Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 28, 2021

Notice: Up to January 3, 2022, any commentaries published will be lighthearted and, generally, shorter in length.

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were sideways to higher with most commodities, yields. 

This is as volatility implodes; the CBOE Volatility Index, from December 20, went as low as 17.55 this week [down 9.84 (35.93%)]. This coincides with a compression in the VIX’s term structure, and that has so-called bullish/supportive implications.

Ahead is data on the S&P Case-Shiller U.S. home price index (9:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 7:00 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

On lackluster breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the S&P 500 continues to auction away from intraday value, the levels at which participants found it most favorable to transact.

Moreover, given the persistence of mechanical responses to technical levels, visually-driven, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) likely carry a heavier hand in recent price discovery.

Via volume profile analysis, we see a plethora of low-volume pockets – voids, if you will – that likely hold virgin tests. 

As stated over the past few days, successful penetration often portends follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels (quickly run for the exits when wrong).

Context: Recall that a collapse in implied volatility, coupled with relentless, seasonally-aligned passive buying would bring in positive flows that would bolster any attempt higher.

At the same time “options selling strategies [became] attractive,” according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS); the commitment of capital to options strikes at higher prices implies participants are pushing up their bets on S&P 500 movement. That’s bullish.

Graphic: Shift Search S&P 500 data (excluding weeklies) suggests participants are likely initiating box spreads and rolling their call exposure out in time (as much as 6 months).

According to SpotGamma, “[s]ince, customers are thought to be net short calls (short-delta), as the index moves toward the high activity $4,800.00 strike, they become longer delta.”

Why? When a position’s delta rises with stock or index price rises, gamma – the expected change in delta given movement in the underlying – is added to delta. 

“As participants keep adding to their bets at $4,800.00, the dealer only takes on more exposure to positive gamma, which they hedge by selling futures and adding liquidity to the market.”

The commitment of capital on lower volatility ups the dealers’ exposure to positive gamma; this will be offset through a supply of liquidity (via short futures), which weighs on price discovery.

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

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

Going forward, coming into Friday’s weighty options expirations, at the index level, hedging pressures ought to be sticky and weigh on the upside. 

Thereafter, positive fundamental forces and dealers’ covering of hedges to remaining “put-heavy” positioning could bolster any seasonally-aligned price rise into the very first interest rate hikes.

Graphic: Per The Market Ear, “January typically sees 134% of inflows (the rest of the 11 months -34%). And with every private wealth manager in the world right now pitching increased allocations into equities (out of cash and out of bonds), Goldman calculates that keeping 2021 pace, This would be $125BN worth of inflows quickly in January.”

Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast is in agreement: “the Dow Jones Industrial Average increases this quarter and peaks in early 2022, … [followed by] steady decline through 2022.”

Graphic: S&P 500 performance before and after rate hikes.

Expectations: As of 7:00 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, just 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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,771.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,784.25 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,797.25 overnight high (ONH) and $4,803.75 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,771.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,690.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC), 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. Learn about the profile.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Additionally, Capelj is a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, and ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, as well as a SpotGamma contributor, helping develop insights around impactful options market dynamics.

Disclaimer

At this time, 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 December 23, 2021

What Happened

Led by the Russell 2000, overnight, equity index futures continued higher while commodities were mixed and bonds were a touch lower. Friday, December 24, markets are closed.

Pursuant to comments made earlier this week, volatility was sold aggressively; the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) dropped ~9.00. This coincides with a compression in the VIX’s term structure, and that has so-called bullish/supportive implications.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, personal income, consumer spending, inflation, disposable income, goods orders (8:30 AM ET), as well as new home sales, University of Michigan sentiment, and five-year inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:40 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

On lackluster intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, via the S&P 500’s spike close higher, away from intraday value, the levels at which participants found it most favorable to transact.

This activity, which marks the continuation of an earlier trend change, is built on poor structure. 

That, ultimately, adds to technical instability.

Why? If you haven’t noticed, the levels quoted daily in this particular commentary seem to be holding to the tick. Given the persistence of mechanical responses to key technical levels, visually-driven, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) carry a heavier hand in recent price discovery. 

Via volume profile analysis, we see a plethora of low-volume pockets – voids, if you will – that likely hold virgin tests. As stated, yesterday, successful penetration portends follow-through given the participants that were most active at those technical levels. Caution is warranted.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: According to Ryan Detrick of LPL Financial, the “official Santa Claus Rally starts this Monday (last 5 days of the year and the first two of the following year).”

The 7 days (after this Monday) are up nearly 79% of the time. 

However, in the past 5 occurrences, “Jan was also in the red and Q1 been weak as well.”

Graphic: LPL Financial on the so-called Santa Claus rally.

This activity comes after last week’s weighty “quad-witching” and ahead of the December “Quarterlys” expiry.

The exposure that rolled (and is to roll) off was “put-heavy.”

Participants’ commitment to capital at strikes lower in price and out in time – in the face of weak breadth and bearish fundamental developments – in single stocks, fed into the indices, also. 

According to SpotGamma, the December 17 expiration cleared quite a bit of negative delta (e.g., the ARK Innovation ETF [NYSE: ARKK] had $1.5 billion in notional put delta expire).

This opened a window of strength and realized volatility, wherein positive fundamental forces and dealers’ covering of hedges could bolster any recovery.

So, it is this week’s collapse in implied volatility (and associated collapse in term structure), coupled with the pending management of large S&P positions, and relentless, seasonally-aligned “passive buying support,” which brought positive flows bolstering this “Santa Claus rally.”

Graphic: Shift Search data suggests participants are likely initiating box spreads and rolling their call exposure out in time (as much as 6 months).

Notwithstanding, as mentioned, yesterday, Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) saw “options selling strategies as attractive in the near term,” estimating “a 12% probability of a 1-month 5% down-move in the SPX in this economic environment based on [the] GS-EQMOVE model.”

“Options are pricing a 22% probability of that size move indicating that puts are overvalued.”

As noted Tuesday, the commitment of capital on lower volatility results in counterparties taking on more exposure to positive gamma. The growth in positive gamma (as the data is showing) will be offset through the dealers’ supply of liquidity, pressuring the price discovery process.

Note: As a position’s delta rises with stock or index price rises, gamma (or how an option’s delta is expected to change given a change in the underlying) is added to the delta.

This is while many products are in lower liquidity and short-gamma (wherein an options delta decreases with stock prices rises and increases when stock prices drop) in which moves are more erratic.

Therefore, coming into weighty options expirations, correlations may be off (as that is the only reconciliation in an environment where, at the index level, hedging pressures are sticky, whereas elsewhere they aren’t).

Thereafter, participants ought to monitor the sides and levels capital is committed for clues as to where we go next. Continued compression of volatility, as well as a commitment to options higher in prices and further out in time, supports upward price discovery.

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, “There have been five prior years since 1953 (when we went to the 5-day trading week) that have seen December as the most volatile month: 1973, 1978, 1985, 1995, and 2018. The January following these five prior years was BIG positive four out of five times, with January 2019 seeing the biggest gain.”

Weakness (alongside a commitment to strikes lower in price and out in time) likely sets the market up for another round of instability, as realized in late November and early December.

Graphic: A compression in the VIX term structure would provide markets with a boost.

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

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

The spike base is $4,678.50. Below bearish (change in tone). Above bullish (status quo).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,690.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,709.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,743.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,690.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,673.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,623.00 POC, 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. Learn about the profile.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

Significance Of Prior ATHs, ATLs: Prices often encounter resistance (support) at prior highs (lows) due to the supply (demand) of old business. These areas take time to resolve. Breaking and establishing value (i.e., trading more than 30-minutes beyond this level) portends continuation.

Price Discovery (One-Timeframe Or Trend): Elongation and range expansion denotes a market seeking new prices to establish value, or acceptance (i.e., more than 30-minutes of trade at a particular price level). 

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, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

Additionally, Capelj is a Benzinga finance and technology reporter interviewing the likes of Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, JC2 Ventures’ John Chambers, and ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, as well as a SpotGamma contributor, helping develop insights around impactful options market dynamics.

Disclaimer

At this time, 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 December 7, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, screens went green as equity index and commodity futures auctioned sideways to higher as fears regarding the Chinese economy and omicron were assuaged.

Specifically, China moved to ease monetary policy and studies revealed GSK’s antibody treatment working on the COVID-19 omicron variant.

Ahead is data on the trade deficit, productivity, and unit labor costs (8:30 AM ET), as well as consumer credit (3:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

On supportive intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by an upside gap, expansion of range, and separation of value.

This activity, which marks participants’ willingness to change the trend, is on top of poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

Specifically, Monday’s session left a gap and p-shaped emotional, multiple-distribution profile structure (i.e., old-money shorts covering).

Going forward, participants will look to revisit, repair, and strengthen – build out areas of high volume (HVNodes) via the cave-fill process – these areas of low volume (LVNodes).

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggested current prices offered favorable entry and exit).

Context: COVID-19, China, and U.S. growth, as well as improvements in positioning metrics.

Overnight, there was news that GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s research showed its antibody treatment effective against mutations in the omicron variant.

This came after China’s decision to reduce the cash banks must hold in reserves; the development releases “funds in long-term liquidity to bolster slowing economic growth.”

As noted yesterday, though there is a potential that the U.S. realizes the swiftest tightening in financial conditions since 2005, now, more than during the tech-and-telecom bubble, do rates and earnings growth support current valuations.

At the same time, DIX, which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side), pointed to “natural, passive buying support,” while negative gamma exposures (i.e., an environment characterized by options dealers hedging their exposure by selling into lows and buying into highs), as a result of increased demand for very short-dated downside protection, left the market prone to destabilizing volatility. 

Graphic: Sensitivity in the VIX term structure, at the front end, suggests heightened activity in shorter-dated protection. As we’re starting to see, once that short-dated protection rolls off the table (and/or is monetized), counterparties/dealers will reverse and support the market, buying to close their existing stock/futures hedges.

Taken together, the distribution of forward S&P 500 returns was skewed positive, heading into Monday’s session.

Subsequent price action, after participants’ powerful responsive buying at the S&P 500’s 50-day simple moving average, which coincided with a large base of resting liquidity at $4,500.00, is follow-through on indices being positioned for a vicious rebound.

Graphic: “[N]atural, passive buying support,” coupled with strong put flows results in positive return distribution. Data via SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

To tame our expectations, I end with a statement from Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) research: 

“We reiterate our view that tapering is tightening for the markets and it will lead to lower valuations like it always does at this stage of any recovery. How much lower? We forecast S&P 500 forward P/Es to fall to 18x, or approximately 12% below current levels. Obviously, for the more expensive parts of the market, that decline will be larger.”

Expectations: As of 6:30 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, 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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC)

Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $4,691.25 HVNode and $4,707.00 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,618.75 HVNode

Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $4,581.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,551.75 LVNode, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 3, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned in-sync, within the confines of yesterday’s recovery. 

This is as participants position themselves for Friday’s data dump that may shed light on how fast the Federal Reserve (Fed) intends to tighten monetary policy.

Ahead is data on nonfarm payrolls, the unemployment rate, and average hourly earnings (8:30 AM ET). Later is Fed-speak by James Bullard (9:15 AM ET), Markit services PMI (9:45 AM ET), as well as ISM services, factory orders, and core capital goods orders (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

In the face of strong intraday breadth, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by the recovery of Wednesday’s value (i.e., the prices at which 70% of that day’s volume occurred).

This action negated the knee-jerk selling that coincided with COVID-19 variant news.

As a result, the S&P 500 is back inside of a short-term consolidation; participants had no interest in transacting the S&P 500 on prices advertised below the balance area.

Context: The Fed’s intent to moderate stimulus and uncertainty with regards to how a new COVID-19 variant will impact the global recovery.

In the face of it all, according to Bloomberg, “The market is again pricing June 2022 as the most likely timing for the first Fed rate hike, same as on Nov. 24. At various stages over the intervening days traders looked at July, or even as late as September.”

This is as an emerging trend from the Fed, confirmed by Chair Jerome Powell’s Congressional testimony – for weeks into this most recent equity – resulted in a re-pricing of bond market risk. 

That fear – demand for protection in the bond market – failed to appear in the equity market. 

Instead, there was an insatiable appetite for stocks, according to Bloomberg, with investors pouring more cash in 2021 than in the past 19 years, combined. 

That appetite for risk fed into the activity of some high-flyers like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), and, more recently Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL). At the same time, the broader market was weakening, evidenced by a decline in breadth. 

With indices pinned, heading into the November monthly options expiration (OPEX), as a result of sticky and supportive hedging flows, correlations declined. 

Think about it. If heavily weighted index constituents are higher and the indices are pinned, then something has to give! 

After OPEX, the removal of certain hedging flows had the market succumb to fundamental forces. The addition of participants’ underexposure to downside put protection, according to SpotGamma, resulted in more rampant two-way volatility.

The reason being? The market quickly entered into an environment known as short-gamma. 

“What the heck is that? Please explain to me like I’m ten.” Okay, hold my beer.

Basically, funds holding long equity, in the interest of lower volatility returns, hedge. The S&P 500 is a benchmark and one of the best places to hedge, given liquidity, and so on.

These participants will sell calls against their long equity exposure. The proceeds from that sale will be put toward downside protection. Long equity, short call, long put. Get it?

The counterparty to this dominant positioning is a buyer (seller) of upside (downside) protection, a carry trade (i.e., long delta). 

This exposure is hedged, yes! However, this exposure will also decay, in time, all else equal. 

Volatility will slide down its term structure (vanna) and time will pass (charm); “as volatility ebbs and time passes, the unwind of these hedges brings in positive flows that can lead to lengthy sprints.” – Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility.

Now, within a certain range, said counterparties are, long-gamma also. Gamma is basically “the rate of change of delta per 1-point move in the underlying,” according to SqueezeMetrics.

As volatility and time to expiration decline, the gamma of at-the-money options rises; “option market-makers will hedge their positions in a fashion that stifles volatility (buying into lows, selling into highs).”

There are times, also, when the market is in a short-gamma; a “negative [gamma] implies the opposite (selling into lows, buying into highs), thus magnifying market volatility.”

With participants underexposed to downside protection, post-OPEX demand kicked the market into short-gamma; the conditions worsened when much of the activity was concentrated in shorter-dated tenors where the sensitivity of options to direction is higher, as stated.

Graphic: VIX term structure 11/25. Backwardation signaled an entry into an unstable environment with activity concentrated at the front-end of the curve.

Once that short-dated protection rolls off the table (and/or is monetized), counterparties will quickly reverse and support the market, buying to close their existing stock/futures hedges.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator on 12/2 shows positive options delta trades firing off, which likely had dealers buying stock/futures into the close.

This flow is stabilizing and may play into a seasonally-aligned rally into Christmas as participants see defenses rolled out against the new COVID-19 variant, and the positive effects of pro-cyclical inflation and economic growth, improvements in global trade, and continuity at the Fed, among other dynamics, play out.

We see participants opportunistically buying the dip, already, via metrics like DIX that’s derived from liquidity provision on the market-making side.

Graphic: Earnings are rising and helping support historic PE multiples, via Nasdaq

Notwithstanding, the market is still in short-gamma and unless participants began betting on the upside (i.e., committing increased capital to calls at strikes higher in price and out in time), and we cross over to long-gamma, volatility ought to remain.

To assuage fears, though, here is a quote from Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS): 

“We find that the market has already priced in a significant downgrade in the growth outlook off the back of Omicron concerns. While we don’t believe that the most extreme downside scenarios are fully reflected in current market pricing, there are clearly still scenarios that could prove better than anticipated by the sharp shift in pricing in recent weeks, in our view”.

Expectations: As of 6:45 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a 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 sideways or higher; activity above the $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,590.00 balance area high (BAH). Initiative trade beyond the BAH could reach as high as the $4,629.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,647.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,574.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,551.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,526.25 HVNode and $4,497.75 regular trade low (RTH Low), or lower.

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

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.

DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

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.

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).

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

Rates: Low rates have to potential to increase the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, more attractive. To note, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive).

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 2, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures steadied at the prior day’s lows

There were signs of a shift in relative strength as the Russell 2000’s extended-day recovery outpaced that of the S&P 500 and (now) weaker Nasdaq 100. 

At the same time, yields on the ten-year rose while volatility came in. Still, the VIX futures term structure remained higher, a clear indication of stress, in the face of demand for protection.

Ahead is data on jobless claims (8:30 AM ET) with Fed-speak scattered throughout the day.

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

On nonparticipatory breadth and weak market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by the S&P 500’s spike away from the value (i.e., the prices at which 70% of the day’s volume occurred).

The knee-jerk selling, which coincided with news that a COVID-19 variant was spotted in the U.S., broke the S&P 500 out of a short-term consolidation (i.e., balance) area. 

The developing balance was a result of participants looking for new information to base a directional move. With new information, participants chose downside price exploration.

Adding, the knee-jerk selling and associated price action left behind poor structure (i.e., participants will look to validate [or invalidate] the move, spending time below [or above] the ~$4,574.25 spike base). Caution is warranted on overnight validation of the spike. 

Graphic: Supportive delta (i.e., committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of initiative trade (i.e., directional trade that suggests current prices offer unfavorable entry and exit; the market is seeking balance).

Context: A resurgence in COVID-19, a change in tone with respect to monetary policy, and last-minute tax-selling, in the face of seasonally-bullish buybacks and new month inflows.

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory. 

As stated, yesterday, the Federal Reserve’s Jerome Powell unexpectedly changed his tone around inflation, becoming more open to a faster taper in bond-buying and rate hikes. 

This is as policymakers look to tame price readings without inhibiting economic growth; fears of the aforementioned change in tone were clearly spotted by the bond market’s pricing of risk, so to speak, diverging from that of the equity market, weeks before current volatility.

Graphic: “The ICE BofA MOVE Index, which measures implied volatility for Treasuries, is close to the steepest level since April 2020,” via Bloomberg.

Rising rates, among other factors, have the potential to decrease the present value of future earnings, thereby making stocks, especially those that are high growth, less attractive to own.

As the market is a forward-looking mechanism, the implications of this are staggering. 

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

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, “Bank of America estimates that corporate earnings used to explain half of equity market returns up to the financial crisis, but since then they only explain 21%. Meanwhile, changes to the Fed’s balance sheet explain 52% of market returns since 2010, it estimates. Buy what the FED buys. Sell what the FED stops buying.”

As Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan once told me: “There’s this constant structural positioning that naturally drives markets higher as long as volatility is compressed,” or there is supply.

“At the end of the day, though, the higher you go, the further off the ground you are and the more tail risk.”

Eventually, the fear on the part of bond market participants fed into equity market positioning; breadth weakened for weeks into November’s large monthly options expiration, after which the absence of sticky and supportive hedging flows finally freed the market for directional resolve. 

Couple that with participants being “underexposed to downside put protection,” according to SpotGamma, there was an expectation that there could be a rough re-pricing of tail risk as participants, en masse, sought after highly “convex” downside options which had the counterparties to those trades exacerbating underlying price movement.

Per the VIX term structure graphic below, there is tons of movement in the front-end, a sign that participants are concentrating activity in shorter-dated tenors where the sensitivity of options to direction is higher.

Graphic: VIX term structure. 

So long as this dynamic remains, participants can expect instability.

In assuaging fears, however, Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) put out research that found “information about the variant and the policy actions taken to date do not yet support a material shift” in forecasts.

This is as S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI), despite lowering growth forecasts a touch, expects GDP to reach a 37-year high in 2021. With odds that it will likely take the next few weeks to find out more with respect to the severity of new COVID-19 variants, attention moves to “cyclicals, commodities, and reopening themes,” according to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, “there is ‘plenty of liquidity available to drive stock prices higher as dip-buyers enter the market,’” strategists at Yardeni Research, wrote.

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,551.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,629.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,551.75 low volume area (LNVode) puts in play the $4,497.75 regular-trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,471.00 and $4,425.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Charts To Watch

Graphic: (NYSE: SPY). (S~$448, $438 and R~$454, $460). S is for support. R is for resistance.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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.

Price Discovery (One-Timeframe Or Trend): Elongation and range expansion denotes a market seeking new prices to establish value, or acceptance (i.e., more than 30-minutes of trade at a particular price level). 

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).

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 23, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, yesterday’s knee-jerk sellers were emboldened by equity index futures auctioning sideways to lower with other products – from commodities to bonds – following suit. 

The prevailing narrative is that “[I]nvestors are reducing expectations for a deeper dovish stance by the Fed after Powell got a second term.” Meaningless headlines, like this, are precisely why we, as participants, should opt to avoid making short-term decisions based on the news!

Anyways, ahead is data on Markit Manufacturing and Services PMI (9:45 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

On weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a spike below prices most recently accepted by S&P 500 traders.

Such activity denotes an obvious change in tone, as well as a potential willingness to start a trend in the opposite direction. 

To note, however, yesterday’s price action came alongside a few dynamics: (1) an increase in tempo after a failure to solicit more involvement on an initial attempt higher; (2) a volume delta that was in line with price action; (3) breadth (i.e., volume into stocks that are up versus those that are down) on the Nasdaq was negative, divergent from the positive breadth on the NYSE. 

Adding, the knee-jerk selling and associated price action left behind poor structure (i.e., participants will look to validate [or invalidate] the move, spending time below [or above] the $4,697.50 spike base). Caution warranted on validation of the spike. 

Graphic: Delta (i.e., committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in line with the price action of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of initiative trade (i.e., directional trade that suggests current prices offer unfavorable entry and exit; the market is seeking balance).

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of what was an unstable environment after Friday’s monthly options expiration (OPEX).

To recap, heading into OPEX, activity in options tied to the S&P 500 was concentrated in time and price. 

During this time – which I, alongside data and analytics providers like SpotGamma (go follow), surmise participants were betting the market would not move, selling-to-open call exposure – dealers/counterparties were left warehousing increased exposure to positive options gamma.

In hedging risks, dealers sold to open (bought to open) the underlying as the price rose (fell). 

This responsive buying and selling are what causes the market to balance (i.e., trade sideways) in a tight range. It was expected to end after OPEX, as that options exposure rolled off. 

Monday, finally, there was an increase in range; the S&P 500, in particular, closed over 1.00% lower from its intraday high, weighed down by the Nasdaq 100 heavyweights and high flyers of the past weeks. 

Moreover, I was focused on two dynamics, primarily: (1) after OPEX, the absence of sticky and supportive hedging flows freed the market for directional resolve, and (2) according to SpotGamma, in light of recent exuberance, “participants [were] underexposed to downside put protection.”

The second part is slightly more important with regards to where we are today. 

As the exuberance in individual stocks fed into the stock indices themselves – the place where the world comes to hedge – participants weren’t as quick to add downside protection. No! Instead, they were more so selling to open (buying to open) downside (upside) protection.

Without getting too much into the dynamics of the exuberant positioning, the implications of this, nonetheless, are staggering. 

In short, should volatility continue to pick up, those participants (who were once exuberant) are likely to reach for protection forcing dealers to reflexively hedge in a destabilizing manner. 

As volatility rises and customers demand out-of-the-money put protection, counterparties are to hedge by selling into weakness. The conditions worsen when much of the activity is in shorter-dated tenors where options gamma is more sensitive if we will.

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. The left orange marker is reflective of a basic reaction to call-buying (as observed during the rise of meme stocks). The right orange marker reflects a reaction to put-buying (as observed during the COVID-19 sell-off).

Now, here is the kicker. 

If indices turn, and participants start reaching for out-of-the-money protection with positive exposure to gamma (i.e., buy put, market down, put rises in value), especially in shorter-dated expiries, then yes, there may be some near-term instability. 

Note that I said shorter-dated

Once that exposure rolls off the table (and/or is monetized), dealers/counterparties will reverse and support the market, buying-to-close existing stock/futures hedges to negative gamma positions. This flow is stabilizing and maybe the start of what is a seasonally-aligned rally into Christmas.

This last part is educated conjecture. It’s what I also feel as though would frustrate the most amount of participants. Basically, a quick wash (or sideways to lower), followed by a move higher into year-end. Be nimble and responsive!

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

Spike Scenario In Play: A spike marks 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).

The spike may also be looked at as a pivot; in today’s case, the spike base is $4,697.50.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,692.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,711.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess high and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,692.25 MCPOC puts in play the $4,674.25 high volume node. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

Charts To Watch

Graphic: (NYSE: SPY). (S~$460, R~$471). S is for support. R is for resistance.
Graphic: (NYSE: QQQ). (S~$388, R~$402). S is for support. R is for resistance.

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.

DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market-making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

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): 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.

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, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets.

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 12, 2021

What Happened

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

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

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

Graphic updated 5:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

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

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

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neither happened.

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

Pictured: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. The left orange marker is reflective of a basic reaction to call-buying (as observed during the rise of meme stocks). The right orange marker reflects a reaction to put-buying (as observed during the COVID-19 sell-off).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 10, 2021

What Happened

Equity index futures sideways, overnight, on powerful derivative market forces, alongside participants’ aims to base ahead of added clarity on the economic outlook.

Ahead is data on inflation and jobless claims (8:30 AM ET), wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET), and the monthly budget statement (2:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 5:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

As evidenced by a b-shaped liquidation break profile distribution (i.e., morning drop on fast tempo, followed by sideways trade) there was likely selling by short-term momentum-driven participants who had poor location.

We are confident this may be the case given where the price is, relative to the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) anchored from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement, last week; the average buyer, since then, is losing.

To note, given the context – lackluster breadth and market liquidity metrics – the failure to expand the range, markedly, suggests there was no new money selling.

This activity, which marks a potential willingness to clear stubborn inventory and break balance, is occurring in the face of poor structure down below, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed selling as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: Yesterday, I made an emphasis on some of the “high leverage and risk” short-term speculators’ record call buying and put selling posed on the equity market, at large.

That’s odd. Why? 

Well, into the near-vertical price rise of highly volatile stocks like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), customers (you and I) signed up, through the agency of counterparties, to add liquidity to the market, via options activity.

Graphic: Customers took on significant leverage in their purchase and sale of options, via SpotGamma.

So long as implied volatility remained bid (and stock prices go to the moon) – the effect of inadequate liquidity – counterparties were to exacerbate upside volatility in hedging their exposure to customer positioning. In other words, dealer short-gamma.

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

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

When dealers are long-gamma (e.g., S&P 500), counterparties buy into weakness and sell into strength, calming volatility.

Enter shock – Elon Musk selling Tesla stock – alongside a decline in implied volatility, amidst a build of gamma at higher stock prices (which has the effect of dampening realized volatility), we saw the unthinkable happen; high-flying stocks (more so Tesla, which is a large S&P 500 index constituent) turned away from the moon and headed back to earth.

The implications of this were staggering; the bulk of customers’ short puts (long calls) quickly rose (declined) in value and traded in-the-money (out-of-the-money). 

As SpotGamma noted, yesterday, “[t]here was a serious dearth of liquidity to start today’s session,” and volatility rose, as a result, in compensating for that fact.

Now, if customer short put, counterparty long put. 

To hedge, counterparty ought to buy, right? Nope

As SqueezeMetrics explains, “Sold puts are, quite literally, a bunch of huge buy limit orders below the market, and then a bunch of liquidity-taking stop-losses further down.”

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics unpacks implications of short put options on the limit order book.

This is, to put it simply, due in part to short-term speculators lacking the wherewithal to stay in these margin-intensive positions; as price falls, put buying (covering of shorts, too) takes liquidity and destabilizes the market.

We’re starting to see this activity, in individual stocks, affect the S&P 500 complex, too

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

Graphic: Demand for options hedges comes in at the front end of the term structure.

That has already been reflected by the trend of outperformance in the extended day. 

In other words, the front-running of increasingly impactful (and supportive) vanna and charm flows (both of which are tied to the hedging of options exposure), as a result of increased options activity (which, at least at this juncture, exposes customers to high leverage and risk), seems to be changing, slowly. 

We’re (likely) opening sideways to lower today. That’s a change, for once!

With expectations that there may be a front-running of the monthly (OPEX) options expiration (into which the forces that promote pining usually turn stronger with counterparties supplying more liquidity as their long gamma rises), a time when dealer gamma exposure is to decline, allowing for increased realized volatility (as a result of less liquidity), the added demand for hedges (as evidenced by the bid in volatility and VIX term structure shift), is of concern. 

Participants have been uber bullish, up until early this week. Should sentiment turn, and (1) those participants cover their levered, long delta exposure alongside (2) new money hedging, tempo ought to quicken; an abrupt liquidation could be in the cards.

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

In light of seasonality, buybacks, and earnings surprises, the potential for a rally into the end of the year remains strong. As a result, we start to look for big picture references where we may see responsive buying. See the graphic below!

Expectations: As of 5:30 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.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,680.25 overnight high (ONH) puts in play the $4,695.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $4,711.75 regular trade high and $4,722.00 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,680.25 ONH puts in play the $4,658.75 overnight low (ONL). Initiative trade beyond the ONL could reach as low as the $4,619.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,590.00 balance area boundary, or lower.

Click here to load today’s updated key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures. Note the low-volume structure beneath current prices. There is the potential for a cave-fill to widen the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. Learn about the profile.

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.

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

All You Need To Know For November 8, 2021

What Happened

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY). The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

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

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

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

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

Major reasons? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Market Is In Balance: Current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,674.75 visual low (likely paid attention to by short-term, technically driven market participants who seldom defend retests) puts in play the $4,711.75 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,722.00 and $4,735.00 Fibonacci, or higher.

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

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 3, 2021

Abstract

Equity index futures and commodities were mixed. Bonds sideways to higher. Volatility bid.

Ahead is a heavy day of economic releases, in the face of fundamental narratives and positioning metrics that may later support directional resolve.

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were flat as participants wait to initiate the next leg – higher or lower – until they are provided clarity on monetary policy frameworks, the pace of the economic recovery, and the like.

Ahead is ADP employment (8:15 AM ET), Markit services PMI (9:45 AM ET), ISM services index and factory orders (10:00 AM ET), as well as Federal Reserve statements (2:00 PM ET).

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

What To Expect

Action: On lackluster breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by participants’ exploration of new prices in the S&P 500.

Intent: The intraday excess high marks potential exhaustion (or willingness to end trend). Also, the rounding of the composite profile (i.e., developing ledge) suggests participants are either painting themselves into a corner or there is a lack of conviction to take price higher.

Validation: Sideways trade, above the $4,590.00 balance area high (BAH), and overlapping value areas, validates the market’s intent to pause ahead of new information.

Consideration: Poor structure left behind prior initiative trade (as evidenced by the presence of numerous gaps and p-shaped emotional, multiple-distribution profile structures which denote short-covering and a lack of material, new-money buying) adds to technical instability.

Should the market crack, participants will likely look to check old value (i.e., revisit, repair, and strengthen) these pockets of low-volume. This is called the “cave-fill” process, in volume profile terms.

Graphic: Flat delta (i.e., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement later today.

The announcement will provide participants with color on the economic recovery and the Federal Reserve’s intent to continue supporting the economy, at the rate it has. 

Nordea’s Andreas Steno Larsen states: “Jay Powell will have to walk on eggshells to prevent an acceleration of the front-end of the USD yield curve. Arguments for the Fed to tighten policy keep piling up and hence we see a swift tapering process (30B a meeting) and a first hike in June.” 

“The combination of 1) even higher inflation prints during Q4 (with several extremely volatile base effects), 2) a removal of USD liquidity, 3) a historically weak credit impulse into 2022 (due to a massive credit expansion 20/21) sounds like the perfect flattener setup to us,” which may weigh on sentiment and long term investments.

Graphic: “Keep flattening the yield curve during tapering,” via Nordea.

In terms of positioning, the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) was a touch higher, while spreads across the VIX futures term structure widened with demand coming in at the front.

Such a situation, as touched on yesterday, in addition to the long-gamma environment (in which counterparties hedge their warehoused options risk by buying underlying into weakness and selling into strength), has the effect of making it difficult to resolve directionally.

The reasons are: (1) options will slide down their term structure (vanna) and (2) skew decays (charm). When this happens, we expect to see supportive flows as dealers cover their short equity/futures hedges. 

With volatility bid, the effect of vanna and charm is dulled. As a result, it is likely that participants see more movement after the FOMC announcement.

To note, the potential for upside resolve comes down to how participants take the FOMC announcement. We know that, according to SpotGamma, there is increased capital being committed to higher and higher options strikes, a development often seen as bullish.

Expectations: 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 neutral overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket) Is The Status Quo: Rotational trade that denotes current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,620.25 high volume area (HVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,628.50 Fibonacci extension. Initiative trade beyond $4,628.50 could reach the $4,639.00 and $4,664.75 Fibonacci levels, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,620.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,590.00 balance area high (BAH). Initiative trade beyond the BAH could reach as low as the $4,574.25 HVNode and $4,551.75 low volume area (LVNode), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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.

Ledges: Flattened area on the profile which suggests responsive participants are in control, or initiative participants lack the confidence to continue the discovery process. The ledge will either hold and force participants to liquidate (cover) their positions, or crack and offer support (resistance).

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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