Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 12, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower, mostly, alongside most commodities and crypto.

Notable is how orderly the selling has been, particularly in the equity space. That’s due in part to suppressive volatility selling, as well as passive flows supporting the largest index constituents.

The fundamental narrative has changed little. Chief among participants’ worries are growth and inflation, the monetary response to the two, as well as chokepoints not limited to supply chains.

Ahead is data on jobless claims and the producer price index (8:30 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Mary Daly (4:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 7:15 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: In Wednesday’s morning letter, we talked about the expectations for annual inflation to have peaked and month-on-month inflation to have risen a small amount.

Per Bloomberg, “the broader CPI rose 0.3% from the prior month and 8.3% on an annual basis, a slight cooling but still among the highest readings in decades.”

Stocks were sold, after, on the limited change to the broader fundamental outlook. The hardest hit was growth and technology, including cryptocurrency. 

“Now that central banks are unwinding monetary support, growth stocks’ valuations have further to fall,” Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) strategists including Robert Buckland said

Notwithstanding, “any stabilization in nominal yields should eventually help to stabilize real yields and hence equity valuations.” 

This is because higher rates play into bigger discounts on future profit.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Positioning: Orderly selling continues.

Despite falling about the same distance (peak to present low) during the equity market rout of 2020, selling, this time around is steady and there is no panic, and that’s partly the result of there being “plenty of put-buyers, but nearly as many sellers,” according to SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, using off-exchange short sales as a proxy for buying activity, we see implicit buying support, and that’s due in part to “passive flows” which ultimately end up “supporting the largest stocks,” hence the index’s strength versus smaller (and much weaker) constituents.

Taken together, some metrics this letter often looks to for insight into the potential distribution of future returns, carry less weight; it’s odds and when the largest stocks succumb to fundamental weaknesses, for lack of a better way of expressing it, that likely takes the indexes with it.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics. A higher DIX/GEX ratio has historically been associated with S&P 500 outperformance in the subsequent month. A very low DIX/GEX ratio has historically been associated with positive S&P 500 performance in the subsequent month, though there are many more negative outliers.

Moreover, with the S&P 500’s break of $4,000.00, an area around which there is a lot of open interest, particularly on the put side, “increases capitulation risk” in the case participants start reaching for protection and indirectly taking from market liquidity as liquidity providers sell into weakness to hedge.

Notwithstanding, later this month is a large options expiration (OPEX), and expected is the roll-off of a large amount of put-heavy negative gamma. Per Pat Hennessy of IPS Strategic Capital, returns one to two weeks prior are skewed bullish.

Ways to participate in upside, while limiting downside, markedly, were discussed on May 10. Making money is one thing. Not losing money is another.

Lose less when wrong. Make more when right.
Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

Technical: As of 6:45 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 negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,907.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $3,943.25 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,011.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,069.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,907.75 MCPOC puts in play the $3,862.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,862.75 LVNode could reach as low as the $3,816.75 and $3,780.75 LVNodes, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

 Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 10, 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, inside of the prior day’s range. Most other commodity and bond futures were bid while implied volatility metrics came in a bit.

Notable was the depth and breadth of Monday’s decline. Though the indexes were tame, some of which is attributable to suppressive hedging, single stocks expanded their ranges, greatly, to the downside, and this points to potential capitulation.

On the news front, a U.S. central bank report found that “the risk of a sudden significant deterioration [in liquidity] appears higher than normal” and stablecoin use to meet margin requirements in crypto trades makes them “vulnerable to runs.”

This is just as some algorithmic stablecoins have lost their peg (e.g., UST/USD ~$0.60).

Additionally, the report found elevated inflation, as well as the reaction to that “could negatively affect domestic economic activity, asset prices, credit quality, and financial conditions.”

Ahead is data on real household debt (11:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:25 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

Context: We continue to build out the narrative.

A market-wide drop, Monday, pointed to signs of capitulation as “small-time investors offloaded a net of about $1 billion in equities, the most aggressive selling in 14 months,” per JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

Graphic: Via @TaviCosta. “Nasdaq has already declined almost as much as it did during the March 2020 crash. Back then, the Fed was all about saving the stock market and the economy. Today, it’s all about how much more they are going to hike rates.

Notwithstanding, the volatility divergences this letter has pointed to, in the face of pronounced realized volatility, continue.

Graphic: Via Topdown Charts. Wednesday (FOMC) price rise (right) versus Thursday (post-FOMC) liquidation.

As Pat Hennessy of IPS Strategic Capital explains, at-the-money implied volatility is high and term structure is in backwardation, which are reflections of uncertainty and demand for hedges.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. At-the-money implied volatility is backwardated given the heightened demand for shorter-dated protection, relative to that which is longer-dated.

“It’s just rare to see wingy short-dated puts like this so cheap relative to ATM.”

As explained in Monday’s letter (and in greater detail, Friday), a measure like the Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), or the volatility of volatility, has a mean below 100 and a high correlation with the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) during times of stress.

When realized volatility is as high as it is, today, the VVIX typically trades closer to 150.

To quote Benn Eifert of QVR Advisors: “Skew goes up if vol outperforms the skew curve a lot on  a selloff.”

Graphic: Updated May 9, 2022. The VVIX via Physik Invest.

What’s going on? 

There is really negative sentiment and emotion, both of which are playing into market weaknesses and realized volatility. However, that realized volatility is not priced in.

There are “plenty of put-buyers, but nearly as many sellers,” SqueezeMetrics explains

You “don’t have to protect what you don’t own. Some investors de-grossed. Short momo (e.g., CTA) wants to bet on a bleed (a la 2000), but not on a crash. Put underwriting! No carry trades elsewhere. Sell SPX vol!”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) was a recipient of heavy put selling and call buying on 5/9/22.

Why does this matter?

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the underlying, relative to what is priced, you buy options (positive exposure to gamma) so that you may have gains that are potentially amplified in case of directional movement.

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the implied volatility, relative to what is priced, you buy options (positive exposure to volga) so that you may have gains that are potentially amplified in case of implied volatility repricing.

So, in all, it is a question of whether the reward is worth the risk (see below “How To Play”).

Based on stretched positioning, equity markets are positioned for upside. Notwithstanding, the potential for large negative outliers, remains. In the case of an outlier, the consequent repricing of volatility may increase the reward, relative to the risk, for selling options, particularly puts.

As The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial sums well: 

With an S&P 500 below $4,000.00, “I would expect more of an aggressive reach for hedges … that spot- vol correlation break (weakness) would not be as present.”

“Spot- vol correlation has sucked recently, but vol relative strength should kick in.”

How I’m Playing: Borrowing from May 3’s letter, here.

Presently, the market is stretched to the downside and, as SpotGamma says, “traders are underpricing right-tail risk,” which opens the window for unique ways to play a returns distribution that continues to be skewed positive (albeit with large negative outliers).

This letter’s author is concentrated on zero- and low-cost bets ($0.00-$1.00 debit to open) that deliver asymmetric payouts (sometimes in excess of $10.00 credit to close) in case of violent and short-lived reversals.

This letter’s author is structured positive delta and gamma in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) via ratios spread (1×2) and butterfly (1x2x1) structures.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research, the return profile, at expiry, of a classic 1×2 (long 1, short 2 further away) ratio spread.

The concern with these strategies is the width and time to expiry. Should either of those be wrong, then spreads initially positive gamma turn negative, meaning losses are amplified.

For instance, in the Nasdaq 100, to put in short, 500-1000 points wide ratio spreads (buy the closer leg, sell two of the farther legs) expiring in ten to fifteen days work well.

For those spreads that are not zero cost, debits can be offset with credit sales (on the put side) in products that have shown relative strength like the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). This, inherently, carries more risk, and, as explained, the risk has yet to meet the reward.

Read more about these strategies, here. The above is NOT a trade recommendation or advice.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a 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 $3,978.50 low volume area (LVNode/gap boundary) puts in play the $4,055.75 LVNode/gap boundary. Initiative trade beyond the $4,055.75 could reach as high as the $4,119.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,153.25 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,978.50 LVNode/gap boundary puts in play the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $3,943.25 could reach as low as the $3,907.75 HVNode and $3,862.75 LVNode, 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

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

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.

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.

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): Reduction of 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 May 9, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index, commodity, and bond futures were all lower while yields, and implied volatility metrics we monitor were bid.

This is as new fundamental data did little to disrupt the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) course to hike rates and reduce the size of its balance sheet, as well as the odds of further slowing as a result of actions to curb the spread of COVID-19 abroad, and geopolitical conflict.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), among others, cut their equity market forecasts. Presently, they see an economic contraction playing into the S&P 500’s test of $3,600.00.

Notable is the market’s retest of a very key technical area ($4,055.75 in the E-mini S&P 500). This area, last week, likely solicited responsive buying by technically-driven market participants who often lack the wherewithal to defend retests, just days before the Fed’s decision on policy.

Now, the market is set to open below those key technical areas and that is the worst outcome.

Ahead is data on wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET), as well as inflation (11:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:35 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Positioning: Last week’s letters went in-depth on the implications of volatility divergences, the post-Fed rally, responses to key technical levels, and beyond.

On Friday, May 6, 2022, this letter essentially remarked the following:

Based on stretched positioning, equity markets are positioned for upside. Notwithstanding, the potential for large negative outliers, remains. In the case of an outlier, the consequent repricing of volatility may increase the reward, relative to the risk, for selling options.

Graphic: Via MarketWatch. “[B]ack-to-back swings in the internals on the scale seen this week are rare, with the last one occurring close to the COVID lows in stocks of March 2020. Indeed, investors had never seen a swing in internals as severe as Thursday’s before the financial crisis of 2008-09.”

How do you know whether the risk is worth the reward? 

A naive measure like the Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), which measures the volatility of volatility, has a mean below 100 and a high correlation with the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) during times of stress.

When realized volatility is as high as it is, today, the VVIX typically trades closer to 150.

Graphic: Updated May 6, 2022. The VVIX via Physik Invest.

We’re not there yet and the market remains well-hedged, as SpotGamma explains well:

“From an options perspective, participants would have to demand en masse protection (buy puts, sell calls) for liquidity providers to further take from market liquidity (sell into weakness) and that volatility skew to, essentially, blowout (e.g., Corona crisis, Meme mania, and the like).”

Pursuant to those remarks, SpotGamma sees markets reaching a lower limit near the $4,000.00 SPX area. At that juncture, the rate at which liquidity providers add pressure in their hedging activities flattens as they, too, have hedges.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. Updated April 27, 2022.

“In turn, dealers may be able to advantageously reduce delta hedging (sell less), and supply markets with more liquidity (buy more stock). This could serve to reduce volatility.”

Noting, later this month is a large options expiration (OPEX), and expected is the roll-off of a large amount of put-heavy negative gamma.

Per Pat Hennessy of IPS Strategic Capital, returns one to two weeks prior are skewed bullish.

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

This is amid what is a front-running of the bullish flow associated with the delta decay of options with respect to changes in volatility (vanna) and time (charm), among other factors.

In other words, it is participants’ increased awareness of the implications of options and OPEX that has resulted in a front running. According to SqueezeMetrics, “People didn’t know about the OpEx week effect (in this case, largely charm). Now everyone and their mother knows about it.’”

So what?

Charm is a measure of an options delta’s change with respect to the passage of time. As time passes, delta “bleeds” as options decay. 

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.”

As most participants, at least at the index level, own protection, the counterparties to this trade are short protection. These counterparties, therefore, have positive exposure to delta (i.e., as index falls [rises], position loses [makes] money) and negative exposure to gamma, or delta (directional) sensitivity to underlying price changes (i.e., as the index moves against short option exposure, losses are multiplied). 

Moreover, given the growth of options volumes, participants’ heavy demand for protection matters more, to put simply. Counterparties, in light of this recent drop, pressured markets with their hedging. The decay (and eventual expiry) of this protection marks options deltas down.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Rising put volumes coincide with early 2022 market sell-off.

To re-hedge, counterparties buy back short stock and futures hedges. This supportive action is what has been front-run. The bullishness of the event can happen in the days and weeks prior.

Technical: As of 6:35 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,055.75 low volume area (LVNode/gap boundary) puts in play the $4,119.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,153.25 regular trade high (RTH High) and $4,212.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,055.75 LVNode/gap boundary puts in play the $3,978.50 LVNode/gap boundary. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode/gap boundary could reach as low as the $3,943.25 and $3,907.75 high volume areas (HVNodes), 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: Last Tuesday, we discussed the response to a key technical level ($4,055.75).

Specifically, the E-mini S&P 500 probed $4,056.00 before staging a sharp reversal and closing higher. This was noteworthy as it told us a lot about who was gaining the upper hand.

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

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests.

Moreover, heading into last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event, large participants (who often move by committee) de-grossed and hedged resulting in poor reliability of our technical levels.

In the days leading up to the event, these larger had little to do with respect to repositioning. 

The market’s tests of key technical areas solicited responsive buying by these short-term traders, and this played into a rally that continued through FOMC. Post-FOMC, the market quickly succumbed to the initiative selling by longer time frame participants.

All else equal, Monday’s regular trade is expected to start somewhere below a key technical area that solicited strong responsive buying by shorter timeframes. 

Given capital constraints and tolerances, shorter timeframes may fuel an acceleration of the prevailing downtrend.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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 10, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower practically negating the prior day’s advance. Per the news, Ukraine and Russia failed in their efforts to end the war.

Adding, similar to days prior, areas where there are key technical nuances served as supports and resistances. One may construe this as short-term traders’ dominance in the smaller time horizons while the other time frames are positioning for expansive moves (yet to happen).

To note, key metrics under the hood (SpotGamma’s HIRO, among other things) yesterday, further validated the status quo and short-covering.

Moreover, ahead is data on jobless claims and the consumer price index (8:30 AM ET). Later, participants get data on real domestic nonfinancial debt and wealth (1:00 PM ET), as well as the budget deficit (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 consumer price index (CPI) is to likely accelerate to 7.8% from a year ago.

This forecast varies widely, however, based on economic analysis with respect to the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanction that resulted after.  

“There’s going to be a lot of noise in the next six months that’s going to be extremely difficult to disentangle,” said Omair Sharif of Inflation Insights LLC. 

“If you thought it was difficult to figure out what used car prices were doing and whether that was transitory, multiply that by a thousand.”

In a mention on energy market volatility, while today’s economy is less dependent on oil (i.e., less likely to kill the expansion), the action in that market (and the responses it may solicit from policymakers, later) is noteworthy.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “When families have to spend more money on necessities, they have less to spend on discretionary items and services. Economists at Barclays Plc expect the spike in energy prices to subtract an annualized 0.3 percentage point from consumption growth on average per quarter through the end of 2023.”

Despite a deterioration in the relationship between prices of crude and inflation, oil is “a major input in the economy – it is used in critical activities such as fueling transportation and heating homes – and if input costs rise, so should the cost of end products,” Investopedia says well.

Further, according to Reuters’ John Kemp, fuel oil inventories fell last week to the lowest seasonal level in more than 15 years.

Graphic: Via John Kemp’s “Best in Energy” note. “Distillate stocks were already looking tight and are now on track to become exceptionally tight before mid-year. Distillate inventories are on course for an expected first-half low of 103 million barrels (with a range of 92-114 million).”

“Stocks are on track to hit an even lower seasonal level than 2008 when the distillate shortages helped propel crude oil prices to a record high at the middle of the year,” Kemp says.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. The CBOE Crude Oil Volatility Index (INDEX: OVX) reveals signs of peaking.

The highest oil prices ~$150/bbl had printed in 2008. As Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass hypothesizes, “Oil is denominated in fiat currency, and there has been A LOT of spendable money printing over the last 15 years. If you think the market gets as extreme as 2008, the equivalent oil price in today’s USD would be above $250/bbl.”

Given wage growth and the like, consumers likely start “to feel the heat way below $250.”

Graphic: Via Alfonso Peccatiello. “The red line shows the inflation-adjusted crude price: if you expect a proper tight oil environment, >$150-160 is your number. Also, anything above $120 in today’s prices and sustained for a few quarters would likely hit the demand side. 2013-2014 a good example, with the private sector turning defensive in 2015-2016 and China forced to ease big times to shore up the global economy.”

Why mention any of this? Fast moves higher in some of these commodity markets may impact end-consumer prices and behavior, quickly. In a bid to rein inflation – ”very high CPI in 2022, [and] still high in 2023 – central bankers will tighten. 

“The path of least resistance is for the Fed to hike rates from 0% to at least 2% relatively quickly,” Peccatiello explains in a recent post. 

However, the “Last time companies were revising their forward earnings estimates down on a net basis while Central Banks were attempting to tighten monetary policy was mid-2018,” when the markets sold nearly 20%.

Graphic: Via Yardeni Research. Taken from The Macro Compass. “The chart above shows the 3-months average of the MSCI World net earnings revisions: essentially, this metric measures the difference between the number of companies revisiting their forward earnings estimate up versus down.”

With financial conditions tightening, Peccatiello posits the Fed will be receptive to that.

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass. “Credit-default swaps on 5-year US Investment Grade Corporate Bonds are trading at 76 bps at the time of writing: Fed puts (or pivots) became more visible in the past when this measure of credit spreads approached 100 bps.”

Basically, if selling were to continue, the Fed would reassess tightening. At such level of reassessment is the Fed Put, a dynamic we’ve discussed in the past.

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC). Retrieved from Callum Thomas.

Chamath Palihapitiya recently posted about this, too. He said: “In 2018, the Fed was concerned about inflation. They were wrong and within a quarter or so, the risk shifted to recession. This chart shows how the equity markets reacted… seems eerily similar.”

“Value then faded and Growth ripped.”

Graphic: Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

Positioning: Based on a comparison of present options positioning and buying metrics, the returns distribution is skewed positive, albeit less so than before. 

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from Bloomberg.

Obviously, the fundamental picture and the market’s responsiveness to news events – given the negative gamma environment – has us discounting these metrics. It’s noteworthy, nonetheless.

For instance, in the face of some positive developments abroad, fundamentally, markets diverged from what participants in the options complex were doing.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator reveals strong put buying and call selling (a bearish negative delta trade) in the context of Wednesday’s rise.

This divergence resolved itself, some, overnight in the broader market (even in the face of a ~7% price rise of Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) large index constituent).

I’d be remiss if I did not point out growing bets on drops in the equity market’s pricing of risk (via the CBOE Volatility Index [INDEX: VIXI]). That would occur if indexes likely rebounded.

Graphic: Via SHIFT. There was heavy buying of the 26 VIX put.

Taken together, it’s difficult to get a grasp of where the market wants to head, in the near term. 

What is for certain: the compression of volatility (via passage of FOMC) or removal of counterparty negative exposure (via OPEX) may serve to alleviate some of this pressure. 

Until then, participants can expect the options landscape to add to market volatility.

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

In case of lower prices, according to SpotGamma, the rate at which options counterparties increasingly add pressure on underlying SPX, so to speak, tapers off in the $4,100.00 to $4,000.00 area. Caution.

Graphic: Gamma profile flattens out near the $4,100-4,000 range suggesting less pressure and more counterparty support.

A way to take advantage of this volatility, while lowering the cost of bets, is options spreads. For instance, the Call Ratio (buy 1 call, sell 2 or more further out) can lower the cost of bets on the upside while providing exposure to asymmetric payouts.

Time and volatility are two factors, however, to be mindful of when initiating such spreads. Risk is undefined and if the time to expiry is too long (e.g., in excess of 1-2 weeks), fast moves and increases in volatility may result in large losses. 

For that reason, also, one must be extremely careful with Put Ratio spreads. Consider adding protection far away from your short strikes to cap risk and turn the spreads into Butterflies.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research, the return profile, at expiry, of a classic 1×2 (long 1, short 2 further away) ratio spread.

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 lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Gap Scenarios Potentially In Play: Gaps ought to fill quickly. Should they not, that’s a signal of strength; do not fade. Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator.

Auctioning and spending at least 1-hour of trade back in the prior range suggests a lack of conviction; in such a case, do not follow the direction of the most recent initiative activity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,231.00 regular trade low (RTH Low) puts in play the $4,249.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,285.75 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,319.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,231.00 RTH Low puts in play the $4,177.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,138.75 and $4,101.25 overnight low (ONL), or lower.

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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 9, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures, led by the tech- and growth-heavy Nasdaq 100 auctioned higher. This is immediately after a session characterized by rampant, two-way volatility. 

Much of the action in the equity indices and commodity markets is headline-driven. 

For instance, at one point, alongside news that Ukraine would no longer insist on NATO membership, the S&P 500 auctioned higher nearly 3%. Thereafter, responsive selling at a very key technical level preceded the index’s over 3% drop shortly after.

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

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

Ahead is data on job openings and quits (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

Fundamental: 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: Bloomberg. U.S. equity indexes spared of recent bloodshed, abroad.

Pursuant to the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a disruption in supply chains; commodities, like oil and nickel, have risen and that has inflation and growth impacts.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, Oxford Economics. “The war in Ukraine is making it harder and more costly for goods to move freely across the globe. Key shipping routes are blocked, and others are feeling ripple effects from the conflict.”

In the coming days and weeks, central banks will announce their monetary policy decisions. Per Bloomberg, commodity costs underline the inflation challenge to the Federal Reserve.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. The historical analogy is different but close (as today’s economy is less dependent on oil); the “Fed responded to the [1973] shock, and to the growing wave of inflation that preceded it, with a massive tightening.”

With breakevens on 30-year inflation-linked Treasuries – an indicator of the pace of price gains over three decades – climbing to their highest level, the Fed is expected to hike rates 25 bps.

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME). Participants price in an increased probability of a shift in the target rate. Click here to access the FedWatch Tool.

In the past days, there have been a variety of takes on what’s going on. A pessimistic, yet, interesting take is offered by Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar.

Mainly, there is a commodity crisis. Commodities are collateral and collateral is money.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. The “FRA/OIS, a key gauge of interbank funding risk, as of the close on Monday.” Click here to listen to Zoltan Pozsar’s Bloomberg conversation on Russia, Gold, and the U.S. dollar.

“[E]very crisis occurs at the intersection of funding and collateral markets and that, in the presently unfolding crisis, commodities are collateral, and more precisely, Russian commodities are like subprime collateral and all other stuff is prime.”

Pozsar explains that instability in commodity prices feeds into financial instability as margin calls trigger the failure of commodity traders and (potentially) commodity exchanges.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Commodity price rises solicit margin calls.

“Again, commodity correlations are at 1, which is never a good thing,” he says. “The Fed and other central banks will be able to provide liquidity backstops, … but those will be Band-Aid solutions.”

Liquidity is the manifestation of a larger problem – the Russian-non-Russian commodities basis – and its resolve portends a “regime shift” which Pozsar posits China will be at the front of.

“When this crisis (and war) is over, the U.S. dollar should be much weaker and, on the flip side, the renminbi much stronger, backed by a basket of commodities.”

MUFG Securities’ (NYSE: MUFG) George Goncalves makes a similar point, drawing parallels to the early days of 2008. 

“The situation in Europe is precarious enough on its own, but if conditions worsen in a highly connected financial system, balance sheets may get curtailed via haircuts,” Concalves wrote

“Meanwhile there is an eerily similar pattern to the current action in [short-term interest rates] and oil prices to the early summer of 2008. Recall, in response to inflation and central bank hawkishness, markets priced in nearly 150bps in hikes in 2008 before GFC cracked.”

Positioning: Based on metrics often quoted in this morning letter, buying support appears to be cooling. Overlaying options positioning metrics, the returns distribution is skewed positive, still.

This is in opposition to some of the reporting by large outlets. The narrative is along the lines of institutional investors offloading equities to retail.

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC).

According to statements by The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “This is partially a byproduct of the long equity firms that have programs that are designed to exit when Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) gets over a certain level and equities drop under a certain percentage.”

Graphic: Via Pat Hennessy. “ES goes +2%, -2%, +3%, -3% in 14 hours! Yes – the close/close move was weak, but the intraday moves were massive – IMO enough to support a 37 VIX. Strange to see vols so soft given intraday realized + close on lows.”

“There is no doubt about it that we have noticed heavier institutional flow throughout the day over the last two weeks. However, there are still large institutions that are putting cash to work in equities. Ironically a rotation out of some European equities into U.S., [and] there is also a good amount of buyback flow that is projected to hit some areas in U.S equities.

Pursuant to remarks in the fundamental section (and Sidial’s note on the heavier institutional flow), we saw some noteworthy put buying in products like the cash-settled Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) and iShares iBoxx $ Inv Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYSE: LQD).

Graphic: Via SHIFT. Buying closer strikes. Selling farther strikes.

Whether these are hedges, the replacement of existing linear short positions, or speculation on the downside, it all plays into this negative gamma environment markets are in.

When customers demand downside (put) protection (a negative delta, positive gamma trade that has its gains multiplied to the downside), counterparties sell underlying futures and stock to hedge their positive delta, negative gamma trade which has the effect of pressuring markets.

The compression of volatility (via passage of FOMC) or removal of counterparty negative exposure (via OPEX) may serve to alleviate some of this pressure. Until then, participants can expect the options landscape to add to market volatility.

Technical: As of 6:45 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, 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 $4,248.25 overnight high (ONH) puts in play the $4,285.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,319.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,346.75 high volume area (HVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,248.25 ONH puts in play the $4,227.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,227.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $4,177.25 HVNode and $4,138.75 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 7, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower as participants looked to price in the implications of heightened inflation and risk of recession amidst geopolitical tensions.

Ahead is data on consumer credit (3:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 5:45 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Hawkishness with respect to monetary policy, in the face of heightened inflation and slowing economic growth, is affecting global markets.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. European markets trade weak relative to their U.S. peers.

Overseas markets have sold more, relatively, and the pricing of equity market risk in Europe is far outpacing that in the U.S.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Divergences in the pricing of risk across markets.

Last week, we unpacked the potential factors behind (and the implications of) divergences in cross-asset volatility. Mainly, the fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another.

Pursuant to those remarks on this push-and-pull comes as Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) prime brokerage saw hedge-fund clients unloading risk at the fastest rate in three months, while JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) saw retail buying nearly $4.1 billion, “with money sent to S&P 500-linked ETFs more than 2 standard deviations above the 12-month average.”

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from Bloomberg.

Per Bloomberg’s John Authers, market professionals likely view reactions to geopolitical tension “as increasing the risk of stagflation, a rare combination of high inflation and a recession.”

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from The Market Ear.

“This looks like 2007, on the eve of the Global Financial Crisis, with even higher inflation expectations and a yield curve that has not quite yet inverted.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “[A]n outright inversion, which generally signals a recession a matter of months later, now seems an imminent possibility.”

UBS Group AG (NYSE: UBS) ran a machine-learning analysis that “reckons the Russia/Ukraine conflict could send the S&P 500 anywhere from 3,800 to 4,800 – a 26% range – depending on how it resolves.”

Graphic: Via UBS, from Bloomberg.

Perspectives: “Every other market is consistent with the idea that the economy is in trouble and there’s stress in the markets,” said Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research LLC in Chicago. 

“The stock market historically does this — it’s the last market to turn, it’s the slowest market to understand the problems. It’s the market driven by narratives and hope.”

Graphic: Via @exposurerisk from @Callum_Thomas. “Slowly at first, then all of a sudden.”

Alternatively, BCA Research Ltd suggests that “Even if World War III is ultimately averted, markets could experience a freak-out moment over the next few weeks, similar to what happened at the outset of the pandemic. Google searches for nuclear war are already spiking.”

“Despite the risk of nuclear war, it makes sense to stay constructive on stocks over the next 12 months. If an ICBM is heading your way, the size and composition of your portfolio becomes irrelevant. Thus, from a purely financial perspective, you should largely ignore existential risk, even if you do care about it greatly from a personal perspective.”

Positioning: The fundamental picture is clouded by the options market 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.

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.

As noted earlier and explained in detail last week, the pricing of risk across markets has diverged and the S&P 500, among other U.S. indices, is relatively strong (unlike peers in Europe and Asia). 

Among other things, one dynamic balancing this pressure from puts is negative-delta trade, by customers, on the call side. In selling calls, dealers are long (a positive delta, positive gamma trade that makes money if the underlying rises). To hedge, dealers tend towards selling strength and buying weakness, adding liquidity to the market. 

Still, again, the news is bad, and returns into monthly options expirations (like the one coming up next week) are often weak.

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

So, there is potential that weakness climaxes into the options expiration. Thereafter, the reduction in put-heavy positioning may coincide with less counterparty exposure to the positive delta.

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.”

Still, the return distributions, based on where the implied volatility term structure is at, point to continued chop and expanded ranges.

And, according to some, the “real deleveraging hasn’t hit yet.”

Graphic: Via @FadingRallies.

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 middle part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance-Break + Gap Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) is occurring.

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. 

Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator. 

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the visual $4,282.75 balance boundary puts in play the $4,319.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,346.75 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,375.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,282.75 balance boundary puts in play the $4,249.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,227.75 overnight low (ONL) and $4,177.25 HVNode, or lower.

Considerations: The $4,282.75 level has solicited mechanical responses over the past weeks.

Therefore it is considered to be a level at which short-term participants will lack the wherewithal (both emotional and financial) to respond to a successful 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.

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 February 14, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to lower, extending the sell-off that began with the release of Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.

The Federal Reserve will convene, today, at 11:30 AM ET for an unscheduled meeting of the Board of Governors to discuss “the advance and discount rates to be charged by the Federal Reserve banks.”

Scheduled is an interview with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard (8:30 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:50 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Markets are catching up to divergences in breadth, trading down in the face of narratives around the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) response to heightened inflation, a challenging economic growth outlook, and geopolitical tensions.

Graphic: NYSE A-D Line versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Taken from Tom McClellan.

Pursuant to these narratives, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) lowered its targets for the S&P 500 from $5,100.00 to $4,900.00. 

“The macro backdrop this year is considerably more challenging than in 2021. However, we continue to expect that equity prices will rise alongside earnings and reach a new all-time high in 2022,” strategists said on earnings growth in light of the impact of higher rates on valuations.

“During the last 50 years, a ‘goldilocks’ environment of accelerating GDP  growth and stable real yields has typically been associated with a 12-month S&P 500 return of +16%. However, when growth is decelerating and real yields are rising, 12-month S&P 500 returns have averaged +8%.”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear

At the same time, participants are withdrawing their cash and assets held in money market funds in size.

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC).

Based on flows into equities, participants appear to be opportunistically buying the dip.

Graphic: Via EPFR. Retrieved from The Market Ear.

Looking back, when the yield curve – e.g., spread between 10- and 2-year – is between 75 and 25 basis points, stocks actually perform well. 

According to The Market Ear, “[S]imilar periods of time have typically coincided with the middle of prior cycles when economic expansion was broad-based. Worth highlighting the mid-90s, mid-00s, and late-10s.”

“Both short and long-term SPX performance following similar instances were well above typical return profiles. Average 6M performance is over 9% and average 12M performance is over 17%. Almost more notably, SPX performance was positive 90%+ of the time.”

Graphic: Via Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF). Retrieved from The Market Ear.

To end this section, we point to the so-called unscheduled Fed meeting, today, and the potential for surprise rate increases, despite some policymakers, like Kansas City Fed President Esther George, attempting to cool expectations.

The historical reaction, months out, is not what participants expect would happen by default.

Graphic: Via SentimenTrader.

Positioning: As stated, Friday, Thursday’s post-CPI trade disrupted the balance of trade.

Lower prices and demand for protection, in the face of lower levels of “on-screen liquidity,” solicited dealer selling to hedge increased exposure to the positive delta from demanded short-dated, highly convex options.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator; “customers bought put options (a negative delta trade) leaving dealers short (a positive delta trade).” 

Lower prices and higher volatility compound macro flows, exacerbating weakness.

To note, much of the demand for protection is concentrated in shorter-dated options that are more sensitive to changes in implied volatility and direction. The demand is well visualized by the VIX term structure which shifted markedly at the front-end, Friday.

Graphic: VIX term structure shifts higher (dramatically at the front-end).

Going forward, there is a large monthly options expiration (OPEX) this week. OPEX is a sort-of reset; options roll-off, as do the counterparties’ hedges.

According to data compiled and analyzed by Pat Hennessy a while back, “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since.”

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

Post-OPEX, though, according to SpotGamma, “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, a reset that may make gamma exposures less negative, there will be a removal of [counterparties’] linear short (-delta) hedges which may further bolster attempts higher.”

So, the dip lower and demand for protection could serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges to put-heavy exposures). 

Commitment to higher prices would likely coincide with increased interest in options at higher strike prices. We have yet to see this occur.

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

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

Acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area has been established.

Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator (i.e., nothing has changed since Friday).

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,365.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,393.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,499.00 POC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,365.00 POC puts in play the $4,332.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,266.25 Weak Low and $4,212.50 regular trade low (RTH Low), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 November 12, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity indices were flat-to-up while commodities and bonds were sideways to lower.

The prevailing narratives include the prospects of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, COVID-19 resurgence in the U.S., concerns over the pace of inflation and its impact on the economy, China developer debt payments, and the like. Your typical doom and gloom stuff!

Ahead is data on job openings, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, and five-year inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 5:30 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

On lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the balance and overlap of value areas in the S&P 500.

This activity, which suggests participants’ willingness to position for directional resolve, comes alongside the presence of poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-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 responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a lot of big-picture dynamics such as the growth of derivatives exposure and tail risk, the heightened moneyness of nonmonetary assets, trends in seasonality, buybacks, earnings growth, inflation, and more.

Graphic: “Whenever the market has been up 20%+ YTD through to October (like e.g. THIS YEAR), it has *always* had an up month in November (albeit with a n=8). Basically I would say it speaks to the momentum in the market, which despite the September stumble seems pretty much alive and well.” – Callum Thomas

On the topic of inflation, the October consumer price index (CPI) is worrisome, according to some. 

“We think it is time to rethink positioning related to inflation,” Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) strategists led by Scott Chronert wrote in a note. “A focus on sectors and industry groups negatively correlated to inflation provides a contrarian opportunity.” 

Citi sees value in consumer and health-care stocks, as a result of negative correlations to CPI.

Despite the hot prints, the CPI doesn’t paint the entire picture; it’s too soon to change rate-hike calculations, according to the Federal Reserve’s Mary Daly. 

Graphic: U.S. inflation, expected Fed rate increases via Bloomberg

That thinking brings me back to recent comments made by Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood.

Mainly, Wood feels that inflation is on its way out with a decline in the velocity of money and increased moneyness of nonmonetary assets.

A prime example of this is inflation in housing; “Ivy Zelman of Zelman Research came out this week. She made a fantastic call on the housing bubble and bust starting in 05-06, and she was right, just a little early. She is very concerned that the housing prices we’re seeing right now are not sustainable,” because of speculation, as well as iBuying and private equity. 

“This is unsustainable … and I’m wondering if even the housing market inflation is going to give way, here,” Wood added. 

For now, with more of the same – bullishness in the face of moderating monetary policy, strong retail participation, seasonality, and buybacks supporting the valuations we’re at, now – what other narratives are there to add (or roll forward)?

Given my interest in the options market – because option volumes are comparable to stock volumes and related hedging flows, as a result, represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks – I’m in the camp of “the market is fragile, given current positioning.”

According to SpotGamma, single-stock exuberance of the past weeks fed into the S&P complex, itself, evidenced by a lack of interest in put options at lower strikes; the S&P 500 options strike with the largest negative gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – failed to roll higher, while the strike of the option with the largest positive gamma did. 

This came as investors marked the S&P 500 up to the $4,700.00 strike, at which positive gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – is highest. 

“As volatility continues to decline, the gamma of those options, which are now at the money, ought to increase, forcing counterparties to supply more liquidity,” SpotGamma explained.

Therefore, coming into this week, $4,700.00 was expected to be a magnet (or resistance) into that aforementioned pre-monthly options expiration (OPEX) weakness.

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

This was unless (1) volatility declined markedly, “a tailwind for the S&P complex as options slid[ing] down their term structure would cause dealers to continue covering their hedges in an asymmetric manner,” or (2) more capital was committed to options at higher strikes. 

Neither happened.

Instead, the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) was higher, with demand coming in across the front area of the VIX futures term structure. This suggested a demand for hedges and a reduction in the flows (e.g., vanna) that support sideways to higher trade. 

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).

The implications of customers now covering their levered, long-delta exposure and demanding out-of-the-money hedges may have the effect of forcing counterparties to hedge in a manner that exacerbates underlying price movement to the downside (e.g., Tesla).

With that single-stock exuberance still reflected by positioning in the S&P, itself, as SpotGamma said: “This sets us up for what may be a volatile pre- and post-OPEX week.”
Graphic: S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity for Thursday, November 11, 2021. SHIFT shows increased volume of put options in strikes prices at and below current prices.

Expectations: As of 5:30 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance-Break Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) ought to occur on a break of day-session balance.

We monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,647.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,673.00 untested point of control (VPOC)

Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,695.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,711.75 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,619.00 VPOC

Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as $4,590.00, a prior balance area high (BAH), and $4,574.25 HVNode, or lower.

To note, a breach of Wednesday’s low likely puts the S&P 500 in a short-gamma environment.

Those participants that take the other side of options trades will hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. 

When dealers are short-gamma, they buy into strength and sell into weakness, exacerbating volatility. 

When dealers are long-gamma, they buy into weakness and sell into strength, calming volatility.

--

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

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

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.

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 9, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were divergent.

The Nasdaq-100 led while the Russell 2000, which broke out of massive range, recently, slowed its pace of price discovery, trading relatively weak.

Ahead is data on the PPI (8:30 AM ET) and real household debt (11:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of 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 lackluster intraday breadth and supportive market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the balance and overlap of value areas (i.e., where 70% of the prior day’s trade occurred, or +/- 1 standard deviation), at the current S&P 500 prices.

This activity, which marks a potential willingness to continue balance as participants seek new information to resolve on, is built on poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

Graphic: Supportive delta (i.e., 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).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a lot of big-picture dynamics such as the growth of derivatives exposure and tail risk, the heightened moneyness of nonmonetary assets, trends in seasonality, buybacks, earnings surprises, and more.

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory.

To elaborate, on one hand, seasonality, buybacks, and earnings surprises have bolstered (and will continue to bolster) the most recent price rise, since early October. 

Similarly, participants are seeing a trend of outperformance in the extended day, due in part to the front-running of increasingly impactful vanna and charm flows (both of which are tied to the hedging of options exposure), as a result of increased options activity (which, at least at this juncture, exposes customers to high leverage and risk). 

I say “high leverage and risk” as a result of short-term speculators’ record call buying and put selling over the past weeks.

As stated in a SpotGamma note, yesterday, “Should there be an adverse move, those short-term speculators are likely to cover (sell) their short put (long call) positions as they lack the wherewithal (capital) to maintain exposure.”

With exposure concentrated in shorter-dated expiries, the November 19 monthly options expiration (OPEX) is somewhat of a concern for us.

The reason being?

Presently, the S&P 500 is pinned near options strikes at which positive options gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – is highest. 

I note those participants that take the other side of options trades will hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. 

When dealers are short-gamma (e.g., Tesla), they buy into strength and sell into weakness, exacerbating volatility. 

When long-gamma, counterparties buy into weakness and sell into strength, calming volatility.

Coming into OPEX, the forces that promote pinning turn stronger; counterparties supply more liquidity as their long gamma becomes longer (i.e., rises), so to speak. 

As OPEX is essentially a reset (or reduction) in dealer gamma exposure, participants ought to see an increase in realized volatility as a lot of the exposure that warranted dealers’ supply of liquidity comes off the table, thus necessitating less liquidity

Less liquidity means more movement

More liquidity means less movement

Get it?

With short-term speculators taking on the risks that we’re seeing them take on, and the prospects of a front-running of post-OPEX volatility – given that, according to Pat Hennessy, “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since” – there is a potential that adverse moves force those that are off-sides cover (sell) their short put (long call) positions, thereby exacerbating near-term volatility.

We see recent options activity reflected in a sideways to higher CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) and shift up in the VIX futures term structure; both suggest a demand for hedges and a reduction in the flows (e.g., vanna) that support sideways to higher trade. 

“The moves have been large and the demand for upside in single stock land insatiable,” said Danny Kirsch of Cornerstone Macro LLC. “Single stock vols clearly feeding into the index.”

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

Market Is In Balance: Current prices offer favorable entry and exit. 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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,722.00 Fibonacci. Initiative trade beyond $4,722.00 could reach as high as the $4,735.00 and $4,772.50 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.75 visual low. Initiative trade beyond the visual low (likely paid attention to by short-term, technically driven market participants who seldom defend retests) could reach as low as the $4,663.00 untested point of control (VPOC) 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. Notice Monday’s “Cave-Fill” or the act of increasing the area deemed favorable to transact at by participants. This is most obvious by observing where the bulk of Monday’s distribution sits, relative to the pocket of low-volume left behind Friday’s trade. This is a positive development. Learn about the profile.

Charts To Watch

Graphic: (NASDAQ: TSLA). (S~1108, R~1187 to 1195). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy/sell responsively. 
Graphic: (NYSE: CMG). (S~1680, R~1820). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy/sell responsively.
Graphic: (NYSE: SPY). (S~456, R~471). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy responsively.
Graphic: (NASDAQ: QQQ). (S~382, R~403). S is for support. R is for resistance. Looking to buy responsively.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

All You Need To Know For November 8, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to higher alongside an absence in impactful fundamental developments and news catalysts.

Ahead, today, there are no major data releases scheduled.

In the following section, I unpack, in-depth, the fundamental and technical context shadowing recent trade. If you like what is said, consider sharing!
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

On supportive intraday breadth and lackluster market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by a gap and hold of newly discovered S&P 500 prices.

This activity, which marks a potential willingness to continue the trend, coincides with poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., 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). 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).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of interesting developments with respect to fiscal and monetary policy, as well as supply and demand imbalances.

To start, in regards to fiscal policy, ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood thinks that there will be no capital gains tax rate increases and an installment of a minimum corporate tax (about 15%). 

“I think that is one reason the market’s been rallying,” she said in an episode of In The Know

In sticking with Wood’s theses, why would the market be rallying if all that we (i.e., the market participants) see, in the news, is heavily focused around fears of inflation, so to speak? It wouldn’t; Wood feels that inflation is on its way out.

Major reasons? 

(1) Productivity increases will offset dented margins and therefore not lead to impactful price increases; (2) turmoil, with respect to China’s housing and financial sector, ought to depress commodity pricing further as “when China has caught a cold, commodity prices get pneumonia”; (3) at-home inventory build-ups may takeaway from consumption during the holidays (for which businesses are scrambling to increase inventories), and this ultimately should be reflected in commodity prices, given excess inventory; (4) disruptive innovation and declining cost curves.

“The markets are conflicting,” she explains. “You’ve got energy and financials at the top for the year, 54% and 35%, respectively. Those two sectors are associated with very strong boom time economies with a yield curve steepening, meaning long rates are rising faster than short rates.”

“That would be consistent with inflation, but the other two top-performing sectors are real estate and consumer discretionary, and those do not benefit from inflation. They benefit from inflation coming down and lower interest rates.”

The bond market, on the other hand, is in the lower inflation camp. At the same time, the dollar is going up alongside assets like bitcoin, often construed as an inflation hedge.

“Could this mean that the velocity of money is going down,” she asks. “Velocity of money has been coming down because people have been saving and putting money into assets.”

This dynamic is supported by disappointing GDP figures with growth coming mostly from inventories; “Real final sales were slightly negative. Could it be … that [millennials] would prefer not to spend on goods and services, but to invest?”

It seems that participants are increasingly extending moneyness to nonmonetary assets – given monetary policies and an environment of debt and leverage that ultimately cuts into asset price volatility – adding to the prevailing risks of carry when volatility does rise and the demand for money pushes deflation.

A great explainer on the growth of global carry is the book titled The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis.

“Ivy Zelman of Zelman Research came out this week. She made a fantastic call on the housing bubble and bust starting in 05-06, and she was right, just a little early. She is very concerned that the housing prices we’re seeing right now are not sustainable,” because of speculation, as well as iBuying and private equity participation. 

For instance, just last week, Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ: Z), a major iBuyer, sought to raise liquidity, dumping properties en masse.

“This is unsustainable … and I’m wondering if even the housing market inflation is going to give way, here,” Wood added. 

That leads to the question: what effects will a taper and the eventual reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – a removal of liquidity – have?

Thus far, given monetary frameworks and max liquidity, markets rallies have been enforced by some of the processes embedded within the volatility market

To quote Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility: “There’s this constant structural positioning that naturally drives markets higher as long as volatility is compressed, or there’s a supply of volatility.”

“As volatility is compressed, … the hedging vanna and charm flows, and whatnot will push the markets higher,” Karsan added in reference to options sliding down their term structure (vanna) and skew decaying (charm). Both dynamics have counterparties covering their hedges to the most dominant customer positioning in the market (i.e., short call, long put). 

With option volumes now comparable to stock volumes, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks; “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

Learn more about the implications of convexity, edge, and risk management, as well as Liquidity Cascades: The Coordinated Risk of Uncoordinated Market Participants.

Aside from a lot of these big picture dynamics – growing derivatives markets and tail risk, the heightened moneyness of nonmonetary assets, trends in seasonality, earnings surprises, and more – we have some more impactful near-term happenings to be aware of.

Graphic: “Whenever the market has been up 20%+ YTD through to October (like e.g. THIS YEAR), it has *always* had an up month in November (albeit with a n=8). Basically I would say it speaks to the momentum in the market, which despite the September stumble seems pretty much alive and well.” – Callum Thomas

The first is fragile positioning. The second is the monthly options expiration (OPEX). 

According to SqueezeMetrics analyses, “middling dark pool sentiment and middling gamma exposure [portends] … 1-month negative returns.”

Alongside that, according to data compiled and analyzed by Pat Hennessy, “2 weeks prior to OPEX (e.g., 7/30/21 to 8/6/21 in this late-cycle) [have] been extremely bullish,” while “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since.”

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

This comes as investors marked the S&P 500 up to the $4,700.00 strike, at which positive gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – is highest. 

In referencing a note I wrote for SpotGamma, “as volatility continues to decline, the gamma of those options, which are now at the money, ought to increase, forcing counterparties to supply more liquidity.”

Ultimately, $4,700.00 ought to be a magnet (or resistance) into that aforementioned pre-OPEX weakness.

This is unless (1) volatility declines markedly, “a tailwind for the S&P complex as options slid[ing] down their term structure would cause dealers to continue covering their hedges in an asymmetric manner,” or (2) more capital is committed to options at higher strikes. 

Graphic: SpotGamma shows large positive gamma at the $4,700.00 strike. “Large options strikes are considered to be support or resistance zones. The change in gamma at various levels over time can shed light on how traders are viewing the market (i.e., adding calls is bullish, puts bearish).”

Expectations: As of 6:30 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.

Market Is In Balance: Current prices offer favorable entry and exit. 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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,674.75 visual low (likely paid attention to by short-term, technically driven market participants who seldom defend retests) puts in play the $4,711.75 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,722.00 and $4,735.00 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,674.75 visual low puts in play the $4,663.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,619.00 VPOC and $4,590.00 balance area boundary (BAH), or lower.

As an aside, the $4,674.75 visual low corresponds with the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) anchored at last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. 

This is 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.

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

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. In recent history, this reset in dealer positioning has been front-run; prior, there was an increase in volatility after the removal of large options positions and associated hedging.

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.