Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 23, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by thousands of subscribers. You, too, can join this community to learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets.

Graphic updated 8:30 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 this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to 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.

Positioning

Friends, please read the entire post.

In the Daily Brief for December 21, 2022, this letter dissected some of the positioning contexts responsible for fixed-strike and top-line implied volatility (IVOL) measures’ downward trajectory with the S&P 500. Since this detailed letter was published, IVOL has increased, albeit not by a massive amount so to speak. The moves lower, coupled with the volatility skew not blowing out, have enabled your letter writer to monetize structures entered into while on travel for a nice return. Let’s talk about it, further.

Heading into consumer price (i.e., inflation) updates, as well as updates from the Federal Reserve on their commitment to stemming inflation, traders sought to protect against (or bet on) movement thereby bidding measures of IVOL.

To quote The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the “entire term structure was jacked going into CPI and FOMC.” Additionally, “granted nothing out of left field,” Sidial added, it would be tough “for December and January vol[atility] to remain bid.”

Graphic: IVOL term structure retrieved from Tier1Alpha.com.

Accordingly, after the CPI and FOMC, market concerns ebbed and traders’ supply of the options they demanded, particularly at the front-end of the curve, pushed the term structure back to an upward-sloping so-called contango.

Graphic: IVOL term structure retrieved from Tier1Alpha.com.

As was detailed in the December 21 letter, this dynamic following the release of CPI and FOMC would do a lot to keep IVOL and equity movement contained. Knowing this, your letter writer’s trading partner alerted him while on a trip of skew presenting some nice, zero-cost trades that would expand should the market trade lower and IVOL remain contained (i.e., volatility skew not blowing out).

Upon analysis, entered was a simple +1 x -2 Put Ratio Spread (Trade Ticket: SOLD -1 1/2 BACKRATIO SPX 100 20 JAN 23 [AM] 3400/3150 PUT @.10) for a ~$10.00 credit before fees and commissions, a favorite of your letter writer’s.

Graphic: Filled orders on December 14, 2022.

The trades provided exposure to -Delta (direction) and +Gamma (movement).

Graphic: Position statement on December 14, 2022. Using portfolio margin to lower BP Effect.

As an aside, from the start the Vega (sensitivity to changes in IVOL) was negative but, this has a lot to do with how far out the spread is on the chain and, should there be movement as you’re about to see, enabling the put leg you own to start kicking in, so to speak, Vega ends up turning positive very quickly, all else equal.

The below graphic, taken on December 19, prior to much of the spread being monetized, shows a large -Delta, +Gamma, and +Vega (i.e., if the market moves lower or IVOL rises, the spread is to rise in value), much like it did when the market traded down into the beginning of this week and IVOL rose into the end of this week.

Graphic: Position statement on December 19, 2022. Using portfolio margin to lower BP Effect.

For one account, 50% of the initial trade was closed for $205-220.00 in credit per spread. After this closure, the remaining structure, in this one account, was turned into a +2 x -5 Ratio. Why? In short, the market was strengthening and the odds of a large move lower were, in short, low. To have downside exposure but be paid for the initial effort, the conversion from a +4 x -8 to a +2 x -5 resulted in an additional $8.10 credit, leaving your letter writer with a -Delta, +Gamma, and +Vega, still.

Graphic: Trade history on December 23, 2022.

In the days after, the market turned and traded lower, far more than expected. Notwithstanding, the remaining structures (both +1 x -2 and +2 x -5) performed well, though the 2×5’s Vegas briefly turned negative on the sharp selling yesterday, which, if it had remained like that, would have solicited action (i.e., repositioning, closure, or hedging via correlated instrument).

Graphic: Working orders on December 23, 2022.

At the end of the day, what’s important to your letter writer, here, is how the spread prices if the market moves to it today, all else (e.g., time, IVOL, etc) remains equal. If the spread prices at a better price to close at the money, that’s a quick check that says: “Hey, your bet on the market moving lower actually makes money if the market moves lower, all else equal.”

To explain further, look at the working orders above. At current S&P 500 levels, the +1 x -2 prices for $215.00 credit to close. The Delta is negative, as desired, and both the Gamma and Vega are positive. If the spread was at the money, it prices for nearly a $4,500.00 credit to close as shown below.

Graphic: Pricing an order on December 23, 2022.

So, what now? Well, the exposure is really light and much of the structure was monetized. From here, if the market moves lower that would likely be good for the remaining structures. Any costs to enter have been covered and, at this point, the trade is a free bet on the downside.

Obviously, there are pieces not included in this trade dissection, today, including how to properly manage your greek risk, as well as size the position at entry. These are the secret sauces, so to speak, that will either make or break you in the long run.

Should you want more write-ups like this, comment below. Your letter writer attempts to make these updates as informative and engaging as possible. It’s tough, at times, given the dullness of the material. Separately, trading is not as hard as it’s all made out to be. Sure, you need to have a good read on markets (e.g., skew), but, as your letter writer has learned over the many years he’s been engaging with markets, the theory is nothing like practice. No formula will help you price and enter the correct trade structure in a fast-moving meme stock with IVOL blowing out. 

If all could be automated, there would be no market. Markets are the product of human emotion. Avoid acting on theory, blindly. Price different structures, like the ones this letter has detailed, and observe how the different parts of the trade interact with each other as the market moves, IVOL moves, time passes, interest rates change, and so on.

For instance, you could have owned puts early in the week and still lost money as the market moved lower. If you would have leveraged a short leg against your long leg, then you could have offset the decay, as your letter writer did above.

There’s no substitute for time in the seat (e.g., you could have observed the -Vega at the entry on the trade structure above and not entered, missing out on the trade’s expansion. Time in the seat taught your letter writer better).

Don’t construe this letter’s simplicity as naivety, also. In the end, what’s your exposure to movement? If your bet is on movement, will you make money if the market moves? If not, find another trade structure or sit out.

Anyways, happy holidays to you and your closest. It’s been quite the year and I have a lot to be thankful for and reflect on. See you next week, most likely (though your letter writer’s burn-out may result in new publications being delayed until the new year).

Technical

As of 8:20 AM ET, Friday’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.

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,867.75. 

Key levels to the upside include $3,879.25, $3,893.75, and $3,908.25. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,833.00, $3,813.25, and $3,793.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. 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: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will be identified by low-volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.

If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

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


About

In short, an economics graduate working in finance and journalism.

Capelj spends most of his time as the founder of Physik Invest through which he invests and publishes daily analyses to subscribers, some of whom represent well-known institutions.

Separately, Capelj is an equity options analyst at SpotGamma and an accredited journalist interviewing global leaders in business, government, and finance.

Past works include conversations with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Calendar

You may view this letter’s content calendar at this link.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 28, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by over 1,200 people. To join this community and learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets, subscribe below.

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 this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to 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.

Administrative

Hope you had a great holiday with your closest!

Fundamental

Minutes from a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting dropped last week.

As strategist Rishi Mishra summarized well, “the focus shift[ed] to the terminal rate from the pace of tightening; although the terminal rate would be higher than previously expected, the pace at which we get there will be slower because they want to take lags into account.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Rishi Mishra.

At its core, the economy has not slowed as much as the Fed was expecting, said Ellen Meade, a former Fed Board economist; “[t]hey can’t stop the rate increases until they see some measured evidence that the economy is slowing.”

So, with inflation “still at its highest since the 1980s,” according to Fabian Wintersberger, all the while financial conditions have loosened on easing inflation pressures, markets have yet to face their “most significant problems, [and] … keeping interest rates around 5% will not be a Fed pivot” (which is likely to happen near the middle of 2023, per the consensus analysis).

In short, the Fed must further raise rates and unwind liquidity injections.

To bring the “balance sheet back to [2020 levels], [the Fed] needs to reduce it by 41%.” The balance sheet has only been reduced by 1.5%. Should liquidity keep shrinking, that pulls investors out of risk.

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.

Positioning

From a volatility perspective, it’s not a terrible time to hedge

An example demonstrates the point, well. As lightly discussed in last week’s letters, in mid-June, a trading partner and I noticed a change in tone in the non-linearity of volatility and skew with respect to linear changes in the price of the market or S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX).

The cost of certain spread structures (e.g., long/short one option near- or at-the-money and short/long two or more further out-of-the-money options) changed by hundreds of percent for only a few basis points of change in the underlying’s price.

Here’s more detail:

The market rose (boosted by a “vol crunch” and “systemic exposure reallocation,” per Nomura Holdings Inc’s [NYSE: NMR] Charlie McElligott) and, though top-line measures of IVOL have declined (e.g., INDEX: VIX), volatility skew is performing well.

Graphic: Retrieved from TradingView. Top, S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). Middle Nations SkewDex (INDEX: SDEX). Bottom Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX). According to one paper from Nations Indexes, “SkewDex tells market participants how expensive out-of-the-money options are in relation to at-the-money options and thus, how risk-averse investors are.”

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once explained, this suggests “a potentially critical change in dealer positioning [and] the distribution of underlying outcomes”.

IVOL is at a lower bound and the bullish impacts yielded by its compressing have, largely, played out.

There is more to be gained by movement higher in IVOL. By owning protection, particularly that which is farther from current prices, you are positioned to monetize on non-linear repricings of volatility (as we saw earlier this year and may still see).

Graphic: Retrieved from Nomura Holdings Inc (NYSE: NMR).

Technical

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

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,000.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,024.00, $4,051.00, and $4,069.25. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,985.00, $3,965.25, and $3,923.00.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. 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.

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 writes options market analyses at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga journalist. 

His past works include private discussions with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the Lithuanian Delegation’s Aušrinė Armonaitė, among many others.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 18, 2022

Physik Invest’s Daily Brief is read by over 1,200 people. To join this community and learn about the fundamental and technical drivers of markets, subscribe below.

Graphic updated 9:00 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 this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated 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. Click to 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.

Administrative

A short commentary today after Wednesday’s detailed letter. Take a look at that letter and, some of the below, for context on what we are likely to discuss next. If you are pressed for time, focus on the bolded statements. Have a good weekend!

Positioning

Keeping with the spirit of Wednesday’s ultra-detailed newsletter.

A key point in that letter was traders’ increased activity across short-term options and “anchoring to key areas such as $4,000.00 in the S&P 500.” This activity, in the face of a multi-week price rise, told us a lot about the state of the market. In short, the bigger participants, some of whom move by a committee and seldom respond to technical nuances, were probably waiting for more information before entering.

For that reason, our key S&P levels, quoted in recent letters, are holding.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

That’s part of the big point we have attempted to get across, recently. Traders “have been flocking to short-dated contracts to cope with the market whiplash of late, an activity that has exerted outsize impact on the underlying equities,” per Bloomberg. Per data shown by SpotGamma, concentrations in these options have prompted pinning near key areas like $4,000.00 in the S&P, before its descent on Thursday.

You can go to Wednesday’s letter for the detailed explanation but, in short, the reach for positive exposure to the upside (+Delta) lent to recent market relief. Then, per the sales of volatility, just this last week, the sentiment changed to a wait-and-see stance.

Graphic: Retrieved from JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

As already stated, this wait-and-see stance was expressed through short-dated options that are highly sensitive to changes in direction (i.e., these options can go from having a lot of value or Delta to little, over a short window of time). This sensitivity is expressed via the higher Gamma of near-the-money options.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

For a quick check of how sticky these areas may be, one has to look at the level of +Gamma which has been on an uptrend.

As traders wait for more information and take bets against the market movement (i.e., volatility is sold or -Gamma) counterparties take on more +Gamma (i.e., their side of the bet does better when the market moves).

In hedging this +Gamma, counterparties reduce market movement (i.e., counterparty buy call and sell [buy] futures into price rise [dip]).

The shorter-dated the options, the more sensitive they are; options values (or Delta) can rise or fall quickly as Gamma increases when time passes. That may mean that the reaction results in movement reducing (further), and pinning near key areas.

Again, see Wednesday’s ultra-detailed newsletter for more detail.

Graphic: Taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. 

Another consequence, as picked up by individuals online including Darrin John, the S&P 500’s realized volatility (RVOL) “is so high” with “a basket of 500 of the ‘best’ stocks in the US [wildly] swing[ing] +5% in a single day,” while the S&P 500 is relatively mute, or your letter writer sees it.

That’s because of the following:

If there are forces that are pinning the S&P 500, all the while there are arbitrage constraints connecting its wilder components (in which traders are more uncertain and actively betting on direction and hedging), then correlation must suffer.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

In the face of brewing uncertainties, reflected in index put options activity that has translated “to an uptick in open interest at $3,900.00 and $3,950.00” in the S&P 500, per SpotGamma, -Gamma has increased.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). “Broadly, hedge funds’ net leverage, a gauge of risk appetite that measures the industry’s long versus short positions, sat in the 24th percentile of a one-year range, Goldman data show.”

If you take the statements about +Gamma above and reverse them, the opposite happens. With less +Gamma in the market, the result is less dislocation and index movement that is more in line with its wilder underlying components, hence the measured whipsaw, yesterday.

Anyways, today there’s a “$2.1 trillion options expiration” that will clear the deck of some of that sticky +Gamma we talked about earlier. Per SpotGamma, dealers are likely to react in a manner that “allows the market to move more.”

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

One could construe that as bearish but it may pay more to not do so. The market is trading in a period during which there’s less liquidity. That may mean this hedging, for one, may result in continued support. The Holiday period pulls forward Delta buyback linked to options’ decay with respect to the passage of time (Charm). Therefore, per SpotGamma, weakness after expiration likely is contained.

“The potential for more violent downside (i.e., new YTD lows) increases into the end of the month and early December due to the large December options expiration.”

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma.

For that reason, with “[l]​​ow skew and vol-of-vol,” entering trades that are convex and change non-linearly with respect to changes in underlying implied volatility (IVOL) and direction, are attractive.

That’s because of the following dynamics:

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the underlying, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Gamma). When you think there is to be an outsized move in the implied volatility, relative to what is priced, you buy options (+Volga). If there is a large enough change in direction (RVOL) or IVOL, you may make money.

Graphic: Retrieved from Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN).

Technical

As of 9:00 AM ET, Friday’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, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Our S&P 500 pivot for today is $4,000.25. 

Key levels to the upside include $4,027.00, $4,069.25, and $4,136.75. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,965.25, $3,923.00, and $3,871.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. 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.

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 writes options market analyses at SpotGamma and is a Benzinga journalist. 

His past works include private discussions with ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, investors Kevin O’Leary and John Chambers, the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, the Lithuanian Delegation’s Aušrinė Armonaitė, among many others.

Contact

Direct queries to renato@physikinvest.com or Renato Capelj#8625 on Discord.

Disclaimer

Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 8, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 1,200+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 9:15 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. 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.

Administrative

This letter’s author is ramping up coverage and returning to speed after a short hiatus. Today’s focus will be on adding to the “Positioning” section of Monday’s letter.

Positioning

After some late-October weakness that is coinciding with the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to raise rates, stocks are tame. This is heading into midterm elections, today, and inflation updates, Thursday.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Created by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

Republicans are likely to add to their control of the House and Senate.

Having fewer Democrats in Congress would lower “the odds of fiscal measures [that would] embolden a hawkish Federal Reserve.” 

This is a boon for stocks.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “With things looking that bad, current polls show the Democrats appear to be headed for a drubbing, almost certain to lose control of the House and increasingly likely to see the Senate slip away.”

Indeed, Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) strategists found a “GOP-controlled Senate historically is associated with superior equity returns.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC).

In spite of recessions, even, the S&P 500, a year after midterms, often netted positive 20% or so returns Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) strategists add.

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas’ Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm. The “seasonal/cycle outlook is for a lower low or retest of the lows over the next three months as we are in the worst two months of the year and are smack dab in the *Weak Spot* of the 4-Year Cycle”

A post-election bump is on top of the general positiveness of equity performance during the earnings season and periods of strong pessimism as we have today.

Graphic: Retrieved from Mr. Blonde’s Stuck in the Middle letter.

Why all the potential positivity over this short period?

The aforementioned events are happening during a period wherein market liquidity eases (i.e., the holiday season).

It’s during this period, from a positioning perspective, the effects of decay (which we discuss more below) accelerate, and a lack of liquidity, according to Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, makes markets sensitive to positive-leaning flows.

Pessimism and hedging may indirectly give rise to bullishness. Why is that?

Demand for options exposures, especially across shorter time horizons, evidenced by heightened implied volatility (IVOL) at the front end (see below), has indirectly added to the pressures of de-grossing, as observed.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Though positioning is generally thin, as we also talked about in yesterday’s newsletter, thus reducing the impact of the hedging of this positioning, demand remains “strong,” per Karsan, and “dealers are short that volatility.”

Derivatives strategists at the likes of the Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY) agree with Karsan’s remarks; Amy Wu Silverman said that the Cboe Volatility Index’s (INDEX: VIX) elevation was the result of demand for hedges after October options expiry.

“Part of today’s move at least is a function of new positions. There is likely demand for future months since we just went through October options expiry,” she said. “Part of it is a function of the ‘floor’ of a new volatility regime.”

So, what’s the point to make?

For IVOL measures to remain wound, something bad needs to happen, in short.

Otherwise, per SpotGamma, a “decline in IVOL … can aid in a push-and-pull that actually serves to … resist far-reaching weakness” and keep selling orderly.

That’s because, from here, the removal of the protection that’s been demanded in the past days and weeks compounds the sped-up effects of Charm.

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility (Vanna) and time change (Charm), hedging ratios change. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.

Charm, which is the change in options Delta (i.e., exposure to direction) with respect to changes in time, “drives a positive window or seasonality”; “the reduction in time” and “lack of liquidity” make markets more sensitive to those positive flows.

Graphic: Retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

In the long term, however, weakness is here to stay. Poor IVOL performance and little skew also likely set the stage for a post-holiday tail. More on this, later.

Graphic: Retrieved from Corey Hoffstein on Twitter.

Technical

As of 6:45 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, just outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher.

If above the $3,806.25 LVNode, the $3,845.00 VPOC is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,874.25 HVNode and $3,909.25 MCPOC, or higher.

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

If above the $3,806.25 LVNode, the $3,787.00 VPOC is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,727.00 and $3,685.00 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: Futures tied to the S&P 500 are trading within close proximity to a blue line in the above graphic. This blue line depicts a volume-weighted average price (VWAP) anchored to price action following the release of consumer price data on September 13, 2022.

The VWAP metric is highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for the quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

Should the S&P 500 auction away from this level, and come back to it, a prudent response is to fade. If the price is above the VWAP, and it auctions lower, into the VWAP, traders would buy. On the other hand, if the price is below the VWAP, and it auctions higher, into the VWAP, sell.

At this time, the S&P 500 is near VWAP offering traders lower (directional) opportunities.


Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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 July 7, 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!

Graphic updated 7:00 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. 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

An incredibly busy past few months with what it seems are back-to-back historic developments.

For instance, just this week, crypto broker Voyager Digital (OTC: VYGVF) filed for bankruptcy. “Impaired” will be account holders who likely won’t be “getting back exactly what they’re owed,” as reported by Bloomberg.

This is on the heels of crypto market volatility affecting some of Voyager’s largest borrowers like Three Arrows Capital, an embattled hedge fund. Voyager lent deposits to these parties at rates of interest that were ultra-high. Customers were then, accordingly, paid high rates.

However, this was done under the impression that the customer holdings were liquid, easy to access, and not subject to counterparty risks. That didn’t happen. Voyager, like others, was “making a lot of unsecured or undersecured loans.”

What’s the takeaway, here? Bloomberg’s Matt Levine explains well. 

“If supposedly safe crypto brokerages keep failing and customers keep losing money, that is bad for the whole ecosystem; if your money isn’t safe with any crypto brokerage then you might just not buy crypto.”

Others in the ecosystem have continued to lever on the supposed successes of crypto. The failure of Voyager, among others, may have knock-on effects to be felt much later in the cycle.

Another historic development was the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) cancellation of billions of dollars in trades. This made whole large bettors in that ecosystem, all the while dinging liquidity providers, badly.

Some, including algorithmic fund Transtrend, left the LME as they could no longer trust it with client funds.

The question is what now? What’s the next big thing and, more importantly, will it have an impact on the traditional markets we watch?

As talked about in past analyses, it is over the last four decades that monetary policies were a go-to for supporting the economy. From that, created was “a disinterest and unimportance to cash flows.”

The commitment to reducing liquidity and credit has consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept the deflationary pressures of policies at bay.

It is elevated volatility, persistent declines, slower tightening processes abroad, among other things, that are to prompt investors to lower their selling prices in risk(ier) assets (e.g., options bets, metals, cryptocurrency and stablecoins, equities, bonds) and compete for cash.

Graphic: Via TradingView. Retrieved by Physik Invest.

This all is to continue bolstering the dollar’s surge to some of its strongest levels in years.

Graphic: Retrieved from Aksel Kibar, CMT.

As well as further douse inflation (which is likely to peak on inventories bloat and a “supply gut”) and, eventually, prompt the Federal Reserve to reverse its aggressive rate hike and quantitative tightening (QT) path.

Graphic: Posted by Joe Weisenthal. “Wheat has erased all of its gains for the year. Also, it looks like corn and soy are rolling over.”

“It is starting,” Nassim Nicholas Taleb said online. “I’ve seen gluts not followed by shortages, but I’ve never seen a shortage not followed by a glut.”

ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, who was very early to call the peak inflation, puts forth that “If inventories and stock prices are leading indicators for employment and wages, … then fears of cost-push inflation a la 1970’s should disappear during the next six months.”

Positioning

Thus far, we’re far into a dot-com type collapse, albeit one that has happened “underneath the surface of the indices,” per Simplify Asset Management’s Mike Green, as those largest stocks still are recipients of strong passive flows.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics’ Dark Pool Index shows a trend in heightened implicit buying support.

The upcoming earnings season is likely to shed clarity with respect to corporates’ ability to weather or pass on higher costs. It is possible, as some put forth, that there is a broad “earnings compression,” deepening the de-rate in the face of what has been a “multiple compression.”

From a positioning perspective, so awing is the absence of heightened demand for downside skew, all the while that, on the upside, is bid probably due to the reach for bets on a ferocious bear market rally.

Graphic: Posted by SpotGamma. “30-day ATM SPY IV vs the VIX and while this plot has a bit of noise it seems to very closely resemble @Nations_Indexes VIX/VOLI measurement. One interpretation here is that OTM options aren’t trading for much premium over ATM (flat skew).”

As explained yesterday, it makes sense to be a buyer of volatility, albeit via complex structures. 

For instance, buying volatility on the upside that is closer to current prices and selling that which is farther out (if bullish). And (if bearish), opting for calendars (as it is volatility in the shortest of maturities being sold heavily), back spreads, and the like.

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett.

Graphic: Posted by SpotGamma. “TSLA open interest continues to decline, particularly on the put side as the stock trades near 1year lows. Interestingly at-the-money IV remains elevated to levels going back to the days of the $1200 call gamma squeeze.”

On a more granular level, after the release of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes, participants added to their put sales and call buys, at the index level. The hedging of this does more to take from potential realized volatility. 

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

At its core, though, the market is at a pivot and losing the $3,800.00 S&P 500 area likely does more to bolster the creep in realized (RVOL) volatility, versus that which is implied (IVOL), all else equal.

Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) historical (orange) and implied (white) volatility via Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

Technical

As of 6:45 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to 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.

Any activity above the $3,859.00 overnight POC puts into play the $3,883.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,943.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,859.00 overnight POC puts into play the $3,831.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,800.25 LVNode and $3,774.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

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, former 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 15, 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

The calm before the storm.

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways, inside of a developing balance area. The S&P 500 was glued to the area above $3,700.00.

The Treasury rout cooled. T-Note (FUTURE: /ZN) and T-Bond (FUTURE: /ZB) futures were off their lows. Per Bloomberg, the sell-off in fixed income wiped nearly $10 trillion of value in global bonds, erasing post-Pandemic gains on stimulative central bank intervention.

This letter has talked about the bonds and equities down phenomenon before. It is the shifting in priorities at the policy level – from monetary to fiscal – driving (more) positive correlations.

Abroad, the slump solicited the attention of policymakers. The European Central Bank (ECB) said it would have an emergency meeting to discuss current market conditions. Policymakers are to sign off on the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted during the pandemic.

In other news, the American Petroleum Institute issued policies to unleash American energy and fuel recovery. The U.S. rebuffed China by calling the Taiwan Strait an international waterway as CEOs urge the U.S. Congress to pass a China competition bill. More news of layoffs hit the wire also. Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) will lay off 18% of its workforce, alongside many other crypto companies. 

Elsewhere, Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ: RDFN) and Compass Inc (NYSE: COMP) are laying off workers, as are automotive manufacturers.

Ahead is a packed calendar. To be released is data on retail sales, import prices, and manufacturing (8:30 AM ET). Later is data on home building and inventories (10:00 AM ET).

Key is the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement, projections, and news conference (2:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Let’s keep it short and to the point.

As talked about, yesterday, the FOMC is expected to raise rates by 75 basis points in light of new data. Per Bloomberg, “Powell will argue that a supersized move is needed to preempt inflation expectations from unanchoring.”

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool.

The peak in rates is somewhere in the 3.75-4.00% range out in early-to-mid 2023. Into that date range, there is a 100% the Fed will hike.

Graphic: Via Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (OTC: FMCC). “The housing market is incredibly rate-sensitive, so as mortgage rates increase suddenly, demand again is pulling back.”

On the quantitative tightening (QT) side of things, which is the direct (out) flow of capital from capital markets, the Fed will stop reinvesting the proceeds of maturing Treasuries for the first time since the start of quantitative easing (QE).

Per the Financial Times, in May, FOMC members agreed to cap their monthly balance-sheet run-off at $30 billion in U.S. Treasuries (UST) and $17.5 billion for agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). 

This will have an effect on prices “as liquidity – the ease with which investors can buy and sell assets – deteriorates as markets grapple with a larger amount of bond supply to absorb.”

Moreover, in the recent sale of bonds, liquidity was “worse than it was leading up to Lehman,” and, accordingly, this has played into repo dislocations.

“As customers sell their position to dealers, there’s limited liquidity in the off-the-run markets so the dealers short-sell currents,” Scott Skyrm of Curvature Securities says on increased buys and sells leading to more settlement activity, which plays into more fails.

“Market participants reduce their investments and leverage and go into ‘cash,’ leaving more actual cash in the repo market.”

Therefore, Treasury securities, across all tenors, have traded below the rate on overnight general collateral repurchase agreements. 

This could “be a sign of another shortage of collateral and that another systemic risk event might come up in the future,” as Fabian Wintersberger well explained in his newsletter.

Graphic: Via Fabian Wintersberger. Data from Bloomberg. 

Wintersberger adds: “All those things suggest that the storm we are currently facing in markets is just the beginning. The war in Ukraine, a rising interest rate environment, energy costs that subdue the outlook for the real economy, and finally, signals of stress in financial markets imply that there might be tough times ahead.”

Positioning: The divergence in volatility implied (IVOL) by participants’ options activity, versus that which the market realizes (RVOL) was resolved.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR).

As I wrote in my commentary for options data and analysis platform SpotGamma, yesterday, pursuant to remarks made in Physik Invest’s recent letters, volatility repriced and that was a boon for participants who bought into the implied skew convexity idea.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR).

Moreover, $3,700.00 SPX is a key level, per SpotGamma. This is because there is sizeable interest at that level expiring June 17, after FOMC. These options have little time to expiry and, thus, their gamma (options sensitivity to direction) grows rather large, at near-the-money strikes.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. 

In theory, we see participants as owning protection against their stock exposures. Therefore, the counterparties are short puts (positive delta) and short stock or futures (negative delta).

As the time to expiry narrows, above the strike in question delta decays, and counterparts buy back their static delta hedges. 

As the time to expiry narrows, below the strike in question delta expands and counterparts sell more static delta to hedge.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading.

That means, depending on what happens with FOMC, if below $3,700.00, associated hedging, less any new reach for protection would pressure markets lower. If above $3,700.00, hedging, less any new sale of protection, would bolster markets higher.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR).

If lower, all else equal, the June 17 options expiration will coincide with the removal of the in-the-money options exposures in question. This opens a window during which markets may have less pressure to rally against.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the lower 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 $3,768.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,808.50 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,808.50 HVNode could reach as high as the $3,836.25 LVNode and $3,863.25 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,768.25 HVnode puts in play the $3,727.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,727.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,688.75 and $3,664.25 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures. Updated: 6/14/2022.

Definitions

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.

Point Of Control: 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.

Micro Composite Point Of Control: 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 June 14, 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 sideways-to-higher, along with bonds, snapping the pricing in of tighter monetary policies and economic slowing.

Creeping up are expectations regarding the amount of tightening policymakers are to add. Treasury yields had their biggest jump in decades. U.S. 3-year Treasury yields, in particular, were up 25 basis points, to 3.49%, the highest since 2007, per Bloomberg.

Now, traders see nearly 200 basis points of tightening by the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) by September, as well as the possibility of a one-off 75 basis point hike. The overnight rate is expected to peak near 4% by mid-2023.

Accordingly, the U.S. and European real estate values have taken a hit amid rising rates and inflated prices, falling 5-10%. Rental demand has thinned, also. 

In other news, the U.S. sought to boost supplies of Russian fertilizer as “sanctions fears have led to a sharp drop in supplies, fueling spiraling global food costs.”

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: In what seems to be “a coordinated attempt to guide the market through trusted journalists,” recent updates on the path of inflation may push policymakers to surprise markets.

Graphic: Via Tier1Alpha. “A disappointing CPI suggested that calls for inflation peaks were premature and now markets are trying to interpret Powell’s (and Lagarde’s) true intentions.”

Markets reacted, accordingly, pricing in a near-certainty of a 75 basis point hike, later this week.

Graphic: Graphic: Via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool. In one session, participants priced in a near-certainty of a 75 basis point hike.

Looking into the future, Fed Funds target rates, based on the Fed Fund futures contract prices, are projected to peak into the mid-next year (Spring/Summer 2023).

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc’s FedWatch Tool

Accordingly, Treasury market turmoil continued with liquidity “worse than it was leading up to Lehman,” says Christian Hoffman, a portfolio manager for Thornburg Investment Management.

“That creates even more risk because if the market doesn’t have liquidity, it can gap down very quickly.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Taken from @DonutShorts. This could “be a sign of another shortage of collateral and that another systemic risk event might come up in the future,” as Fabian Wintersberger well explained in his newsletter.

As talked about in past newsletters, pressures in the financial system, all the while the economy is slowing, are rising. This is amidst a dash for cash as fixed income and equity markets are not perceived to be as safe.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Two-year US Treasury yields surged 29 basis points as bond prices tanked, … the biggest two-day increase since 2008, a sign of just how rapidly traders are adjusting where they think the Federal Reserve will take interest rates.”

“People are trying to process what’s behind these large moves,” Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale SA (OTC: SCGLY), said. She attributes some of the volatility to poor liquidity, panic selling, and margin calls.

Ultimately, according to Bloomberg’s John Authers, this is a tantrum the Fed is likely to let “rip for a while” before, potentially, suffocating “with more easy money.”

“The relationship between central banks and bond markets is, as I’ve said before, a lot like that between a parent and an angry toddler. Indulging the bond market early last year might prove a critical mistake in losing parental authority for the Fed.”

Graphic: Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). Taken from The Market Ear. MS’s Mike Wilson says: “From our vantage point, both rates and ERP appeared to be mis-priced [and] we think the S&P 500 is headed toward 3,400 before a more tradable low is in.”

Positioning: Last night, as I wrote a report for SpotGamma’s subscribers, noteworthy is how “subdued” volatility was with, recently, “realized outpacing that which is implied by participants’ options activity.”

That dynamic resolved, Monday, as implied (IVOL) finally retook that which is realized (RVOL).

Read, also, the Daily Brief for Monday, June 13, 2022.

Graphic: Via Robson Chow.

Moreover, for much of the session, the equity markets were range-bound as most of the movement in both equity and volatility markets happened overnight. 

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator for ES (SPX + SPY). Via SpotGamma, “Into weakness, participants mainly sold puts (a bullish trade). Into strength, they bought puts (a bearish trade). Throughout the session, too, there was light call buying (a bullish trade). This helps with understanding why the VIX moved much less during the day session.”

Noteworthy, was the absence of demand for protection that performs non-linearly with respect to changes in direction (delta) and volatility (vega).

“Fixed strike vols actually caught a bid, VIX futures are in backwardation,” The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial explains.

“However, that spot-vol relationship in the S&P still underperformed and skew was also lackluster.”

Graphic: Via TradingView. Taken by Physik Invest. 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), remains depressed, too, in comparison to the VIX, itself.

As said before, it is supply and demand dynamics that played into divergences between the volatility that the market realizes (RVOL) and that which is implied (IVOL). Participants are hedged and volatility remains well-supplied.

Was there to be forced selling and demand for protection en masse, we’d likely see that repricing in volatility we have been looking for.

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

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

And so, to position for that, (although it is not as opportune as it was a week ago), it continues to make sense to own volatility structures (that, one, either sold very short-dated pre-FOMC and OPEX volatility to fund that which is farther-dated or, two, buy into implied skew convexity, non-linear with respect to delta [gamma] and vega [volga] changes).

Notwithstanding, per SpotGamma, a lower bound in the market is near $3,700.00. It is at this level options flows may shift from “inducing” to “reducing” volatility as, “beneath this level, all else equal, liquidity providers would have less and less pressure to add on further weakness.”

Ultimately, it is at higher levels of volatility that the marginal impact of further volatility compression is likely to do more to bolster equity market upside as liquidity providers buy back their negative delta hedges to positive delta (short put) exposures. 

SpotGamma’s founder, Brent Kochuba, adds: “Ultimately this expiration is clearing out a lot of equity put protection, which clears the way for lower lows in the weeks and months ahead.”

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 lower 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 $3,768.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,808.50 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,808.50 HVNode could reach as high as the $3,836.25 LVNode and $3,863.25 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,768.25 HVnode puts in play the $3,727.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,727.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,688.75 and $3,664.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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.

Point Of Control: 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.

Micro Composite Point Of Control: 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 May 20, 2022

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

What Happened

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

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

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Commentary published by Kai Volatility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via SpotGamma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests.

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For 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 March 22, 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 were sideways to higher, and this validates higher prices, more. 

This is as implied volatility metrics – such as the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) – continue to suggest less demand for protection and a potential easing of concern.

As discussed in detail, yesterday, participants are not committing themselves to increased call option (i.e., insurance for shorts or bets on the upside) exposures, a dynamic usually seen at the start of sustained reversals. 

Given this, as well as institutional selling in spite of underinvestment (watch a chat), and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) commitment to reining in inflation via “aggressive” monetary policy (i.e., hike and taper asset purchases) action, there is concern over the sustainability of this rally.

Ahead is Fed-speak. The New York Fed’s John Williams speaks at 10:35 AM ET. San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly talks at 2:00 PM ET. The Cleveland Fed’s Loretta Mester talks at 5:00 PM ET.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Based on remarks by the Fed’s Jerome Powell, quantitative tightening (QT) will move at a pace of $1 trillion a year. This is a faster pace than that of the prior QT.

Read yesterday’s commentary for more on QE and QT.

According to Joseph Wang’s detailed discussion on the implications of QT, the “[a]nticipation of QT is already widening the spread between Agency MBS and Treasuries but does not yet appear to affect Treasury prices.”

“The supply and demand dynamics suggest that the market may simply be slow to react. In that case, Treasury prices will also have to adjust downward, maybe by a lot.”

Pursuant to that remark, Damped Spring’s Andy Constan explains that quantitative easing (QE), “which decreased risk premiums and increased wealth was inflationary to assets but ineffective in generating inflation of goods and services.”

Essentially, QT is not a good tool to fight inflation.

“Raising rates is the strong tool to fight inflation for the Fed and decreasing the budget deficit growth is the tool for Fiscal policymakers; … the [Fed] will do both QT to reduce the balance sheet and hike rates to fight inflation.”

Moreover, higher bond yields (lower bond prices) are usually not good for stocks. The question is whether participants want to take on the added risk of investing at high valuations?

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI). Markets tend not, necessarily, to perform poorly during rising interest rate environments. 

The QT narrative amplifies the impact of rate hikes

Lisa Shalett, CIO at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) Wealth Management, discussed recently QT at $80 billion per month (and $500 billion in balance sheet reduction through year-end), as well as how the added risks are to be compensated through lower price-to-earnings multiples in the stock market.

“In tightening terms, that’s the equivalent of another 25-basis-point hike,” Shalett explained. “In contrast, balance sheet run-off totaled $700 billion from 2017 through 2019 before the Fed stopped because markets seized and stocks sold off.”

Graphic: Via Index Indicators. Breadth, here, is measured by the % of SPX stocks above the 50-day average.

Positioning: As discussed before, a feature of falling markets is the demand for protection. 

When this protection is monetized (or decay ensues), options counterparties add to the market liquidity (i.e., buying back short futures hedges).

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc (NYSE: CME). Book depth thickens since early March swing low.

A feature of markets entering a sustainable recovery is the demand for call options.

Based on metrics published by SpotGamma, call-buying was near its lows.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Plots show the premium per trade aggregated each week, with calls in blue and puts in orange. This is only customer flow (i.e. retail, hedge funds). Starting with equities, call buying this past week was at LOWS going back to 2020 (top right).”

Looking at intraday measures, yesterday, we see that participants’ commitment to a change in direction remains low, still.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options trade. The rising blue line denotes put selling (a positive delta impact). The falling orange line denotes call selling (a negative delta impact).

It’s possible that the bottoming process has yet to conclude. Instead, a build of positive options gamma (via the supply of protection – call selling – and more active hedging of call options near the money) may give the market some support.

To explain, in accordance with the HIRO graphic above, we surmise counterparties are long calls and therefore tend toward selling into strength (buying into weakness) amid increasing (decreasing) positive delta exposure.

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

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

“Was the SPX to liquidate, again, demand for protection and increases in volatility likely have us targeting options-based support.”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. Key levels of interest.

In other words, based on the information we have at the moment, the market is prone to sharp drops lower, and the rally is questionable. Caution.

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, 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 $4,464.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,499.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,565.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,464.75 LVNode puts in play the $4,438.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,409.00 and $4,355.00 VPOC, 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

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.

Liquidation Breaks: The profile shape suggests participants were “too” long and had poor location.

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.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

About

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

Capelj 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.