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Daily Brief For February 14, 2023

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Graphic updated 8:05 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. 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 price via MNDClick here for the calendar.

Fundamental

Companies are slowing price increases, 

The Transcript, quoting earnings calls, shared with subscribers. Notwithstanding, consumer spending still reads strong. Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA) measured ~9% growth in spending last month, and this points to the presence of inflation in the system that needs to be worked out. 

Consequently, Federal Reserve (Fed) officials maintain that “more needs to be done”, and this is evident in traders’ guesses as to where rates peak (i.e., terminal rate), and when the eventual reduction in rates is set to occur (i.e., easing). 

The free CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool shows rates peaking in the 5.00-5.25% range through November. Then, in December, traders price a move back to the 4.75-5.00% range where we are now.

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

This is the pricing is in anticipation of rising consumer prices; the Consumer Price Index (CPI) due at 8:30 AM ET, is set to rise 0.5% in January, the most in a few months. Core CPI, which matters a lot to the Fed, is set to advance by about 0.4%.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) thinks that “data close to estimates would be treated as confirming a continued cooling in inflation, which would imply a fall for bond yields and the dollar, while tech shares would lead an advance for US stocks.”

But, any equity gains are likely to fade, [JPM] warned, ‘once investors shift attention to a relatively slower pace of disinflation than the previous two months, where each CPI print saw a decrease of 60 basis points.’”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

So in-line CPI, coupled with a strong January jobs report, will “corroborate recent comments from Fed officials that further interest-rate hikes are likely forthcoming,” Bloomberg adds. In a post by Joseph Wang, a former Fed trader, “a higher interest rate environment implies a more potent [quantiative tightening or] QT.”

“The Fed’s aggressive hikes have yet to reach the bulk of bank deposits, which is the foundational financial asset for many households. These deeply negative real yields may be extending the portfolio rebalancing impact of QE. Some households have escaped financial repression by moving into Treasury bills or money market funds, but that is not the only refuge. The perceived return of risk assets likely remains high for many, as the memory of the 2021 boom is still fresh.” Further, a “sizable yield upgrade being forced onto the market may indicate a more impactful QT.”

QT, to put it simply, is the flow of capital out of capital markets. Higher rates for longer and more QT are not good for risk assets. Though money is flowing from other parts of the world, which, in part, has bolstered buying of assets over the past months, accelerating “QT shifts the composition of financial assets towards those that better reflect the Fed’s restrictive stance.”

Positioning

In the post-CPI expirations, implied volatility (IVOL), a demonstration of traders’ fears and demands for protection, is wound and is likely to serve as a catalyst for a fast move after CPI. Should fears be assuaged (i.e., barring the unexpected), wound volatility is likely to compress and this may result in a short-term market boost.

However, the sale and expiry of protection, after CPI and particularly the coming options expiration (OpEx), is likely to put the market in a precarious position.

According to SpotGamma, “current positioning, a result of re-grossing over the past weeks and months, has boosted dealer exposure to positive gamma.” This means counterparties (i.e., dealers) make money when the market moves and hedge in a manner that reduces volatility, “hence more rangebound trade as we have seen.”

Following OpEx, counterparty exposure to positive gamma will decline and “leave markets more at the whim of macro-type repositioning” which counterparties will do less to disrupt and more to bolster (i.e., add to movement).

Therefore, as SpotGamma summarizes, “[b]e prepared for potential relief immediately after CPI. However, across a longer time horizon, there is potential for weakness and that weakness may be exacerbated by dealer hedging.”

Technical

As of 7:15 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a balanced overnight inventory, outside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

The S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,159.00. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,168.75, $4,189.00, and $4,202.75.

Key levels to the downside include $4,137.00, $4,123.25, 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 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.


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

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Disclaimer

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