Categories
Methodology

Theory Applied: Contextualizing Recent Market Volatility

With SpotGamma, Physik Invest’s Renato Leonard Capelj unpacks recent market movements from an options positioning perspective.

Coverage includes the following:

  • Definition and application of first and second order options greeks.
  • Implications of the November and December options expirations.
  • How current positioning may dictate trade in Q1 2022 and beyond.
  • Expert commentary and much more!

Click below to learn more!

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 17, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to lower.

This is alongside news that South Africa’s hospitalization rates plunged, Democratic leaders abandoned plans to pass a $2 trillion social spending and climate plan, and central banks looked to fight inflation with tighter monetary policies.

Ahead is Fed-speak at 8:30 AM ET and 1:00 PM ET. Today, also, is a large derivatives expiry.

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

What To Expect

After an open outside of prior-range and -value (i.e., levels at which 70% of the day’s volume was transacted), the S&P 500 Index took back the near-vertical post-Federal Open Market Committee price rise. 

As evidenced by the volume-weighted average price anchored from FOMC, the average buyer, since that event is in a losing position. Ouch!

There are some factors (outside of lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics) that pointed to a difficulty – at least on the index level – to expand directionally. Read more here!

The expectation, though, after this week is for an expansion of range amidst a reduction in the sticky options-related hedging forces that promote consolidation/pinning.

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 SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap.

Context: Keeping it brief, today.

For numerous days now, there has been no shortage in notes forecasting market moves the year ahead. What is common, among these notes, is a belief that markets ought to be bullish going into 2022. Later, though, there are threats that could dent performance.

What does that mean? In sticking to the ruling narrative, so to speak, participants are anchored to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) intent in adjusting monetary policy.

Based on comments earlier this week, the Fed will accelerate its taper to bond-buying. Thereafter, “the plot now shows three hikes for next year.”

So, why does this matter to me?

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. 

Couple that notion with some markedly divergent breadth and extreme relative weakness, especially in rate-sensitive names, pension rebalancings, increased exposure to leverage, among other things, it’s easy to lose sight of the positives

As stated, previously, though, today’s rates support validations better than in the ‘90s.

At the same time, equity markets tend to rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast aligns with that – “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.

In support is relentless, seasonally-aligned “passive buying support” in the face of expectations there will be “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades.”

Graphic: Positively skewed return distribution amidst “natural, passive buying,” and supportive positioning metrics. Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

That’s all good to know. However, tell me what I should know for right now.

Sure. 

As stated, yesterday, the market is in a positive-gamma environment wherein the counterparties to customer options trades add market liquidity and help temper realized volatility.

The expectation, into the end of this week, was that participants would continue to step in and commit increased capital on lower directional volatility (as they had into the start of this week).

The decrease in dealer supply (short delta) post-OPEX, via the covering of short stock/futures hedges to put-heavy positioning, ought to bolster any attempt higher.

Couple that with participants’ commitment of capital to strikes higher in price and out in time, the bullish thesis is emboldened. 

I end with a note from options modeling service SpotGamma: “There was a VIX low around November 5th, and using that as a barometer … the current VIX structure remains elevated above those Nov ‘blue sky’ levels (pre-Omnicron, pre-Taper concerns).”

“There is a fairly large expiration on 12/31, and we’d anecdotally note that implied vol often holds a bid into that expiration. The point here is that there is arguably a bit more ‘vanna fuel’ left in the tank, but it’s going to take ‘real buyers’ (i.e. not volatility short covering) to continue the Santa Rally.”

Expectations: As of 6:15 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 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 $4,647.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,674.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,690.25 micro-composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,709.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,615.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the SIGNPOST could reach as low as the $4,597.25 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,581.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

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 16, 2021

What Happened

After the Federal Reserve (Fed) announced it would accelerate its taper to bond-buying, clearing the way for interest-rate hikes, the equity market rallied, broadly. 

With all major U.S. equity index futures trading higher, overnight, it appears that participants’ fears regarding monetary policy have been assuaged

As forecasted, a collapse in event-related implied volatility brought in positive flows that ought to support the market into this week’s weighty “quad-witching” derivatives expiry.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, building permits, housing starts, and manufacturing (8:30 AM ET). Then, there are releases on industrial production, capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), as well as Markit manufacturing and services PMI (9:45 AM ET). 

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. 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

Market hammered out a low, yesterday. 

This was after, to start the week, customers had been increasing their exposure to short-delta (call selling and put buying). The counterparty inventorying the opposite (long-delta) exposure sold (bought) futures into price discovery higher (lower).

Graphic: Customers increased their exposure to short-delta call exposure. “Last week was about selling index calls,” SpotGamma’s Brent Kochuba said on Twitter. “This is likely why the $SPX stopped at $4,700.00.”

This dynamic had the effect of pinning the market; was the S&P 500 to remain in consolidation, customers’ (dealers’) short-delta (long-delta) would have risen which would have made for even more pinning.

That didn’t happen, though.

Into Wednesday’s FOMC event, demand for protection expanded (as evidenced by a higher CBOE Volatility Index reading). That knocked most of the major indexes out of sideways trade.

However, as revealed Tuesday by SpotGamma’s (beta) Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, “participants saw lower prices as an opportunity to express their opinion of lower volatility into Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) update.”

From there on, as Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial best explained, “vols were static in anticipation of the fed talk,” taking away from supportive flows (as a result of options sliding down their term structure [vanna]) and promoting sideways trade.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, which is pink in color, was sideways to higher. This suggests positive options delta trades likely had dealers buying stock/futures into the close.

Context: Wednesday’s commentary really hit the nail on the head, so to speak. 

Therefore, I offer some light updates.

As expected, per Nordea, the Fed will “accelerate its tapering process, and is now set to conclude net purchases already by mid-March vs mid-June with the earlier pace.”

“The dot plot was revised significantly higher, and the plot now shows three hikes for next year, a further three for 2023 and another two for 2024.”

Graphic: “[T]he terminal rate being priced in by financial markets is closer to 1.5% vs. 2.5% for the Fed,” Nordea explained. “The market is now pricing that rate hikes could start already in the mid-March 2022 meeting.”

That said, today’s rates support validations better than in the ‘90s.

At the same time, equity markets tend to rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast aligns with that – “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.

This positive take is in the face of what has been markedly divergent breadth and extreme relative weakness, especially in rate-sensitive names. 

Why? 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. 

Graphic: As U.S. stocks’ inflation-adjusted earnings yield turns negative, as seen near the peak of the tech bubble, via Bloomberg, “Investors in the Nasdaq increasingly seem to think that only a few companies have much of a chance. With a growing possibility of more aggressive attempts to prosecute antitrust issues, that’s a riskier position than it appears.”

With the equity market moving higher, here, into the end of the week, we ought to not discount participants’ increasing exposure to leveraged products.

This increases the speed with which volatility is realized and was cited as a risk in one of Moody’s recent commentaries.

So, despite having seasonally-aligned “passive buying support” and supportive positioning metrics, as well as expectations of “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades,” offsides positioning ought to exacerbate underlying price movements.

So what? As stated, yesterday, the market is in a positive-gamma environment wherein the counterparties to customer options trades add market liquidity and temper realized volatility.

With participants’ fears surrounding monetary policy assuaged, there are positive flows that ought to support the market into this week’s weighty “quad-witching” derivatives expiry.

Graphic: VIX term shifts inward; as short-dated protection quickly was monetized or expired, volatility collapsed and dealers’ exposure to positive delta declined which meant they would cover their short futures hedges. This “vanna” flow bolstered an SPX rally into the end-of-day.

Into the end of the week, the expectation is that participants continue to step in and commit increased capital on lower directional volatility (as they had into this week).

With activity concentrated in shorter-dated tenors, counterparties will take on more exposure to positive gamma which they will offset by supplying the market with more liquidity, thereby pressuring the price discovery process.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma data, the above model’s tilt suggests dealers will increasingly sell into strength and buy into weakness, pressuring any price discovery into the end of this week.

Moreover, the decrease in dealer supply (short delta) post-OPEX, via the covering of short stock/futures hedges to put-heavy positioning, ought to bolster any attempt higher.

Below: Though book depth “in isolation is not the correct method to gauge liquidity,” it can help in assessing participants’ demand/supply as volatility (and stress, by that token) increases.

Graphic: Analysis of book depth for the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract, via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) Liquidity Tool. For more on the implications of participants’ options positioning and dealer hedging, read here.

In anticipation of higher prices, low cost, complex options structures like call-side calendars, butterflies, and ratio spreads are top of mind.

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

Expectations: As of 6:15 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.

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

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,712.00 balance area boundary (BAH) puts in play the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess high and $4,767.00 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,712.00 BAH puts in play the $4,690.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,674.25 HVNode and $4,657.00 balance low (BAL), 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.
Graphic: V-pattern recovery in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, portends continuation. The red, black, and yellow-colored lines are anchored volume-weighted average price levels (VWAPs), 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.

Definitions

V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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). 

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, 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 2021 FOMC

What Happened

Equity index futures are lower after Monday’s failed balance-area breakout in the S&P 500 had that index rotate to and through the opposite end of a multi-day consolidation, yesterday.

This trade is in the face of expectations the Federal Reserve (Fed) will accelerate the taper to bond-buying, clearing the way for interest-rate hikes

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

The ruling narrative, so to speak, has resulted in the selling of expensive areas of the market.

Ahead is retail sales, import prices, and Empire State Manufacturing Index (8:30 AM ET) data. 

Then there are releases on the NAHB Home Builders’ Index, business inventories, inventory-sales ratio (10:00 AM ET). Later is a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement (2:00 PM ET) and press conference (2:30 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:25 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

According to SpotGamma, into this week, participants had been increasing their short-delta exposure (via a lot of call selling and a bit of put buying). 

This resulted in dealers selling (buying) futures into strength (weakness), a dynamic that promotes consolidation.

Later, as participants positioned for the FOMC event, demand for protection expanded and the S&P 500 made it to and through the low-end of the consolidation against the $4,700.00 high activity options strike. 

The trade built out areas of high volume (HVNode) via the cave-fill process in locations where prior discovery left weak structure – gaps and p-shaped emotional, multiple distribution profile structures (i.e., old-money covering shorts).

As evidenced by the divergent delta, below, responsive buyers surfaced at a key volume-weighted average price (VWAP) level (near $4,600.00 S&P 500), at which liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell.

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 attempting in balance).

At the same time, as SpotGamma (beta) Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator suggested “participants saw lower prices as an opportunity to express their opinion of lower volatility into Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) update.”

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, which is pink in color, was sideways to higher. This suggests positive options delta trades likely had dealers buying stock/futures into the close.

Context: Today, we get clarity from the Fed.

The expectation is that the asset purchases are scaled back by $30 billion per month versus the expected $15 billion. In doubling the pace of the taper to bond-buying, the odds of earlier rate hikes increase markedly.

“If the Fed does not address inflation soon, they risk long rates shooting much higher,” says Jim Bianco of Bianco Research.

“But if they follow the market’s lead in aggressively hiking rates, they risk hurting the economy. We understand the Fed’s paralysis given the massive uncertainty coming out of the pandemic. However, the longer they wait to address inflation, the worse this conundrum will become.”

Notwithstanding, today’s rates are supporting validations better than in the ‘90s.

At the same time, equity markets tend to rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) forecast aligns with that – “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.

Immediate risks, though, remain. 

There are growing pockets of weakness – as evidenced by divergent breadth – in the face of U.S. stocks’ inflation-adjusted earnings yield turning negative.

Similarly, participants are more exposed to leveraged products, among other things, which increases the speed with which volatility is realized.

“One potential catalyst would be an explosion in the value of margin accounts at brokers and dealers, which amounted to $595 billion in the second quarter, nearly double the pre-pandemic level. A drop in stock prices could trigger margin calls.”

So despite “natural, passive buying support” and positioning metrics flashing a buy, as well as expectations of “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades,” offsides positioning may prompt a reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.

So what? The market is in a positive-gamma environment wherein the counterparties to customer options trades add market liquidity and temper realized volatility.

If participants’ monetary policy fears are assuaged, a collapse in event-related implied volatility ought to bring positive flows as the long delta (from dealers’ exposure to short puts) decreases.

The decrease in dealer supply (short delta) post-FOMC and -OPEX, via the covering of short stock/futures hedges to put-heavy positioning, ought to bolster any attempt higher.

That’s not to say that some of the vulnerabilities like participants’ large exposure to leveraged products (which increases the speed with which volatility is realized) couldn’t prompt a round of destabilizing demand for downside protection.

Graphic: The “Biggest tail risk to SPX isn’t any macro data/virus/war but its own options market.”

Though order book depth “in isolation is not the correct method to gauge liquidity,” it can help in roughly assessing participants’ demand/supply as volatility (and stress, by that token) increases.

Graphic: Analysis of book depth for the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract, via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) Liquidity Tool. For more on the implications of participants’ options positioning and dealer hedging, read here.

Already, according to Bloomberg, some participants are positioning for “a seasonably favorable period for stocks” in 2021; “someone purchase[d] roughly 20,000 call spreads that are linked to the S&P 500 and expire right before the Christmas holiday. The transaction involved selling calls with a strike price at 4,750 to fund bullish options exercisable at 4,650.”

Graphic: S&P 500 finds support in area between the 20- and 50-day simple moving average. The aforementioned bullish “call spread” trade expiring before the Christmas holiday is included.

Expectations: As of 6:25 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,618.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,647.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $4,657.00 balance area low (BAL) and $4,674.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,618.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,596.25 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,581.00 and $4,523.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

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

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.

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 14, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were mixed after Monday’s failed balance-area breakout in the S&P 500 had that index rotate to and through the opposite end of a multi-day consolidation.

This is as market participants await clarity on monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and the weighty “quad-witching” derivatives expiry, late this week. 

Ahead is data on the producer price index (8:30 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:40 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

A change in the market was occurring, yesterday, as participants sought to break the S&P 500 out of a multi-day balance area and discover higher prices.

Shortly after the U.S. cash open, however, there was no follow-through; the index liquidated to the opposite end of the balance with sellers turning aggressive into the close.

Selling carried-forward, overnight, as the S&P 500 made it through the low-end of balance before finding responsive buyers at an anchored volume-weighted average price (VWAP) level, at which liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell.

As noted many sessions ago, prior discovery left gaps and p-shaped emotional, multiple-distribution profile structures (i.e., old-money covering shorts).

Participants are now revisiting, repairing, and strengthening – building out areas of high volume (HVNodes) via the cave-fill process – these areas of low volume (LVNodes).

Graphic: Supportive delta (i.e., committed selling into end-of-day 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. Though initial readings were supportive of responsive trade (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit), selling turned aggressive with the S&P 500 breaking its multi-day consolidation low, overnight.

Context: The S&P 500 can’t seem to crack the pin beneath $4,700.00.

This pin is the result of customers committing capital to bets on low volatility into this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and Friday’s large derivatives expiry.

Graphic: Customers increased their exposure to short-delta call exposure. “Last week was about selling index calls,” SpotGamma’s Brent Kochuba said on Twitter. “This is likely why the $SPX stopped at $4,700.00.”

According to SpotGamma, participants are increasing their short-delta exposure (via a lot of call selling and a bit of put buying). 

In hedging their rising (declining) long-delta exposure, the dealer or counterparty to this positioning will sell (buy) futures into strength (weakness)

This forces the market into a consolidation

This trend ought to continue until (A) there’s a collapse in event-related implied volatility which would bring in positive flows as dealers cover static hedges, (B) the poor breadth and single-stock weakness feeds into feverishly destabilizing demand for downside protection, or (C) participants commit more capital to calls further out in time and higher in price.

We talk about the implications of options positioning mainly because it is a growing market that provides a clear indication of how participants (no matter how large) are positioned. 

Also, with FOMC approaching, the “other” timeframe participant (e.g., the hedge funds and institutions behind impactful buy/sell programs) is likely awaiting policy clarity to reposition.

As Mind Over Markets author James Dalton best explained: “Market participants balance their positions in expectation of the market’s reaction to the external stimuli – there is simply no activity. Trade is not being facilitated in any direction, for there is little participation and no confidence.”

Notwithstanding, last night, we broke a multi-session balance area. Based on profile theory, a new trend may begin. Context, though, suggests otherwise. 

Participants (large in size) are seeking clarity and, given the market’s responsiveness to technical levels, weaker, less well-capitalized short-term participants are in control

Therefore, we ought to discount (give less weight to) what happens in the coming days.

If later this week, participants are assuaged of their fears surrounding monetary policy, a collapse in event-related implied volatility ought to bring in positive flows as the long delta (from dealers’ exposure to short puts) decreases.

The decrease in dealer supply (short delta), via covering of short stock/futures hedges, would bolster any attempt higher

According to SpotGamma, if “interest in call options was to grow (evidenced by a shift higher in the Call Wall), a rally into (and beyond) end-of-year is further affirmed.”

That’s not to say that some of the vulnerabilities like participants’ large exposure to leveraged products (which increases the speed with which volatility is realized) couldn’t prompt a round of destabilizing demand for downside protection.

So, the question is whether the few companies leading this year’s rally can continue to lead? 

Or, in light of recent exuberance in heavy-weights like Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), in which participants are underexposed to downside protection, post-FOMC demand for protection bids volatility and results in a destabilizing, reflexive reaction on the part of dealers.

Graphic: As U.S. stocks’ inflation-adjusted earnings yield turns negative, as seen near the peak of the tech bubble, via Bloomberg, “Investors in the Nasdaq increasingly seem to think that only a few companies have much of a chance. With a growing possibility of more aggressive attempts to prosecute antitrust issues, that’s a riskier position than it appears.”

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 lower part of a balanced overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,647.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,657.00 balance area low (BAL). Initiative trade beyond the BAL could reach as high as the $4,674.25 HVNode and $4,690.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC), 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 and $4,523.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

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

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

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

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.

Initiative Buying (Selling): Buying (selling) within or above (below) the previous day’s value area.

Responsive Buying (Selling): Buying (selling) in response to prices below (above) an area of recent price acceptance.

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).

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.

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, 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 13, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, most equity, commodity, and bond futures were higher.

This comes ahead of the weighty December 17 options and futures expiration – “quad witching” – large portfolio rebalances, and an update to Federal Reserve (Fed) policy, December 15.

Ahead, today, there are no key economic releases scheduled.

Graphic updated 6:15 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. 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 supportive market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by an expansion of range, Friday, followed by a gap out of balance, Sunday.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s (beta) Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator suggested participants were buying (or covering short) calls and selling put options, into the close. S&P 500 prices followed as dealers added to their long-delta hedges.

Context: As fears of a COVID-19 resurgence are assuaged, in the face of U.S. job growth that fell short of expectations, per Bloomberg, the Fed ought to move more quickly to “save itself from having to hike too far and make rates so expensive that they slow down the economy.”

The expectation is that the Fed scales asset purchases by $30 billion per month versus the expected $15 billion. In doubling the pace of the taper to bond-buying, the odds of a rate hike happening as early as next June increase markedly. 

“If the Fed does not address inflation soon, they risk long rates shooting much higher,” says Jim Bianco of Bianco Research.

“But if they follow the market’s lead in aggressively hiking rates, they risk hurting the economy. We understand the Fed’s paralysis given the massive uncertainty coming out of the pandemic. However, the longer they wait to address inflation, the worse this conundrum will become.”

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.

Despite today’s rates supporting validations better than in the ‘90s, an intent to reduce stimulus serves as a headwind.

That said, equity markets typically rally into the first hike; Moody’s Corporation’s (NYSE: MCO) “forecast is that 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, via The Market Ear.

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: As U.S. stocks’ inflation-adjusted earnings yield turns negative, as seen near the peak of the tech bubble, via Bloomberg, “Investors in the Nasdaq increasingly seem to think that only a few companies have much of a chance. With a growing possibility of more aggressive attempts to prosecute antitrust issues, that’s a riskier position than it appears.”

Adding, the Fed, too, is seeing vulnerabilities in asset prices.

“The decline in stock prices is forecast to be orderly but it could turn into something worse,” Moody’s explains. 

“One potential catalyst would be an explosion in the value of margin accounts at brokers and dealers, which amounted to $595 billion in the second quarter, nearly double the pre-pandemic level. A drop in stock prices could trigger margin calls.”

Margin calls happen when customers owe money to their brokerage firm; “If there is no money, investors have to sell other assets.”

Putting it simply, participants are more exposed to leveraged products, among other things, which increases the speed with which volatility is realized.

So despite positioning metrics flashing a buy, and expectations of “the strongest quarterly nominal [economic] growth in more than three decades,” offsides positioning may prompt a cascading reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.

Short-term, however, aside from the presence of “natural, passive buying support,” the market is in a positive-gamma environment wherein the counterparties to customer options trades add market liquidity and temper realized volatility.

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

If participants are further assuaged of their fears at this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, a collapse in event-related implied volatility ought to bring in positive flows as the long delta (from dealers’ exposure to short puts) decreases.

The decrease in dealer supply (short delta), via covering of short stock/futures hedges, would bolster any attempt higher.

Expectations: As of 6:15 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.

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

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,717.25 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,732.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess and $4,767.00 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,717.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,705.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,690.25 MCPOC and $4,674.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

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.

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, 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 September 20, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures, commodities, and yields trade lower.

  • Concerns around the debt ceiling.
  • SPX below balance, 50-day SMA.
  • Ahead is a 2-day FOMC meeting.
  • Today we receive NAHB updates.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower alongside commodities and yields as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seeks to raise or suspend the debt ceiling alongside Evergrande fears.

Ahead is data on the National Association of Home Builders Index (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 7:15 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. 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. 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 of 7:15 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a high potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

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

During the prior week’s trade, on weak breadth, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by a balance-area breakout and separation of value below the S&P 500’s 50-day simple moving average (i.e., a visual level likely paid attention to by short-term, technically-driven market participants who generally are unable to defend retests).

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a waning economic recovery, heightened valuations in the face of strong EPS expectations, the prospects of stimulus reduction, non-seasonally aligned flows, impactful options and equity market dynamics, divergent sentiment, as well as fears of a mid-cycle transition.

A key risk, as highlighted by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, is the debt ceiling which, if not resolved, some economists argue “that an announcement on tapering is likely to be delayed to December, and that Treasury yields could fall further as a result.”

We note that – as Goldman Sachs writes – “The upcoming debt limit deadline is beginning to look as risky as the 2011 debt limit showdown that led to Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US sovereign rating and eventually to budget sequestration, or the 2013 deadline that overlapped with a government shutdown.”

Adding, as SpotGamma said, “over 50% of stocks [had] their largest gamma position” roll-off Friday. This suggests an increased potential for volatility heading into the September 21-22 FOMC event. SqueezeMetrics confirms.

Moreover, for today, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,365.25 low volume area (LVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,393.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,425.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,481.75 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,365.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,341.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as $4,309.75 (the intersection of a minimal excess overnight low and poor structure in a prior day session), or lower.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 7:15 AM ET.

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.

News And Analysis

Analyzing the nightmare scenario for China’s economy.

FOMC preview: How to make tapering data-dependent.

China’s property fear is spreading beyond Evergrande.

Goldman Sachs: Low-rate world favors quality growth.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to herald a travel revolution.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and protective for kids.

Risks associated with rising government debt, inflation.

The global housing market is broken dividing countries.

Trudeau set for slimmer victory than hoped in election.

Yellen renews call to up debt limit to avoid catastrophe.

Solana blackout reveals the fragility of cryptocurrency.

FX Weekly: There’s a Lehman in China every 3 years.

What People Are Saying

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 finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

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

Weekly Brief For June 20, 2021

Too Lazy; Didn’t Read: As the market enters into a seasonally weak period, participants have noticed a divergence appear across the broader market. A breakdown in individual sectors – financials and transportation, for instance – and breadth, policy tightening concerns, outflows, elevated skew, put/call ratios, and degrossing on risk-taking (e.g., speculative activity in so-called meme stocks), in conjunction with the passage of Quadruple Witching, may portend increased volatility.

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: Index futures diverge. Risk-off sentiment returns.

  • Fears over inflation and taper sparking movements.
  • Ahead: GDP, Home sales, PMI, Claims, Fed speak.
  • Indices sideways to lower; growth, tech stay strong.
Weekly price action graphic updated Sunday, June 20, 2021, at 12:00 PM ET.

What Happened: Last week, U.S. stock index futures diverged.

The Nasdaq 100 traded relatively strong, in comparison to the weaker S&P 500, Russell 2000, and Dow Jones Industrial Average. This action comes as the Federal Reserve signaled a faster-than-expected pace of policy tightening (learn more about the impact of policy tightening, here).

At the same time, in conjunction with the divergence in major indexes, participants saw sectoral breakdowns, a concern that may portend increased volatility after ‘Quadruple Witching’ Friday, or the rebalancing of benchmarks, as well as the expiration of stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures.

In light of the event, participants found it very difficult to discover prices. That’s according to Matt Tuttle, the CEO at Tuttle Capital Managment LLC. 

“When you get one of these events, you get noises around share movements,” Tuttle said by phone. “It messes up the information that we’re seeing.”

Adding, this Quadruple Witching Friday may throw a wrench into the recent bullishness.

Much of the advance, since the election, came in light of a historically bullish period for markets, amid increased mobility and reflation, supportive structural flows, as well as the pricing in of positive earnings expectations.

Now that the reaction to earnings was lackluster, in addition to the passage of a large derivative expiration and move into a seasonally weak period, the odds of volatility are substantially higher. 

Why? Most funds are committed to holding long positions. In the interest of lower volatility returns, these funds will collar off their positions, selling calls to finance the purchase of downside put protection. 

As a result of this activity, options dealers are long upside and short downside protection. 

This exposure must be hedged; dealers will sell into strength as their call (put) positions gain (lose) value and buy into weakness as their call (put) positions lose (gain) value. 

Now, unlike theory suggests, dealers will hedge call losses (gains) quicker (slower). This leads to “long-gamma,” a dynamic that crushes volatility and promotes momentum, observed by lengthy sprints — like the one the market is currently in — followed by rapid de-risking events as the market transitions into “short-gamma.” 

“‘Equities stable on hawkish Fed guidance’ is the wrong read here,” Nomura’s Charlie McElligott notes. “Equities are stable for the same reason they’ve been chopping for weeks: markets continue choking on an oversupply of gamma from vol sellers!”

The implications of this volatility supply can be summed up with the below graphic.

Given that OPEX will lead to a drop in gamma exposures, the market will, in the simplest way, be subject to more movement in its attempt to price in changing financial conditions.

Options Expiration (OPEX): 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 worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

“The extremely low SPX realized volatility is consistent with the possibility that 18-Jun has left ‘the street’ long index gamma, in which case realized volatility could pick up once positions are cleaner,” Rocky Fishman of Goldman Sachs said.

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,153.25 high volume area (HVNode).

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

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

That said, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the index trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,153.25 puts in play the HVNodes at $4,177.25 and $4,199.25. Initiative trade beyond $4,199.25 could reach as high as the $4,227.75 HVNode, $4,235.00 Point Of Control (POC), and $4,258.00 overnight high (ONH). 

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

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

In the worst case, the index trades lower; activity below $4,153.25 puts in play the $4,122.25 HVNode. Thereafter, if lower, participants should look for responses at the $4,069.25 HVNode and $4,050.75 low volume area (LVNode).

Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants, based on dollars committed, were most interested in call strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), last week. This activity may denote (1) stock replacement, (2) hedges for underlying short positions, or (3) speculation on the upside.

News And Analysis

Economy | Big shift in the so-called “dot-plot” that tracks rate projections. (Moody’s)

Economy | Housing boom moderates on lower building permit authorizations. (S&P)

Economy | Capital gains – a century-old tax break gets a rush of attention. (WSJ)

Economy | Supply crunch risks are extending into 2022, stocking inflation. (WSJ)

Economy | New Chinese regulation requires recovery, resolution plans. (Moody’s)

Markets | Troubled companies take pages from AMC playbook, selling stock. (WSJ)

Markets | Brace for huge oil volatility one U.S. trading group suggests. (REU)

Economy | U.S. bank loan-to-deposit ratios fall and pressure margins. (S&P)

Economy | U.S. economic recovery doesn’t have to follow herd immunity. (Moody’s)

Economy | The U.S. distress ratio continued its downward trend last month. (S&P)

Economy | Global structured finance – charting the recovery from COVID-19. (S&P)

Economy | The MBA is predicting another decline in new home sales. (MND)

Markets | Bond market in midst of repricing, but not the kind we’re used to. (MND)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | Owning the paycheck is the key to financial technology success. (TC)

FinTech | Mark Cuban says ‘banks should be scared’ of crypto-based DeFi. (CNBC)

FinTech | Outlook: How the API economy is reinventing financial services. (CBI)

FinTech | Analysis: Big differences between a digital dollar and a CBDC. (BBG)

FinTech | Cryptocurrency lode of $100B stirs worries over hidden danger. (BBG)

FinTech | Axis-Z is working hard to bring virtual reality (VR) tech to trading. (BZ)

FinTech | OVTLYR’s platform helps investors take advantage of volatility. (BZ)

FinTech | Liti Capital allows investors tokenized access to litigation finance. (BZ)

Disclaimer

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