Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 28, 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 auctioned sideways-to-higher alongside some upbeat earnings announcements.

Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: FB) surged post-market, yesterday, after its main social network Facebook added more users than expected. 

PayPal Holdings Inc (NYSE: PYPL) vowed to rein in costs and boost profits while Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ: QCOM) rose on an upbeat forecast.

There’s a strong push-and-pull between what’s good and bad. File Deutsche Bank’s (NYSE: DB) recent comments on a pending recession under what’s bad.

The bank sees the Fed Target Rate reaching up to 6% which “will push the economy into a significant recession by late next year.”

Graphic updated 7:00 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. 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: Divergences across different assets and markets continue.

For instance, the equity market’s pricing of risk which we can take as being reflected by the CBOE Volatility Index [INDEX: VIX]) is not moving lock-step with that of measures elsewhere.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

The fear in one market tends to spread to others. Regardless of the cause, it seems that equity and bond market participants are not on the same page.

Is that really true, though? Not necessarily. 

If we look at some single stocks, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX), among others (all the while S&P 500 earnings have been revised up) has suffered through a substantial de-rate and volatility as participants priced the implications of policy evolution, slower economic growth, and beyond.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from The Market Ear.

That has us returning to pinning at the index level, relative to what the constituents are doing.

As well explained in Physik Invest’s March 3, 2022 commentary, this is more so a function of positioning and structural flows, or supply of liquidity.

Absent some exogenous event, participants are well-hedged for what is known (e.g., rate hikes and quantitative tightening (QT), COVID resurgences, Russia and Ukraine, among other things).

The caveat is that the Federal Reserve is far more aggressive than expected, ramping up QT, “a direct flow of capital to capital markets or flow out of,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan. 

For context, it is the intention to take from the max liquidity (which pushed participants out of the risk curve and promoted a divergence from fundamentals) markets were supplied with, and this has the effect of removing market excesses, some of which have fed into volatility markets.

In part, some of the QT has been reflected in bond prices, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) explains. However, should there be far more aggressive monetary action, as Deutsche research suggests, coupled with a worsening of the geopolitical and/or economic situation abroad (e.g., Russian default), markets are likely to succumb.

“Using the balance sheet as a tightening tool represents a large change in the Fed’s attitude, and IS NOT priced into the market,” MacroTourist’s Kevin Muir adds.

“An increase in the pace of tightening of QT should mean lower stocks, wider credit spreads, and a slight reduction in the need for front-end hikes.”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. The “Nasdaq has underperformed the S&P 500 but by less than what the move in real yields would suggest.”

Positioning: Volatility to continue as markets have traded lower and participants have priced up the cost of insurance – particularly at the short-end – on underlying equity exposure.

Graphic: SPX volatility term structure via Refinitiv. Taken from The Market Ear.

This is due to options delta (exposure to direction) being far more sensitive (gamma) across shorter time horizons (i.e., the range across which options deltas shift from “near-zero to near-100% becomes very narrow.”)

Yesterday, markets were pinned after exploring lower in the days prior. The activity was concentrated in short-dated bets at those levels, and that’s in part a result of some of the hedging that went on.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options Indicator.

If markets do not perform to the downside (i.e., do not trade lower), those short-dated bets on direction will quickly decay, and hedging flows with respect to time (charm) and volatility (vanna) may bolster sharp rallies.

Whether those price rises have legs depends on what the fundamental situation is, then. Regardless, the returns distribution, based on implied volatility metrics alone, is skewed positive, albeit there are some large negative outliers.

Graphic: Via @HalfersPower. “In backwardation via $VIX: $VIX3M next month [realized volatility] is highest amongst the deciles (d10 >1) ~43% subsequent realized volatility.”

Technical: As of 7:00 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a 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 $4,236.25 regular trade high (RTH High) puts in play the $4,267.75 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the $4,267.75 RTH High could reach as high as the $4,303.75 overnight high (ONH) and $4,337.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,236.25 RTH High puts in play the $4,191.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,136.00 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,101.25 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.

Considerations: Markets are higher after testing some key levels outlined in prior letters.

The Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ), one of the weakest products this letter monitors, just tested a major VWAP, yesterday, anchored from the lows of March 2020. 

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

The Nasdaq has led the market down. It may lead the market higher on reversals. We’ll continue to monitor market breadth, among other metrics, for signs of strength.

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.

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 4, 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!

Editor’s Note: Hey team, thanks again for your reading of this daily newsletter. Due to travel commitments, I will not be writing reports consistently for the rest of this month.

Don’t expect any updates until Monday, April 11, 2022. Thereafter, coverage may be sporadic for the rest of the month.

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were higher after exploring lower, briefly. Commodities were mixed while bonds were lower and implied volatility measures were bid.

In terms of news, the European Union said it was interested in penalizing Russia, further, for its actions in Ukraine. This is as China battles new COVID-19 sub-strains. 

Ahead is data on factory and core capital equipment orders (10:00 AM ET). 

Graphic updated 5:45 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: In the face of geopolitical tension, supply pressures, and inflation, consumer sentiment is at or below pandemic levels, prompting the Federal Reserve (Fed) to destimulate.

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) research. “Confluence Of Risks Halts Positive Credit Momentum.

“It has entered 2008-09 territory and is not far from all-time lows in the ‘80s when inflation and interest rates hit double digits,” ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood explained in a Twitter discussion on yield-curve inversions and aggressive action by the Federal Reserve, as well as inflation.

“The economy succumbed to recession in each of those periods. Europe and China are also in difficult straits. The Fed seems to be playing with fire.”

In accordance, the Macro Compass’ Alfonso Peccatiello explains that his credit impulse metrics, which lead economic activity and risk asset performance, imply a slowdown in earnings.

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass.

Still, in spite of these metrics, on average, recessions happen 12 to 24 months after the first yield curve inversions, according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF).

Post-inversion S&P 500 performance, actually, is often positive.

Graphic: Via Jefferies Financial Group. Taken from The Market Ear.

Bolstering the call for positive equity market performance are strong seasonality trends during Fed-rate-hike episodes, a contraction in equity risk premia, and “still accommodative” monetary policy, per explanations by rates strategist Rishi Mishra. 

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “Equities are a real asset as they make a claim on nominal GDP. In the post-financial crisis era, weak economic activity and lower inflation pushed down nominal GDP, raising the equity risk premium and reducing the bond term premium. So as long as economies grow, revenues and dividends should also grow. The dividend yield can be thought of as a real yield. Equity risk premia have started to decline in the post COVID cycle but remain higher than in the pre-financial crisis era.”

“[T]he 3ms2s vs 2s10s spread (or the 3m2s10s fly) is the widest it has been since the end of 1994. The widening of this fly is indicative of the fact that while the Fed shifted its guidance from dovish to extremely hawkish, the policy is still accommodative.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Taken from Rishi Mishra.

Positioning: The equity market’s ferocious end-of-March rally, which placed the S&P 500 back above a key go/no-go level – the 200-period simple moving average – may have been in part the result of institutional investors purchasing equities ahead of quarterly reporting.

“Remember that stocks settle T+2, meaning that shares are actually owned by buyers two business days after they are purchased in the market,” says Interactive Brokers’ Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR) Steve Sosnick. 

“That means that institutions who wanted to show stock positions on their quarterly reports would have needed to purchase those shares no later than Tuesday the 29th. The sharp end-of-day runups that we saw on Monday and Tuesday had the hallmarks of aggressive institutional buying.”

According to Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) analyses, “[a]ggregate equity positioning has now risen off the lows but only to the 22nd percentile and is still well below neutral.”

That said, quarter-end rebalances and options expirations (OPEX) likely do little to upset the balance of trade. Based on a lot of the insights shared in this letter, barring some exogenous event, the market is in a position to drift or balance.

This, as a result, may solicit a “stronger impulse to chase the rally,” at which point JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists say they would “generally be more concerned.”

A collapse (or convergence) in volatility metrics for different asset classes (like the Merrill Lynch Options Volatility Estimate [INDEX: MOVE] and Cboe Volatility Index [INDEX: VIX]) would bolster the “drift or balance” thesis.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest.

Technical: As of 5:45 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, 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 $4,527.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,562.50 spike base. Initiative trade beyond the spike base could reach as high as the $4,583.00 VPOC and $4,611.75 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,527.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,501.25 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,469.00 VPOC and $4,438.25 HVNode, or lower.

Considerations: Spikes often 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 a spike up (down) situation, trade below (above) the spike base, negates the buying (selling).

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 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 1, 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 auctioned sideways to higher after their late-day liquidation and break from a multi-day consolidation area on technical factors (e.g., options expirations) among other things, potentially, like the increase in personal consumption expenditures.

Broadly speaking, the narrative that investors are showing some concern over the economic outlook, with respect to geopolitical tension and monetary policy, continues to emanate. 

U.S. high-grade bonds shed over 5%, booking the worst quarterly performance since the ‘80s. This is as recession risks have risen more than two-fold. 

Notwithstanding, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) favorite yield curve metric remains steep; per a Bloomberg commentary, “the gap between the three-month bill rates and 10-year yields is the ‘most useful term spread for forecasting recessions,’ … [and] it currently stands at 186 basis points, versus negative 2 basis points on 2s10s.”

In terms of news, the U.K. will join the U.S. in releasing oil from its reserves to lower prices and reduce its reliance on external partners. This helped ease futures calendar spreads on oil, Reuters’ John Kemp said in a newsletter to followers; the “six-month spread [narrowing] to a backwardation of $9 per barrel, the lowest since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Ahead is data on nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings, as well as labor-force participation (8:30 AM ET). Thereafter, the Chicago Fed’s Charles Evans is scheduled to speak (9:05 AM ET). 

Later is Markit manufacturing PMI (9:45 AM ET), as well as ISM manufacturing index and consumer spending data (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: The S&P 500 bagged its first quarterly loss in two years as recession probabilities, implied by some yield curves, have risen.

Graphic: Via Barclays. Taken from The Market Ear. “[T]he 1y ahead recession probability implied by the 3m10y curve rises to about 40% a year from now (so for an early 2024 recession), slightly higher than implied by other curves.”

This is as the stock performance, relative to bonds against the lagged spread of 10- and 2-year bond yields, is expected to be weak, according to insights by Pictet Asset Management.

Graphic; Via Pictet Asset Management Ltd. Taken from Bloomberg. “On this basis, stocks’ great outperformance this quarter may end up looking like a head-fake.”

Pictet’s narrative further validates some of the theses shared by institutions like Brevan Howard Asset Management, which is having one of its best years, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), and Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC).

Adding to the prospects for weaker earnings amid higher costs, among other things, some of these institutions see the potential for the Fed’s terminal rate to reach between 3% and 3.25%.

Graphic: Via Andreas Steno Larsen. “The Fed is now priced to hike to levels above 3% by Dec-2023, … which is the main reason why we have seen a sell-off in all assets with an intensive duration profile over the past 12-15 months … [and has] duration intensive assets … starting to look attractive again from a risk/reward perspective.”

This would hit valuations as higher yields both reduce the present value of future earnings and “hurt those carrying the highest leverage,” potentially playing into a slowdown or recession. 

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) “expects the economic damage [of geopolitics and pricing pressures] to lower U.S. GDP growth to 3.2% this year, matching its preliminary forecast in early March but a full 70 bps lower than its November forecast of 3.9%.”

“Now rates volatility can drive growth volatility and that actually becomes a vicious cycle between the two,” said Christian Mueller-Glissmann of Goldman Sachs. 

“That’s a big difference to the last cycle where growth volatility drove rates volatility.”

Graphic: Via Vanda. Taken from The Market Ear. “The bond market is pricing the 2022 cycle to be remarkably fast. Macro Alf: ‘Remember: sharp changes in borrowing conditions often cause non-linear reactions in a highly leveraged system.’”

However, this is as the dominance of rate-sensitive tech stocks is set to shrink next year amid sector reclassifications, as well as still-stimulative policy and beats of economic expectations that may feed into earnings surprises, later.

JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanoivc explains that (1) “both equity and credit markets have historically fared well at the start of monetary tightening cycles,” (2) “the real policy rate is extremely negative and thus stimulative,” and (3) “not all central banks are tightening.”

Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson vehemently disagrees suggesting the recent equity market turnaround “was nothing more than a vicious bear market rally,” and offers participants a clear opportunity to sell at better prices.

Taking all of the above comments and perspectives together, one thing is for certain: this period in history is like no other. It makes sense to pick a timeframe and stick with it. 

Positioning: In the past weeks, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, the supportive “rebalancing flows away from bonds into equities” are no more and, therefore, equities are subject to increased vulnerabilities “if bond yields continue to rise.”

This is after measures of equity implied volatility were crushed heading through the mid-March FOMC and monthly options expiry (OPEX) events, and the options hedging impact of this, at least, was very supportive, as we’ve talked about many times in this newsletter.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The CBOE-VIX index, measuring stock volatility from the options market, unsurprisingly spiked immediately after Russia’s attack. It reached another high three weeks ago. Then the VIX started to fall, and in the two weeks since the Fed unveiled its first rate hike in years, the decline has been almost linear. The ‘fear gauge,’ as it is often known, is now significantly lower than it was a week before the invasion, when markets were priced on the assumption that there would be no war.”

On the contrary, measures of volatility for other assets, like the Merrill Lynch Options Volatility Estimate (INDEX: MOVE), a useful measure of bond market sentiment, are doing the opposite. 

We discussed early last month, what we saw was an increased supply of equity market volatility, as a potential reason for some of these divergences. 

As Bloomberg’s John Authers explained well, it, too, could have been “an aggressive central bank” that prompted a move out of bonds and into equities, and subdued target-date fund rebalancing flows which usually sell stocks and buy bonds.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

“[I]t looks as though the contradictions that had built up in the market over the last two years, and in the decade before that, are being put under extreme stress by the double whammy of a newly aggressive Federal Reserve, and the worst geopolitical shock in decades,” Authers adds.

Still, realized volatility continues to trend down which ought to force those (e.g., computer-driven traders) who position (and size equity exposure) based on underlying volatility to load up, again.

Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott explains that “volatility-targeting funds and trend-following commodity trading advisers, purchased” billions of equity futures which bolstered the price rise of the last weeks.

From a positioning versus buying support perspective, the forward returns distribution is skewed positive but not by a lot; a lot of the supportive options exposure is rolling-off and this could free up (i.e., unpin) indexes for the next leg up or down.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options Indicator shows negative delta trade in the S&P 500 SPY ETF, and this pressured the underlying index.

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, 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 $4,546.00 spike base puts in play the $4,573.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,583.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,611.75 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,546.00 spike base puts in play the $4,526.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,515.25 and $4,489.75 LVNodes, or lower.

Considerations: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) occurred.

Continue to monitor for acceptance outside of the balance area. Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance. See the below graphic for more.

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.

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Marks change in dealer gamma exposure. 

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 8, 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

Equity index futures rebound after exploring prices below Monday’s close. Most commodity products, alongside measures of implied volatility, remain bid. 

The overnight response higher came as the European Union announced it was considering joint bond sales to assist in the fiscal fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Still, at home in the U.S., policymakers are looking to rein in inflation and apply contractionary monetary policy whilst inflation remains heightened and economic growth is slowing. 

As noted in prior commentaries, in spite of continued (albeit lightly cooled) passive buying support, the equity markets are prone to continued weakness. We add to this narrative, below.

Ahead is data on the foreign trade deficit (8:30 AM ET) and wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:40 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: Shortened note, today.

The prevailing narrative is concerned with the slowdown in economic growth, the intent to withdraw monetary stimulus, and the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Graphic: Via @TheBondFreak. Per Bloomberg, “The gap between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields is around the narrowest since March 2020, a sign of expectations of slowing economic expansion.”

Heading into this week, broad-based indexes in the U.S. were weak but steady; fixed income, commodity, and equity markets abroad traded more volatile in comparison.

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

The tone changed, slightly, yesterday, after the S&P 500 pushed the lower bound of price changes it has logged since 2020.

Graphic: Via @EffMktHype

Still, it is likely that participants have yet to witness a climactic de-leveraging; in part, what is supporting the market (as described in detail before, here) is passive buying support and the supply of liquidity, at the index level.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from Bloomberg.

At the single-stock level, the de-rate in anticipation of slowing growth Fed tightening has mostly played its course. At the index level, there are signs of more room to go.

Graphic: Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass. He says “YTD: 2022 hikes priced in up from 3 to 6-7. Curves big-time flatter. Inflation expectations 10 bps lower. Real yields higher 40-50 bps. Credit spreads wider. Cyclical growth impulse fading away. Not a risk-on environment.”

This is “[v]ery resemblant of prior market events,” The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial explained in a reference to extreme events in markets having a higher likelihood of becoming more extreme. 

“Just when you think ‘this is the top/ bottom’ it puts in another massive leg that makes everyone go ‘oh sh*t’.”

Graphic: Via @AnalystDC. A credit default swap will compensate buyers in the event of debt default. CDS spreads rise for record stretch in light of geopolitical tensions.

Positioning: At present, in the face of continued passive buying support, the overwhelming demand for downside (put) protection (a negative delta, positive gamma trade) results in counterparty hedging that may exacerbate weakness.

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.”

The reason why? The counterparty has exposure to positive delta and negative gamma. If underlying prices print lower and/or measures of implied volatility rise (given increased fear and demand for protection), short puts rise in value (and counterparty losses are multiplied).

To overcome these potential losses, counterparties sell the underlying to hedge. If nothing happens, the protection decays, and counterparties buy back their hedges potentially bolstering the underlying market’s calmness or attempts higher.

In the coming week, participants will gain clarity with respect to the Federal Reserve’s intent to tighten. Closely after, there is a monthly options expiration (OPEX). 

The compression in volatility post-FOMC, coupled with a reduction in put-heavy positioning post-OPEX, could help support markets.

Interested in more about options and unique structures that may assist with navigating current volatility, check out this volatility trading primer by Santander.
Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

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 top 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 $4,227.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,265.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,285.50 HVNode and $4,319.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,227.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,177.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter HVNode could reach as low as the $4,137.00 VPOC and $4,101.25 ONL, or lower.

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

Definitions

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 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 March 3, 2022

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

What Happened

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 2, 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, futures were mixed. The equity indices auctioned sideways to higher, in line with most commodity products. Bonds were lower, as was the VIX, an implied volatility measure.

Pursuant to the VIX remark, volatility measures in the rates, foreign exchange, and commodity markets are surging amidst geopolitical uncertainties and monetary policy action.

Ahead is data on ADP employment (8:15 AM ET), Fed-speak by Charles Evans (9:00 AM ET), James Bullard (9:30 AM ET), and Jerome Powell (10:00 AM ET). Later, is a release of the Beige Book (2:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Cross-asset volatility is spiking as investors look to protect against Russia-Ukraine and monetary policy action, among other things.

Graphic: Via @EffMktHype. “Rate vol through the roof, FX picking up steam while equity vol arguably still cheap in comparison despite being at the high end of its 1-year end.” Please note the spike in rate and FX vol versus equity vol (which is sideways to higher, mostly).

Very interesting is action in the rates market where there was a “5-sigma upward shift in MOVE on 3/1/22. [This] has happened 13 times prior in the last 22 years,” said one commentator.

Graphic: Via @EffMktHype. Merrill Lynch Option Volatility Estimate (INDEX: MOVE).

Taken together, the bond market’s pricing of risk – reflected by the Merrill Lynch Option Volatility Estimate (INDEX: MOVE) – is not in line (or moving in-step) with equity market risk, via the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX).

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

Moreover, this is in part beyond a decline in liquidity (the variable that’s been connected with the creation of wealth through higher asset prices over time), and has much to do with participants “de-risking” amidst a wide distribution of potential outcomes, another commentator explained

These fears are in the face of emerging risks to growth (given Russia-Ukraine and beyond); the question is whether there is a dovish surprise and this lends to assuaging participants of fear.

Graphic: Via @EffMktHype. “Forward OIS have coalesced since end-Jan and started to aggressively price out rate hikes.”

Taking a look at the U.S. high yield OAS (option-adjusted spread), participants see a “risk-off” bottom; deteriorating credit conditions are a bearish leading indicator. 

Will there be further deterioration that feeds into an eventual repricing of equity market risk? Or, will there be a pullback on hawkishness like the market has started pricing?

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

Positioning: Pursuant to the remarks made on equity implied volatility, March 1, 2022, was “the first day since late January that the options market [was] pricing up volatility a noteworthy but not extreme amount (on a closing basis).”

This is, per SpotGamma, amidst participants’ heightened demand for downside (put) protection; in purchasing protection, traders indirectly take liquidity as counterparties hedge exposure in the underlying.

The effects of this hedging are more notable given reticence on the part of counterparties.

“Essentially, with markets swinging there is a hesitance amongst liquidity providers to step in. This creates an environment in which the absorption of orders deteriorates,” SpotGamma explains. “Given this, the hedging of options exposure further amplifies market moves.”

A heightened VIX, in the face of an equity market that is not trading much weaker, is a clear reflection of this so-called reticence.

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

Going forward, bearing in mind the continued passive buying support alluded to in past commentaries, if participants were to be assuaged of their fears, that would likely coincide with less(er) demand for downside protection and compression in volatility.

The implications of this? Reduced demand for protection coincides with less counterparty negative gamma exposure (as counterparty put buying [a negative delta, positive gamma trade] coincides with the addition of liquidity [purchase of underlying, a positive delta trade]). 

In counterparties being less exposed to losses on the downside (via reduced negative gamma exposure), their (re)hedging may bolster attempts higher (i.e., open the door to the upside).

The likelihood of this dynamic coming to fruition is low(er), up until the passage of the Federal Open Market Committee event March 15-16, 2022, and options expiration (that same week).

Graphic: Fear and demand for protection concentrated in shorter-dated contracts most sensitive to changes in implied volatility and direction results in pressure from hedging. The compression of volatility likely coincides with support of attempts higher (as this removes pressure).

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 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 $4,285.50 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,346.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,346.75 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,398.50 overnight high (ONH) and $4,415.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,285.50 HVNode puts in play the $4,227.75 overnight low. Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $4,177.25 HVNode and $4,137.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

Considerations: The market is in balance or rotational trade that suggests 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).

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.

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.

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.

Rates: Low rates have to potential to increase the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, more attractive. To note, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive).

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 16, 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

After auctioning up into a key supply area, overnight, equity indices were responsively sold.

Ahead is data on retail sales and import prices (8:30 AM ET), industrial production and capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), business inventories, and the NAHB home builders’ index (10:00 AM ET), as well as the release of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes (2:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:40 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: The market has de-rated substantially at the single-stock level.

“Stocks have been de-rating for almost a year now as investors began to anticipate the inevitable tightening from the Fed, given the robustness of the recovery and building imbalances,” Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) Michael Wilson says.

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Taken from Bloomberg. “Perhaps most strikingly, fund managers are now more thoroughly underweight in technology stocks than at any time since 2006.”

“We think this de-rating is about 80% done at the stock level with the S&P 500 P/E still about 10% too high (19.5x versus our 18x target). In other words, the de-rating is more complete at the stock level than at the index level, at least for the high-quality S&P 500.”

At the same time, the bond market’s pricing of risk – reflected by the Merrill Lynch Option Volatility Estimate (INDEX: MOVE) – is not in line with the pricing of equity market risk, via the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX).  

Graphic: MOVE Index. Taken from Lisa Abramowicz.

That said, fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another; regardless of the cause, equity and bond market participants are not on the same page. 

Graphic: Via True Insight. Taken from The Market Ear.

Moreover, prevailing monetary frameworks and max liquidity promoted a large divergence in price from fundamentals. Growth in passive investing – the effect of increased moneyness among nonmonetary assets – and derivatives trading imply a lot of left-tail risks.

The “provision of liquidity and the creation of wealth through higher asset prices are intimately connected over time,” John Authers of Bloomberg explains.

Falling liquidity, while obviously necessary now that the emergency has passed and inflation is rising, could well signal problems ahead.”

Graphic: Via CrossBorder Capital. Taken from Bloomberg. 

To establish the point, these shifts in liquidity have large effects on bond markets, too, and that’s what participants are likely pricing in via MOVE.

A “flatter yield curve tends to be followed quite swiftly by rising credit spreads. While there is no great issue with solvency at present, this suggests that credit may already be causing problems by the end of this year.”

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Taken from Samantha LaDuc

“The U.S. high yield OAS (option-adjusted spread) is breaking out above resistance to suggest a year-long risk-off bottom for this credit spread,” Bank of America explains. 

Deteriorating credit conditions are a bearish leading indicator, increasing the risk that the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) completes the head and shoulders top highlighted in the chart below.”

Taken together, it is the above-mentioned dynamics that will ultimately make it hard for the Fed to continue with rate hikes, Authers adds.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “there is a 50-year history that the Fed never hikes rates once the fed funds rate has risen above the five-year yield. That point could come before the end of 2022, and suggests that it will be very difficult to continue with tightening to the extent that the Fed currently believes necessary to bring down inflation to its target.”

To conclude this section, I quote Alfonso Peccatiello, the former head of a $20 billion investment portfolio and author of The Macro Compass: “If the Fed pushes the hawkish narrative further, we might see deeper cracks in the walls.”

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass, “Once real yields approach equilibrium levels, subsequent S&P500 returns tend to be poor.”

Positioning: In the past weeks this commentary expressed a more bullish tilt. 

This tilt is not entirely incorrect. Indeed, there are (as pointed to in past commentaries) few metrics that suggest that there have been strong(er) levels of accumulation.

Graphic: Via EPFR. Taken from The Market Ear. A “nice steady tune of >$50bn per month into global equities.”

However, other positioning metrics point to an increased potential for instability, and implied volatility, though heightened, may not provide much of a boost if further compressed. 

As options modeling and analysis provider SqueezeMetrics explains, “I don’t see the upside catalyst in the data right now. VIX back at 25 isn’t compelling from a vanna-rally perspective (back to 20 seems possible, but how much more?).”

“Have enough puts been bought to propel prices from vanna rally and subsequent vol rolldown? Mehhh.”

To put it in simpler terms, “it is a lot easier to knock [the market] down than it is to lift up.”

What’s known for sure is that this week’s put-heavy options expiration (OPEX) “may make gamma exposures less negative,” according to options analysis provider SpotGamma.

For context, delta is an options exposure to direction. Gamma is the rate of change in delta. ​​

“In an environment characterized by negative gamma (wherein an options delta falls with stock price rises and rises when stock prices fall), options expiries ought to make gamma less negative.”

Therefore, with a reduction in negative gamma, “there will be a removal of [counterparties’] linear short (-delta) hedges which may further bolster attempts higher.”

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 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 $4,438.00 key response area (balance boundary, high-volume area, and prior overnight low) puts in play the $4,483.00 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,499.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,438.00 key response area puts in play the $4,393.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,365.00 POC and $4,332.25 HVNode, or lower.

Considerations: Tuesday’s trade built out areas of high volume via the cave-fill process in locations where prior discovery left weak structure – gaps and p-shaped emotional, multiple distribution profile structures (i.e., Friday’s knee-jerk liquidation of poorly positioned longs).

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

Cave-Fill Process: Widened the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. This is a good development.

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.

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

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

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.

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 December 3, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned in-sync, within the confines of yesterday’s recovery. 

This is as participants position themselves for Friday’s data dump that may shed light on how fast the Federal Reserve (Fed) intends to tighten monetary policy.

Ahead is data on nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings (8:30 AM ET). Later is Fed-speak by James Bullard (9:15 AM ET), Markit services PMI (9:45 AM ET), as well as ISM services, factory orders, and core capital goods orders (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

In the face of strong intraday breadth, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the recovery of Wednesday’s value (i.e., the prices at which 70% of that day’s volume occurred).

This action negated the knee-jerk selling that coincided with COVID-19 variant news.

As a result, the S&P 500 is back inside of a short-term consolidation; participants had no interest in transacting the S&P 500 on prices advertised below the balance area.

Context: The Fed’s intent to moderate stimulus and uncertainty with regards to how a new COVID-19 variant will impact the global recovery.

In the face of it all, according to Bloomberg, “The market is again pricing June 2022 as the most likely timing for the first Fed rate hike, same as on Nov. 24. At various stages over the intervening days traders looked at July, or even as late as September.”

This is as an emerging trend from the Fed, confirmed by Chair Jerome Powell’s Congressional testimony – for weeks into this most recent equity – resulted in a re-pricing of bond market risk. 

That fear – demand for protection in the bond market – failed to appear in the equity market. 

Instead, there was an insatiable appetite for stocks, according to Bloomberg, with investors pouring more cash in 2021 than in the past 19 years, combined. 

That appetite for risk fed into the activity of some high-flyers like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), and, more recently Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL). At the same time, the broader market was weakening, evidenced by a decline in breadth. 

With indices pinned, heading into the November monthly options expiration (OPEX), as a result of sticky and supportive hedging flows, correlations declined. 

Think about it. If heavily weighted index constituents are higher and the indices are pinned, then something has to give! 

After OPEX, the removal of certain hedging flows had the market succumb to fundamental forces. The addition of participants’ underexposure to downside put protection, according to SpotGamma, resulted in more rampant two-way volatility.

The reason being? The market quickly entered into an environment known as short-gamma. 

“What the heck is that? Please explain to me like I’m ten.” Okay, hold my beer.

Basically, funds holding long equity, in the interest of lower volatility returns, hedge. The S&P 500 is a benchmark and one of the best places to hedge, given liquidity, and so on.

These participants will sell calls against their long equity exposure. The proceeds from that sale will be put toward downside protection. Long equity, short call, long put. Get it?

The counterparty to this dominant positioning is a buyer (seller) of upside (downside) protection, a carry trade (i.e., long delta). 

This exposure is hedged, yes! However, this exposure will also decay, in time, all else equal. 

Volatility will slide down its term structure (vanna) and time will pass (charm); “as volatility ebbs and time passes, the unwind of these hedges brings in positive flows that can lead to lengthy sprints.” – Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility.

Now, within a certain range, said counterparties are, long-gamma also. Gamma is basically “the rate of change of delta per 1-point move in the underlying,” according to SqueezeMetrics.

As volatility and time to expiration decline, the gamma of at-the-money options rises; “option market-makers will hedge their positions in a fashion that stifles volatility (buying into lows, selling into highs).”

There are times, also, when the market is in a short-gamma; a “negative [gamma] implies the opposite (selling into lows, buying into highs), thus magnifying market volatility.”

With participants underexposed to downside protection, post-OPEX demand kicked the market into short-gamma; the conditions worsened when much of the activity was concentrated in shorter-dated tenors where the sensitivity of options to direction is higher, as stated.

Graphic: VIX term structure 11/25. Backwardation signaled an entry into an unstable environment with activity concentrated at the front-end of the curve.

Once that short-dated protection rolls off the table (and/or is monetized), counterparties will quickly reverse and support the market, buying to close their existing stock/futures hedges.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator on 12/2 shows positive options delta trades firing off, which likely had dealers buying stock/futures into the close.

This flow is stabilizing and may play into a seasonally-aligned rally into Christmas as participants see defenses rolled out against the new COVID-19 variant, and the positive effects of pro-cyclical inflation and economic growth, improvements in global trade, and continuity at the Fed, among other dynamics, play out.

We see participants opportunistically buying the dip, already, via metrics like DIX that’s derived from liquidity provision on the market-making side.

Graphic: Earnings are rising and helping support historic PE multiples, via Nasdaq

Notwithstanding, the market is still in short-gamma and unless participants began betting on the upside (i.e., committing increased capital to calls at strikes higher in price and out in time), and we cross over to long-gamma, volatility ought to remain.

To assuage fears, though, here is a quote from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS): 

“We find that the market has already priced in a significant downgrade in the growth outlook off the back of Omicron concerns. While we don’t believe that the most extreme downside scenarios are fully reflected in current market pricing, there are clearly still scenarios that could prove better than anticipated by the sharp shift in pricing in recent weeks, in our view”.

Expectations: As of 6:45 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,590.00 balance area high (BAH). Initiative trade beyond the BAH could reach as high as the $4,629.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,647.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,574.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,551.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,526.25 HVNode and $4,497.75 regular trade low (RTH Low), or lower.

Click here to load today’s updated 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. Learn about the profile.

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.

DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

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.

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.

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).

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

Rates: Low rates have to potential to increase the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, more attractive. To note, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive).

About

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

Additionally, Capelj is a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, 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 manage outside capital and is not licensed. In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 2, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures steadied at the prior day’s lows

There were signs of a shift in relative strength as the Russell 2000’s extended-day recovery outpaced that of the S&P 500 and (now) weaker Nasdaq 100. 

At the same time, yields on the ten-year rose while volatility came in. Still, the VIX futures term structure remained higher, a clear indication of stress, in the face of demand for protection.

Ahead is data on jobless claims (8:30 AM ET) with Fed-speak scattered throughout the day.

Graphic updated 6:40 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

On nonparticipatory breadth and weak market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by the S&P 500’s spike away from the value (i.e., the prices at which 70% of the day’s volume occurred).

The knee-jerk selling, which coincided with news that a COVID-19 variant was spotted in the U.S., broke the S&P 500 out of a short-term consolidation (i.e., balance) area. 

The developing balance was a result of participants looking for new information to base a directional move. With new information, participants chose downside price exploration.

Adding, the knee-jerk selling and associated price action left behind poor structure (i.e., participants will look to validate [or invalidate] the move, spending time below [or above] the ~$4,574.25 spike base). Caution is warranted on overnight validation of the spike. 

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

Context: A resurgence in COVID-19, a change in tone with respect to monetary policy, and last-minute tax-selling, in the face of seasonally-bullish buybacks and new month inflows.

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory. 

As stated, yesterday, the Federal Reserve’s Jerome Powell unexpectedly changed his tone around inflation, becoming more open to a faster taper in bond-buying and rate hikes. 

This is as policymakers look to tame price readings without inhibiting economic growth; fears of the aforementioned change in tone were clearly spotted by the bond market’s pricing of risk, so to speak, diverging from that of the equity market, weeks before current volatility.

Graphic: “The ICE BofA MOVE Index, which measures implied volatility for Treasuries, is close to the steepest level since April 2020,” via Bloomberg.

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 to own.

As the market is a forward-looking mechanism, the implications of this are staggering. 

Prevailing monetary frameworks and max liquidity promoted a large divergence in price from fundamentals. The growth of passive investing – the effect of increased moneyness among nonmonetary assets – and derivatives trading imply a lot of left-tail risks.

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, “Bank of America estimates that corporate earnings used to explain half of equity market returns up to the financial crisis, but since then they only explain 21%. Meanwhile, changes to the Fed’s balance sheet explain 52% of market returns since 2010, it estimates. Buy what the FED buys. Sell what the FED stops buying.”

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once told me: “There’s this constant structural positioning that naturally drives markets higher as long as volatility is compressed,” or there is supply.

“At the end of the day, though, the higher you go, the further off the ground you are and the more tail risk.”

Eventually, the fear on the part of bond market participants fed into equity market positioning; breadth weakened for weeks into November’s large monthly options expiration, after which the absence of sticky and supportive hedging flows finally freed the market for directional resolve. 

Couple that with participants being “underexposed to downside put protection,” according to SpotGamma, there was an expectation that there could be a rough re-pricing of tail risk as participants, en masse, sought after highly “convex” downside options which had the counterparties to those trades exacerbating underlying price movement.

Per the VIX term structure graphic below, there is tons of movement in the front-end, a sign that participants are concentrating activity in shorter-dated tenors where the sensitivity of options to direction is higher.

Graphic: VIX term structure. 

So long as this dynamic remains, participants can expect instability.

In assuaging fears, however, Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) put out research that found “information about the variant and the policy actions taken to date do not yet support a material shift” in forecasts.

This is as S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI), despite lowering growth forecasts a touch, expects GDP to reach a 37-year high in 2021. With odds that it will likely take the next few weeks to find out more with respect to the severity of new COVID-19 variants, attention moves to “cyclicals, commodities, and reopening themes,” according to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “there is ‘plenty of liquidity available to drive stock prices higher as dip-buyers enter the market,’” strategists at Yardeni Research, wrote.

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

Spike Rules In Play: Spike’s 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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,551.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,629.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,551.75 low volume area (LNVode) puts in play the $4,497.75 regular-trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,471.00 and $4,425.00 VPOC, or lower.

Click here to load today’s updated 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. Learn about the profile.

Charts To Watch

Graphic: (NYSE: SPY). (S~$448, $438 and R~$454, $460). S is for support. R is for resistance.

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.

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

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).

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

About

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

Additionally, Capelj is a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, 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 manage outside capital and is not licensed. In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 19, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures diverged as the S&P 500 attempted a breakout, failed, and rotated back into range, leaving some signs of excess (i.e., a proper end to auction) on the composite volume profile. Learn about the profile.

This comes ahead of a weighty options expiration that ought to resolve this market of the dynamics that promoted sideways trade over the past couple of weeks. Attention, after today, shifts to weakening breadth, seasonality, emerging fundamental nuances, and the like, as a result.

Ahead is some Fed-speak and no major economic releases. 

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

Yesterday, on nonparticipatory intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred; the S&P 500, after liquidating against a divergent volume delta (i.e., a metric that may reveal participants’ commitment to buying and selling as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) was responsively bought at its lows.

The low-of-day coincided with the $4,674.25 micro-composite point of control, the place at which two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions, and the volume-weighted average price (i.e., the place at which liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell) anchored from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event, weeks ago. 

The aforementioned activity left behind a double-distribution profile structure; participants initiated from one area of acceptance to another, closing just beyond what analysis provider SpotGamma sees is the options strike with the highest Absolute Gamma.

As discussed day after day, leading up to today’s monthly options expiration (OPEX), this cluster of options positioning was to restrain (i.e., make it difficult for) directional resolve.

The reason is, as OPEX nears and participants concentrate their activity on shorter-dated expiries (such as the one rolling off today), there’s an increased share who are willing to bet the market won’t move higher. In expressing this bet, participants opt to sell-to-open call exposure, for instance, leaving the counterparty/dealer warehousing exposure to positive options gamma. 

As this trend continues (and time to expiry narrows), dealers’ exposure to positive options gamma rises. In offsetting this risk, they sell to open (buy-to-open) the underlying as price rises (declines). This responsive buying and selling are what causes the market to balance (i.e., trade sideways) in a tight range. It ought to end after OPEX, as that options exposure rolls off

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance and not ready to break).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of dynamics I touched on in weeks prior, as well as yesterday’s commentary

This is, specifically, the bond market’s pricing of risk.

According to Bloomberg, based on an “erratic … handling [of] large transfers of risk,” as evidenced by the Merrill Lynch Option Volatility Estimate (INDEX: MOVE), the bond market’s pricing of risk, so to speak, has diverged from the pricing of equity market risk, via the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX).

Graphic: “The ICE BofA MOVE Index, which measures implied volatility for Treasuries, is close to the steepest level since April 2020,” via Bloomberg.

That said, fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another; regardless of the cause, equity and bond market participants are not on the same page.

What is the fear all about? Well, at its core, the fear coincides with “broad uncertainty about the direction of the economy and monetary policy amid surging prices, labor shortages and yields that are holding well below the rate of inflation,” according to Bloomberg.

As asked, yesterday, in combating high inflation, policymakers ought to raise rates, right? 

That’s precisely what economists at institutions like JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) believe may happen as soon as next September, earlier than once forecasted.

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 to own.

As the market is a forward-looking mechanism, the implications of this seem staggering. 

Prevailing monetary frameworks and max liquidity promoted a large divergence in price from fundamentals. The growth of passive investing – the effect of increased moneyness among nonmonetary assets – and derivatives trading imply a lot of left-tail risks.

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once told me: “There’s this constant structural positioning that naturally drives markets higher as long as volatility is compressed,” or there is supply.

“At the end of the day, though, the higher you go, the further off the ground you are and the more tail risk.”

Eventually, fear on the part of bond market participants may feed into equity market positioning.

In rounding out this section, I, again, want to mention the pinning in the broad market, as well as the performance of underlying constituents. If you’ve paid much of any attention, there is some bloodshed going on; breadth is divergent and the indices are sideways to higher, basically.

Graphic: Internally, the market is weak. Externally, via price, the market seems strong. 

The concern is that after OPEX, the absence of supportive vanna and charm flows (defined below), for which we can attribute some of the trends in extended day outperformance, alongside that sticky gamma hedging, so to speak, frees the market for directional resolve. 

Whether or not that resolve is up or down, we know that (as SpotGamma talks more about), participants are underexposed to downside protection. Should volatility pick up, these participants are likely to reach for that protection forcing dealers to reflexively hedge in a destabilizing manner. 

As volatility rises and customers demand out-of-the-money put protection, counterparties are to hedge by selling into weakness. The conditions worsen when much of the activity is in shorter-dated tenors where options gamma is more punchy if we will.

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. The left orange marker is reflective of a basic reaction to call-buying (as observed during the rise of meme stocks). The right orange marker reflects a reaction to put-buying (as observed during the COVID-19 sell-off).

Expectations: As of 6:15 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 balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance-Break Failure: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) nearly occurred on a higher time frame.

In monitoring for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area, we saw an overnight rejection (i.e., return inside of balance). This portends a move to the opposite end of the balance. 

Given OPEX, though, we ought to give more weight to continued balance (i.e., sideways trade).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,723.50 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,735.25 and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

Click here to load today’s updated 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. Learn about the profile.

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: If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she would buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Option buyers can also use options as an efficient way to gain directional exposure.

VPOCs: 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, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Additionally, Capelj is a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, 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 manage outside capital and is not licensed. In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.