Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For June 24, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures resolved a multi-day consolidation and auctioned higher, far beyond the prior day’s range. Commodities were mixed while bonds were lower.

The break from consolidation is one of the most bullish happenings in weeks. We’re monitoring whether participants add to their recent short volatility bets against direction, or whether there is repositioning and this bolsters the initiative probe.

Ahead is data on University of Michigan consumer sentiment, inflation expectations, and new home sales (10:00 AM ET), as well as some Fed speak (7:30 AM and 4:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: To start, I want to apologize for any confusion, yesterday, with respect to the /GE Eurodollar quote. This newsletter said the peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – sat near December 2023. 

That’s wrong. It’s December 2022.

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. The Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE) futures curve is a reflection of participants’ outlook on interest rates. The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – is around DEC 20[22].

Okay, moving on, now!

New data is pointing to a “remarkable” drop in demand for goods and services during June, compared to months prior. 

“US economic growth has slowed sharply in June, with deteriorating forward-looking indicators setting the scene for an economic contraction in the third quarter,” S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) Market Intelligence’s Chris Williamson explained.

“The survey data are consistent with the economy expanding at an annualized rate of less than 1% in June, with the goods-producing sector already in decline and the vast service sector slowing sharply.”

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc. “This is a sizeable miss and evidence of a quick slowdown in demand, though it’s still in positive territory (above 50). This report is consistent with a shifting narrative away from inflation worries and towards growth worries.”

Businesses (particularly in retail) are way “more concerned about the outlook” of costs and demand, as well as the path in monetary policies and deterioration in financial conditions. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Supply constraints, exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine this year, account for about half of the surge in US inflation, with demand currently making up a third of the increase, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.”

That’s validated by Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk speaking about the carmaker’s losses from new plants, supply chain problems, and the like. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Long-term ocean freight rates between China and the US West Coast are higher than spot prices for the first time since April 2020.”

“The past two years have been an absolute nightmare of supply chain interruptions, one thing after another,” Musk said.

“We’re not out of it yet. That’s overwhelmingly our concern is how do we keep the factories operating so we can pay people and not go bankrupt.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Supply chains in Asia look to be on the mend,” though it will “ take a while for supply and demand to rebalance.”

It’s a global move into recession all at once, as Jeffrey Snider of Alhambra Investments says

Read: Daily Brief for May 18, 2022

“​​Combine the potential for break in repo collateral with economy heading toward recession, no wonder the Euro[dollar] curve inversion is spreading as rapidly as it has. Possibility of something big going wrong, therefore ending rate hikes, is huge now.”

“Euro[dollar] squeeze, collateral shortage, deflationary potential in money, and now demand destruction in global real economy.”

Graphic: Via Alhambra Investments.

Over the last four decades, monetary policy was a go-to for supporting the economy. Money was sent to capital and that promoted innovation and, by that token, deflation, ultimately creating “unimportance to cash flows,” as well put by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan. 

Now, there’s a strong commitment to reducing liquidity and credit, all the while there are chokepoints monetary policymakers have little control over. 

This has consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept deflationary pressures at bay. A stock market drop is both a recession and a direct reflection of the unwind of carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s poor sentiments and economic data reflects this.

At the same time, “bonds are not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol,” as Joseph Wang puts it. 

Bank deposits are to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, prompting investors to “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Retail buyers, who, according to Michael Wang of Prometheus Alternative Investments, “were a significant driver of the inflated valuations we saw in tech and crypto,” are capitulating in stocks, all the while froth in housing markets is soon to abate, likewise.

Notwithstanding, Mark Zandi of Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) does not see “the kind of mortgage defaults and distressed sales that would be necessary for big declines in housing values,” just as prices of raw materials are retreating as inventories are bloating.

As put forth, partially, earlier this week, one has to wonder about the likelihood that inflation is near its high and whether the de-rates have played their course.

Let’s keep an open mind and follow up on this, in detail, next week.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The hot commodities rally is cooling off fast as recession fears again ground and cloud the outlook for demand.”

Positioning: Keeping this section short. 

As stated yesterday, a feature of the equity sell-off is the suppression of implied volatility (IVOL) versus that which the market realizes (RVOL) given that participants are hedged and volatility remains in strong supply. 

Read: Daily Brief for June 23, 2022.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

Options data and insights platform SqueezeMetrics explained that this is due in part to lower leverage, too.

“Leveraged long S&P lost favor (understandable), and marginal demand for puts went with it. Creeping into net selling territory is ‘smart’ bear market positioning. Short delta, short skew.”

Graphic: Via SqueezeMetrics.

As I said in SpotGamma’s note, last night, given “the high starting point in IVOL, as well as its place in relation to [RVOL], it makes sense to own structures that benefit either from sharp changes in underlying price or an abrupt repricing in volatility.”

Cutting into the realization of a sharp change in underlying price or a far-reaching rally, however, are short-volatility bets across shorter maturity periods (and the associated hedging), as well as big (and popularized) positions set to roll off at the quarter-end.

Liquidity providers, per SpotGamma, all else equal, will have to sell to re-hedge, and we will talk about this further, next week.

Graphic: Taken 6/22/2022. SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator points to selling of put and call options in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Those liquidity providers, who are on the other side, are more exposed to long volatility, which they hedge by buying (selling) into weakness (strength) underlying.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,821.50 LVNode puts in play the $3,843.00 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $3,911.00 VPOC and $3,943.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,821.50 LVNode puts in play the $3,793.25 ledge. Initiative trade beyond the ledge could reach as low as the $3,770.75 HVNode and $3,735.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

Considerations: Recent trade has been lackluster and the overnight break is the most bullish happening in weeks. The go-to trade this week was short volatility. Participants responded to tests of key visual areas, and sold options, particularly in shorter maturities.

In the coming session(s), some of those participants will respond to the break in a manner that bolsters the initiative drive. Notwithstanding, the key to watch for is whether participants will use the bump as an opportunity to add to their most recent short volatility bets against the direction. 

Ultimately, the more time that is spent outside of the prior consolidation area, the likelihood that the breakout is a signal to look for dips to buy and play rotations to key areas up above.

Definitions

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

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

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

Balance-Break + Gap 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. 

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. 

Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 20, 2022

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

What Happened

Ahead of a $1.9 trillion options expiration, which we unpack later in the letter, the equity index and commodity futures, as well as yields, were bid.

This activity was on the heels of good news coming from overseas. China lowered prime rates on the five-year by a record to boost mortgages and loans amid an ongoing pandemic slump.

In other news, China warned the U.S. over a ‘dangerous situation’ forming over Taiwan, and the U.S. is set to block Russian debt payments, raising concerns of default. 

This is as Russian forces, per Michael Horowitz of Le Beck Int’l, broke “Ukrainian defenses west of Popasna in the Donbass, … a tactical success for Russia, the first in a very long time.”

Ahead, there is no data scheduled for release. Enjoy your Friday!

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Fundamentally, the narrative remains the same, albeit there has been a rise in concern over global growth given persistent supply chokepoints and a commitment to reducing liquidity and credit.

Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) Mark Zandi explains “the odds that the economy will suffer a downturn beginning in the next 12 months at one in three with uncomfortable near-even odds of a recession in the next 24 months.”

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass. “Analyst consensus for the 2022 US real GDP growth has been consistently revised down this year.”

Per Bloomberg’s John Authers, U.S. housing is slowing down in the context of still-heightened sales. Data on home building suggests builders “aren’t running scared” while chokepoints still are feeding into support for house prices.

“Now, with inflation rising, the Fed is more concerned about wealth effects,” Authers explained. 

“The rise in asset prices has made a lot of people wealthier and encouraged them to spend accordingly. It’s also stoked inequality. A fall in home values would be helpful at this point,” and it’s something the Fed is keen on “pursuing,” as talked about in letters earlier this week.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Positioning: Friday marks the roll off of $460 billion of derivatives across single stocks and $855 billion of S&P 500-linked contracts, according to a Bloomberg report quoting Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) research.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Taken from Bloomberg.

Into this event, participants are hedged and volatility remains well-supplied, due in part to suppressive volatility selling, as well as passive flows supporting the largest index constituents.

Consequently, the market’s descent has been orderly and not exacerbated by the demand for hedges and associated repricings of volatility.

This was expected, per Kai Volatility Cem Karsan’s commentary published in December 2021.

“If a meaningful volatility event has recently transpired [e.g., COVID-19], implied volatility demand tends to be high,” as sellers of it were liquidated in previous declines and “buyers have been rewarded with profits and demand for their services.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “2022 is shaping up to be the busiest year for option trading. Almost 40 million contracts have changed hands daily on average, 6% above last year’s record, data compiled by Bloomberg show.”

“Market participants are thus overly hedged going into the second move, resulting in the suppression of implied volatility and skew along with a dampening of realized volatility.”

Graphic: Commentary published by Kai Volatility.

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

Graphic: Via @ftx_chris. “The relationship between illiquidity & volatility is a critical market driver for traditional markets now. In simple terms: lower liquidity creates increased volatility.”

“For some of these reasons – tempered measures of implied volatility – the market’s missing a lot of the ‘stored energy’ or ‘vanna fuel’ that’s helped support it in past periods of turmoil.”

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

So, barring changes in fundamentals, the catalysts to a potential rally are few and far between, and we elaborated on this in an earlier commentary.

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

Heading into Friday, Bloomberg quotes the $4,000.00 S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) strike having “93,000 open positions set to run out, … includ[ing] 41,024 calls and 52,269 puts.”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma.

An open well below $4,000.00 means that this expiration will coincide with the removal of a lot of in-the-money put-delta. That means, post-expiration, per SpotGamma, “market makers will be free to buy back stocks to cover the short exposures that are no longer needed.” 

“Any ultimate rally off of Opex, we’d consider to be short covering, and subject to swift reversals into the end of next week.”

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,061.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,095.00 overnight high (ONH) and $4,119.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,943.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,908.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $3,862.75 and $3,836.25 low volume areas (LVNodes), or lower.

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

Considerations: Push-and-pull, as well as responsiveness near key-technical areas (discernable visually on a chart), suggests technically-driven traders with shorter time horizons are (becoming) active.

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests.

Large participants (who often move by committee) seldom respond to key technical inflections. It is their activity that often results in poor reliability of our technical levels.

Sometimes, the better trade is to wait for the larger participants’ entry and use the expansion of the range as a confirmation of a new trend.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 27, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures probed higher, essentially negating Tuesday’s end-of-day, knee-jerk liquidation.

Tuesday’s selling came alongside Russia cutting gas to Poland and Bulgaria, Vice President Kamala Harris testing positive for COVID-19, and heavy selling in growth and tech stocks, amid doubts corporate profits can withstand the Federal Reserve’s bid to tame inflation.

As Jerome Schneider of Pacific Investment Management Co says, QT will “have a profound effect on the cost of liquidity and more importantly the cost of transacting business and reallocating assets from one avenue to another avenue.” 

“There might not necessarily be a rapid deceleration or decline in the stock market or other risk assets, but there’s going to be a changing cost of capital that this balance sheet is going to be part of.”

After the close, weakness continued. Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) missed on slowing sales growth and digital-ad spending. One of the biggest losers was Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) which shed 12% or so on news that Elon Musk would use his fortune, much of which is tied up in Tesla, to buy Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR).

Germany’s passage of a bigger borrowing budget, coupled with China’s pledge to boost infrastructure bolstered an overnight advance that fed into price action at home. The S&P 500, in particular, for a brief moment, took back a key level, negating much of yesterday’s liquidation.

Ahead is data on international trade in goods (8:30 AM ET), as well as pending home sales and the rental vacancy rate (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 7:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Positioning: Markets are positioned for continued volatility. 

Based on a reading of market gamma exposure (GEX) and buying support (DIX), the returns distribution is skewed positive. There’s buying in the context of an environment in which the hedging of options positioning implies selling into weakness and buying of strength.

Graphic: Via Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) research.

In the most simple way that I can explain: when positioning is stretched one way, that often tends to mark a turning point – the returns distribution is either skewed positive or negative.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data via SqueezeMetrics. Updated March of 2022. A high DIX/GEX ratio often portends positive 1-month returns.

An updated read, after Tuesday’s weak close, tells us that we can (1) definitely expect larger ranges to continue and (2) potential for short-term bounces

Based on overnight activity, one of those is happening, now.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data via SqueezeMetrics.

This is as participants are both well-hedged and using weakness as an opportunity to buy into a less highly valued market.

Well-hedged means that customers (i.e., you and I) own protection against long equity exposure. So, that could mean customers own puts and/or are short calls. One of the most dominant flows is the long put, short call.

Such trade offers customers positive, yet asymmetric (gamma), exposure to direction (delta). In other words, negative delta and positive gamma. 

The counterparty has exposure to positive delta and negative gamma. If the underlyings trade lower and volatility rises, all else equal, the position will lose. To hedge against these losses, the counterparties will sell underlying into weakness.

If prices reverse and move higher, these counterparties will re-hedge and buy underlying.

Normally, as seen over the bull run of 2020 and 2021, markets are in an uptrend and there’s a strong supply of volatility. Often, customers sell more calls than puts and, in an uptrend, those calls solicit more active hedging than the put options.

Recall that the customer is short the call. That means the counterparty is long the call (a positive delta and gamma trade) and will make money if prices rise, all else equal. 

The hedging of this particular exposure (i.e., sell strength, buy weakness), in an uptrend, occurs slower (i.e., counterparts will allow their profits to run), and that’s what can help the market sustain lower volatility trends for longer periods.

When prices reverse and underlyings trade lower, put options solicit increased hedging activity. Given the nature of counterparty exposure to those puts, that hedging happens quickly and can take from market liquidity as to volatility (i.e., buy strength, sell weakness).

See, below, E-mini S&P 500 book depth, a proxy for market liquidity, and how much it has declined since the end of last year when markets became more volatile and noise around the Federal Reserve’s intent to taper bond-buying and raise rates grew louder.

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME) Liquidity Tool. Note how in late March, book depth rose as markets rose and customer call activity solicited increased hedging of counterparty long-gamma exposure (i.e., buy weakness, sell strength), adding to market liquidity.

In the above environment, counterparty hedging matters; the market is more sensitive to the flow, so to speak. That sensitivity is expected to continue.

SpotGamma, an options data and analysis service, sees the early May period as pivotal. Then is the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and the potential Russian default, per Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO).

As quoted: “Russia ‘may be considered in default’ if it does not pay two bonds in US dollars by end of a grace period on May 4.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Until those events are resolved, participants will likely continue to (remain) hedge(d). Upon resolve, customers likely monetize their protection to offset losses on underlying equity exposure. 

That means selling volatility which reduces counterparty exposure to short puts (negative gamma and positive delta). To re-hedge, underlying is bought back and that may support a price rise.

Graphic: VIX term structure via VIX Central. Expansion (higher) solicits counterparty selling which pressures the market lower. Compression (lower) solicits counterparty buying which bolsters attempts higher.

Whether that price rise has legs depends on what the fundamental situation is, then. See the below section titled Considerations for a full technical picture and the most likely turning points.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,217.25 overnight high (ONH) puts in play the $4,267.75 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,303.75 ONH and $4,337.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,217.25 ONH puts in play the $4,193.25 spike base. Initiative trade beyond the spike base could reach as low as the $4,136.50 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,101.25 overnight low (ONL), or lower.

Considerations: Spikes mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

Additionally, the indexes continue to trade below their 20-, 50-, and 200-day simple moving averages, confirming the trend change and bearish tone (further validated by poor breadth).

Graphic: Market Internals as pioneered by (a mentor of mine) Peter Reznicek. Notice the indicator in the top right, weighted S&P sectors (histogram) versus unweighted (blue line). During late last week, participants sold the entire market, heavily (as supported by the difference between the volume flowing into stocks that are up versus those that are down).

All indexes remain, as stated, yesterday, below their volume-weighted average prices (VWAPs) anchored from the start of this year (or their respective peaks). 

VWAPs are a metric highly regarded by chief investment officers (CIOs), among other participants, for quality of trade. Liquidity algorithms, too, are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

The Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) just tested a major VWAP, yesterday, anchored from the lows of March 2020. That’s a fair price to pay for Nasdaq 100 exposure.

Graphic: Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) with anchored VWAPs.

Notwithstanding, notice the flat-to-declining AVWAP that’s black in color. So long as prices remain below this level, the index is likely a sell. 

Should that level flatten (and begin to rise), and if the QQQ was able to trade above it for a sustained period, there is potential for sustained upside.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj also develops insights around impactful options market dynamics at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga reporter.

Some of his works include conversations with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, among many others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 15, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures explored lower prices alongside most commodities. Bonds and implied volatility metrics were bid, also.

The narrative is that this is follow-on selling as participants look to price in the implications of COVID-19 lockdowns in China, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Arguably, there is some pre-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) positioning going on, too.

Ahead is data on the Producer Price Index and Empire State Manufacturing (8:30 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Keeping it short, today. Please check out Monday’s commentary, if you haven’t!

Weak start to 2022 as participants look to price slower growth and inflation, tighter monetary policy, geopolitical tensions, a resurgence in COVID-19, potential Russian defaults, and beyond.

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI). 

Bolstering inflation pressures are supply-demand challenges. For instance, geopolitical tensions are stifling vehicle production here in the U.S.

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI). 

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gas in the U.S. climbed about $0.80/gallon, also, prompting talk of gas tax holidays.

Graphic: Via Reuters.

Pursuant to these remarks, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) economists suggest the probability of recession in the next year is between 20-35% while Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) strategists see equity valuations overshooting to the downside with out of control inflation.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

In opposition, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic suggests there is too much negativity priced in and that investors should add equity risk

“We believe that the past month’s correction has induced too much negativity in markets, e.g., reflected by our market-implied recession probabilities, on the fear that growth will be severely affected by the war. We stay with a pro-risk stance as we do not believe that we will see a recession or that we have entered a sustained bear market.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “A Moody’s Analytics computer model suggests that the U.S. as a whole would be able to avoid a recession, even if military hostilities are prolonged.”

Positioning: Per Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s derivatives team, “puts are more overvalued than any time over the past five years.”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Netting call & put delta, you can see we’re near extremes in terms of put:call positions. Often large put positions are removed by expirations, which seems to coincide with market lows. Many of these are quarterly expirations which coincide w/FOMC meetings – such as next week.”

Further, it is expected that the compression of volatility (via passage of FOMC), as well as the removal of customer puts and (accordingly) counterparty negative gamma exposure (OPEX) may serve to alleviate some of this pressure.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “18-Mar has more expiring near-the-money SPX open interest than any expiration since 2019.”

In taking the other side of this demand for protection, counterparties carry exposure to positive delta and negative gamma (losses amplified to the downside). In hedging their own exposure, counterparties will sell underlying(s), and this is where the aforementioned pressure arises.

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 market maker long the put will buy (sell) the underlying to neutralize directional risk as price falls (rises).

Given present supply and demand conditions (customer hedging in months prior), the incremental pressure counterparties add with each leg lower is less, if you will. 

Here’s a good explanation:

“When implied volatility is high, that same 1% move lower is much more ‘expected’ so there generally won’t be the same upward pressure on volatility and in fact it might decline,” said Christopher Jacobson, a strategist at Susquehanna Financial Group LLP.

“Along the same lines, investors at that point have had more opportunity and time to hedge, so those same market moves may not lead to as much hedging activity.”

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

Adding to that last remark, as Amy Wu Silverman of Royal Bank of Canada’s (NYSE: RY) capital markets group puts it well: “You’re also seeing people selling that volatility and doing some overwriting. That can probably dampen volatility.”

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator for QQQ shows strong put selling 3/14/2022. Divergences often precede reversals in the underlying.

There is the potential, according to SpotGamma, for some “path dependency,” however, as “the expiration and/or covering of a large swath of these put hedges may place the market back into an ‘underhedged’ position.” In such a case, new demand would add fuel to weakness.

Technical: As of 6:15 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Gap Scenarios: 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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,129.50 overnight low (ONL) puts in play the $4,177.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $4,177.25 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,227.75 HVNode and $4,249.25 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,129.50 ONL puts in play the $4,101.25 ONL. Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $4,069.25 HVNode and $4,055.75 LVNode, or lower.

Considerations: Push-and-pull, as well as responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart), suggests technically-driven traders with short time horizons are very active. 

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests and, additionally, the type of trade may be indicative of the other time frame participants waiting for more information to initiate trades.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 18, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned back up into range after a spike lower from multi-day balance. The overnight response, higher, happened after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for talks in Europe next week.

Ahead is data on existing home sales and leading economic indicators (10:00 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Christopher Waller (10:15 AM ET), John Williams (11:00 AM ET), and Lael Brainard (1:30 PM ET).

In observance of Washington’s Birthday, markets are closed Monday, February 21, 2022.

Graphic updated 6:45 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Given the persistence of mechanical responses to key levels, visually-driven, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) carry a heavier hand in recent price discovery.

The takeaway is that the larger, other time frame (OTF) participants are waiting for more information before committing to substantial expansion of range via large sales or buys.

Information the OTFs are seeking to process and position themselves in accordance with are (but not limited to) geopolitical tensions and contractionary monetary policy.

Thursday’s commentary went in-depth on the implications of more severe Fed-action. Mainly, to slow inflation and rid the market of excesses, “a Volcker moment” is needed a strategist said.

Graphic: Via MacroTrends & Cboe Options Institute. “Value stocks started to outperform when the Federal Reserve (under Greenspan) communicated their intent to tighten policy. Value fell out of favor in the middle of 2007 following a UST yield curve inversion and looser monetary policy (under Bernanke).”

The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, and others, expressed their differing sentiments on the issue, given that equities are so intertwined with consumer savings.

“There is no way the fed looks to use additional volatility as a policeman,” he explained. “It’s one of those things that sounds ok in theory but will not work in real-world applications.”

As Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) puts well, “This cycle is unlike any recent one and, while there are a ton of reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy’s near-term prospects, there are also reasons to worry that a recession isn’t far off on the horizon.”

Graphic: Via St. Louis Fed. Taken from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE). “In fact, a dynamic where short-dated bond yields are higher than longer-dated bonds can reinforce an economic slowdown. The cost of capital is perhaps the most important component for evaluating so many other market relationships. Any investment that involves borrowed money becomes more expensive when the cost of capital increases. More is spent on interest payments. Higher rates incentivize saving (as opposed to consumption) which impacts businesses and the economy as a whole.”

“If the Fed is forced to raise the fed funds rate above its neutral rate to tame inflation, the stage will be set for recession. Also, some Fed officials believe they are falling further behind the curve, which could lead to a more aggressive tightening cycle, a recipe for an economic downturn in 2023 or 2024.”

Based on this sentiment, investors have already bet – via the eurodollar futures contract – on the Fed reversing its tightening course in late 2023. The current baseline calls for four 25-basis point rate hikes this year.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “In the eurodollar futures markets, the spread between the December 2023 and December 2025 contracts has dropped further into negative territory on Monday — implying a near-25 basis point cut in the federal funds benchmark over this 24-month timeframe.”

“We, therefore, think that the more likely path is a longer series of 25-basis point increases in the target range for the fed funds rate and we may need to add an additional rate hike to our baseline forecast in March,” Moody’s says in response to more hawkish pricings as a result of market focus on comments by hawkish regional Fed presidents.

Graphic: Via TS Lombard. Taken from The Market Ear. “Flattening is normal when the Fed is tightening. Looking at the past eight hiking cycles, almost every segment of the curve has flattened on average without immediately triggering a recession.”

On that note, Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Group AG’s (NYSE: UBS) Global Wealth Management arm says that “Despite the recent volatility, it’s important to remember that we are still in an environment of robust economic and earnings growth.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “If market dysfunction is reflected in tighter conditions, then this chart shows we’re nowhere near stressed levels — after all, central bank policy globally is historically loose.”

“Our base case we expect upside for equity markets over the balance of the year.”

Positioning: Passive buying flows persist alongside a drop in bearish sentiment readings.

Graphic: Via EPFR, Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS), and Bloomberg. Taken from The Market Ear

This action is in the face of a collapse in margin debt.

Graphic: Via Tier1Alpha. Taken from The Market Ear. “Margin debt is a big part of the puzzle, but even more important is the “delta” of the margin debt. The YoY % change of FINRA margin debt looks slightly scary.”

In the credit markets, investment-grade spreads are at some of their widest levels since 2020. Per Bloomberg, put option (bets on the downside) open interest in corporate bond ETFs is at an all-time high.

“Rotate into credit now,” Chris Sheldon, the co-head of credit and markets at KKR, explained, taking a contrarian view. “As the rate volatility plays through the market segment, we think high yield could become more attractive very quickly.”

On the single-stock and index-level, options positioning suggests participants should continue to brace for volatility. Participants’ demand for protection (negative delta exposure) has left counterparties (dealers taking the other side and warehousing risk) adding negative delta exposure linearly (via stock and futures sales) to hedge.

To note, owning an option offers someone positive exposure to gamma or convexity (to have profits multiplied if the direction is correct, all else equal). On the other side, though, participants who are short gamma or convexity may have their losses multiplied if incorrect.

Making some naive assumptions on the build-in interest in options strikes at lower prices, we may surmise that dealers are exposed to increased negative gamma exposure. 

To hedge this, if volatility were to remain unchanged, dealers must sell (buy) into weakness (strength) to hedge increasing (decreasing) negative gamma exposure. If volatility rises (drops), then more stock and futures must be sold (bought/covered).

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

The monthly options expiration (OPEX) will coincide with the removal of lots of put-heavy exposures. This will decrease the dealers’ positive exposure to delta and make gamma exposures less negative. 

Therefore, absent some exogenous event that increases demand for protection, again, there is the potential for strength, post-OPEX. That’s when that real-money buying, alluded to above, may resolve in higher prices.

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

Spikes: Spikes mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,438.00 key response area (balance boundary and high volume area). Initiative trade beyond the key response area could reach as high as the $4,464.75 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,485.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,415.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,401.50 spike base. Initiative trade beyond the spike base could reach as low as the $4,367.25 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,332.75 high volume area (HVNode), or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, 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) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure. In recent history, this reset in dealer positioning has been front-run; prior, there was an increase in volatility after the removal of large options positions and associated hedging.

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).

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): A metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 9, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures broke the confines of tight consolidation. 

As stated some commentaries ago, the odds pointed to a continued counter-trend rally; volatility compression, coupled with metrics that point to buying support, was to bolster follow-through.

Ahead is data on Wholesale Inventories (10:00 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Governor Michelle Bowman (10:30 AM ET) and President Loretta Mester (12:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Equity indices resolve higher in the face of hawkishness from the Federal Reserve (Fed) and data showing slowing growth at home and abroad.

“Fiscal policy is turning more restrictive, the Q4 inventory boost is now behind us, and the financial conditions impulse will go from sharply positive in 2021 to (at least) modestly negative in 2022,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) strategists explain. 

“For these reasons, our 2022 GDP forecast of 2¼% on a Q4/Q4 basis is 0.8pp below the latest Bloomberg consensus and 1.8pp below the FOMC’s last published forecast (as of the December meeting).”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs. Retrieved through The Market Ear.

At the same time, according to Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO), the Fed has not pushed “against market expectations for three to four rate hikes this year.” 

Instead, Chair Jerome Powell “signaled the central bank will have zero tolerance for any upside surprises in inflation.”

To note, though, the consensus expectation – five rate hikes or more – is ahead of itself, according to Andreas Steno Larsen of Heimstaden. 

“Direct transfers and fiscal deficits are behind the current inflation spikes,” he explains. “If they were the root causes of inflation, they will also turn into the root causes of disinflation again during H2-2022.”

Steno Larsen adds that the 20y1y and 2y1y curve is inverted, “as it was when the 2015-2018 hiking cycle was very mature,” and only three hikes occurred after inversion.

Graphic: “Good luck hiking 6-7 times this year, … 3-4 max,” via Steno Larsen

The net effect, according to Steno Larsen, is that long bond yields will likely not rise over the next quarters; rate-sensitive technology and innovation products may rebound while cyclical assets may suffer.

In line with the above comments is the average S&P 500 trend into Fed tightening cycles. 

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas’ Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm newsletter.

Positioning: Ranges compressed as participants committed capital to bets on lower volatility.

Such bets (expressed via the selling of protection on both sides of the market) left counterparties warehousing the other side (long puts and calls). 

In hedging this exposure on a move higher, the counterparties increased +delta exposure is offset via the addition in -delta (sell futures)

In hedging this exposure on a move lower, the counterparties increased -delta exposure is offset via the addition of +delta (buy futures).

Moreover, as (1) participants continue to bet on lower ranges and (2) time and volatility trend to zero for the expiries most open interest is concentrated in, gamma, the sensitivity of options to changes in underlying price (delta) increases. 

What that means is that counterparties’ near-the-money exposure to options delta rises and portends increased liquidity (e.g., the counterparty will buy futures into weakness and sell futures into strength).

Given a lower liquidity environment, these hedging flows therefore have a bigger impact.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma, “gamma flows increasingly important in a lower liquidity environment. If the counterparty is taking on more exposure to positive gamma, then their addition of liquidity to hedge may suppress ranges.”

The resolve of this consolidation, coupled with decaying out-of-the-money protection and supportive hedging flows with respect to time (charm) and volatility (vanna), and buying proxies, point to “[m]odest bullishness on the 1-month timeframe.”

Graphic: Data via SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

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

Balance-Break + Gap 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. 

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. 

Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,555.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,586.00 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,631.75 and $4,647.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,555.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,526.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,526.25 HVNode could reach as low as the $4,473.00 VPOC and $4,438.25 HVNode, or lower.

Consideration: All equity index products have resolved tight consolidation’s higher. The Nasdaq 100 and Russell 2000 are the furthest away from clear areas of resistance. 

On the other hand, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average have little in the way of higher prices.

Graphic: Updated 2/8/2022. Anchored Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) analysis via Physik Invest. Notice Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right) and S&P 500 (top left) strength, as well as Nasdaq 100 (top right) and Russell 2000 (bottom left) weakness. Key pivots marked off.
Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 28, 2022

Editor’s Note: Thanks for subscribing to The Daily Brief, a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. 

In the coming week, commentaries are set to pause as I go on vacation. Look forward to providing valuable market color when I return, on February 7, 2022

Talk to you soon!

What Happened

Despite certain index heavy-weights trading higher in light of earnings announcements, equity index futures remain weak, trading sideways to lower overnight with bonds. 

Measures of implied volatility (IV) remain bid while certain metrics continue to show buying support. Given the way counterparties to customer options trades hedge, a compression in volatility may bolster a move higher.

Though the odds point to a counter-trend rally, continued selling is not out of the question. A break of multi-session support levels, combined with rising IV, would pressure indices further.

Ahead is data on PCE Inflation, incomes, spending, and the Employment Cost Index (8:30 AM ET). After is University of Michigan data on sentiment and inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:55 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Equity indices are struggling to catch a bid amidst a more hawkish Fed, persistent geopolitical tensions, and data showing slowing growth at home and abroad.

Graphic: @MacroAlf plots credit impulse as a percent of GDP and SPX year-over-year earnings.

This is in the face of heavyweights, like Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) which posted its highest-ever quarterly earnings after sales climbed 11% to a record $124 billion, trading higher.

Coming back to comments from yesterday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) revealed asset purchases would stop in March. Then, in the face of an economy that’s much stronger than at the start of the last hiking cycle, the window for higher rates would be opened. 

What spooked markets was Fed Chair Jerome Powell “saying that the Fed has plenty of room to raise interest rates without harming the labor market,” according to an analysis by Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO).

“Powell didn’t push back against market expectations for three to four rate hikes this year, but he signaled the central bank will have zero tolerance for any upside surprises in inflation.”

According to a write-up by Nasdaq Inc’s (NASDAQ: NDAQ) Phil Mackintosh, “some economists are already worrying whether the Fed can engineer a ‘soft landing’ for the economy, which is where rate hikes slow the economy and inflation but don’t cause a recession.”

Based on the data, though, “selloffs in rate hike cycles, especially since 1975, are mostly much smaller corrections,” Mackintosh adds.

“So, it seems we should worry much more about a recession than hikes.”

Graphic: Per Nasdaq, “[S]tock market corrections are much more dependent on the business cycle than the rates cycle. That makes sense—during rate-hike cycles, companies have strong demand and revenue growth recessions. Whereas, during recessions, unemployment and spending usually contract.”

Complicating the Fed’s job, per Nasdaq, are outside influences such as waning fiscal stimulus and further supply shocks (the good and bad ones). 

However, “annualized returns for the S&P 500 during rate hike cycles are mostly positive, … [as] rising rates usually equals a strong economy, which is usually good for companies, leading to earnings growth.”

“That earnings growth more than offsets the valuation impact of higher rates.”

Graphic: Per Nasdaq, annualized S&P 500 returns during rate-hike cycles.

To assuage some fears, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) thinks that the “interplay of Fed policy, financial conditions, and the growth outlook could make it hard for the Fed to actually deliver consecutive hikes, even if they feel like a natural forecast along the way.”

Graphic: Goldman Sachs sees a (small) tightening in financial conditions. Graphic retrieved from The Market Ear. According to Bloomberg, “there is quite a long way to go before the Fed would feel any great need to come to their rescue.”

Positioning: A short-gamma environment (wherein an options delta falls with stock price rises and rises when stock prices fall) portends increased two-way volatility.

This is as the counterparties to customer options trades hedge in a manner that exacerbates movement (i.e., buying strength and selling weakness).

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 market maker long the put will buy (sell) the underlying to neutralize directional risk as price falls (rises).

As noted in past commentaries, the removal of put-heavy exposure, after the January monthly options expiration (OPEX), as well as the reduction in event premiums tied to FOMC, opened a window of strength, wherein dealers would have less positive delta to sell against.

In other words, as measures of implied volatility were to compress, as is the case when there is less demand (or more supply) of downside put protection (a positive-delta trade for the dealers), the dealer’s exposure to positive delta declines.

However, the failure to expand range is punishing toward highly demanded protection with a shorter time to maturity. These options, which are more “convex” and sensitive to changes in direction and volatility, have the most to lose as markets settle and “decay returns with vengeance,” according to SpotGamma, an options modeling and data service.

“As time and volatility trend to zero (as all options expire), given the current market environment, dealers’ exposure to the risk of out-of-the-money protection will decline.”

That solicits the dealers’ unwind of “short-delta hedges to decaying positive-delta protection.”

Those delta hedging flows with respect to time (charm) and volatility (vanna) are to reinforce the strong buying support (as measured by liquidity provision on the market-making side).

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

At present, in putting it simply, markets would really have to (1) fall out of bed or (2) demand for protection to explode for options counterparties, at least, to pressure markets much further.

As SpotGamma (which you can check out by clicking here) puts well: 

“In other words, the frantic hedging that destabilizes markets as customers reach for protection en masse has already happened. There would have to be an addition of macro flows for sale and/or new put buying for dealers to sell.”

Technical: As of 6:55 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Gap Scenarios: 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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,332.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,370.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,421.50 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,332.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,299.25 RTH Low. Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,263.25 overnight low (ONL) and $4,212.50 RTH Low, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, 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) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 14, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

Updates: Hi everyone! To start, I wanted to sincerely apologize for the below graphic being inaccurate, yesterday. Technology problems! I have since updated the graphic. My bad – egg on my face.

As always, for checks on quoted levels, and the like, just read on below. I try to build in as many redundancies to ensure we have the most information to trade on as possible.

If levels do not make sense, I assure you that they are either (A) updated in the attached real-time charts or (B) in the “Technical” section, below.

Feedback and questions are always encouraged/appreciated!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures rotated, lower, validating the end-of-day, knee-jerk price exploration. Commodities were mixed, bonds fell, and volatility was bid.

Ahead is data on retail sales and import prices (8:30 AM ET), industrial production and capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), University of Michigan consumer sentiment figures and business inventories (10:00 AM ET), as well as some speech by New York Fed President John Williams (11:00 AM ET).

Note that in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, markets will be closed on Monday, January 17.

There will be no commentary published, as a result.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Markets sold heavy, yesterday, on the heels of hawkish commentary from monetary policymakers. 

The Federal Reserve’s Lael Brainard said the central bank would be in a position to start hiking rates as soon as it wound down bond purchases. This is to happen in March. 

“The (Fed’s policy-setting) committee has projected several hikes over the course of the year,” Brainard said in testimony. 

“Of course, we will be in a position to do that I think as soon as our purchases are terminated, and we’ll simply have to see what the data requires over the course of the year, and you know we started to discuss shrinking our balance sheet.”

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, “balance sheet delta continues fading. The obvious question is, what is priced in?”

The Fed is moving more quickly to “save itself from having to hike too far and make rates so expensive that they slow down the economy.”

“We understand the Fed’s paralysis given the massive uncertainty coming out of the pandemic,” says Jim Bianco of Bianco Research. “However, the longer they wait to address inflation, the worse this conundrum will become.”

So, what’s the major concern with tightening and eventual balance sheet compression?

It has much to do with left-tail risks. Prevailing monetary frameworks and max liquidity promoted a large divergence in price from fundamentals. 

With expected monetary policy evolution, however, valuations are much less justifiable. Many institutions, as a result, see peaks in 2022, just as rate hikes are initiated.

Graphic: S&P 500 performance before and after rate hikes, via The Market Ear.

“The decline in stock prices is forecast to be orderly but it could turn into something worse,” Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) explains in reference to the growth of passive investing – the effect of increased moneyness among nonmonetary assets – and derivatives trading. 

“A drop in stock prices could trigger margin calls.”

Notwithstanding, as stated in the prior day’s, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists, “[p]olicy tightening is likely to be gradual and at a pace, that risk assets should be able to handle, and is occurring in an environment of strong cyclical recovery.”

This is as Moody’s also notes that “there will still be a lot of excess liquidity—a little less than $1 trillion— when the central bank’s balance sheet does begin to decline.”

Note that over the next weeks, a focus will be the release of earnings, in the face of inflation, supply-chain challenges, and the like. We will cover this in later commentaries.

Positioning: Thursday’s trade did little to upset the narratives discussed in the “Positioning” section of this commentary over the past few days.

As stated, metrics that overlay options positioning and buying pressure (via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side) are positively skewed, albeit less so than before.

At the same time, we have trading desks suggesting “the conditions are not in place for a larger correction (>5%),” while volatility remains compressed, relatively so, at the index level.

Graphic: Upward sloping VIX term structure. Per Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR), “An inverted curve, or even a flattish one, indicates a shortage of available volatility protection. We saw that as recently as a month ago, but not now.” Still, short-dated implied volatility is bid and this is taking away from the supportive “vanna” flows you would expect with declining volatility.

For instance, SpotGamma’s (beta) Hedging Impact of Real-Time options indicator suggested S&P 500 options activity diverged, markedly, from what underlying prices were doing. 

This could mean that Thursday’s news-driven sell-off did not change the status quo. 

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

Obviously, elsewhere, in single stock land, conditions are different. Metrics suggest options were a contributing factor in the weakness of rate-sensitive names, yesterday.

This is as many products are in lower liquidity and short-gamma (wherein an options delta rises with stock prices rises and falls when stock prices drop) in which moves are more erratic.

Note: As a position’s delta rises with stock or index price rises, gamma (or how an option’s delta is expected to change given a change in the underlying) is added to the delta.

Therefore, coming into weighty options expiration, correlations may (continue to) be off (as that is the only reconciliation in an environment where, at the index level, hedging pressures are sticky, whereas elsewhere they aren’t).

After the large January monthly options expiration (OPEX), correlations ought to fall back in line.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,643.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,674.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,715.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,643.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,629.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,593.00 and $4,549.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Considerations: Recent trade is more so dominated by visually-driven, weaker-handed momentum players that mechanically respond to key technical levels like the 20-day simple moving average or profile levels. 

Simply put, the other time frame participants are waiting for more information before committing to substantial expansion of range via large sales or buys.

Graphic: Despite selling, heavy, the S&P 500 is “sound” so to speak.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, 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) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

Inversion Of VIX Futures Term Structure: Longer-dated VIX expiries are less expensive; is a warning of elevated near-term risks for equity market stability.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): A metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 11, 2022

The Daily Brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 200+ that read this report daily, below!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index, commodity, and bond futures were sideways to higher. This is ahead of important Fed-speak; Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks at 10:00 AM ET.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists led by Marko Kolanovic noted, yesterday, that the selloff is overdone, arguing higher rates would not derail the bull market. 

Graphic: Interest rates relative to Russell 1000 Value/Growth. Via The Market Ear, “Higher bond yields and growth-to-value rotation within equities.”

“The pullback in risk assets in reaction to the Fed minutes is arguably overdone,” Kolanovic said. “Policy tightening is likely to be gradual and at a pace, that risk assets should be able to handle, and is occurring in an environment of strong cyclical recovery.”

An analysis of equity market performance in the face of past rate spikes, suggests Kolanovic’s comments aren’t out of line. 

“We found that while SPX tends to see returns slow in the short term, the NDX and RTY actually tend to outperform on a 1M basis,” Jefferies Group says on S&P 500 (SPX), Nasdaq 100 (NDX), and Russell 2000 (RTY) performance post major rate spikes.

“Looking further out, the NDX (naturally) is the only of the three that flags. The SPX trends back toward its historical return profile and the RTY actually tends to beat the SPX in the intermediate to longer-term”.

Graphic: Taken The Market Ear. Original source Jefferies Group.

Beyond asset price support from a recovering economy, strong growth in business profits, rents, and other income, Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) believes another reason “financial markets are brushing off QT is that there will still be a lot of excess liquidity—a little less than $1 trillion— when the central bank’s balance sheet does begin to decline.”

This excess liquidity is to shrink, naturally, as the economy grows quicker than the M2 money supply; the Marshallian K – the difference between year-over-year growth in M2 money supply and GDP – which had turned negative late last year (and prompted concerns around liquidity and its impact on the equity market) is now positive.

Graphic: Marshallian K had turned negative late last year. 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.”

Notwithstanding, according to Callum Thomas, “[t]he election cycle + decennial cycle (i.e. that ‘years ending in 2’ line) suggest some challenging months ahead… (as opposed to the usual unconditional seasonal pattern).”

Graphic: Taken from Callum Thomas. Source: @mrblonde_macro.

Positioning: Heading into Monday’s session, the broader market was set to experience increased two-way volatility.

That happened. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 explored lower but ended higher yesterday.

What’s next? There’s been a noticeable shift in relative strength. The Nasdaq 100 has firmed, relative to its counterparts, and overnight activity built on yesterday’s end-of-day advance.

At the same time, the VIX term structure, a good gauge of fear, remained upward sloping and volatility (via the Cboe Volatility Index) compressed suggesting a reduction in the demand for protection. 

Graphic: Visualizing the compression in volatility.

All that means is that the opposite of what was expected heading into yesterday happened.

Recall, in demanding downside protection (buying a put), customers indirectly take liquidity as the counterparties hedge their short put exposure by selling underlying. 

Higher implied volatility marks up options delta (exposure to direction) and this leads to more selling, as hedging pressures exacerbate weakness.

Alongside yesterday’s end-of-day rally, lower implied volatility marked down options delta (exposure to direction). This lead to buying by the counterparty.

We can maintain the notion that despite markets tending toward instability so long as volatility is heightened and products (especially some constituents) remain in negative gamma, the dip lower and demand for protection may serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher).

“Failure to expand the range, lower, on the index level, at least, likely invokes supportive dealer hedging flows with respect to time (‘charm’) and volatility (‘vanna’),” SpotGamma.

Technical: As of 6:40 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Gap Scenarios: 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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,674.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,691.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,732.50 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,674.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,647.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,629.25 HVNode and $4,593.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 3, 2022

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned higher. Ahead is data on Markit Manufacturing PMI (9:45 AM ET) and Construction Spending (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:20 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Technicals: Given the Monday gap, the S&P 500, based on its relation to Thursday’s failed balance breakout and end-of-week liquidation, is positioned for sideways-to-higher.

To note, however, the persistence of responses to technical levels, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) carry a heavier hand in recent discovery.

Via volume profile analysis, we see a plethora of low-volume pockets – voids – that likely hold virgin tests. Successful penetration often portends follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels (quickly run for the exits when wrong).

Graphic: Weekly chart for the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). Technically, indices are still positioned for sideways or higher.

Fundamental: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of higher valuations, interest rates, and tax rates, according to Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

These themes serve as a headwind.

To elaborate, as Nordea recently explained, the Fed will “accelerate its tapering process, and is now set to conclude net purchases already by mid-March vs mid-June with the earlier pace.”

“The dot plot was revised significantly higher, and the plot now shows three hikes for next year, a further three for 2023 and another two for 2024.”

Graphic: The “annual rate of change in the Fed Funds rate” via topdowncharts.com.

At the same time, equity markets tend to rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast aligns with that – “the Dow Jones Industrial Average increases this quarter and peaks in early 2022, … [followed by] steady decline through 2022.”

Graphic: S&P 500 performance before and after rate hikes.

Why? Rising rates, among other factors, have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, thereby making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

“Our view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the Covid-19 outbreak,” JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) noted

“We believe this will produce a strong cyclical recovery, a return of global mobility, and strong growth in consumer and corporate spending, within the backdrop of still-easy monetary policy.”

Positioning: According to JPMorgan Chase & Co, “S&P 500 skew overprices downside and underprices upside probabilities relative to historical returns.”

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, JPMorgan’s analysis suggests downside protection is overpriced.

This is all the while the S&P 500’s implied volatility remains above pre-COVID levels.

“SPX implied volatility is well above its pre-Covid level across the term structure.” The compression of volatility lowers the counterparties’ exposure to the positive delta. This “vanna” flow may support higher prices.

Taken together (in the face of last week’s options expiration which reduced the level of positive sticky options gamma concentrated mostly at the $4,800.00 level in the S&P 500), current options positioning and buying pressure supports a seasonally-aligned price rise in January.

Explanation: As a position’s delta rises with underlying price rises, gamma (or how an option’s delta is expected to change given a change in the underlying) is added to the delta. Counterparties are to offset gamma by adding liquidity to the market (i.e., buy dips, sell rips).
Graphic: SpotGamma data suggests the pin heading into Friday’s options expiration is no more.

The continued compression of volatility will only serve to bolster any price rise as “hedging vanna and charm flows, and whatnot will push the markets higher.”

Should that thesis not pan out – meaning the removal of hedging pressures associated with “put-heavy” single stock options positions and an end to tax-loss harvesting, among other factors – indices likely succumb to the “stealth correction” of its lesser weighted constituents.

Were participants to reach for downside protection, the implications of this would be staggering. In such a case, markets will tend toward instability. At present, the metrics don’t point to this.

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, amidst heightened cash allocations that are likely to be redeployed, “January is the big inflow month but the seasonality from here is looking less exciting.”

Expectations: As of 6:20 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Gap Scenarios: 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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,791.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,799.75 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,805.00 and $4,815.00 extensions, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,791.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,781.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,767.00 VPOC and $4,750.75 overnight low (ONL), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

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

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, 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) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

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.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

At this time, Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice. 

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