Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 15, 2022

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

Graphic updated 9:00 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of this letter. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) with the latter calculated based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Click to learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) put it really well in a recent update comparing today to the events of the mid-to-late 1630s. Dutch tulip bulbs traded as high as $750,000 per bulb (today’s money) before collapsing to near-zero.

That’s akin to what happened with the non-fungible token (NFT) craze of the late 2010s and early 2020s. Pictures of rocks sold for millions as recently as last year. Those pictures are worthless, now, and this has done a bit to dent the ecosystem’s apparent value, as well.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) via @LanceRoberts.

What’s going on to cause this:

It’s basically the case that easy money policies enabled market participants to borrow and fund longer-duration bets on ideas with (potential) promise in the future.

Financial asset investments, too, were far more attractive, and that’s why we saw the asset inflation accelerate, followed by goods and services inflation that was bolstered by chokepoints and trends (e.g., deglobalization via supply chain security and geopolitics) and, ultimately, prompted policymakers to pivot.

FTX (CRYPTO: FTT) is among the victims of this pivot. It’s apparent that the events surrounding the collapse of crypto ecosystems months back prompted a so-called “credit crunch,” an insider close to FTX’s leadership explained.

“Many loaners suddenly recalled all of their loans just to see who was still liquid. Alameda lost a lot from giving out loans to firms [that] defaulted. Alameda was now, also, on the hook for money they didn’t have since they had given a lot of the loan money to FTX or had lost it loaning to now bankrupt counterparties. [Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried] had two choices at this point, let Alameda get liquidated or send user money from FTX to ensure Alameda’s survival.”

Bankman-Fried, a massive risk taker at heart, chose the latter.

The repercussions include the following:

Apart from “strong governance and transparency [to] grow in importance as the cryptocurrency industry attempts to reassure investors and customers, … regulation of cryptocurrency markets, which was already a matter of serious debate, could accelerate,” SPGI explained, noting that some “other areas of the decentralized finance [or DeFi] market may be affected. And lastly, these contagion effects are unlikely to ripple into traditional finance [or TradFi].”

Check out Reuters (FTX bankruptcy filings in, French central bank wants quick regulation) and The Information (Startups should prepare for ‘second order fallout’ from FTX collapse).

Simplify Asset Management’s Michael W. Green (who we quoted in the past for his perspective and belief that we are in “a dot-com type collapse” that’s happened “underneath the surface of the indices which is [a result of] … passive flows supporting the largest stocks within the index, whereas the smaller stocks can be influenced to a greater extent by [] discretionary managers”) said a likely result is a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and an “almost certain … change in the monetary system,” echoing what Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan said a long-time ago: “I don’t see … a clear window where cryptocurrency is not subject to constraints and I think it’s highly likely that we move towards a digital dollar.”

CBDCs are highly controversial per my chats with the likes of Edge & Node’s Tegan Kline. She said they could “be used as a mass surveillance tool. Leaders have done little to invalidate her beliefs given their recent discussions on, for example, using CBDCs to derive “carbon footprint.” 

That means having a read on where people are “traveling, how are they traveling, what are they eating, what are they consuming … This is something we’re working on,” leaders have put forth.

The point of this all is as follows:

As many may know, “there’s no ultimate buyer” in spaces like crypto and DeFi, as ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) emerging market FX and yield trader Seraphim Czecker, who is now heading risk and product management at Euler Labs, said

It’s that and the persistent interest in illiquid products that leave the door open to manipulation. Barring illiquidity, “if there’s a 10 or 15 standard deviation move, the liquidity will allow for … you [to] offload those assets quickly.

However, that’s not the widespread case.

“For example, look at what happened in the UK with the pension funds and margin calls. That is a classic DeFi strategy. You take your bonds and borrow cash against them. Then, you put it back into bonds and loop it a couple of times. That way, you have a leveraged interest rate exposure. That’s the same principle of lending staked Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH), borrowing ETH, and doing it a couple of times.”

So, there may be “second order fallout” amid all this tightening. Markets, everywhere, are to de-rate. Ultimately, there’s probably a pivot to happen, in the future, with many leaders and strategists in finance unable to agree whether that (pivot) is the result of a recession.

“To take the foot off the brake right now and not finish the job, I think it’s the absolute worst mistake that the Fed could possibly make,” Citadel’s Ken Griffin said at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. In spite of Citadel seeing a recession averted, Griffin said: “I am finding it a bit hard to believe we are not going to have a recession at that point of time, sometime in the middle to back half of 2023,” adding this year finishes with “modest growth.”

Those in agreement include Stanley Druckenmiller, who once managed George Soros’ funds. “You don’t even need to talk about Black Swans to be worried here. To me, the risk-reward of owning assets doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Druckenmiller said

“When you make a mistake, you got to admit you’re wrong and move on that nine or 10 months, that [policymakers] just sat there and bought $120 billion in bonds,” he added. The “repercussions of that are going to be with us for a long, long time.”

Positioning

From a positioning perspective, much of what we’ve discussed in past notes is still true. Among others, Goldman Sachs Group Inc calculates up to $40 billion in buying over the next weeks with more than $80 billion of buying in an up market.

Graphic: Retrieved from @LanceRoberts. “Goldman calculates a whopping $38 billion to buy over the next week and substantially more (green line) if the market is up big. The chart below shows that the bank expects more than +$79 billion of net buying over the month.”

This is pursuant to our statements on the compression of implied volatility (evidenced by a shift lower in the term structure, particularly at the front end where options are most sensitive) compounding macro-type repositioning, with follow-on support coming from the reach for “Deltas and leverage” to the upside (call options)

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

As Alfonso Peccatiello of The Macro Compass puts it well: “incentive schemes drive people to be much more willing to pay and chase upside.” 

Preferred are “convex structures” that would benefit from rallies. 

However, in traders’ monetization of put protection they owned, as well as reach for upside calls (to not miss out on a potential reversal), skew is at its lows.

Graphic: Retrieved from The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. “2017 is a year that is notorious for extremely low implied and realized vol. It is fascinating to see how insanely low the call-side volatility has been this year. There is low vol and then there is, in the gutter low vol.”

If the assumption is that “further tightening monetary policy and draining liquidity off the market might cause some problems down the road,” per Fabian Wintersberger, downside convexity (bets that trade non-linearly to changes in underlying price and volatility) are attractive.

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

Trades that may be attractive include collars, as well explained in a recent thread by IPS Strategic Capital’s Pat Hennessy. 

“[T]he combination of historically flat skew [and] the highest rates we’ve seen in 15 years makes longer dated collars an attractive trade for those who are worried about the performance of stocks over the next year but do not want to sell or try timing the market.”

Technical

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

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

Key levels to the upside include $4,069.25, $4,136.75, and $4,231.00. 

Key levels to the downside include $3,965.25, $3,913.00, and $3,871.25.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView platform. All levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Contact

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 9, 2022

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

Graphic updated 8:45 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. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

A crypto-market leader and a lender of last resort – FTX – co-founded by Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was little questioned by many. It appears, however, that the company had growing pain points.

Events are developing quickly, too add. Here is a note that SBF issued to investors after entering into a nonbinding agreement with Binance.

Graphic: Retrieved from @gurgavin on Twitter. Read the story on The Block.

In short, there’s little substance.

Let’s go through the motions and start unpacking this debacle. Should we have loose ends, we’ll address those in the coming days.

In late December of 2021, I spoke with SBF regarding his background and aims with FTX. The resulting work was published on Benzinga.com, where I continue to work part-time as a writer and project lead.

Graphic: Retrieved from Renato Leonard Capelj. On the top is Renato Leonard Capelj. On the bottom is SBF.

In short, SBF is an MIT alumnus who started in finance at Jane Street, a trading firm and liquidity provider. Eventually, he saw an opportunity elsewhere; there were spot price inconsistencies across cryptocurrency exchanges.

SBF then founded the firm Alameda Research in 2017. A focus, there, was to extract premiums to spot via arbitrage. SBF et al would purchase Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) domestically, send it to foreign exchanges to sell at higher prices, and, then, convert and wire the funds back. 

​​“You do have to put together this incredibly sophisticated global corporate framework in order to be able to actually do this trade,” SBF said in one conversation. “That’s the real task, the real hard part.”

In light of some frustration with existing exchange offers, SBF founded FTX.com and FTX.US parent FTX Trading Ltd. As late as September 2022, FTX was seeking $1 billion at a value of $32 billion. The firm was looking to become a one-stop-shop for retail and institutional market participants such as FTX brand ambassador and spokesperson Kevin O’Leary who I talked to just prior to my interview with SBF.

“If you’re being compliant internally and also with regulators in each jurisdiction you operate in, you don’t have the option to be off-sides,” O’Leary explained to me on FTX building one of the larger infrastructures institutions’ compliance departments could easily “work with and external auditors can audit.”

Eventually, the exchange grew to become a major player.

FTX was a top-five exchange, adding market share through acquisitions of players like Blockfolio and LedgerX, as well as building a reputation of transparency, or so it appeared, through its work with regulators.

Adding, SBF said to me he wanted FTX to cater to other asset classes and “become a global liquidity venue across the board.” In mid-to-late this year, FTX added stock trading via no-fee brokerage accounts, a follow-through on his vision.

The expansion narrative cooled, however. There was the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, Celsius Network, Three Arrows Capital, and Voyager Digital, which FTX’s subsidiary in the US, FTX.US, won assets to in an auction this year.

At the surface, it appeared FTX was “seemingly untouchable,” as Immutable Holdings’ Jordan Fried explained online. Check out my last chat with Jordan Fried, here.

However, “cracks started to appear [and] people in crypto were taking notice”; the CEOs of both Alameda Research and FTX.US stepped down. Fried added that the situation worsened when Alameda Research’s balance sheet was leaked.

The firm had $14.6 billion in assets (nearly $4 billion in FTT, which is FTX’s utility token, and about $2 billion in FTT token collateral) against $8 billion in liabilities.

“Binance owns a bunch of FTT themselves and, two days ago, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) [who is the] founder of Binance, [said] that SBF … could be lobbying to get regulators to help out FTX more than Binance.” In response, CZ was to “dump all $2 billion of FTT” Binance was holding.

This coincided with a large selling pressure on the FTX utility token. With Alameda Research having ~50% of their assets in FTT, Fried says, “they were dead in the water”. A run appeared likely and, with FTX and Alameda Research’s dealings so intertwined, “the failure of one meant the failure of another.”

On the heels of billions in withdrawals, users weren’t “getting their cash” and, ultimately, in SBF seeking to protect users’ assets, FTX entered into a strategic transaction with Binance.

The follow-on impacts of this week’s events, during which SBF saw a ~90% wipeout of his wealth, can be speculated on. Apparent losers include SoftBank Group Corporation’s (OTC: SFTBY) Vision Fund, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Tiger Global Management.

Some, including Arthur Breitman of Tezos (CRYPTO: XTZ), mulled the impact of FTX’s potential divestment from Solana (CRYPTO: SOL) which “took a drubbing Tuesday,” along with just about every other crypto token including Bitcoin.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg.

Noteworthy are the impacts of this crypto-market turmoil in equities. As I stated in a note to SpotGamma subscribers yesterday, following “news of a liquidity crunch at FTX, when the selling accelerated in FTT [] and Bitcoin, so did the selling in the S&P 500.”

“The bottom, in all three products, happened at 2:30 PM ET.”

Graphic: Retrieved by Physik Invest from TradingView.

I add that these products – S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and Bitcoin – have traded in sync and held positive correlations.

In short, both are recipients of the same risk-on and -off flows. Easy monetary policies cut financial asset volatility and pushed market participants into riskier investments. In short, it was easier to borrow and make longer-duration bets on ideas (e.g., crypto and Ponzi-like DeFi, growth, risky private equity investments) with a lot of promise in the future. 

Financial asset investments were more attractive. That’s, in part, why we saw asset inflation early on in 2020 when policymakers embarked on historic interventions.

Monetary authorities cut interest rates and bought bonds, all the while money was sent to people. Risk assets were the first to respond. Then, as the economy reopened, demand picked up, supply chains tightened, and prices in the real economy inflated.

As we added on Monday, de-globalization and persistent supply chokepoints (e.g., Ukraine and Russia) have done little to help. Inflation remains a problem and investors are seeking safety amid Fed intervention. 

Financial assets are in less demand while real assets are in more demand. A disruption (or reversal) in these policies puts at risk the prevailing carry regime. A stock and crypto market drop is, in part, the result of an unwind in carry. 

The drop is a deflationary shock, precisely what policymakers are seeking, per Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar who says inflation is a structural issue, and “we [have] to generate a round of negative wealth effects to lower demand such that it becomes more in line with the new realities of supply.” 

As we established on Monday, that invokes “collateral damage to the US economy,” S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) economists have put forth “as households and businesses pull back spending and investment.” 

For example, just announced today, Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), which became wrapped up in the speculativeness of the early 2020s reaching beyond the crypto markets, hence the name change from Facebook Inc, is seeking to cut 11,000 jobs.

Per Bloomberg, “the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused [] revenue to be much lower than expected.”

Ultimately, a deflationary pulse manifesting disinflation in consumer prices may prompt the policymakers to reverse on rates and efforts like quantitative tightening (QT), the (out)flow of capital from capital markets.

We’re seeing demand erode and many businesses starting to suffer the effects of a switch to “just-in-case” from “just-in-time,” according to S&P Global Inc. Inventories (which are to be sold at a loss) are piling up and workers are needed less.

That’s a recession.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. “The overhang is leading to canceled orders, a sharp slowdown in global trade growth and stagnating factory activity. On one hand, it’s good that logistics networks are seeing relief from the logjams that plagued the start of 2022 — ocean-shipping rates have tumbled close to pre-pandemic levels and delivery times are shortening.”

This said, the “risk of recession, whether it is real or merely implied by an inversion of the yield curve, won’t deter the Fed from hiking rates higher faster or from injecting more volatility to build up negative wealth effects.”

“Rallies could beget more forceful pushback from the Fed,” which is a concern given the poor performance in implied volatility (IVOL) that’s resulted in participants’ disinterest in maintaining their hedges this year; equities’ left tail is growing.

Graphic: Retrieved from Bloomberg. Initially created by QVR Advisors. “When shares drop, demand for fresh protection remains subdued given the unusually thin positioning among big money. At the same time, put owners quickly book profits, often leading to a drop in implied vol.

In summary, there’s no longer “a disinterest and unimportance to cash flows.” The commitment to reducing liquidity and credit has consequences on the real economy and asset prices which rose and kept the deflationary pressure of policies at bay.  

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

Positioning

Based on traders’ current positioning, the market, absent exogenous shocks, is more so prone to sharp upside reversals and a slow(er) grind lower.

As the former Bridgewater Associate Andy Constan explained to me once, therefore, you “want Deltas and leverage” via options trades that are defined risk and two-to-four months out in maturity.

We shall go more into this, later.

Technical

As of 8:45 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

If above the $3,828.75 HVNode, the $3,874.25 HVNode is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as high as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,936.25 ONH, or higher.

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

If above the $3,828.75 HVNode, the $3,806.25 LVNode is in play. Initiative trade beyond the latter could reach as low as the $3,787.00 VPOC and $3,727.00 VPOC, or lower.

Click here to load today’s key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe. New links are produced, daily.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 27, 2022

The daily brief is a free glimpse into the prevailing fundamental and technical drivers of U.S. equity market products. Join the 600+ that read this report daily, below!

Graphic updated 6:55 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

We shall unpack details from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event in the coming sessions, stay tuned.

Positioning

As of 6:40 AM ET, Wednesday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.27%. Net gamma exposures lightly decreasing may promote larger trading ranges.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Should fears with respect to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement be assuaged, then compression in volatility may do more to support current equity price levels.

Graphic: Updated July 26, 2022. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation. Posted by SpotGamma. Short-dated, pre-FOMC, volatility is sold. Longer-dated, post-FOMC volatility is bid. “Traders have likely shorting implied volatility for pre-FOMC expirations which has been supportive of equities.”

Notwithstanding, let’s unpack some trends and how they may feed into a volatility “untethering.”

In the Daily Brief for March 31, 2022, we discussed participants’ aversion to selling short-term variance. This, which did more to assuage our fear of crash risk, as well explained in the Daily Brief for March 30, 2022, was, in part, the result of COVID-era volatility that forced participants, out on the risk curve, to deleverage en masse.

As stated in March, per Banco Santander SA’s (NYSE: SAN) research, the “supply of volatility remains very subdued in a trend that has continued since the pandemic.”

“We did observe some activity in 4Q21 and 1Q this year, but almost all of that was unwinding of existing positions from earlier, and these were not new trades.”

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

However, despite all of the “uncertainty from geopolitics and central banks,” we still saw broad equity implied volatility (IVOL) measures subdued, relative to those in rates and FX.

Graphic: Retrieved from QVR Advisors’ Benn Eifert.

Let’s unpack that muted response, further.

Well, as explained in the Daily Brief for July 21, 2022, heading into the 2022 decline, institutions repositioned and hedged, even allocating to “commodity trend following,” per our Daily Brief for July 15, 2022, which worked well the first two quarters.

The monetization and counterparty hedging of existing customer hedges, as well as the sale of short-dated volatility, particularly in some of the single names where there was “rich” volatility, into the fall, lent to lackluster performance in implied volatility and index mean reversion.

Graphic: Retrieved from Rob Emrich III. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS).

This trend is set to come to an end as entities are squeezed out of trades that aren’t working (i.e., participants rotate out of volatility and commodities).

Graphic: Retrieved from SpotGamma. S&P 500 $3,500.00 put option values. “Like with the Boy Who Cried Wolf, people grew tired of false alarms. This year put buyers have been waiting for the wolf, but after June OPEX the villagers stopped listening.”

Per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, as “volatility itself, on the equity side, becomes less and less hedged on the customer level, … [the] market can really begin to respond to the core macro factors.”

Should markets experience a shock, or trade substantially lower, the demand for hedges may result in an “untethering” in implied volatility, which was “one of the most supportive things into the decline,” Karsan said, adding that now is the best time to rotate into call options which are outperforming “their delta to the upside.”

Graphic: Time-lapse skew on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) for July 25 and July 26, 2022. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

Accordingly, given the macro risk, IVOL is likely at a lower bound and, per The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

Technical

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

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

Any activity above the $3,961.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,997.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,016.25 HVNode and $4,055.25 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,961.25 MCPOC puts into play the $3,921.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,867.25 LVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 21, 2022

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

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. 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.

Note: Looking back, yesterday’s letter was “eh” to put it simply.

So, here’s a discussion in the positioning section that tidies up some of the past analyses we’ve made. Also, I will be off Friday, July 22, 2022, through to Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 

Thank you for all the support and I look forward to hitting next week, hard, with you! Take care!

Positioning

As of 6:30 AM ET, Thursday’s expected volatility, via the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), sits at ~1.25%. Net gamma exposures increasing may help tighten equity index ranges.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

Given where realized (RVOL) and implied (IVOL) volatility measures are, as well as skew, it is beneficial to be a buyer of short-dated complex options structures (e.g., low-cost call ratios) that are short those options that have the most to lose in an SPX up, VIX down environment.

Graphic: Via Physik Invest. Data retrieved from the Cboe and TradingView.

The reason why? 

Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained it well in a conversation he had with the Charles Schwab Inc-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade Network.

Heading into the 2022 decline, institutions were well hedged. Their monetization of hedges, as well as the demand for certain equity options structures (and the hedging of them) into the fall, lent to supply and compressed volatility on a fixed strike basis, relative to that in other markets.

Graphic: Retrieved from QVR Advisors’ Benn Eifert.

Volatility supply, coupled with the lower liquidity environment, results in hedging pressures that (matter more) and lend to index mean reversion which Karsan posits may be coming to an end.

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

In validating his thesis, Karsan pointed to fixed strike volatility jumping in spite of the equity rally.

Graphic: Time-lapse skew on the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) for July 18 and July 19, 2022. Retrieved from Interactive Brokers Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: IBKR) Trader Workstation.

“This is the beginning of an untethering,” he explained. “If we see a rally here, IVOL will likely increase on a fixed strike basis. If that does, that will continue to untether index volatility which has been one of the most supportive things into the decline.”

For context, on the latter remark, when volatility is supplied by the customer, the counterparty, which is on the other side, has exposure to long volatility. All else equal, on directional moves, long volatility positions will reprice for the counterparty favorably.

To re-hedge, the counterparty will buy weakness (against increased negative delta) and sell strength (against increased positive delta). Below is a naive example of the effects of delta hedging a straddle on profit and loss.

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

Moreover, these shifts are suggestive of weakening market support, in the face of a macro and geopolitical environment that’s not improving. Quantitative tightening (QT), which is “the direct input of capital to capital markets” is set to double on September 1, 2022, all the while there is likely to be compression on earnings, and a break up in risk premiums across markets.

The “tail risks are building” and no longer is volatility likely to be pinned by (1) sentiment and positioning, as well as (2) hedging on the equity volatility side, Karsan added.

Graphic: Shared by Benn Eifert of QVR Advisors.

“As you squeeze entities out on the upside of that short positioning, and volatility itself, on the equity side, becomes less and less hedged on the customer level, which we’re beginning to see, the market can really begin to respond to the core macro factors.”

With a more volatile second leg down in play, Karsan says higher prices, in spite of small blips in IVOL on a fixed strike basis, will offer participants an opportunity to “add to volatility hedges.”

Likewise, with call options outperforming “their delta to the upside,” it makes much sense to replace static equity long exposure with that which is dynamic.

“The bare minimum, if you’re long equities, is to be expressing that in calls,” Karsan ends. S&P 500 calls are at a “17.5 and 18 volatility. If we continue to slide, the VIX [likely won’t] slide below 20 in this environment, given the macro risk.”

Technical

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

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

Any activity above the $3,943.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,982.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,016.25 HVNode and $4,055.25 LVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,943.25 HVNode puts into play the $3,909.25 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $3,867.25 LVNode and $3,829.75 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: Updated July 20, 2022. 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 15, 2022

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

Graphic updated 6:35 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Note: A really interesting discussion in the below positioning section which tidies up some of the past analyses we’ve made. Read on for more!

Ahead are updates on retail sales, import prices, Empire State Manufacturing (8:30 AM ET), industrial production and capacity utilization (9:15 AM ET), as well as University of Michigan consumer sentiment and inflation expectations, and business inventories (10:00 AM ET).

This week, markets repriced after data on inflation came in hot. Participants have bet on tough action from the Federal Reserve (Fed). Now, there is a near-50% chance of a 100 basis point hike later in July.

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

Per The Macro Compass, published by Alfonso Peccatiello, companies have downgraded their outlooks and job creation “is much less impressive” amid labor force shrinkage.

“[T]he number of total employed people in the US divided by its total population in the 25-54y age bracket dropped below 80%,” he explains. “Over the last 30 years, at the peak of each economic cycle, this ratio was over 80%.”

Accordingly, earnings “are nowhere near pricing the economic slowdown, … [and there still remains] way too much optimism.”

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Barclays Plc (NYCE: BCS).

Additionally, commodities (even more so those that are industrial and “are the cleanest expression of global demand”) have endured selling pressure with a near 30% copper drawdown likely to precede positive total returns for long bonds, Peccatiello explains.

Graphic: Retrieved from Callum Thomas. With “[r]ecessions see[ing] oil prices fall by 20% to 70%, … being bullish on oil at this point is either betting against history or [] recession.”

Positioning

The drawdown in commodities is significant as that was, arguably, the last place that offered participants a hedge against their poorly performing bond and equity exposures. 

“A lot of people allocated to commodity trend following and that did a good job in the first two quarters,” The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial explained

“CTAs were performing and you had a lot of people who did not need to buy [equity] volatility because their portfolios were covered from the inflation hedges.”

Graphic: Shared by Benn Eifert of QVR Advisors.

That, coupled with the sale of ultra-short-dated volatility, particularly in some of the single names to capture “rich” volatility, as well as hedging of structured products issuances, continues to play into suppressed index volatility.

For context: Rising rates and a drive for yield have been a boon for exotic derivatives. 

Participants often seek exposure to products that are essentially short volatility a year or so out. The counterparty, here, is long volatility on these notes. To hedge risk – since “you can’t just be long volatility, … [otherwise] you’ll bleed money for long periods of time” – the bank will hedge risk in the listed market. 

However, on a one-year auto-callable, for which it would be appropriate to sell one-year volatility in the listed market, “some of these banks … create this synthetic calendar profile where they’re … sell[ing] a little bit of one-month vol because they can take in that theta a whole lot faster, or two- and three-month vol,” spreading exposure in buckets.

See, here, for a sample presentation on what is an Auto-Callable Yield Note.

This suppresses “vol in the front of the term structure, and … opens up the door to … that other move where if everybody is selling vol in the front of the term structure,” it may blow out on a large increase in demand.

“If you look back during COVID, there are articles about banks that lost a lot of money because of the[ir] hedges. This has happened previously and you’re seeing little blips of it start to” return.
Graphic: Retrieved from The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. “[S]ome dealers will opportunistically look to sell vol in some buckets in the front of the term structure.”

Basically, “the macro landscape … opened up another area to hedge” which resulted in the increased movement of realized equity (RVOL) volatility, relative to that which is implied (IVOL).

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI). As explained by SpotGamma, “30-day realized SPX volatility is now trading above the VIX, something that generally shows after major selloffs wherein IV “premium” needs to reset to calmer/higher equity markets.”

Now, with commodities not offering protection, one has to be concerned if “the flock move[s].”

“If commodities are not performing, they’re not going to work as a hedge for your portfolio. That opens the door … [to] markets sliding lower and [people] need[ing] to get hedges on,” which is likely to bid equity volatility where some single names “are only trading three to four vol points above where they were trading in January of 2020,” the complete dismissal of a crash.

Therefore, “if you wanted to go out and hedge, the opportunity is still there in the equity space.”

Technical

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

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

Any activity above the $3,807.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,830.75 MCPOC. Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $3,867.25 LVNode and $3,909.25 MCPOC, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,807.00 VPOC puts into play the $3,770.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,751.00 VPOC and $3,722.50 LVNode, or lower.

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

Considerations: Responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart), suggests technically-driven traders with short time horizons are very active. 

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests and, additionally, the type of trade may be indicative of the other time frame participants waiting for more information to initiate trades.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 13, 2022

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

Graphic updated 6:20 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

Key for Wednesday, July 13, are inflation figures – the CPI report – as this will drive perceptions regarding future Fed activity.

Expected is an 8.8% rise year-over-year (YoY) and 1.1% month-over-month (MoM). In May, these numbers were 8.6% and 1.0%, respectively. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The national average price for a gallon of gasoline retreated to $4.66 as of July 11, a decline of 7% from an all-time high of $5.02 a gallon on June 13. But that is not as large as the fall in oil prices, because fuel manufacturing is in such short supply. Refining now accounts for 26% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, up from 14%.”

Core CPI (which excludes food and energy) is expected to rise by a rate lower than in April, 5.7% YoY and 0.5% MoM, respectively.

Mattering most is core inflation, which the Fed has more control over. If lower than expected, that may warrant some appetite for risk.

“If I’m right about June being the start of a string of lower core CPI prints, which is what the Fed wants to see, then I think comments from officials will quickly switch to a 50 basis-point hike for September and there were more calls for slowing to 25 basis points late in the year,” said Omair Sharif, founder of Inflation Insights LLC. 

On the other hand, if “higher than expected, we’ll feel this is definitely the peak,” said Tom Simons, money market economist at Jefferies Financial Group (NYSE: JEF).

Positioning

Carrying forward our July 12 narratives, here.

We can speculate as to where the market may move next, after the release of inflation figures, this week. What’s likely is that, even if the print is hot, the first move is to be structural, per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

“A function of inevitable rebalancing of dealer inventory post-event. The second move and final resolution, if you wait for it, is usually tied to the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT).”

Graphic: Retrieved from CrossBorder Capital. The “evidence of the huge Global liquidity squeeze. This is a major policy blunder building.”

Rising inflation probably bolsters the Fed’s backing of a 75 basis point rate hike on July 27. So, don’t fight the Fed. Rising rates and the withdrawal of liquidity prompts a continued de-rate.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Money markets are betting on a three quarter-percentage-point hike by Federal Reserve officials later this month, wagering the US will need to keep the screws on policy to tame inflation.”

Knowing this, the “flattening in the downside fixed strike skew, while the upside wings [are] more smiley,” as described by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM), has made for attractive low-cost spread opportunities, as talked about yesterday and in the July 8, 2022 letter.

Graphic: Shared by Benn Eifert of QVR Advisors.

The moral is as follows: own volatility where the market is likely to not expire. Sell it where the market is likely to expire. Just because implied (IVOL) volatility is at a high starting point does not mean it should be sold, blindly.

Read: Explanations and Applications – Moontower on Gamma.

Technical

As of 6:20 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

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

Any activity above the $3,830.75 MCPOC puts into play the $3,867.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,909.25 MCPOC and $3,943.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

Any activity below the $3,830.75 MCPOC puts into play the $3,800.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,774.75 HVNode and $3,755.00 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: Updated 7/12/2022. 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Considerations: Responsiveness near key-technical areas (that are discernable visually on a chart), suggests technically-driven traders with short time horizons are very active. 

Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests and, additionally, the type of trade may be indicative of the other time frame participants waiting for more information to initiate trades.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 10, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to higher, inside of the prior day’s range. Most other commodity and bond futures were bid while implied volatility metrics came in a bit.

Notable was the depth and breadth of Monday’s decline. Though the indexes were tame, some of which is attributable to suppressive hedging, single stocks expanded their ranges, greatly, to the downside, and this points to potential capitulation.

On the news front, a U.S. central bank report found that “the risk of a sudden significant deterioration [in liquidity] appears higher than normal” and stablecoin use to meet margin requirements in crypto trades makes them “vulnerable to runs.”

This is just as some algorithmic stablecoins have lost their peg (e.g., UST/USD ~$0.60).

Additionally, the report found elevated inflation, as well as the reaction to that “could negatively affect domestic economic activity, asset prices, credit quality, and financial conditions.”

Ahead is data on real household debt (11:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Context: We continue to build out the narrative.

A market-wide drop, Monday, pointed to signs of capitulation as “small-time investors offloaded a net of about $1 billion in equities, the most aggressive selling in 14 months,” per JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

Graphic: Via @TaviCosta. “Nasdaq has already declined almost as much as it did during the March 2020 crash. Back then, the Fed was all about saving the stock market and the economy. Today, it’s all about how much more they are going to hike rates.

Notwithstanding, the volatility divergences this letter has pointed to, in the face of pronounced realized volatility, continue.

Graphic: Via Topdown Charts. Wednesday (FOMC) price rise (right) versus Thursday (post-FOMC) liquidation.

As Pat Hennessy of IPS Strategic Capital explains, at-the-money implied volatility is high and term structure is in backwardation, which are reflections of uncertainty and demand for hedges.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. At-the-money implied volatility is backwardated given the heightened demand for shorter-dated protection, relative to that which is longer-dated.

“It’s just rare to see wingy short-dated puts like this so cheap relative to ATM.”

As explained in Monday’s letter (and in greater detail, Friday), a measure like the Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), or the volatility of volatility, has a mean below 100 and a high correlation with the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) during times of stress.

When realized volatility is as high as it is, today, the VVIX typically trades closer to 150.

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

Graphic: Updated May 9, 2022. The VVIX via Physik Invest.

What’s going on? 

There is really negative sentiment and emotion, both of which are playing into market weaknesses and realized volatility. However, that realized volatility is not priced in.

There are “plenty of put-buyers, but nearly as many sellers,” SqueezeMetrics explains

You “don’t have to protect what you don’t own. Some investors de-grossed. Short momo (e.g., CTA) wants to bet on a bleed (a la 2000), but not on a crash. Put underwriting! No carry trades elsewhere. Sell SPX vol!”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) was a recipient of heavy put selling and call buying on 5/9/22.

Why does this matter?

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the underlying, relative to what is priced, you buy options (positive exposure to gamma) so that you may have gains that are potentially amplified in case of directional movement.

When you think there is to be an outsized move in the implied volatility, relative to what is priced, you buy options (positive exposure to volga) so that you may have gains that are potentially amplified in case of implied volatility repricing.

So, in all, it is a question of whether the reward is worth the risk (see below “How To Play”).

Based on stretched positioning, equity markets are positioned for upside. Notwithstanding, the potential for large negative outliers, remains. In the case of an outlier, the consequent repricing of volatility may increase the reward, relative to the risk, for selling options, particularly puts.

As The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial sums well: 

With an S&P 500 below $4,000.00, “I would expect more of an aggressive reach for hedges … that spot- vol correlation break (weakness) would not be as present.”

“Spot- vol correlation has sucked recently, but vol relative strength should kick in.”

How I’m Playing: Borrowing from May 3’s letter, here.

Presently, the market is stretched to the downside and, as SpotGamma says, “traders are underpricing right-tail risk,” which opens the window for unique ways to play a returns distribution that continues to be skewed positive (albeit with large negative outliers).

This letter’s author is concentrated on zero- and low-cost bets ($0.00-$1.00 debit to open) that deliver asymmetric payouts (sometimes in excess of $10.00 credit to close) in case of violent and short-lived reversals.

This letter’s author is structured positive delta and gamma in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) via ratios spread (1×2) and butterfly (1x2x1) structures.

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

The concern with these strategies is the width and time to expiry. Should either of those be wrong, then spreads initially positive gamma turn negative, meaning losses are amplified.

For instance, in the Nasdaq 100, to put in short, 500-1000 points wide ratio spreads (buy the closer leg, sell two of the farther legs) expiring in ten to fifteen days work well.

For those spreads that are not zero cost, debits can be offset with credit sales (on the put side) in products that have shown relative strength like the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). This, inherently, carries more risk, and, as explained, the risk has yet to meet the reward.

Read more about these strategies, here. The above is NOT a trade recommendation or advice.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,978.50 low volume area (LVNode/gap boundary) puts in play the $4,055.75 LVNode/gap boundary. Initiative trade beyond the $4,055.75 could reach as high as the $4,119.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,153.25 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,978.50 LVNode/gap boundary puts in play the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $3,943.25 could reach as low as the $3,907.75 HVNode and $3,862.75 LVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price.

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

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

Options: If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she would buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Option buyers can also use options as an efficient way to gain directional exposure.

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Reduction of dealer gamma exposure.

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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