Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For August 3, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 700+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. 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.

Fundamental

Our August 1 letter assessed, mainly, the impacts of a burgeoning economic war that is hot as well put by a recent note authored by Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar.

Read: Dr. Pippa Malmgren’s “A Hot War In Cold Places,” which was quoted by Credit Suisse’s Pozsar. Additionally, check out our archives for more analysis of Malmgren’s perspectives.

“Great powers are waging hot wars involving the flow of technologies, goods, and commodities,” the big “contributors to inflation,” a longer-lasting structural issue, Pozar puts forth.

Further, it is the case that “the pillars of the low inflation world are changing,” and geopolitics are the factors bolstering longer-lasting uncertainty and risk premia.

What was the case, before?

Previously, central bankers were waging wars “against deflationary impulses coming from the globalization of cheap resources (labor, goods, and commodities),” which we covered before.

Now, central bankers have a more difficult task stemming inflationary impulses coming from a complex and non-linear economic war between the U.S., China, and Russia that will do more, long-term, to “weaken the pillars of the globalized, low inflation world.”

So: 

  • Deflation, on globalization (and outward supply shifts), was fought with asset price inflation. 
  • Inflation, on de-globalization (and inward supply shifts), is fought with asset price deflation.

Exacerbating the de-globalization pulse on popular sovereignty, which I had the honor of talking on with Andy Constan, recently, are “wealth gains sapping labor force participation” and trends such as ESG, among other things. 

“It’s a mess: it’s easier to deal with the politics of wage setting than it is to ‘grow’ people – even in The Matrix, that’s possible only over time. Until then, we are stuck with a labor shortage, and President Biden’s top labor lawyer is the anti-Reagan: she’s encouraging the unionization of workers from Amazon to Starbucks…as opposed to firing them,” Pozsar explains.

For context, among the factors that helped Chairman Volcker stem inflation were new energy investment and the weakening of unions.

Accordingly, in a move from “generating demand structurally to soak up an excess supply of cheap stuff, to curbing demand structurally to adjust to shortages,” the prevailing tightening effort is not cyclical, as in corresponding to a business cycle. It’s structural.

It requires the sharp, “inward shift of supply curves across multiple fronts (labor, goods, and commodities),” putting the economy on an “L”-shaped path (i.e., a vertical drop in activity via recession, and flatline for a period of time as rates remain higher for longer to prevent a sharp rise in inflation, again).

Market participants, because of this, should be thinking about how deep (i.e., long-lasting) a recession is needed to curb inflation (rather than if a recession will happen at all); necessary is the purge of the “Super Size Me” mentality, Pozsar explains, and slow “interest-rate sensitive parts of the economy (housing and durables),” as well as reduce “demand for labor in services, … a function of the level of wealth across a range of assets (housing, stocks, as well as crypto).

“[W]hat the Fed is telling us when it flat-out dismisses two-quarters of negative GDP growth is that it isn’t focusing as much on the rate-sensitive parts of the economy as it did in the past,” Pozsar well summarizes, adding that 5-6% rates are not out of the realm of possibilities.

“Instead, it is focusing much more on the services economy and the labor market, which still remain strong. And therein lies the cautionary tale for the market.”

Looking out further in time, after inflation has been stemmed, the question is how the economy accelerates, again, and achieves stable growth. That depends on the West developing its own supply of things so “that ‘L’ becomes ‘L/’ and … that recovery [will be driven by] fiscally funded industrial policy.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “Interest rates may be kept high for a while to ensure that rate cuts won’t cause an economic rebound (an ‘L’ and not a ‘V’), which might trigger a renewed bout of inflation,” Pozsar wrote in his note. “The risks are such that Powell will try his very best to curb inflation, even at the cost of a ‘depression’ and not getting reappointed.”

Positioning

Regarding the topic of liquidity – money available for circulation – which was discussed in-depth Tuesday, August 2, below is an updated chart of our Liquidity Tracker. Conditions are mostly unchanged.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data compiled by @jkonopas623. Fed Balance Sheet data, here. Treasury General Account Data, here. Reverse Repo data, here. NL = BS – TGA – RRP.

Moreover, in terms of options-related positioning, as of 8:50 AM ET, Wednesday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.21%. Net gamma exposures increasing may promote tighter ranges.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of complex options structures (e.g., put back spread).

The reason why? 

Well, as discussed in-depth Tuesday, prevailing policy narratives are likely to bolster risk premia “everywhere else,” and that does more to support our recent positioning analyses and the case for an “untethering” in equity implied volatility (IVOL), “one of the most supportive things into the decline,” per statements by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

Basically, given the macro risk, IVOL is likely at a lower bound (as validated by the S&P 500 trading higher and downside skew holding a bid) and, per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

Through downside protection (e.g., butterfly and back spreads) you can position yourself to monetize on the sort-of non-linear repricing in volatility we’re alluding there is potential for. The bid in skew is helping those structures maintain their value better, essentially.

Graphic: Time-lapse skew on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) for Tuesday, Monday, and one week ago. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

Technical

As of 6:30 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the upper part of a 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.

Any activity above the $4,117.75 MCPOC puts into play the $4,149.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,164.25 RTH High and $4,189.25 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower.

Any activity below the $4,117.75 MCPOC puts into play the $4,073.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,040.75 and $4,015.25 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.

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, ex-Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, 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 June 21, 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, the equity index and commodity futures were bid, all the while bonds and the dollar edged lower. This is after a week-long or so de-rate on tougher monetary policies.

Big headlines include the White House’s mulling of a U.S. gas tax suspension, Russia’s status as a top exporter of crude to China, Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) recession warning, Elon Musk’s intent to cut Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) workforce, and falling Iron ore prices on China’s building downturn.

Interesting reads from over the weekend include Dr. Pippa Malmgren’s letter on the market’s “nosedive” which is likely to be “followed by a newfound understanding of what is possible,” and how that plays into economic strength and military superiority. 

Adding, timely was a Sohn 2022 conversation with Stanley Druckenmiller on his experiences and the current market environment. 

Ahead is data on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (8:30 AM ET), existing-home sales (10:00 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Loretta Mester (12:00 PM ET) and Tom Barkin (3:30 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Keeping this letter brief, today.

The sale of both bonds and equities worsened in part due to the implications of inflation and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) response to that inflation.

Graphic: Via Nordea Bank’s (OTC: NRDBY) research. “We suspect that the real economy will be less sensitive to a rise in interest rates this time, which means that the Fed could have to move rates more-than-expected before policy gets restrictive. The strongest argument is that the household balance sheets are in a much better shape to sustain their level of spending as the massive injections of money and credit through both monetary and fiscal stimulus have changed household balance sheets dramatically.”

We talked about this in the weeks prior. 

Essentially, as Joseph Wang, who was a trader at the Fed, puts it, “[b]onds are not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol.”

“Investors in both bonds and stocks are reaching for cash by selling their assets, driving further asset price declines. For non-bank investors, ‘cash’ means bank deposits.” 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Ultimately, an increase in the RRP (reverse repo) and QT (which is a direct flow of capital to capital markets) “would drain the pool of bank deposits by ~$1t by year-end,” and this may prompt investors to “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.” 

Graphic: Via CrossBorder Capital.

Positioning: Detailed was Friday, June 17’s commentary that honed in on some of the implications of pre- and post-Federal Reserve meeting positioning. 

Essentially, with the June monthly options expiration (OPEX), there was a roll-off of a large amount of customer negative delta exposure (via put options they owned). 

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) Gamma Model. Updated June 17, 2022.

With expiration, liquidity providers (who were short these put options, as well as underlying to hedge) re-hedged (bought back some of their static short-delta), and this removes pressure.

“The SPX index quarterly option notional is higher than usual, but the market is below the concentration of risk given the recent selloff,” said Tanvir Sandhu, chief global derivatives strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, who we quoted last week.

“Price action will reflect the economic context, but flows from expiring in-the-money hedges may support the market.”

Accordingly, markets are off their lows. However, in the above text, we made little mention of participants’ rolling forward of their options bets to lower strikes, further out in time, as well as the impact of customers still maintaining a “sizable short put position,” a dynamic we’ve talked about before.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Options flow, last week, was unsurprisingly dominated by index puts (red lines). Most interesting was index puts bought to cover (third chart) indicating there was a fairly sizable short put position heading into last week.”

Taken together, coupled with what SpotGamma observes is “anemic” call buying (viewed as the blue line in the top chart above), participants are hedged and volatility remains well-supplied. 

Graphic: Via Nomura Holdings Inc (NYSE: NMR). Taken from The Market Ear. “The ‘muted’ VIX narrative goes on. The VIX vs SPX gap remains rather wide here. The second chart shows just how ‘depressed’ VIX remains vs the underlying px action. Most people have been stopped out/de-grossed risk, so there isn’t much demand to hedge exposure.”

Despite being stretched from a technical perspective, positioning-wise, lower prices are sticky and the context for a far-reaching bounce, all else equal, is not there.

We shall provide updates to this, later in the week. Read the Daily Brief for June 17, 2022, for more on how to position in light of the above information.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,735.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,749.00 ONH. Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $3,773.25 HVNode and $3,821.50 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,735.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,722.50 LVNode could reach as low as the $3,690.25 HVNode and $3,639.00 RTH Low, or lower.

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

Definitions

Volume Areas: 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.

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

About

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

Capelj 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 27, 2022

The Daily Brief will be on pause till June 7, 2022, due to the author’s travel commitments. Apologies for this inconvenience.

What Happened

Overnight, U.S. equity index futures came off of their Thursday peaks before, late in the morning, trading to a new rally high, at which is a confluence of technical nuances.

Thursday’s cash session was characterized by a near-vertical advance into mid-day. Then, trade became two-sided, a feature of short-covering and not new buying. More on this, later.

In the news was Citigroup Inc’s (NYSE: C) downgrading of U.S. stocks on recession risks and the “elements of a deflating bubble,” while leaning optimistic on China assets due to marginal policy support, there. This is on the heels of similar conclusions put forward by BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

Mortgage rates staged their biggest drop since April of 2020 as “the housing market has clearly slowed, and the deceleration is spreading to other segments of the economy,” the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s (OTC: FMCC) Sam Khater explained.

In other news, Secretary of State Antony Blinken took aim at China, commenting on the U.S.’s intention to “shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance [its] vision for an open, inclusive international system.” This is as the U.S. also plans economic talks with Taiwan.

Pippa Malmgren, who is a former White House adviser and economist we wrote on earlier this week, discussed more of this decoupling and coordination among Eastern and Western powers.

In a two-part series, she explains the challenging of U.S. island bases by China and Russia, as well as their maritime strategies, “island hopping [and] shopping.” Check them out.

Today we received data on PCE inflation, real disposable and personal income, along with consumer spending and trade in goods (8:30 AM ET). University of Michigan Sentiment and five-year inflation expectations come later (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: At its core, there’s a commitment to cutting liquidity and credit after the spending of COVID-era “benefits and lockdown savings … created a lot of demand,” and inflation.

Graphic: Via the Federal Reserve. Taken from Nasdaq Inc (NASDAQ: NDAQ). “Rates have risen dramatically this year, impacting valuations of stocks and bonds.”

This has consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept the deflationary pressures of prevailing monetary policies at bay.

Graphic: Taken from Nasdaq Inc. “At a very simple level, rising rates increase interest expenses, reducing profits. But they also cause investors, who can earn more interest on safe cash deposits, to demand stronger returns from all other investments too.”

As unpacked, in detail, on May 18, 2022, there is an argument that stock market drops are both a recession and a reflection of the unwind of carry (or investment in long-duration bets with cheap debt) – a deflationary shock.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Tighter financial conditions themselves are a clear success story for the Fed — it is the only way they can reduce inflationary pressures,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

“The Fed has a mandate … to control price stability,” Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan had explained.

“With supply-side economics, the only way that they can control this ultimately is to pull back. And slow capital markets decrease via the wealth effect. Ultimately, there’s a significant lag, so they are not in a position to ultimately control inflation without bringing down markets.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Of course, economic growth is a good thing. But too much of that good thing will just continue to stoke inflation. With that perspective in mind, the slowdown in surprises is positive.”

Accordingly, in our May 25, 2022 commentary, in which we discussed what to search for in the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Knowing that there’s a lag in policy impact, we accurately floated the potential for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to “shift gears” late this summer if further cooling of inflation and “evidence of a growth slowdown.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “After hitting a record above 3% last month, 10-year breakevens are on track for their biggest monthly drop since March 2020. The so-called five-year, five-year forward — the Fed’s favored measure — is set to post its biggest drop in May since August 2019.”

“Policy works with a lag,” as Diane Swonk of Grant Thorton explained. The Fed may pause as it seeks to “catch up but not outrun the market in its effort to tighten credit market conditions.” 

“There is still more progress to be made in bringing inflation expectations down to resonate with the Committee’s target, but current valuations are at least in the realm of acceptable,” Ian Lyngen, who is head of U.S. rates strategy at the Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO), said

“The market is showing some faith in Powell’s inflation-fighting creditability.”

Graphic: Taken from Nasdaq Inc. “Although inflation is high right now, it’s because of Covid and the Ukraine war. Both, hopefully, will pass, and 3%-4% inflation a year from now seems possible if the economy slows to a more normal level. In turn, that means the interest rate that keeps the U.S. economy growing slowly is likely much lower than we might currently be thinking. It might, in fact, be right around where bond rates are now.”

Concluding the fundamental section with remarks from a March 2022 Substack newsletter published by Andreas Steno Larsen of the Stenos Signals Substack.

“I simply don’t find >3.5% territory for the Fed Funds feasible as the hiking cycle peaked at 2.25-2.50% in 2018/2019 and fundamentals have worsened since. Debt loads are much higher, demographics have weakened, and the labour force is smaller, which suggests that the neutral rate is lower, not higher, than in 2018/2019.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “​​The swaps market and consensus forecasts to Bloomberg Economics both imply considerably faster rate hikes, while Bloomberg’s own forecast is more hawkish still.”

Positioning: Per Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) notes, investors poured nearly $20 billion into global stocks (in the week to May 25, 2022).

As I wrote in a SpotGamma note, notable was the reversal in beaten-down areas of the market, as well as the implosion at the front-end of the volatility term structure, affecting protection most sensitive to changes in direction and volatility.

The Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of the VIX or the volatility of volatility (a naive but useful measure of skew), dropped off markedly, too, in comparison to the VIX, itself.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Taken from TradingView. VVIX, top. VIX, bottom.

Further, as stated in SpotGamma’s note, a “falling VVIX (and VIX term structure drop off) may be the product of a collapse in the value of customers’ long put exposures concentrated in very short-dated timeframes (potentially exposures hedging tail risks with respect to the release of FOMC minutes, among other things).”

“It is then as the skew, here, decays, and term structure compresses, that liquidity providers buy back their hedges to the puts they are short (i.e., the vanna dynamic pointed to, earlier).”

This market-generated information helps us give context to this most recent equity market rally that is characterized by a little change in demand for bets on upside further in price and time 

All else equal, this is not a feature of sustainable market rallies.

Why you ask?

Those names that have been most depressed, and are now reversing, were recipients of heavy demand for protection in the months prior.

For this reason – participants being well hedged – selling was orderly, rather than violent as in past episodes of market shock when the reach for protection solicited a cascading reaction that exacerbated underlying price movements due to liquidity providers’ hedging.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research.

The large drop off in term structure, as well as the VVIX versus the VIX, is affecting protection most sensitive to changes in direction and volatility and the unwind of liquidity providers’ short futures and stock hedges to this protection is, in part, playing into this internally weak rally.

So, what? How do you play this? Good question.

It still may make sense to have exposure to underlying markets, synthetically (i.e., own options), as detailed, well, May 25, 2022. Read that letter for detail on how to think about trade structure.

Technical: As of 6:45 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a 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 $4,069.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,095.00 ONH. Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,119.00 VPOC and $4,148.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,069.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,997.75 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as low as the $3,982.75 LVNode and $3,951.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 25, 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 were steady alongside commodities and bonds. This is ahead of the release of minutes from a Federal Reserve (Fed) policy meeting. 

In the news were advertising and social media firms. Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) warned of slower growth and deterioration in the macro-environment. Its peers Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: FB), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) also saw weakness.

China’s COVID Zero commitment likely nudges it off a path to achieve economic targets “by a large margin for the first time ever,” as Bloomberg explains

This is as China and Russia have conducted one of their largest joint air drills “to send their own political, economic and military message to the international community,” much of which is at Davos, Switzerland doing thought exercises.

In a recent podcast, Pippa Malmgren, who is a former White House adviser and economist, well said, particularly in reference to some of the tension abroad, that “autocracy is not working well,” and “[y]ou go to war because … you have a domestic objective.”

Thought it was interesting. Give it a listen, here.

And, finally, Michael Burry of the “Big Short” sent a cryptic tweet alluding to what is likely the risk of another financial collapse. 

Moreover, ahead is data on durable goods and core capital equipment orders (8:30 AM ET). Later, the Fed publishes the minutes of its last policy meeting (2:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:10 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 Fed will issue policy meeting minutes that may provide clarity with respect to its intent to hike and reduce the size of its balance sheet.

In focus, per ex-Fed insider Ellen Meade, is “the rate path, the expected economic conditions, and what policymakers want to see from the data before they slow the pace of tightening.”

“The minutes may tell us they see the tightening in conditions this time around as greater than in earlier cycles. If that’s the case, then they may judge that they don’t need to raise the funds rate by as much this time around.”

Graphic: Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) research.

John Authers notes, however, that “inflation tends to move in waves” and it doesn’t, usually, “plateau and stay there.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

“That suggests that even though the focus is already shifting to whether there is evidence of a growth slowdown,” he added, in a statement echoed by Meade who is betting on slower “GDP growth, below its longer-run rate, and a rise in the unemployment rate, perhaps to its longer-run median rate or slightly above.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Pursuant to those last remarks, the Fed’s Raphael Bostic is already floating a pause to rate hikes near September if inflation falls more than expected over the summer.

As Diane Swonk of Grant Thorton explains, “Policy works with a lag. The Fed wants to catch up but not outrun the market in its effort to tighten credit market conditions.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Futures First analyst Rishi Mishra, who is also the author of the “On Another Note” newsletter, suggests the Federal Open Market Committee may, rather, hone in on monthly changes with annual inflation still elevated.

“This brings down inflation expectations into a range where the Fed feels comfortable about de-anchoring risks,” Mishra said.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from Bloomberg. Though, potentially, “premature,” JPM’s model tracking the S&P 500, credit spreads and yield curve implies a 40% chance of a recession.

JPM’s Marko Kolanovic adds: “We have gone from a situation where both stocks and bonds were sold on the back of de-leveraging, to a situation where bonds rallied as stocks fell, nudging stock/bond correlations toward a more normal (negative) level.”

“We do indeed think this is where things could be gradually heading, but we acknowledge this is not likely to play out in a linear way.”

Graphic: Via @MrBlonde_macro. “Stock/bond correlation negative over the last 10 days. Some ‘normalization’ in cross-market relationships can be a source of relief.” The flip happened with 10-year yields at or above 3%.

Positioning: In yesterday’s in-depth write-up, we talked about the underperformance of implied volatility (IVOL), relative to that which is realized (RVOL).

Dennis Davitt of Millbank Dartmoor Portsmouth had explained that the “RVOL of the underlying S&P 500 is above 27% … with IVOL of options trading between 24%-27%,” which translates to a VIX at 30%.

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

So, essentially, it makes more sense to have exposure to underlying markets, synthetically (i.e., own options). 

This, though, merits a bit more clarification (as I do not want it to be construed as if I was buying, systemically, bets on the downside). The opposite, actually.

Moreover, this was stated in the context of a market that is “(1) stretched and (2) near a critical inflection which we see at $3,700.00 SPX,” per SpotGamma. Separately, investors are bidding “skew on the call side” amid their “fear of missing on the upside.”

That’s when it makes sense to buy closer to at-the-money (ATM) and sell farther from ATM, or out-of-the-money (OTM). For instance, a margin intensive but low cost call +1 [ATM] x -2 [OTM] ratio spread

Note, however, that width and timing are everything. Too much time or too narrow may result in asymmetric losses when the demand for upside bets further out in price and time bids the skew that you’re short, relative to the at-the-money volatility you own. 

I’m willing to talk through this via email, if interested. Ping me at renato@physikinvest.com. I’m mindful that if I do post actual trade ideas, people may take them without knowing how to size and manage them, accordingly. Big yikes!

Goldman validates this thesis: “Even though the VIX’s reaction to recent spot downside has been mild, its high starting point leaves vol high overall, and we like strategies with a short volatility bias, including put selling and 1×2 call spread overlays.”

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.

Further, though SpotGamma assigns an edge to lower prices until the June FOMC and OPEX, “markets (which are already ‘fully loaded’ with puts) [are likely] pressured by liquidity providers’ hedging [at most] down to $3,700.00,” the area where that added pressure from hedging cools.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,943.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,969.00 ONH. Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,061.00 VPOC and $4,095.00 ONH, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,943.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,917.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,863.25 LVNode and $3,831.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Considerations: 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 very active.

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests.

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

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

Catalysts to consider include the release of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes, Wednesday.

Definitions

Overnight Highs And Lows (ONH and ONL): 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 value tests 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.