through the two backstops show a banking system that is still fragile and dealing with deposit migration in the wake of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank of California and Signature Bank of New York last week.” Per John Authers: the phenomenal borrowing from the Fed’s discount window suggests that if these are just liquidity problems, they are widespread and serious. Further, the point of the exercise is to slow down the economy, which will in time tend to put pressure on banks’ solvency.”

Pausing, or intending to pause explicitly, could raise inflation expectations or “boost the odds of a recession by spooking consumers and companies into believing that the economy is worse off than they thought,” Bloomberg explainsnoting: “All told, the emergency loans reversed around half of the balance-sheet shrinkage that the Fed has achieved since it began so-called quantitative tightening — allowing its portfolio of assets to run down — in June last year.”

Graphic: Compiled by Physik Invest. Per Jefferies Financial Group Inc’s (NYSE: JEF) Christopher Wood: “2022 was the year when US equities suffered multiple contraction from monetary tightening. This year will be the year when earnings downgrades hit the stock market if the US recession forecast proves to be accurate. This is now the key issue in world financial markets. Then 2024 will be the year when markets will have to deal with the emerging credit problems in the private space.”

Positioning

Heading into this most recent market decline, investors foresaw increased volatility and were positioned for it as indicated by the pricing of tail risk and performance of implied volatility or IVOL (as investors continued to demand protection during this window of non-strength), said Laya Royer of Citadel Securities.

Recall that Kris Sidial warned us of this. Options, colloquially referred to as volatility, would serve as the only hedge in an environment wherein commodities, stocks, and bonds don’t combine or balance each other as well as they did in 2022.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Now, there are options expirations (OpEx) nearing (March 16 and 31); monetization of profitable options structures, as well as volatility compression and options decay, have counterparties buying back their short stock and/or futures hedges (to the short put positions they have on), boosting the market (particularly the depressed and rate-sensitive Nasdaq 100) through this OpEx/triple witching window.

Graphic: Retrieved from Cboe Global Markets (BATS: CBOE).

Following this period, the “rollover” of existing positions may result in “price swings” that last, Bloomberg puts forth. “This quarterly expiry may help unpin the market.”

Structures proposed in the Daily Brief for March 14 may work in reducing portfolio downside while allowing you to participate directionally at less cost.

Technical

As of 8:50 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,970.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,004.75, $4,037.00, and $4,059.25.

Key levels to the downside include $3,946.75, $3,921.25, and $3,891.00.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 (FUTURE: /MES) at the middle bottom.

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

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


About

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. 

Separately, Capelj is an accredited journalist with past works including interviews with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com. Find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram. Find Capelj on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Only follow the verified profiles.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes. Capelj and Physik Invest manage their own capital and will not solicit others for it.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 14, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read free by thousands of subscribers. Join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /MES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /MES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. The lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility. UMBS prices via MNDClick here for the economic calendar.

Administrative

A long(er) letter, today. Through the end-of-this week, newsletters may be shorter due to the letter writer’s commitments. Take care!

Fundamental

Yesterday’s letter focused on the SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ: SIVB) failure, albeit with an optimistic tone. In short, the bank could not make good on fast accelerating withdrawals. Read more here.

According to one TechCrunch article, the likes of Founders Fund “reportedly advised their portfolio companies … to withdraw their money, … [and], if everybody is telling each other that SVB is in trouble, that will be a challenge,” as it was.

Graphic: Retrieved from @Citrini7. In the worst-case scenario, it was likely that uninsured depositors at SIVB would have received $0.80 on each dollar barring a bailout.

Authorities later put forth emergency measures guaranteeing all deposits. The effort shored up confidence in the banking system and markets strengthened, though some regional names such as First Republic Bank (NYSE: FRC) continued trading weak. In FRC’s case, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) new bailout facility does not help. As former Fed trader Joseph Wang explains, “you need Treasuries and Agency MBS to tap the facility, and [FRC] barely owns any.”

Graphic: Retrieved via Joseph Wang.

Anyways, as yesterday’s letter briefly mentioned, expectations on the path of Fed Funds shifted. Traders put the terminal/peak rate at 5.00-5.25%, down from 5.50-5.75%, while pricing cuts after spring. Previously, no cuts were expected in 2023.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool.

Some Treasury yields fell spectacularly, too, …

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

… on par with those declines experienced amidst major crises, at least in the case of the 2-year.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Measures of US Treasury yield volatility implied by options (i.e., bets or hedges on or against market movement) adjusted higher, accordingly. This is often a harbinger of equity market volatility.

Graphic: Merrill Lynch Option Volatility Estimate retrieved from TradingView

Call options on the three-month Secured Overnight Financing Rate (FUTURE: SOFR) future (i.e., bets on interest rates falling in the future) paid handsomely.

For instance, bull call spreads that expire in December 2023 (e.g., BUY +1 VERTICAL /SR3Z23:XCME 1/2500 DEC 23 /SR3Z23:XCME 96/97 CALL @.0375) increased in value by about 650.00% to $0.33 (i.e., $750.00 per contract).

Graphic: Retrieved via TradingView. Three-month SOFR Future (December 2023). When SOFR is at a lower (higher) number, the market is pricing an increase (decrease) in interest rates. Participants put the December 2023 SOFR rate at 100-96.145 = 3.855%.

In the equity space, some readers may have caught some commentary on spot-vol beta in the VIX complex strengthening like we have not seen in a while, a nod to the harbinger of equity market volatility remark a few paragraphs higher.

Recommended Readings:

  • Read: The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial on two major risks investors should watch out for in 2023. In short, volatility’s sensitivity to underlying prices (spot-vol beta) was low, and Sidial cast blame, in part, on commodity trading advisors and strong volatility supply.
  • Read: Simplify Asset Management’s Michael Green on using option and bond overlays to hedge big uncertainties facing markets. Following 2022, investors swapped poor-performing long-dated volatility exposures for ones with bounded risk and less time to expiry, hence the increase in 0 DTE trading.
Graphic: Retrieved from Piper Sandler’s (NYSE: PIPR) Danny Kirsch.

This spot-vol beta remark suggests that (at least some of) the volatility in rates, as well as certain small pockets of the equity and crypto market, manifested demand for crash protection in the S&P 500, “which feeds back into VIX,” one explanation put well.

Graphic: Retrieved from Piper Sandler’s (NYSE: PIPR) Danny Kirsch. “[Last] week finally got a bit of explosiveness in VIX as fixed strike volatility got bid. This is VIX generic front month future and move in SPX. Last time it really “paid” to have VIX upside was Jan of 2022 (point in upper left corner).”

Notwithstanding, for these options to keep their value and continue to perform well, realized volatility (RVOL) must pick up substantially, which is not likely.

Unlimited’s Bob Elliott comments: “the bond market is pricing a broad-based credit crunch, … [and though] it’s not crazy for the Fed to slow down here given the current uncertainty,” odds are financial problems are contained and the Fed moves forward with its mission to get (and keep) inflation down.

Graphic: Retrieved from Fabian Wintersberger. Just as the “monetary expansion supported the rise in equity and bond prices in January.”

Consequently, “the pricing of Dec23s and 5yr BEIs makes no sense,” Elliott adds. This means the example SOFR trade above is/was ripe for some monetization, and equity volatility must be dealt with carefully (i.e., price movements must be higher than they are now which would be difficult given that authorities/Fed do not want liquidations).

In support of siding with the less extreme take, we paraphrase Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan who says that for years prior to the 2007-2008 turmoil, macro tourists were calling for a crash.

For markets to crumble, there would have to be an exogenous event far greater in implications than what just transpired with SIVB over the weekend. With odds that such turmoil doesn’t happen soon, coupled with participants easing up on their long-equity exposure (i.e., selling stock and not needing to hedge, hence the statement that owning equity volatility must be dealt with carefully), RVOL is likely to stay contained. That’s not to say that this volatility observed in the rates market can’t persist. It’s also not to say that markets can’t continue to trade lower (in fact, with interest rates rising and processes like quantitative tightening challenging bank liquidity, there is less incentive for investors to reside in lower-yielding equities). It just means that, barring some exogenous event, the market remains intact.

Graphic: Retrieved from Jack Farley. “Silicon Valley Bank owns >$80 Billion of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), a market that is ‘more prone to bouts of volatility’ because ‘small investors & leveraged funds have become the main buyers’ as the Fed & banks step away from market, according to Dec 2022 BIS report.”

Positioning

Following important events like the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) today, the compression of implied volatility or IVOL, coupled with the nearing of big options expirations (OpEx), sets the market up for potential short bursts of strength heading into the end of the month and next month.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Inflation has been well within forecasts.

A quick comparison of the Russell 2000 (INDEX: RUT) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) suggests this options-induced strength may help keep the recent re-grossing theme intact. The compression of wound IVOL and passage of OpEx, coupled with the still-live re-grossing theme, may put a floor under equities.

Graphic: Retrieved from TradingView. Orange = RUT. Candles = NDX. Note the weakness in RUT. Note the strength of the Nasdaq relative to the Russell.

To play, one could place a portion of their cash in money market funds or T-bill ETFs or box spreads, for instance, while allocating another portion to leverage potential by way of some call options structures that use one or more short options to help bring down the cost of a long option that is closer to current market prices (e.g., a bull call spread or short ratio call spread). To note, based on options prices as of this writing, it may be too early to enter call structures (i.e., too expensive given the context).

 Technical

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

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,904.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $3,921.75, $3,945.00, and $3,970.75.

Key levels to the downside include $3,884.75, $3,868.25, and $3,847.25.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

POCs: 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.

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

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. 

Separately, Capelj is an accredited journalist with past works including interviews with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com. Find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram. Find Capelj on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Only follow the verified profiles.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes. Capelj and Physik Invest manage their own capital and will not solicit others for it.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 2, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read free by thousands of subscribers. Join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /MES open is below the prior day’s range. /MES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. The lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility. UMBS prices via MNDClick here for the economic calendar.

Fundamental

A tight monetary environment resulted in a hesitation to take risks. With inflation high, in the face of exogenous events (e.g., geopolitics disrupting deflationary influences) and beyond, assets were sold.

Graphic: Retrieved from Topdown Charts.

With inflation still hot and the economy on solid footing (i.e., “stronger growth for longer” per Unlimited’s Bruce McNevin), traders price even “tighter monetary policy and a harder eventual landing to ease inflation pressure.” This is not good for assets.

Graphic: Retrieved from Unlimited.

In fact, for a moment yesterday, traders put the terminal rate at 5.50-5.75%, up from 5.25-5.50% prior to the market opening.

Graphic: Retrieved from CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) via The Kobeissi Letter on March 1, 2023, at 10:55 AM.

For the Federal Reserve (Fed) to hit its inflation target, likely in the range of 2-4% per Oaktree Capital Management’s Howard Marks said the real Fed Funds rate has to be positive. This effort puts the economy at risk of recession, said the Federal Reserve’s Neel Kashkari.

“Typically when the Fed raises rates to cool down inflation, it leads to a recession,” Kashkari explained, adding that “getting inflation down is job number one.”

Per Unlimited’s McNevin, the probability the economy is in a recession is lower than it was at the end of last year. For probabilities to change, there would have to be a large increase in unemployment. For instance, if the unemployment rate rises by about 1%, recession odds go up by 29%. If non-farm payroll employment falls by about 2% or 3 million jobs, recession odds jump by 74%.

Graphic: Retrieved from Unlimited.

Positioning

Per last month’s remarks by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, quoted in Physik Invest’s Daily Brief for February 17, 2023, if the market was to not breakdown sharply after February monthly options expiration (OpEx), as we see today, then options decay could build a platform for a FOMO-driven call buying rally that ends in a blow-off. 

Consequently, trades this letter put forth last month (e.g., call verticals sold to finance put verticals expiring months from now) would suffer greatly.

“We’ve had an intraday range of 33.5 [points] thus far. That’s not vol[atility] expansion, which is what I’d want to see if I was short,” volatility trader Darrin John put well. “If the market doesn’t do what you think it should, in a reasonable amount of time, then it’s best to [exit].”

At the same time, with portfolio constructions like 60/40 not as attractive in this macroeconomic environment (i.e., asset headwind from monetary tightening, as well as slowing growth and inflation headwind to bonds and commodities), traders can look to Physik Invest’s Daily Brief for February 28, 2023, for ideas on how to navigate. In that letter, we talked about how traders can participate in the upside by about the same amount they would with a traditional construction (e.g., 60/40) while eliminating their downside risk exposure.

For instance, one can buy enough bonds/box spreads so that, at their maturity, the principal is returned. The cash remaining can be invested in leverage potential.

Ending with a supporting quote from Oaktree’s Howard Marks: “Investors can now potentially get solid returns from credit instruments, meaning they no longer have to rely as heavily on riskier investments to achieve their overall return targets.”

Technical

As of 6:00 AM ET, Thursday’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 negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,943.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $3,965.25, $3,975.25, and $3,988.25.

Key levels to the downside include $3,926.25, $3,908.25, and $3,891.00.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

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

POCs: 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.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Reduction in dealer Gamma exposure. There is usually an increase in volatility after the removal of large options positions and associated hedging.


About

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. 

Separately, Capelj is an accredited journalist with past works including interviews with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com. Find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram. Find Capelj on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram. Only follow the verified profiles.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes. Capelj and Physik Invest manage their own capital and will not solicit others for it.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 17, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by thousands of subscribers. You, too, can join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 6:30 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 this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility. UMBS via MNDClick here for the calendar.

Administrative

The plan was to have a talk about big geopolitical themes but, in tying some loose ends and keeping with the spirit of the options-induced armageddon narrative, we push this to next week. Have a great weekend!

Positioning

Despite maintaining that markets are potentially due for weakness, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan brought up some interesting points, yesterday.

Essentially, despite liquidity coming off the table and increased competition between equities and fixed income, hence big bond inflows and equity outflows, if the “market consolidates and doesn’t break,” the delta buy-back with respect to dropping implied volatility (IVOL) or vanna and buy-back with respect to the passage of time or charm could build a platform for a FOMO-driven call buying rally that ends in a blow-off.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “US stocks have a new competitor: cash. For more than a decade, the only real virtue of leaving money on deposit has been optionality. It means you can jump quickly on opportunities as they arise. But now it offers a competitive yield.”

The signs of this “more combustible situation” would likely show when “volatility is sticky into a rally,” adds Karsan. To gauge combustibility, look to the options market.

Remember calls trade at a lower IVOL than puts. As the market trades higher, it slides to a lower IVOL, and that’s reflected by broad IVOL measures. If broad IVOL measures are sticky/bid, “that’s an easy way to say that fixed-strike volatility is coming up and, if that can happen for days, that can unpin volatility and create a situation where dealers themselves are no longer [own] a ton of volatility; they start thinning out on volatility themselves, and that creates a more combustible situation.”

To explain the “thinning out” part of the last paragraph, recall participants often opt to own equity and downside (put) protection financed, in part, with sales of upside (call) protection. If there’s more demand for calls, that will result in counterparties taking on more exposure against movement (i.e., negative gamma) hedged via purchases of the underlying. Once that exposure expires and/or decays, that dealer-based support will be withdrawn. If the assumption is that equity markets are expensive now, then, after another rally, there may be more room to fall, all else equal (a simplistic way to look at this), hence the increased precariousness and combustibility.

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 lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, far outside of the prior day’s range (i.e., a lot of shock and range expansion already happened), suggesting a higher than normal potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,071.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,083.75, $4,104.25, and $4,122.75.

Key levels to the downside include $4,052.25, $4,034.75, and $4,015.75.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

Gamma: The sensitivity of an option’s Delta to changes in the underlying asset’s price.

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

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


About

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, works in finance and journalism.

Capelj spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. Separately, Capelj is an options analyst at SpotGamma and an accredited journalist.

Capelj’s past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 9, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by thousands of subscribers. You, too, can join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 7:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility.

Positioning

The cross-cutting forces on inflation are set to net out says Bob Elliott, the CIO at Unlimited. The former Bridgewater Associates executive thinks short-term inflation pressures are skewed upward, and that new data suggests “the respite in inflation … is probably going to fade and higher numbers are going to print.”

In short, disinflation from oil prices and the amelioration of supply chains “cannot persist, and that’s what we’re seeing now. It looks like those upward pressures on inflation are moving faster than the pace that services prices and housing costs are moving down.”

Consequently, there is a potential for broad inflation measures to remain higher for longer, hence the thinking that the Federal Reserve (Fed) indeed stays tougher on inflation for longer (i.e., higher rates for longer). This would support traders’ recent desire to bet large on downside movement next week when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is set to update.

Publicized by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan and Damped Spring’s Andy Constan, some trader(s) bought to open 24,000 put options at the $4,050.00 S&P 500 (FUTURE: /ES) strike expiring February 17, 2023. The trade coincided with market makers selling to open “roughly 7,200 [/ES] futures contracts worth roughly $1.5 billion.” This “caused the local low,” Constan, who also worked at Bridgewater (and your letter writer had the honor of interviewing before), explained.

This trade, and others like it, compounded the pressures of the dealers selling their existing stock and futures “to re-hedge their call options exposures that are declining in value.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) is bid, as is the Cboe VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX), which your letter writer talked about in a SpotGamma note last night. Basically, traders are hedging more, and this is observed by previously low readings of convexity moving higher. Still, given that there is still some time to CPI, there’s potential for “current prices the SPX trades at [to] appear sticky for lack of better phrasing,” SpotGamma explained; pre-CPI, traders often sell short-term volatility as a bet on limited movement. It’s the post-CPI expirations in which implied volatility (IVOL) is wound and will serve as a catalyst for a fast move higher or lower. 

Graphic: Retrieved from TradingView. Blue = VVIX. Orange = VIX.

So, in the short-term, there may be some pinning, followed by an expansion of range into the mid-February (2/17) monthly options expiration (OpEx). This event likely puts the market in a precarious position and at the whims of macro-type repositioning, which may be bearish based on the insights this letter has covered in the past.

Graphic: Retrieved from Physik Invest. Data from SqueezeMetrics. Gamma exposure is set to fall in mid-February, and this may result in less support from the options market.

Trades that look and are working well include those that use short-call vertical credits to finance long-put vertical debits out months from now. For instance, for every two units of short call verticals (SOLD -1 VERTICAL SPX 100 19 MAY 23 [AM] 4150/4200 CALL), your letter writer is looking to own one unit of the long put vertical (BUY +1 VERTICAL SPX 100 16 JUN 23 [AM] 3450/3350 PUT). Remember that your letter writer may not necessarily think the market will trade that far, rather it may be a bet on IVOL repricing.

A case study on last week’s ultra-successful call ratio spreads is coming soon. Take care and watch your risk!

Technical

As of 7:20 AM ET, Thursday’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, inside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,168.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,189.00, $4,202.75, and $4,214.25.

Key levels to the downside include $4,153.25, $4,136.25, and $4,122.75.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.


About

The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, works in finance and journalism.

Capelj spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market. Separately, Capelj is an options analyst at SpotGamma and an accredited journalist.

Capelj’s past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Connect

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or find Physik Invest on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 3, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by thousands of subscribers. You, too, can join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 8:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility.

Positioning

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to increase its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points kicked off a bout of strength, boosted by the compression of wound implied volatility (IVOL). This volatility compression we observed with a shift lower in the IV term structure in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). Follow-on strength surfaced on Thursday and, based on an analysis of top-line IVOL measures such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) trending higher with the SPX, it was, in part, from traders’ demands for call options, hence high call option volumes.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg via Danny Kirsch on 2/2/2023.

Recall our detailed letter published prior to February 2, 2023 (e.g., February 1, 2023, January 26, 2023, and beyond). The context was set for the SPX and VIX to trend higher; traders bidding up call options due to their fear of missing out, in the context of less liquidity to absorb those demands, would be beneficial to owners of structures like call option butterflies and ratio spreads. Additionally, owning such structures would help dampen the impact of potential SPX downside on portfolios.

For instance, on January 25, 2023, this letter said trades structured in the indexes such as the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), where there was a steeper skew that would enable us to collect more credit in the options we are short, thereby lowering the cost of the spread we own, looked attractive, given the likelihood that the index would stay strong after the earnings reports of some big movers like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA). 

In yesterday’s letter update, we said that such trades were working spectacularly. In fact, your letter writer’s trading partner, who “initiated some +1 x -2 (17 FEB 23 13500/14000) [NDX] call ratio spreads for free (i.e., $0.00 debit or better to enter),” saw his spreads price in excess of a $40.00 credit to close, yesterday. That structure went from a $0 debit to open to a $4,000.00 credit to close. Again, nice job Justin. I’m expecting that case study, soon!

The NDX was probably the best place to be, yesterday, looking at the magnitude of movement in some of the heavyweights in the SPX, yesterday.

Graphic: Retrieved from Tier1Alpha.

Noteworthy is that many of the strongest performers (e.g., Google, Amazon, Apple) weakened considerably in the after-market when their earnings, and the speeches associated, pointed to some challenges ahead.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Breadth was, generally, not that strong, to add. This validates your letter writer’s belief the market is in a precarious position. Notwithstanding the market’s potential to stay strong into the mid-February timeframe as some strategists believe, the data seems to suggest that “whenever there are two million or more call contracts that exchange hands on the Cboe, future 5- and 10-day returns tend toward being negative (about -1.37% and -2.12% respectively),” SpotGamma said.

SpotGamma added: “This is, in part, because the bullish hedging impact of short-dated call options activity is not long-lasting. Also, IV compressing from a relatively low starting point also does little to bolster long-lasting rallies.”

As further validation for the precariousness the market is in, “[t]he most prominent feature of the 0DTE landscape is actually customer-bought calls way out at $4,200.00 (which would ramp up buying from dealer long-gamma if SPX were to rise to ~$4,170.00.” Per SpotGamma, should “traders’ interest build at or slightly above current SPX prices, then dealers’ hedging may actually result in range suppression or pressure” as time passes and volatility falls. That’s because if a long call option’s probability of finishing in the money at expiration falls, the dealer’s risk falls as well and, so, the dealer can sell some of their hedges. This is market pressure.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

As this letter stated, yesterday, knowing that longer-dated SPX IVOL “is cheap, now attractive trades include selling rich call verticals to finance put verticals.”

Per Joseph Wang, the “increasing probability of a second bout of inflation, an issue in the 1970s that the Fed is keen to avoid … [by] retighten[ing] financial conditions … through its balance sheet,” the flow of capital out of capital markets presents more pressure on the financial economy (not necessarily the real economy). Cheap put protection may help hedge the realization of further macro-type market pressure.

Graphic: Retrieved from Fabian Wintersberger.

Technical

As of 8:15 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of the prior range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,165.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,189.00, $4,202.75, and $4,214.25.

Key levels to the downside include $4,153.25, $4,136.75, and $4,122.50.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels hold weight barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.

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


About

In short, Renato Leonard Capelj is an economics graduate working in finance and journalism.

Capelj spends most of his time as the founder of Physik Invest through which he invests and publishes daily analyses to subscribers, some of whom represent well-known institutions.

Separately, Capelj is an equity options analyst at SpotGamma and an accredited journalist interviewing global leaders in business, government, and finance.

Past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 2, 2023

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by thousands of subscribers. You, too, can join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 7:30 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 this letter. Click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) reflects the attractiveness of owning volatility.

Positioning

The Federal Reserve (Fed) upped its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points. This puts the target rate range between 4.5% and 4.75%.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

The Fed’s Jerome Powell signaled that toughness on inflation will last; though the “disinflation process has started,” and markets are pricing about 50 basis points of cuts by year-end, Powell said rates will continue to increase at least a couple more times. He said rates may reach as high as 5.25% to cut “inflation to 2% over time.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Markets rallied sharply when Powell began talking. Some suggest his not “overly combative” responses were a reason. Looking back to the Daily Brief for February 1, 2023, we said that in spite of “toughness from the Fed,” markets would likely trend sideways to higher as traders would “not be able to justify the pricing of the ultra-short-dated options they demanded heading into Wednesday.”

Consequently, the supply and expiry of short-dated options coincided with dealers, who were short-stock against the puts they supplied, buying back their hedges. Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan put this well in a media appearance pre-Fed. 

He said that “vol structurally affects how markets move” and that put options, which traders own and dealers are short (and hedging with short stock, as well), would likely go down in value as the “event vol” falls; “those vanna and charm effects will naturally lead to a buyback.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

For context, vanna is the change in an options delta with respect to changes in IVOL. Charm is the change in an options delta with respect to changes in time. These are second-order derivatives of an option’s value, once to time or IVOL, and once to delta.

The positive market response, however, should not overly excite. Rather, the market is in a precarious position, and the compression of volatility, given its low starting point, probably does little to encourage a long-lasting rally.

Graphic: Small spread between realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility. Retrieved from Bloomberg via CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME) analysis.

Trades this letter put forth (e.g., call butterflies and ratio spreads) that would benefit from a sharp move higher while limiting the downside, in products like the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), are working spectacularly. In fact, while your letter writer was traveling, his trading partner initiated some +1 x -2 (17 FEB 23 13500/14000) call ratio spreads for free (i.e., $0.00 debit or better to enter), and those spreads are now pricing over $6.00 credit to close. That’s $600.00. Nice job, Justin!

Anyways, though markets could continue trending higher, the risks for a move lower, particularly after mid-February, are increasing some say. Additionally, though we keep our technical analysis usually limited to volume and market profiles, there are a few anchored volume-weighted average price levels sticking out just above current prices.

For context, VWAPs are metrics highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for the quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) daily chart retrieved from TradingView.

Knowing that longer-dated S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) implied volatility (IVOL) is cheap, now attractive trades include selling rich call verticals to finance put verticals.

As an aside, there are a number of reasons for calls pricing the way they do. Some of them include the opportunity cost of forgone interest (i.e., buy a call and invest the outlay difference in an interest-bearing account), as well as a fear of missing out in the context of a lower liquidity environment and less supply to absorb demand for hedging (hence higher lows in the VIX).

Graphic: Retrieved from Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

Technical

As of 7:30 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of the prior range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,153.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,165.75, $4,189.25, and $4,202.75.

Key levels to the downside include $4,136.75, $4,122.50, and $4,100.25.

Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels hold weight barring an exogenous development.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.


About

In short, Renato Leonard Capelj is an economics graduate working in finance and journalism.

Capelj spends most of his time as the founder of Physik Invest through which he invests and publishes daily analyses to subscribers, some of whom represent well-known institutions.

Separately, Capelj is an equity options analyst at SpotGamma and an accredited journalist interviewing global leaders in business, government, and finance.

Past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.