Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For May 2, 2021

Happy Sunday! Markets were choppy, ending the week flat-to-down. This came after President Joe Biden’s joint session of Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s assessment of the economy, and blowout earnings by heavily weighted index constituents.

The following commentary on U.S. broad market equity indices will discuss what happened, why it matters, what to expect, and how participants can position themselves for the coming week.

Market Commentary

What Happened: U.S. broad market indices closed the week out flat-to-down after a failed attempt to break higher on Thursday, April 29. Last week’s action suggests participants are looking for information to initiate a directional move.

  • Policy leaders, creators: Inflation pockets transitory.
  • Ahead: Data on labor, manufacturing, and earnings.
  • Markets balancing, positions for directional resolve.
Updated: 10:00 AM EST Sunday.

Why It Matters: The sideways action during last week’s trade came after a lengthy run, higher. 

The S&P 500, in particular, from its March 2020 low, is up over 90%.

That said, as investors enter into a new month, popular news outlets are beating the drum of an old adage: “Sell in May and go away.”

Is there any truth to this statement? It depends on perspective.

Historically speaking, the period spanning May to October is generally weak. On average, the S&P 500 is up as high as +2% during this six-month period.

“Stocks are up more than 87% from the March lows, suggesting a well-deserved pullback during these troublesome months is quite possible,” LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick said in a recent blog post. “But with an accommodative Fed, fiscal and monetary policy, along with an economy that is opening faster than nearly anyone expected, we’d use any weakness as an opportunity to add to positions.”

Adding, trends are changing, though; stocks have been higher during these so-called weak months 8 out of the past 10 years, according to LPL Research. 

Graphic by LPL Research. Data from FactSet. 

So, with that, in maintaining objectivity, we zoom out and ask a few questions.

  1. Where are we in relation to the prior week’s range? Overlapping.
  2. Is the market’s attempt to go in a certain direction supported? No. After a failed balance-area breakout, participants rotated and accepted prices back in the prior range, as evidenced by unchanged value-area placement, the area where 70% of prior trade (i.e., 1 standard deviation) is conducted.
  3. Is the technical and fundamental narrative supportive of current prices? Technically, the market is in an extended uptrend. However, despite value-area placement suggesting a validation of higher prices, market liquidity metrics point to distribution, the opposite of accumulation.

Now, we analyze other factors in play.

  • Real Yields: Alongside April’s FOMC — at which the Federal Reserve left rates unchanged and asset purchases steady — 10-year real yields are on track for their biggest drop since last summer. Low real rates may catalyze risk assets as the present value of their future earnings become more attractive
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): The White House expressed its desire to raise the federal CGT rate to 43.4% for wealthy individuals. However, as Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) sees it, Congress is likely to settle on a more modest increase. Adding, weak S&P 500 returns, historically, going into CGT hikes are short-lived.
  • Low Rates, Debt Expansion: Such dynamics incent market participants to take risks, causing destabilizing factors to brew. As Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial says, “The growth of structured products, passive investing, the regulatory standpoint that’s been implemented with Dodd-Frank and dealers needing to hedge off their risk more frequently than not” are all part of a regime change that’s affected the stability of markets.
  • Positioning: According to Nomura data presented by The Market Ear, CTAs have taken their positions too far on the long side, reaching levels last seen prior to the 2018 Volmageddon. Additionally, the (1) SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) and the (2) Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) funds saw some of their biggest outflows. At the same time, certain breadth metrics are diverging from current prices while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, cash-settled S&P 500 Index, and Invesco QQQ saw sizable call-side bets trade, Friday. 
  • Earnings Reaction: Last week, heavily weighted index constituents reported blowout earnings. The reaction was muted, leaving broad market indices flat-to-down. One explanation is that the expectations, going into the events, were too high. Another is that the equity market is priced to perfection, at this stage of the recovery, and further advances will be supported by the rotation into cyclical parts of the market — financials, energy, and value. 
  • Option Expiration (OPEX): Option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure. According to SpotGamma, a provider of actionable options insights, on Friday, up to 30% of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100’s gamma rolled off which may allow the indices an opportunity to directionally resolve.

So, in summarizing this section, technically, the market is bullish, supported by the prospects of a healthy rotation. In the coming week, given increased clarity on policy and a sizable derivatives expiry, participants may see directional resolve.

What To Expect: An increased potential to resolve directionally.

In addition, metrics, like price movement, market liquidity, and speculative derivatives activity, confirm participants’ bullishness and opportunistic hedging in light of an acceleration in the global restart and a turn in flows, the result of an apparent shift in consumer preferences, from saving and investing to spending.

Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending April 30. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, in strikes as low as $400.000, which corresponds with $4,000.00 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).

What To Do: In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to where the S&P 500 trades in relation to its $4,186.75-$4,110.50 balance area. 

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

Any activity above (below) the balance-area high suggests participants are interested in discovering higher (lower) prices. Any activity within the balance area suggests participants are looking for more information to base their next move; in such case, responsive buying and selling is the course of action. 

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

Initiative trade below the balance-area low suggests an inclination by participants to revert to the mean and repair some of the poor structure left behind prior discovery. Initiative trade above the balance area puts in play the $4,210.75 minimal excess rally-high, and the cluster of price extensions at and above $4,200.00, typical price targets based on Fibonacci principles.

Initiative Buying (Selling): Buying (selling) within or above (below) previous price acceptance.

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.

So, in the best case, the S&P 500 makes an attempt to balance or discover prices as high as $4,300.00. In the worst case, participants look to auction the S&P 500 into prior poor structures and low-volume areas (LVNodes) that ought to offer little-to-no support.

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

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

News And Analysis

Markets | U.S. builders produced record share of homes with hot market. (BBG)

Economy | Consumer spending, labor cost data suggests inflation warming up. (REU

Trade | Baltic Dry Index breaks 3,000 points in more than a decade on prices. (TW)

Wealth | Rich Americans fleeing tax hikes may turbocharge the shift to ETFs. (BBG)

Markets | Fed’s Robert Kaplan warns on ‘imbalances,’ wants to talk taper. (REU)

Markets | A volatility quant nets $540 million as momentum trades boom. (BBG)

Lending | States are investigating predatory subprime auto lenders. (Jalopnik)

Markets | Record metals prices catapulted mining profits beyond big oil. (BBG)

Medicine | Biden’s ARPA-H agency to ‘end cancer’ modeled after Darpa. (TC)

Markets | Bond market’s inflation bulls get Powell’s go-ahead to double down. (BBG)

Markets | Bridgewater Co-CIO sees ‘fair amount’ of stock market in bubble. (BBG)

Markets | Retail investors could counter the much-anticipated correction. (SA)

Economy | Warren Buffett denounces SPACs and Robinhood at meeting. (Axios)

Markets | Crypto’s shadow currency surges past deposits of most U.S. banks. (BBG)

Technology | Roku says it may lose YouTube app after Google’s demands. (Axios)

Economy | Ex-Treasury Secretary Summers on scarcity of workers, inflation. (BBG)

Markets | Parametric fund earns ‘Gamma Hammer’ moniker with its bets. (FT)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | Apex Fintech has blow-out earnings ahead of NYSE listing. (BZ)

FinTech | How to attract large investors to your direct investing platform? (TC)

FinTech | New fintech groups form as industry scrutiny is ramping up. (S&P)

FinTech | Cryptocurrency bank wins OCC approval to form de novo. (S&P)

Markets | CME eyes wider customer base with micro bitcoin futures. (TB)

FinTech | Coinbase plans to acquire data and analytics platform Skew. (TB)

FinTech | How U.K.-based Lendable is powering fintechs across EMs. (TC)

FinTech | Amid the IPO gold rush, how should we value fintech startups? (TC)

FinTech | 10 fintech headhunters you need to know for recruiting to talent. (BI)

FinTech | U.K. banks speed up plans to ax branches, switch to digital focus. (S&P)

Medicine | Kevin O’Leary-backed MindMed has uplisted on the Nasdaq. (BZ)

Media | Creators are making lots of money selling Google spreadsheets. (Mashable)

Media | As newsletter advertising grows, advertisers opting for quality. (ADWK)

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For April 18, 2021

Happy Sunday! Though markets were relatively choppy, they ended higher last week. This came at a time of heightened public attention to the market.

The following commentary on U.S. broad market equity indices will discuss what happened, why it matters, what to expect, and how participants can position themselves for the coming week.

But first, here’s a quote from Sterling professor of economics at Yale, Robert J. Shiller:

“The current widespread fascination with the rising market accompanied by recent concern about a possible downward spiral and strained stock market valuations echo those of 100 years ago.”

Market Commentary

What Happened: The S&P 500, Nasdaq-100, and Dow Jones Industrial Average made new all-time highs before closing the week out with an attempt to balance and validate newly discovered prices.

  • Data suggests economic outlook improving.
  • Earnings pick up, add to clarity on recovery.
  • Risk, reward poor for new entries. Be picky.

Why It Matters: The price rise in U.S. broad market equity indices comes as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic accelerated.

According to S&P Global, the recovery’s acceleration warranted a revision in the firm’s 2021 global GDP growth forecast to 5.5%, a 50 basis point change.

At the same time, it’s S&P’s belief that U.S. inflation fears are overblown. Traders began to price in that realization, last week. 

After a slew of economic releases, yields pulled back dramatically.

In a Bloomberg article, Barclays strategists, including Anshul Pradhan, noted a raising of the bar on reflation; the drop in yields “reflects the fact that expectations for growth, inflation and the hiking cycle have all been significantly revised higher.”

Further, participants saw the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), a measure of the stock market’s expectation of volatility based on S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options, continue a multi-week drop attracting the participation of systemic strategies and opportunistic hedging, as noted last week.

It is important to note that this most recent rally in equity indices, which coincides with a historically bullish period, came soon after Archegos Capital’s default on margin calls which triggered a fire sale by several big Wall Street banks.

SpotGamma, a source for actionable insights based on activity in the options market, in a commentary, attempted to unpack the narrative which suggests the mechanical bid across the broad market is tied to a “tangled web of counterparty risk and hedging,” among other factors.

Moving beyond speculations, a couple of things are true and must be accounted for in our narrative.

First, equity market inflows, over the past 5 months, exceeded inflows of the prior 12 years, total. Second, as the April monthly options expiration (OPEX) passes and the positioning of participants changes, the risks of a near-term pullback have increased substantially. 

Despite the stock market trading in a historically bullish period, as well as declining volatility attracting the participation of systematic strategies, increased put selling, and the like, downside protection is trading cheap relative to its upside counterpart.

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

Should the market turn and customers demand downside protection in an increasing fashion, dealers’ risk exposure to direction and volatility will cause violent crash dynamics to transpire.

An example of this is last year’s sell-off.

In a discussion on rising delta and volatility forcing dealers to sell into weakness to hedge a rapid move in prices, Kris Sidial, a former institutional trader and the co-chief investment officer of The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund that looks to exploit changing market structure dynamics, said: “You have this dynamic in the derivatives market where there is a gamma squeeze when people are buying way far out-of-the-money [options], and dealers reflexively have to hedge off their risk,” Sidial said.

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

Putting it all together, despite markets being in a position to move higher, should there be a turn and spike in volatility, participants must be ready to accept the possibility of a violent liquidation.

As Market Ear puts it, hedge when you can, not when you must.

What To Expect: An increased potential to correct in time and price.

In addition, metrics, like DIX, market liquidity, and speculative derivatives activity, confirm participants’ bullishness and opportunistic hedging ahead of an acceleration in the global restart and a turn in flows, the result of consumers shifting their preferences from saving and investing to spending.

Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending April 16. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, in strikes as low as $364, which corresponds with $3,640 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants are not as inclined to add call-side exposure, through the month of May, in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

What To Do: In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to where the S&P 500 trades in relation to Friday’s open-high-low-close (OHLC). 

Any activity above Friday’s regular trade-low suggests participants are not yet done discovering higher prices. Trading below Friday’s low suggests an inclination by participants to (1) form a consolidation area that denotes acceptance of higher prices or (2) revert to the mean and repair some of the poor structure left behind prior discovery. 

It is important to take note of the minimal excess and cluster of price extensions at $4,200.00, a typical price target based on Fibonacci principles.

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.

So, in the best case, the S&P 500 makes an attempt to balance or discover prices as high as $4,200.00. In the worst case, participants look to auction the S&P 500 into prior poor structures and low-volume areas (LVNodes) that ought to offer little-to-no support.

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

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

News And Analysis

Economy | Housing starts reach the highest level since 2006. (MND)

Recovery | U.S. is unlikely to ‘just cancel’ J&J COVID-19 shots. (BBG)

Markets | Citi to exit banking in 13 markets across Asia, Europe. (BBG)

Markets | Record-high systemic leverage is pressuring rates. (Moody’s)

Economy | S&P Global Ratings expects global rebound to roar. (S&P)

Economy | Projections on global population, aging, urbanization. (REU)

Trade | Amazon sellers slammed with COVID-induced constraints. (S&P)

Recovery | How well COVID-19 vaccines work against variants. (AB)

Markets | SPACs boost credit at targets but carry unique risks. (Moody’s)
Markets | ‘Roaring Kitty’ adds to GME bet after exercising calls. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Economy | Looking at the pop culture of the original Roaring Twenties. (NYT)

Markets | Want to take your company public? Here are your options. (CB)

FinTech | Societe Generale adds first structured product on blockchain. (SG)

Exodus | Hedge funds are ready to get out of NY and move to FL. (BBG)

Trading | The answer to how much capital you should be allocating. (TT)

Venture | European venture reaches all-time high in first quarter 2021. (CB)

About

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

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

 Disclaimer

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

Cover photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 16, 2021

Market Commentary

Index futures initiate out of balance and explore higher prices.

  • Economic data fuels strong rally.
  • Ahead: Housing, sentiment data.
  • Market is accepting higher prices.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher alongside strong economic data, over the past 24 hours.

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

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade above $4,137.00, which is significant because it marked Wednesday’s POC, the fairest price to do business. 

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

Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed through $34,000. Peter Essele, Head of Portfolio Management for Commonwealth Financial Network, in a statement on the development, said: “[I]nvestor appetite for future growth prospects is spilling over into more value-oriented names. The industrial heavy index has trailed its more tech-oriented counterparts over the last year (S&P 500 and NASDAQ), a trend that has started to reverse as of late. The demand for industrials and more cyclically-oriented areas should continue as the vaccines take hold and earnings potentially come in higher than originally expected.”

Obviously, there are a lot of reasons to be highly bullish on the stock market and economy, in general. However, as the April monthly options expiration (OPEX) passes and the positioning of participants changes, the risks of a near-term pullback have increased substantially. Despite the stock market trading in a historically bullish period, as well as declining volatility attracting the participation of systematic strategies, and the like, downside protection is trading cheap relative to its upside counterpart. 

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

In the simplest way, as Market Ear puts it, hedge when you can, not when you must. 

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,166.75 regular-trade high could reach as high as the $4,174.50 price extension. Initiative trade beyond $4,174.50 could reach as high as the confluence of Fibonacci price extension near $4,187.00-$4,197.25. In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,154.25 overnight-low (ONL) could reach as low as the $4,137.00 POC and $4,113.00 minimal excess low.

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.
Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for April 15. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, in strikes as low as $385, which corresponds with $3,850 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants are not as inclined to add call-side exposure, through the month of May, in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

News And Analysis

Markets | There’s a New Jersey deli valued at $105 million. Not good. (BBG)

Markets | Record amount of assets in ETFs and ETPs listed globally. (MM)

Markets | Yields dropped Thursday, despite strong economic data. (CNBC)

Technology | Regulators are seeking to revoke Robinhood’s license. (REU)

Markets | Coinbase’s retail popularity tops that of GameStop, Tesla. (FN)

Investing | Family offices target 800% returns with SPAC economies. (BBG)

Markets | JPMorgan sells $13B of bonds in the largest bank deal. (BBG)

Economy | China’s GDP grows at a record pace as recovery speeds. (REU)

Economy | City of London Brexit hit worst than expected, says study. (REU)

Economy | Retail sales jumped nearly 10% in March amid reopening. (Axios)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Crypto | Miami-Dade County may get a cryptocurrency task force. (TB)

Markets | Unpacking what happens to IPOs over the long-term. (NDAQ)

Travel | Porsche’s electric Taycan sales on course to eclipse 911. (BBG)

Travel | Elon Musk’s Boring Company finds paradise in the desert. (BBG)

Crypto | Brevan Howard to invest nearly 1.5% in cryptocurrencies. (TB)

Markets | Coinbase direct listing alters landscape for fintech startups. (TC)

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 14, 2021

Market Commentary

Index futures in attempting to balance and validate higher prices.

  • The Fed worried about disinflation.
  • Economic Club hosts Fed’s Powell.
  • Growth and inflation already priced.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures balanced overnight as participants positioned themselves for a strong earnings season.

What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity. 

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade in the S&P 500, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade above $4,127.00, which is significant because it marked an overnight-high (ONH).

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

It seems that nearly every day this commentary goes out, U.S. index futures are trading sideways or higher. Is that a reason to become bearish? Absolutely not. 

Much of the advance comes in light of a historically bullish period for markets. As a result of supportive structural flows and the pricing in of positive earnings expectations, the S&P 500 is up over 11% since the start of March.

Graphic: April, historically speaking, is usually a good month for equity investors. 

Taking a step back, based on speculative derivatives activity, participants are opportunistically hedging their downside. This is evidenced by ask-side activity in long-dated puts, which provide holders with the right to sell an asset, at a certain price, at some point in the future.

Graphic: The Balance explains how call and put options work. 

At the same time, volatility is falling off of a cliff causing the sensitivity of options to changes in underlying price to increase. As a result, because option dealers are typically long calls and short puts, the “long-gamma” dynamic — crushed volatility and momentum — becomes more pronounced; amid associated hedging, liquidity increases and movement declines. This dynamic will likely resolve itself come April’s monthly options expiration.

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

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,139.75 excess high targets $4,143.00, a price extension. Initiative trade beyond the $4,143.00 level could reach as high as $4,197.25. In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,120.00 pull-back low targets the $4,112.75 high-volume area (HVNode) and $4,104.00 spike base. 

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

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

More On Spikes: 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).
Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for April 13. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short- and long-dated tenors, in strikes near $412, which corresponds with $4,120 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic: SHIFT search shows that trade in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) was scattered across call and put strikes near current prices.

News And Analysis

Travel | Airlines can’t get the world flying again despite the U.S. boom. (BBG)

Recovery | Amsterdam’s recovery from a deadly outbreak in 1665. (BBG)

Energy | Overhang in oil inventories worked off, outlook improving. (IEA)

Crypto | Yellen, crypto fearmongers get pushback from CIA director. (Forbes)

Markets | Nomura, Credit Suisse tighten financing in hedge fund units. (BBG)

Recovery | Pfizer, and BioNTech on track to beat Q2 EU vaccine goal. (BBG)

Earnings | JPMorgan’s net profit soars 5-fold to $14.3B, the stock slipped. (MW)

Economy | National delinquency rate posted a fifth consecutive decline. (MND)

Economy | Fed needs to do more to keep short-term rates above zero. (REU)

Crypto | IRS says crypto reporting standards would help close the tax gap. (TB)

Markets | SPACs may cast a wider net as competition for targets increases. (CB)

World | Japan to release contaminated Fukushima water after treatment. (REU)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | Banks, wealth managers, fintech to create ‘Goldilocks’ product. (TA)

NFT | New York Stock Exchange debuts ‘First Trade’ non-fungible tokens. (FN)

 

About

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

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

 Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 12, 2021

Market Commentary

Index futures are attempting to balance and validate higher prices.

  • Pay attention to economic reports.
  • Earnings season officially starting.
  • Balance-to-higher into April OPEX.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures balanced overnight ahead of first-quarter earnings reports by large financial firms.

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

Adding, during prior regular trade, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade above the S&P 500’s $4,100.00 high-interest strike, which will act as a magnet into Friday’s monthly options expiration (OPEX). 

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

As a result, given low trading volumes, and because of how impactful activity in the derivatives market is, traders should consider the potential for further balance or digestion of higher prices.

Further, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,104.00 spike base targets the $4,121.50 overnight-high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,197.25 price extension. In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,104.00 spike base targets the $4,069.00 and $3,943.00 high-volume areas (HVNode).

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

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic 1: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic 2: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending April 9, 2021. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short- and long-dated tenors, in put strikes as low as $340, which corresponds with $3,400 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).

News And Analysis

Markets | U.S. economic recovery underpins dollar strength. (Moody’s)

FinTech | Jack Ma’s Ant Group bows to Beijing with an overhaul. (WSJ)

Trade | U.S. freight traffic posted its biggest annual gain ever. (Axios)

Housing | U.S. housing frenzy driven by an inventory shortage. (Axios)

FinTech | Biden team eyes potential threat from Digital Yuan plans. (BBG)

Economy | Survey suggests 53% of Canadians near insolvency. (BNN)

Hedge Funds | How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts post-2008. (FT)

Markets | Bloomberg analysts arguing over $400K bitcoin target. (CD)

FinTech | Coinbase experiences brisk user growth ahead of IPO. (VC)

Economy | Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is impossible. (Nature)

Politics | U.S., China deploy carriers in South China amid tension. (CNN)

Economy | Goldman Sachs warns Biden Tax Plan will cut earnings. (BBG)

Banking | Credit Suisse faces tough choices on investment bank. (WSJ)

Economy | In unprecedented times, don’t rely on precedent. (BR)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Markets | Financial industry supports cutting equities settlement. (MM)

Technology | Businesses taking a hurry-up-and-wait approach to AI. (WSJ)

FinTech | Charles Schwab is looking to shape crypto procedures. (Block)

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For April 11, 2021

Editor’s Note

Welcome to Market Intelligence, Physik Invest’s response to the many newsletters that seldom provide actionable market insights, free.

Through this newsletter you will get a glimpse into the following:

  • The implications of credit and positioning.
  • Impactful events in finance and technology.
  • Technical commentary for index products.
  • Media on emerging trends and hot topics.

Again, thanks for joining! Physik Invest looks forward to providing you an objective view into the who, what, when, where, why, and how in finance and technology.

Regards,

Renato Leonard Capelj


Market Commentary

Index futures are in price discovery mode.

  • Institutions bullish but risks add up.
  • Earnings season to start this week.
  • Balance-to-higher into April OPEX.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures closed higher, last week.

What Does It Mean: The S&P 500 closed above $4,100 for the first time as investors looked to price in an economic “‘Goldilocks moment’—fast, sustained growth alongside inflation and interest rates that drift slowly upward.”

According to a letter by JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Jamie Dimon, strong consumer savings, an increased pace in COVID-19 coronavirus vaccinations, and unprecedented efforts to spur economic activity could mean that a boom lasts as long as 2023. 

This perspective differs from Dimon’s comments a year ago; he warned of a recession in which GDP could fall nearly 35%. Is Dimon one to fade? Likely not, given the fact that (1) he heads one of the biggest banks and (2) most forecasts by other institutions support Dimon’s perspectives.

Further, the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), a measure of the stock market’s expectation of volatility based on S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options, traded to its lowest level since February 2020.

At the same time, participants saw blocks of VIX call spreads — bets that serenity won’t last — hit the tape; the unknown participant(s) bought nearly 200,000 contracts.

Graphic 1: Risk graph of the 25/40 VIX call spread in question via MarketEar

“With VIX being priced in the low 17 area, I would imagine we would see more of these larger-sized bets going forward,” Kris Sidial, co-chief investment officer at Ambrus Group, told Bloomberg. “I think smart money understands that, although volatility has contracted a lot in these last two months, we are still seeing signs of excess market fragility appear from many different angles.”

Graphic 2: Volatility declines to its lowest level since February 2020.

As stated last week, the market is in a historically bullish period, ahead of the upcoming corporate earnings season, with structural flows supporting the ongoing narrative into the coming April monthly options expiration (OPEX).

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

Adding, most funds are committed to holding long positions. In the interest of lower volatility returns, these funds will collar off their positions, selling calls to finance the purchase of downside put protection.

As a result of this activity, options dealers are long upside and short downside protection.

This exposure must be hedged; dealers will sell into strength as their call (put) positions gain (lose) value and buy into weakness as their call (put) positions lose (gain) value.

Now, unlike theory suggests, dealers will hedge call losses (gains) quicker (slower). This leads to “long-gamma,” a dynamic that crushes volatility and promotes momentum, observed by lengthy sprints — like the one the market is currently in — followed by rapid de-risking events as the market transitions into “short-gamma.”

What To Expect: Balance-to-higher.

Important to note is that equity market inflows, over the past 5 months, exceeded inflows of the prior 12 years, total. Think about the supply and demand dynamics of the market; in case of an equity market sell-off, a lot of late buyers will have poor location which may leave a thick area of supply above the market, putting a dampener on future rallies. 

“You should definitely be worried about valuations and all the more so when people start justifying extremely high valuations. We are risk-on, but we haven’t put our foot down on the accelerator because of valuations in some parts of the market,” said Fahad Kamal, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros.

Adding to the narrative, metrics, like DIX, confirm increased buying pressure while divergences in options activity suggest opportunistic hedging, especially with puts trading at their cheapest level, relative to calls the same delta.

Graphic 3: 1-month 25 delta risk-reversal, via SpotGamma, suggests puts are trading cheap.
More On 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.
Graphic 4: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending April 9, 2021. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short- and long-dated tenors, in put strikes as low as $340, which corresponds with $3,400 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).

What To Do: In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to where the S&P 500 trades in relation to Friday’s end-of-day spike higher.

More On Spikes: 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 remains above the $4,104.00 spike base. Doing so means that the participants are validating the prices caused by the late-day knee-jerk rally. 

In the case of higher prices, given that the 161.80% and 127.20% Fibonacci price extensions were achieved, and after-market trade established an overnight high at $4,121.50, participants can target prices as high as the $4,197.25 price extension.

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

Any activity below the $4,104.00 spike base puts the rally on hold and calls for balance or an attempt to digest higher prices.

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).

In the case of lower prices, participants can look to whether a test of the $4,069.00 high-volume area (HVNode) solicits a response. If not, initiative trade could take prices as low as $3,943.00, the next most valuable price area in the chain.

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic 5: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

News And Analysis

Economy | No elevated default risk expected until 2023. (Moody’s)

Economy | China looks to curtail loan growth amid bubble fears. (BBG)

Markets | Pre-IPO, Coinbase releases blowout Q1 2021 results. (BW)

Markets | Growing signs that equity bull market overheating. (Axios)

Economy | CFPB warns lenders of a wave of distressed mortgages. (MP)

Markets | Cboe extends global trading for VIX and SPX options. (Cboe)

Markets | Unpacking the feedback loop that is distorting markets. (RV)

Trade | Global trade disruptions after the Suez Canal incident. (S&P)

Economy | U.S. COVID-19 vaccination rates to plateau in April. (Surgo)

Markets | Treasuries rally signaling bets on Fed hikes pared back. (BBG)

Markets | Bitcoin fills a demand for alternatives to fiat currencies. (BBG)

Economy | Powell says the economy poised for stronger growth. (BBG)

Markets | Earnings season starts with banks reporting this week. (WSJ)

Markets | Citadel Securities feels the heat of the political spotlight. (BBG)

Markets | Oil sideways. Gold, DXY higher. Copper, aluminum lower. (REU)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Strategy | Strategies one VC believes made Stripe so successful. (BI)

FinTech | Fidelity, Square, and others, form crypto trade group. (WSJ)

FinTech | WealthCharts expands offer, tackles emerging trends. (BZ)

FinTech | SoftBank invests $500M in mortgage lender Better. (CNBC)

FinTech | Rarible co-founder says NFTs to stay, growth robust. (BZ)

FinTech | JPMorgan’s Dimon acknowledges fintech’s big threat. (BZ)

FinTech | Vesica launches a search engine for the options market. (BZ)

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Cover photo by Kammeran Gonzalez-Keola from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Green Shoots’

Notice: Physik Invest’s daily market commentaries will be suspended until further notice.

Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience, thank you for the support, and see you next week!

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures closed lower, last week.

What Does It Mean: Heading into last week’s Federal Reserve policy update, stock index futures were in balanced, two-sided trade as participants looked for more information to base their next move. 

Then, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell discussed his organization’s commitment to an inclusive recovery. At the same time, the central bank announced it expects real GDP to grow 6.5% and inflation to rise as high as 2.4% this year.

The comments were immediately followed by a vertical price rise.

Thereafter, participants that caused the vertical price rise traded out, evidenced by the index trading lower into Friday’s derivative expiry.

Important to note is that despite the attempted pricing in of rising debt levels and inflation, a divergence in bond and equity market volatility persists. Historically, fear across markets tends to move in tandem. That hasn’t been the case for a number of weeks, now (e.g., Graphic 1).

Graphic 1: Divergence in volatility across the bond and equity market. 

What To Expect: Directional resolve.

Why? The passage of a large derivative expiry, the resolve of the vertical price range that occurred in the face of Federal Reserve policy updates, as well as market liquidity metrics suggesting opportunistic buying or short covering into weakness, and increased buying pressure (as witnessed through measures like DIX and options activity).

More On 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.

More On Option Expiration (OPEX): Option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.
Graphic 2: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending March 19, 2021. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short- and long-dated tenors, in strikes as high as $435, which corresponds with $4,350.00 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic 3: Index option traders add to call buying and put selling, a bullish dynamic. 

What To Do: In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to the VWAP anchored from the $3,978.50 overnight rally-high, as well as the high-volume area (HVNode) near $3,900.00.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): Metrics 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.

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above the $3,900.00 volume area, and VWAP anchored from the $3,978.50 peak, taking out Friday’s minimal excess high. This would suggest buyers, on average, are in control and winning since the March 17 rally-high.

More On 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.

Any activity below the VWAP anchored from the $3,978.50 peak may (1) leave the $3,900.00 HVNode as an area of supply, offering initiative sellers favorable entry and responsive buyers favorable exit.

Graphic 4: Profile overlays on a 30-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic 5: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: The go/no-go level for next week’s trade is $3,900.00.

Any activity at this level suggests market participants are looking for more information to base their next move. Anything above (below) this level increases the potential for higher (lower).

Levels Of Interest: $3,900.00 HVNode.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 3/19/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher as bond yields eased from their 14-month highs.

What Does It Mean: During Wednesday’s trade, alongside monetary policy announcements, the S&P 500 established a new all-time high.

Thereafter, participants took back the news-driven vertical price range, pushing indexes well into prior range.

All in all, Thursday’s dip comes after a significant recovery that managed to establish a new overnight all-time high in the S&P 500.

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

Further, coming into Friday’s derivative expiry, market liquidity suggested strong selling Thursday with the resolve of resting orders (opportunistic buying or short covering into weakness) below the market. Speculative options activity was concentrated in near-dated tenors on the put-side, in the face of increased buying pressure (as witnessed through measures like DIX).

More On 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.

What To Expect: Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open inside of prior-range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

During Thursday’s trade, lower prices failed to facilitate increased participation, evidenced by the S&P 500’s divergence from intraday value. The divergence continued until a test of the $3,904.25 low-volume area (LVNode) solicited a response.

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

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

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 finds acceptance (i.e., resolves higher or sideways), above the $3,937.25 Virgin Point of Control (VPOC). In the worst case, the S&P 500 finds acceptance (i.e., resolves lower or sideways) below the $3,937.25 VPOC.

More On POCs: POCs (like HVNodes described above) are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

In case of higher prices, participants may look to auction as high as the $3,951.75 and $3,965.25 HVNodes. In case of lower prices, participants can look to the $3,904.25 and $3,879.25 low-volume LVNodes for a response.

Levels Of Interest: $3,937.25 VPOC.

Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 3/18/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher after the Federal Reserve kept its policy rate unchanged and ramped up expectations for growth. Afterwards, the news-driven vertical price range was taken back, evidenced by an overnight liquidation that brought price back into range.

What Does It Mean: In light of reaffirmed monetary policy expectations, participants have more information to base their next move.

Heading into Wednesday’s policy meeting, stock indexes were balancing, trading back and forth in a small range. Now that participants have more information, attention is shifted to the Nasdaq-100’s relative weakness, the large March monthly options expiration (OPEX), after which, the interest at the $4,000.00 S&P 500 option strike will roll-off, as well as improving market breadth.

Bonus: Most funds are committed to holding long positions. In the interest of lower volatility returns, these funds will collar off their positions, selling calls to finance the purchase of downside put protection.

As a result of this activity, option dealers are long upside and short downside protection.

This exposure must be hedged; dealers will sell into strength as their call (put) positions gain (lose) value and buy into weakness as their call (put) positions lose (gain) value.

Now, unlike theory suggests, dealers will hedge call losses (gains) quicker (slower). This leads to “long-gamma,” a dynamic that crushes volatility and promotes momentum, observed by lengthy sprints, followed by rapid de-risking events as the market transitions into “short-gamma.”

If the interest near $4,000.00 S&P 500 is not rolled up in price and out in time, then option hedging requirements will change.

However, it is important to note that, in recent days, some exposure has been rolled up in price and out in time. This suggests an inclination by participants to maintain long exposure through OPEX.

What To Expect: Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

During Wednesday’s trade, participants found acceptance above the $3,931.00 Virgin Point of Control (VPOC), prior to establishing a new all-time rally-high. Overnight, participants failed to gather enough conviction to continue upside price exploration. Thereafter, prices came back into prior-range.

More On POCs: POCs (like HVNodes described above) are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Based on that information, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 finds acceptance (i.e., resolves higher or sideways), above the $3,932.25 high-volume area (HVNode). In the worst case, the S&P 500 finds acceptance (i.e., resolves lower or sideways) below the $3,932.25 high-volume area (HVNode).

In case of higher prices, participants may look to auction as high as the $3,951.75 and $3,965.25 HVNodes. In case of lower prices, participants can look to the $3,904.25 low-volume area (LVNode) for a response.

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

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

Levels Of Interest: $3,932.25 HVNode.

Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Missed Approach’

Key Takeaways:

  • High doses of stimulus yet to be fully felt.
  • Hedge funds add to long, short exposure.
  • Economies eye growth, uneven recovery.
  • Powell kept stressing inflation downsides.
  • Traders price in a quarter-point rate hike.
  • 10-yr yield, S&P 500 dividend yield cross.
  • Bond, equity market volatility separations.
  • JPMorgan does not see a market bubble.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower.

This came alongside (1) a material divergence in bond and equity market volatility, as well as (2) a convergence in the 10-year Treasury rate and S&P 500 dividend yield.

What Does It Mean: Equity traders began pricing in the risk of a rapid move up in rates, due to concerns over bond values, as a result of rising debt levels and inflation.

Additionally, the yield on a 10-year Treasury, a risk-free asset, which was — per Axios — “artificially depressed by the flight-to-quality trade during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as by large-scale purchases by the Federal Reserve,” converged with S&P 500’s dividend yield.

Typically, the S&P 500’s dividend yield is less than the risk-free rate because investors expect to earn less in dividends than they would holding the same amount in bonds, absent rising stock prices.

Values are derived using the discounted cash flow calculation; as interest and discount rates go up, the present value of future earnings goes down, which will drag stock prices, especially in growth categories, as seen.

Still, despite the pricing in of rising debt levels and inflation, a divergence in bond and equity market volatility persists. In such a case, market participants ought to widen their outlook; there is some potential for risk asset capitulation in the present down cycle.

Graphic 1: Divergence in volatility across the bond and equity market. 

Moving on, it’s important to take note of the market’s unpinning, after February’s monthly options expiration (i.e., OPEX), as well as the long-term trend.

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

Aside from OPEX, last week’s volatility did not disrupt the S&P 500’s long-term uptrend (Graphic 2), and a skewness toward put options — evidenced by Graphic 3 and market gamma — suggests the potential for a near-term turn-around.

Graphic 2: Long-term uptrend in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) is intact.
Graphic 3: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending February 26, 2021. Noting activity in short- and long-dated tenors, near the $380, a strike that corresponds with $3,800.00 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).

What To Expect: Directional resolve, given the S&P 500’s rotation near a prominent high-volume area, or HVNode (Graphic 4), and an overnight rally-high at $3,959.25.

More On Overnight Rally Highs: Typically, there is a low historical probability associated with overnight rally-highs ending the upside discovery process.

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high-volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic 4: 4-hour chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

What To Do: In coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to the VWAP anchored from the $3,959.25 peak and $3,657.00 low, as well as the $3,840.00 HVNode.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): Metrics 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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 opens and remains above the $3,840.00 volume area.

Additionally, auctioning above the $3,875.75 VWAP would suggest buyers, on average, are in control and winning, since the February 15 rally high.

Auctioning beneath $3,785.00 would (1) leave the $3,840.00 HVNode as an area of supply — offering initiative sellers favorable entry and responsive buyers favorable exit — and (2) portend repair of poor structures (e.g, the $3,785.00-$3,777.00 gap) left in the wake of a prior advance.

In such a case, participants should look to the next area of high-volume (i.e., $3,794.75 and $3,727.75) for favorable entry and exit.

Graphic 5: Profile overlays on a 65-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: The go/no-go level for next week’s trade is $3,840.00.

Any activity at this level suggests market participants are looking for more information to base their next move. Anything above (below) this level increases the potential for higher (lower).

Levels Of Interest: $3,840.00 HVNode.

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