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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 8, 2022

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

What Happened

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Shortened note, today.

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via @EffMktHype

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

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from Bloomberg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Netting call & put delta, you can see we’re near extremes in terms of put:call positions. Often large put positions are removed by expirations, which seems to coincide with market lows. Many of these are quarterly expirations which coincide w/FOMC meetings – such as next week.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,227.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,265.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,285.50 HVNode and $4,319.00 VPOC, or higher.

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 23, 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 traded sideways to higher after Monday’s post-options expiration (OPEX) probe lower. Ahead, there are no data releases scheduled.

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: At what point are monetary tightening and geopolitical tensions priced in? 

According to some strategists, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic, the sell-off is overdone and, if anything, Ukraine tensions “would likely prompt a dovish reassessment.” 

“Short-term rates markets have likely moved too far vs. what CBs will ultimately deliver in hikes this year,” he adds. “We expect risky asset markets to rebound as they digest these risks and sentiment improves, aided by inflows from systematic investors and corporate buybacks.” 

In the worst case, though, pursuant to notes by peers in the industry, Kolanovic nods to the fact that if selling were to continue, there would likely be a point the would Fed reassess tightening.

Basically, in the worst case, there is the potential that further selling invokes the so-called “Fed put,” which is about 15% below current prices. 

“[R]isk is being repriced to fit the world where real rates are a lot higher, and the Fed put (is) much lower thanks to the Fed’s need to fight inflation,” says rates strategist Rishi Mishra. 

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

Positioning: Markets stabilize after last week’s large monthly options expiration (OPEX). 

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

Per Bloomberg, that event saw the roll-off of nearly $2.2 trillion in options. In the past, this event had bullish implications (i.e., markets rose into OPEX). That is not the case, really, any longer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The unwind of these hedges now, as seen Friday-Tuesday, often culminates in a post-OPEX low. That “means chase-y accelerant flows from dealer hedging into moves and creating overshoots in both directions,” Nomura Holdings Inc’s (NYSE: NMR) Charlie McElligott wrote.

Taken together, according to SpotGamma, though “post-OPEX, the removal of linear short (-delta) hedges [to put-heavy exposures] may further bolster attempts higher, … [t]he removal of downside (put) protection may also open the door for weakness in a case where some outside (fundamental) event solicits real-money selling and a new demand for protection.”

Graphic: Via EPFR, Barclays, and Bloomberg. Taken from The Market Ear.

“The market looks fairly well hedged and it’s why up until today we’ve had little follow-through on the downside despite negative headlines,” Danny Kirsch, head of options at Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR), said in an interview.

“We’ll see if things open up after the February expiry.”

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of its 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 $4,332.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,464.00 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,332.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,249.00 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,212.50 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,177.25 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.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 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

During holiday and overnight trade, U.S. equity index futures probed below trading ranges established the week prior. Strong buying surfaced after a test of a key visual area.

Increased implied volatility (IV) to pressure markets as counterparties hedge directional risks. Present options positioning, combined with liquidity measures, suggest big moves up and down.

Ahead is data on the S&P Case-Shiller home price index and FHFA home price index (9:00 AM ET), Markit manufacturing and services PMI (9:45 AM ET), as well as the consumer confidence index (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: Are markets in turmoil?

Depends. Abroad, yes. At home, yes (but not as much).

Russian stocks, alongside Russia-Ukraine angst, sank the most since the 2008 financial crisis, pressuring markets in other parts of the world, as well. Russia’s MOEX Index plunged ~14% Monday.

The geopolitical disputes come alongside the threat of contractionary monetary policy. 

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

Some, however, say the risk premium expansion driven by inflation and tightening fears has run its course. 

Graphic: G5 credit impulse suggests inflation ought to trend lower. This particular metric, per Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass, leads GDP, CPI, and market returns by quarters.

According to a note published by Andy Constan of Damped Spring Advisors, “We believe that risk premium expansion has peaked. A new low … will require more than frontrunning but Fed action that is not currently priced into markets.”

That is as Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Group AG’s (NYSE: UBS) Global Wealth Management arm says that “Despite the recent volatility, it’s important to remember that we are still in an environment of robust economic and earnings growth.”

“Our base case we expect upside for equity markets over the balance of the year.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “If market dysfunction is reflected in tighter conditions, then this chart shows we’re nowhere near stressed levels — after all, central bank policy globally is historically loose.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Mislav Matejka adds that stock pessimism is wrong and positioning for a recession would be too early given favorable financing conditions, strong labor, an underleveraged consumer, as well as strong cash flows and bank balance sheets. 

“We believe one should look through the widespread ‘slowdown’ calls that are currently in vogue, and stay bullish on banks, mining, energy, insurance, autos, travel and telecoms,” Matejka and his team wrote noting, too, that market internals are “bullish again.”

Does this mean that markets are positioned for a near-term bounce? Let’s see.

Positioning: As noted last week, passive buying flows continue to persist alongside a drop in bearish sentiment readings and bond market outflow readings which “have actually lined up closer to bottoms in the equity market.”

Graphic: Via EPFR, Barclays, and Bloomberg. Taken from The Market Ear.

This is as participants’ demand for protection (negative delta exposure) left dealers (on the other side and warehousing risk) adding negative delta exposure linearly (via stock and futures sales) to hedge.

To note, owning an option offers someone positive exposure to gamma or convexity (to have profits multiplied if the direction is correct, all else equal). On the other side, though, participants who are short gamma or convexity may have their losses multiplied if incorrect.

Making some naive assumptions on the build-in interest in options strikes at lower prices, we may surmise that dealers were exposed to increased negative gamma exposure. 

Graphic: Via Tier1Alpha. “Short Gamma Exposure -> Forces Option dealers to sell  -> Causes Higher realized volatility -> Triggering vol controlled funds to sell -> Forcing options dealers to de-risk/ and sell even more. rVol just keeps moving forcing vol control funds to sell even more.”

To hedge this, if volatility were to remain unchanged, dealers would sell (buy) into weakness (strength) to hedge increasing (decreasing) negative gamma exposure. 

If volatility rises (drops), then more stock and futures must be sold (bought/covered).

Graphic: Via Stretching Spreads. Customers indirectly taking liquidity through trading of options, in the face of a lower liquidity environment, results in more whipsaw, two-sided action. 

Moreover, Friday’s monthly options expiration (OPEX) coincided with the removal of lots of put-heavy exposures. This will decrease the dealers’ positive exposure to delta and make gamma exposures less negative.

Therefore, absent some exogenous event that increases demand for protection, again, there is the potential for strength, post-OPEX. Volatility compression would mark down dealer positive delta and therefore coincide with positive “vanna” flows that bolster attempts higher.

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,332.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,464.00 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,332.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,249.00 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,212.50 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,177.25 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.

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 18, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned back up into range after a spike lower from multi-day balance. The overnight response, higher, happened after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for talks in Europe next week.

Ahead is data on existing home sales and leading economic indicators (10:00 AM ET), as well as Fed-speak by Christopher Waller (10:15 AM ET), John Williams (11:00 AM ET), and Lael Brainard (1:30 PM ET).

In observance of Washington’s Birthday, markets are closed Monday, February 21, 2022.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Given the persistence of mechanical responses to key levels, visually-driven, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) carry a heavier hand in recent price discovery.

The takeaway is that the larger, other time frame (OTF) participants are waiting for more information before committing to substantial expansion of range via large sales or buys.

Information the OTFs are seeking to process and position themselves in accordance with are (but not limited to) geopolitical tensions and contractionary monetary policy.

Thursday’s commentary went in-depth on the implications of more severe Fed-action. Mainly, to slow inflation and rid the market of excesses, “a Volcker moment” is needed a strategist said.

Graphic: Via MacroTrends & Cboe Options Institute. “Value stocks started to outperform when the Federal Reserve (under Greenspan) communicated their intent to tighten policy. Value fell out of favor in the middle of 2007 following a UST yield curve inversion and looser monetary policy (under Bernanke).”

The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, and others, expressed their differing sentiments on the issue, given that equities are so intertwined with consumer savings.

“There is no way the fed looks to use additional volatility as a policeman,” he explained. “It’s one of those things that sounds ok in theory but will not work in real-world applications.”

As Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) puts well, “This cycle is unlike any recent one and, while there are a ton of reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy’s near-term prospects, there are also reasons to worry that a recession isn’t far off on the horizon.”

Graphic: Via St. Louis Fed. Taken from Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE). “In fact, a dynamic where short-dated bond yields are higher than longer-dated bonds can reinforce an economic slowdown. The cost of capital is perhaps the most important component for evaluating so many other market relationships. Any investment that involves borrowed money becomes more expensive when the cost of capital increases. More is spent on interest payments. Higher rates incentivize saving (as opposed to consumption) which impacts businesses and the economy as a whole.”

“If the Fed is forced to raise the fed funds rate above its neutral rate to tame inflation, the stage will be set for recession. Also, some Fed officials believe they are falling further behind the curve, which could lead to a more aggressive tightening cycle, a recipe for an economic downturn in 2023 or 2024.”

Based on this sentiment, investors have already bet – via the eurodollar futures contract – on the Fed reversing its tightening course in late 2023. The current baseline calls for four 25-basis point rate hikes this year.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “In the eurodollar futures markets, the spread between the December 2023 and December 2025 contracts has dropped further into negative territory on Monday — implying a near-25 basis point cut in the federal funds benchmark over this 24-month timeframe.”

“We, therefore, think that the more likely path is a longer series of 25-basis point increases in the target range for the fed funds rate and we may need to add an additional rate hike to our baseline forecast in March,” Moody’s says in response to more hawkish pricings as a result of market focus on comments by hawkish regional Fed presidents.

Graphic: Via TS Lombard. Taken from The Market Ear. “Flattening is normal when the Fed is tightening. Looking at the past eight hiking cycles, almost every segment of the curve has flattened on average without immediately triggering a recession.”

On that note, Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Group AG’s (NYSE: UBS) Global Wealth Management arm says that “Despite the recent volatility, it’s important to remember that we are still in an environment of robust economic and earnings growth.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “If market dysfunction is reflected in tighter conditions, then this chart shows we’re nowhere near stressed levels — after all, central bank policy globally is historically loose.”

“Our base case we expect upside for equity markets over the balance of the year.”

Positioning: Passive buying flows persist alongside a drop in bearish sentiment readings.

Graphic: Via EPFR, Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS), and Bloomberg. Taken from The Market Ear

This action is in the face of a collapse in margin debt.

Graphic: Via Tier1Alpha. Taken from The Market Ear. “Margin debt is a big part of the puzzle, but even more important is the “delta” of the margin debt. The YoY % change of FINRA margin debt looks slightly scary.”

In the credit markets, investment-grade spreads are at some of their widest levels since 2020. Per Bloomberg, put option (bets on the downside) open interest in corporate bond ETFs is at an all-time high.

“Rotate into credit now,” Chris Sheldon, the co-head of credit and markets at KKR, explained, taking a contrarian view. “As the rate volatility plays through the market segment, we think high yield could become more attractive very quickly.”

On the single-stock and index-level, options positioning suggests participants should continue to brace for volatility. Participants’ demand for protection (negative delta exposure) has left counterparties (dealers taking the other side and warehousing risk) adding negative delta exposure linearly (via stock and futures sales) to hedge.

To note, owning an option offers someone positive exposure to gamma or convexity (to have profits multiplied if the direction is correct, all else equal). On the other side, though, participants who are short gamma or convexity may have their losses multiplied if incorrect.

Making some naive assumptions on the build-in interest in options strikes at lower prices, we may surmise that dealers are exposed to increased negative gamma exposure. 

To hedge this, if volatility were to remain unchanged, dealers must sell (buy) into weakness (strength) to hedge increasing (decreasing) negative gamma exposure. If volatility rises (drops), then more stock and futures must be sold (bought/covered).

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

The monthly options expiration (OPEX) will coincide with the removal of lots of put-heavy exposures. This will decrease the dealers’ positive exposure to delta and make gamma exposures less negative. 

Therefore, absent some exogenous event that increases demand for protection, again, there is the potential for strength, post-OPEX. That’s when that real-money buying, alluded to above, may resolve in higher prices.

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

Spikes: Spikes mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,415.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,438.00 key response area (balance boundary and high volume area). Initiative trade beyond the key response area could reach as high as the $4,464.75 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,485.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,415.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,401.50 spike base. Initiative trade beyond the spike base could reach as low as the $4,367.25 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,332.75 high volume area (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

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.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure. In recent history, this reset in dealer positioning has been front-run; prior, there was an increase in volatility after the removal of large options positions and associated hedging.

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 16, 2022

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

What Happened

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

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

Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: The market has de-rated substantially at the single-stock level.

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

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

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

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

Graphic: MOVE Index. Taken from Lisa Abramowicz.

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via CrossBorder Capital. Taken from Bloomberg. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,438.00 key response area (balance boundary, high-volume area, and prior overnight low) puts in play the $4,483.00 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,499.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode), or higher.

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 15, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sharply higher after Russia announced a pullback of some forces near Ukraine.

Ahead is data on the Producer Price Index and Empire State Manufacturing Index (8:30 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: In the face of what participants feel will be an aggressive wave of monetary tightening and geopolitical tensions, markets had sold.

The number of interest-rate increases implied by the market for overnight index swaps, according to Bloomberg, increased to seven. Higher rates ding valuations, hurting most high-flying technology stocks and junk bonds.

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass – The 5y-30y OIS curve, which is may eventually invert, “trades at a meager 16 bps and Powell didn’t remove the hawkish Fed tail risks (e.g. 50 bps hike in March or hiking at every meeting) and validated the aggressive hiking cycle pricing amidst a clear slowdown in economic growth impulse.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co strategists led by Marko Kolanovic suggest what the market is pricing will not materialize. 

“We believe risky asset markets have mostly adjusted to monetary policy shifts by now,” the JPMorgan analysts wrote. “Short-term rates markets have likely moved too far vs. what CBs will ultimately deliver in hikes this year.”  

The team at JPMorgan concludes that though the risk of conflict in Ukraine is high, the impact on global equity markets would be limited and “likely prompt a dovish reassessment by CBs.” 

“We expect risky asset markets to rebound as they digest these risks and sentiment improves, aided by inflows from systematic investors and corporate buybacks.” 

Graphic: Sentiment via Bloomberg.

Pursuant to those remarks, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) “saw the largest net buying since late December (+1.0SDs), driven by risk-on flows with long buys outpacing short sales 8 to 1.”

“All regions were net bought led by North America (driven by long buys) and to a lesser extent DM Asia (driven by short covers). 8 of 11 global sectors were net bought led in $ terms by Info Tech, Materials, Financials, and Consumer Disc. Net buying in US Info Tech continued this week.”

Positioning: As much as this newsletter sounds like a broken record, not much has changed in terms of positioning.

Lower prices and higher implied volatility (the byproduct of demand for protection) compounded macro flows, exacerbating weakness.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.

According to options modeling and analysis provider SpotGamma, “When long a put, investors are offered the potential to make asymmetric payouts. They are long gamma and have positive exposure to convexity.”

Dealers, on the other side, have the potential to realize multiplied losses if markets trade down. 

“To protect against ‘blowout’ situations, dealers can and will buy puts against their existing exposure. At a certain point, the convexity of the dealers’ own insurance kicks in and basically reduces the amount of added hedges needed on increases in volatility or lower markets.”

Therefore, markets have reached a potential lower bound, in light of this dynamic. Participants, en masse, would have to commit more capital to strike prices much further down and out in time to indirectly add pressure.

Taking into account this options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side), positioning metrics remain positively skewed.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 14, 2022

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

What Happened

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via EPFR. Retrieved from The Market Ear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: Via SentimenTrader.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For February 11, 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 continued lower after the hottest inflation reading in decades and hawkish (i.e., favoring contractionary policy) Fed-speak by St. Louis Fed Chair James Bullard.

Ahead is data on University of Michigan sentiment and inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Bonds and equities were sold, yesterday.

This is after the hottest inflation reading in four decades and comments by the Fed’s Bullard that the central bank should hike rates by 100 basis points over the next three meetings.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “This is a heat map produced by the Bloomberg ECAN function, and it shows every indicator relevant to U.S. inflation now well above its recent mean.”

“Bullard’s plan involves spreading the increases over three meetings, shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet starting in the second quarter and then deciding on the path of rates in the second half based on updated data,” Bloomberg explained

“Markets boosted bets on rate hikes, pricing a full percentage-point increase over three meetings, which would require the first 50 basis-point increase since 2000 unless a move was made between Fed meetings.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Further, though this FOMC participant’s more hawkish tilt differs from what the entire committee has committed to, so long as “the market expects it, … the odds of a 50bp hike in March or May are higher.”

This trend in expectations has been worsening with each major macroeconomic event in 2022. The Fed’s Minutes, FOMC meeting, Nonfarm Payrolls, and CPI have all played a part in the disruption of long-term trends in yields which has a negative impact on valuations, to put simply.

Though earnings growth may offset the negative valuation impact of higher rates, as discussed in detail days ago, the yield curve – e.g., spread between 10- and 2-year – is on its way toward an inversion, as is the yield curve measure involving overnight index swaps (OIS).

For context, per Reuters, an “OIS transaction involves exchanging an overnight rate such as the federal funds rate for a fixed one. For instance, in a U.S. 2-year OIS swap, one party to the transaction receives a fixed two-year rate in exchange for paying the fed funds rate daily over the next two years.”

The OIS market is also a reflection of traders’ expectations for rates. An inversion (which may signal the expectation of aggressive action against inflation that could also stifle economic growth) previously occurred in July 2018. Months later, markets sold and the Fed cut rates. 

Per Alfonso Peccatiello, the former head of a $20 billion investment portfolio and author of The Macro Compass: The inversion of the OIS curve may worsen a downturn in the economy as short-term refinancing credit becomes more expensive and markets price weaker long-term growth.

The OIS curve is “a cleaner indication of yield curve inversions,” Peccatiello added. 

Positioning: Bonds down. Equities down. What the heck? 

This newsletter has talked about this dynamic in the past and will borrow from that, below.

In short, over the past 40 or so years, monetary policy was used as a crutch to support the economy. This promoted deflation, innovation, and the subsequent rise in valuations.

With rates near zero and lifting, that’s a headwind; coupled with participants’ increased exposure to rate and equity market risk, which can play into cross-market hedging and de-leveraging cascades, 60/40 turns into somewhat of a poor hedge.

Why? Higher rates have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive.

According to a note published by Andy Constan of Damped Spring Advisors, “The lack of additional liquidity provided by Fed purchase will also remove a damper for the market and the economy keeping asset volatility well bid, while also causing asset diversification benefit to fall, generating rising portfolio volatility and the risk demanded to hold assets.”

“Now, with the Fed poised to hike interest rates to combat raging inflation, the bond-stock relationship could be upended,” Bloomberg explains

“At stake are trillions of dollars that are managed at risk parity funds, balanced mutual funds, and pension funds that follow the framework of 60/40 asset allocation.”

Why mention any of this? Well, it forces us to look elsewhere for protection. 

In this case, the growing asset class of volatility, so to speak, is that protection. Investors are aware of both the protective and speculative efficiency afforded to them by options and that is the primary reason option volumes are so comparable to stock volumes, now.

Notwithstanding, with option volumes higher, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks. Therefore, the correlation of stock moves, versus options activity, is more pronounced.

To put it simply, we can look to the options market for clues on where to next, for lack of better phrasing. So, let’s do that!

Heading into Thursday’s session, participants were committing capital to bets on lower volatility.

The counterparties to this short volatility trade were long; if the market were to trade higher (lower), they would sell (buy) futures against increased (decreased) positive delta exposure.

Graphic: A rudimentary example of what is involved in hedging a long call option. 

However, Thursday’s post-CPI trade disrupted the balance of trade; lower prices and demand for protection, in the face of lower levels of “on-screen liquidity,” solicited dealer selling to hedge increased exposure to the positive delta from demanded short-dated, highly convex options.

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

The demand for shorter-dated protection is better visualized by the VIX term structure which shifted markedly at the front-end, yesterday.

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

As direction (delta) and volatility (vega) are inputs to the pricing of options, lower prices and higher volatility (a reflection of fear and demand for protection) will mark options higher. Hedging pressures will exacerbate weakness, as a result of real selling (as talked about above), at the index and single-stock level.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on the underlying’s order book.

Taking into account options positioning, versus buying pressure (measured via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side), positioning metrics remain positively skewed.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

To conclude, the dip lower and demand for protection could serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges thus supporting any attempt higher). All eyes are on next week’s monthly options expiration (OPEX). We will discuss the implications of this, later.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,473.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,526.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,565.00 untested POC (VPOC) and $4,585.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,473.00 POC puts in play the key response area at $4,438.75 (BAL/ONL/HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the key response area could reach as low as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,365.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Definitions

Overnight 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.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to trend or pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire) and the reset in dealer gamma exposure.

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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