Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 28, 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 diverged during participants’ attempt to discover higher prices.

Commodities were mixed while bonds extended their slump; central bank authorities, in an effort to rein in inflation amid rising prices, are focused on implementing tighter monetary policies.

For a moment, the (5-30) Treasury curve dropped below zero for the first time since 2006. This is after the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Jerome Powell said last week the central bank was committed to upping borrowing costs and would hike by 50 basis points if needed.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Keeping it short, today. 

Last week, we discussed monetary policy and the impact of quantitative tightening (QT) in the face of revisions in global growth expectations. You can check that out, here.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “GS has significantly lowered our 2022 global growth forecast in recent weeks. The chart shows global 2022 real GDP growth, % change.”

On the belief that the “Fed hiking cycle and balance sheet drain are now priced” as the market enters a seasonally favorable period, strategists like JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic favor risk in high-beta.

“While the commodity supercycle will persist,” Kolanovic said, “the correction in bubble sectors is now likely finished, and geopolitical risk will likely start abating in a few weeks’ time (while a comprehensive resolution may take a few months).”

Graphic: Via Callum Thomas. “April is historically the best month (highest average monthly gain and 74% of all Aprils in history were positive).”

Complicating Kolanovic’s outlook is uncertainty with respect to the Fed’s decision to hike and pare asset holdings as financial conditions tighten.

Graphic: Via Stenos Signals. “On top of already tight financial conditions, the spill-overs from a weakening credit cycle remain mostly unseen. If usual correlations hold, then a contracting credit cycle will lead long bond yields LOWER and not higher during H2-2022.”

In the coming weeks, the thesis that a de-rate (or pricing in of uncertainties) has played out will be put to the test as the Fed reveals its template for QT. Final plans are likely to be unveiled in an announcement at the beginning of May.

Damped Spring Advisors’ Andy Constan explains well his perspectives on what comes next in the below video. Check it out.

Positioning: The CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), a measure of participants’ demand for protection, so to speak, appears to have hit a lower bound around 20.00. This is as the VIX term structure steepened, dramatically, over the last weeks, particularly at the front end of the curve.

Graphic: Via Vix Central.

After a long period during which options market participants concentrated their activity on bets on lower prices (negative delta trades that payout in case of movement lower), markets jolted higher as that protection was monetized (and decay ensued).

Alongside this collapse in implied volatility was speculative demand in index heavy-weights like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA). Participants bought stock while selling puts (bets on the downside) and buying calls (bets on the upside).

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator for TSLA as shown in our March 23, 2022 newsletter. The rising orange line denotes call buying. The rising blue line denotes put selling.

As this speculative demand cools, counterparties to these levered bets on the upside unwind their hedges and this has the effect of pressuring attempts higher.

According to SpotGamma, this is as, heading into this week’s expiration of quarterly options, there’s a “potential for more ‘pinning’ action as close-to-the-money bets concentrated in that expiry near the end of their lifecycle.” You can learn more about this, here.

Why? As time and volatility trend toward zero, the rate of change of options delta (gamma) of near-the-money options increases.

“This happens because the range of spot prices across which option deltas shift from near-zero to near-100% becomes very narrow as options approach maturity (and at maturity, options on one side of the settlement value have zero delta and the other side have 100% delta).”

With, at least at the index level, bets on lower volatility dominating (put and call selling), as the gamma of these near-the-money options increases, counterparties add liquidity, buying (selling) into weakness (strength) as positive delta exposure falls (rises).

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.

Moreover, the odds point to sideways trade, rather than a fast move higher or lower. 

However, after this expiry, it’s likely that the market succumbs to underlying forces. At present, despite the S&P 500 and its peers trading higher, underlying breadth is collapsing.

Graphic: Via Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF). Taken from The Market Ear. “While the SPX is up over 8% since the lows, the equal-weight version of the index is down nearly 3% relative, its steepest relative decline so far this year. Typically, this would make us uneasy too, but the market narrowed considerably from June to Dec last year, so this might be attributable to a tech bounce from lows.”

Technical: As of 6:40 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 balanced overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,535.25 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,548.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,548.75 LVNode could reach as high as the $4,565.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,585.00 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,535.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,515.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,515.25 LVNode could reach as low as the $4,489.75 LVNode and $4,469.00 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.

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.

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). 

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For March 14, 2022

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

What Happened

A lot to unpack, today. Part of the newsletter may be cut off, as a result, in your inbox. Just click to view in another window.

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways-to-higher, masking turmoil in products listed abroad, as well as commodities and fixed income.

In regards to bonds, they slumped (globally) in light of participants’ pricing in monetary action given heightened inflation. The Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and Bank of Japan are to issue policy updates this week.

Commodity markets are still roiling after a price spike in some products “created a systemic risk” that prompted exchanges to cancel trades, while equity markets in Asia saw their worst-selling in years.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (INDEX: HSCEI) closed down 7.2%, the biggest drop since 2008. This was after Russia asked for China’s assistance in Ukraine (which could result, later, in sanctions from the U.S.), thus compounding uncertainties with respect to an ongoing regulatory crackdown.

Ahead is data on 1- and 3-year inflation expectations (11:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:11 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: We may attribute participants’ uncertainty to how far monetary policymakers want to tighten, slower economic growth, the implications of geopolitical tensions, imminent Russian defaults, a resurgence in COVID-19 abroad, and more.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. As Treasury yields rise, participants price in Fed tightening.

As revealed by metrics like CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool, for instance, participants are pricing a high certainty of an increase in rates.

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME). Participants price in an increased probability of a shift in the target rate. Click here to access the FedWatch Tool.

“Yields are reflecting a surprise higher shift upward in inflation expectations,” said Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE: MS) Jim Caron. “Many thought inflation would peak in the first quarter and fall. Now, with oil prices, inflation may stay high.”

At the same time, there are some indications of market stresses.

Graphic: Via McClellan Financial Publications. “The Daily A-D Line for corporate high yield bonds continues to look quite ugly. That is a concern for the overall stock market because high yield bonds drink from the same liquidity pool as stocks do, and these bonds are arguably more sensitive than stocks are to liquidity problems.”

As explained in DC’s Chartbook discussion, however, “stress in money markets is for now mostly contained and not an imminent risk to financial sustainability.”

Graphic: Via DC’s Chartbook. Funding spreads “have stabilized over the past week, not making new highs after the gap-up open on March 7. These are encouraging signs that the stress in money markets is for now mostly contained and not an imminent risk to financial stability.”

In regards to credit default swap spreads, though they are wider than in recent history, “they are still far below where they were during times of material solvency risk such as March of 2020, and the term structure of CDS spreads suggests this is more due to mechanical de-risking.”

Graphic: Via DC’s Chartbook. Cost of credit insurance for Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C). Hedging with CDS results in mechanical steepening which raises the curve. “This is in sharp contrast to the curve in March 2020 (yellow, orange, and red), when the short end of the CDS curve rose quickly and flattened the curve.”

Okay. So, the “financial system is functioning smoothly.” How do you trade slowing growth in the face of heightened inflation?

As Andreas Steno Larsen of Heimstaden explains, the “best way to assess this question is via a historical study of empirical returns during times of actual stagflation dating back to the early 1970s.”

Graphic: Via Andreas Steno Larsen. “Heatmap on quarterly inflation-adjusted returns across asset classes during stagflation periods (1973 – today).”

“Assets that tend to keep the value intact or even increase in real terms through stagflation are typically negatively correlated to low or negative real rates, which is why gold and real estate (REITs) are some of the best places to hide during stagflation,” Steno Larsen says. 

“Equities overall struggle to perform in real terms and so do bonds, which might be even worse this time around due to the outset of bond yields into this potential stagflationary environment.”

To note, pursuant to the idea that participants have “priced in” the aforementioned, S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) data suggests “the initial stages of a monetary tightening cycle have not been disastrous for the U.S. stock market historically.”

Graphic: Via S&P Global.

Positioning: Based on a comparison of present options positioning and buying metrics, the returns distribution is skewed positive.

This is in the face of an S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) down environment.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) down, CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) down.

In part, this has to do with the supply and demand of protection; mainly, the market is “well hedged and well-positioned,” Amy Wu Silverman of Royal Bank of Canada’s (NYSE: RY) says

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

Given this, as JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) analysts explain, “we could be closer to the end” of discretionary de-risking, and the compression of volatility (via passage of FOMC), as well as the removal of counterparty negative exposure (via OPEX) may serve to alleviate pressure. 

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “18-Mar has more expiring near-the-money SPX open interest than any expiration since 2019.”

As SpotGamma, explains, “As it stands, without further geopolitical events causing, even more, fear, the markets are due for a relief rally,” on improving seasonality, among other things. 

“Following the FOMC meeting, as well as the reduction in put-heavy exposures post-OPEX (options expiration), the need for put ownership (protection) and relative short positions is reduced (less positive delta = less selling to hedge = less pressure).”

Graphic: Via EquityClock. Taken from The Market Ear.

Technical: As of 6:30 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the 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; activity above the $4,227.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,249.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,285.25 and $4,314.75 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,227.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,189.00 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,138.75 and $4,101.25 overnight low (ONL), or lower.

Considerations: Participants resolve a pinch of two anchored volume-weighted average price indicators (VWAPs). A VWAP is a metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

We look to buy above a flat/rising VWAP pinch. We look to sell below a flat/declining VWAP pinch.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For January 4, 2022

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned higher alongside most commodities and volatility fell.

This is as investors await data on manufacturing and job openings/quits (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of a resurgence in the coronavirus, as well as the Federal Reserve’s intent to moderate stimulus, among other things. 

“We expect 2022 to be far more challenging from an investment perspective,” Heather Wald, vice president at Bel Air Investment Advisors, said

“Rarely has a market delivered three consecutive years of double-digit returns, as we have seen from 2019-2021. With the Federal Reserve set to accelerate tightening and a fairly valued stock market, we anticipate more muted returns for the S&P next year but still expect equities to remain attractive versus other liquid asset classes.” 

Wald’s comments align with some metrics posted by LPL Financial’s Ryan Detrick. 

“The bad news is when the S&P 500 gains more than 25% in a year, it has never gained more the following year,” Detrick said. “The good news? That next year can still be pretty darn good. Higher 85% of the time and up a solid 11% on average.”

Graphic: S&P 500 returns via Ryan Detrick. 

This is as the S&P 500 sticks to its seasonal script; in the face of light positioning metrics, expected are massive inflows in the first few months of this year. 

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

This year is likely to be “dominated by continued knife-edge judgments by the Fed,” and inflation proving better than the most pessimistic forecasts, potentially. 

The prospects of a rally into the first rate hike are emboldened. Thereafter, the market may decline through the rest of 2022.

Positioning: Interesting Twitter thread by Kris Sidial on the transfer of risk in different areas of the volatility term structure. 

“You are seeing institutions aim to harvest the VRP in single stock land by hammering away at the front of the term structure. Especially the exotics desks that are notorious for carrying this inherent short calendar profile.”

What Sidial is talking about is most easily visualized by the compression and expansion of the VIX term structure in the graphic below. Notice the front move, relative to the back, below.

Graphic: VIX term shifts inward; as mostly short-dated protection is monetized or expired, volatility collapses and dealers’ exposure to the positive delta (via short puts) declines which meant they would cover their short futures hedges. This “vanna” flow bolsters SPX rallies.

The implications of this are staggering.

Participants, having been pushed out the risk curve, are using leverage to juice returns; option volumes are comparable to stock volumes.

As a result, related hedging flows represent an increased share of volume. 

As I once wrote in a Benzinga article: “The reflexive response by the opposing side of options trades — a result of regulatory frameworks, the low-interest-rate environment, as well as growth of the derivatives complex — causes a cascading reaction that exacerbates underlying price movements.”

Sidial adds: “[T]his short gamma profile with more and more people using derivatives will make way for the rapid moves in shorter time frames.”

That explains a lot!

Moreover, if we zoom in more narrow, today, though implied volatility “is well above its pre-COVID level across the term structure,” it is being sold at the front end.

SpotGamma data confirms this. Via the graphic below, the compression of volatility coincides with call and put selling at the index level; note, though, the increased put selling (more bullish).

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

Participants’ activity in shorter-dated tenors (as evidenced by the compression of VIX term structure mainly at the front-end) where options are more so sensitive to changes in the underlying price, time, and volatility, is promoting choppy (but bullish) price action, for now.

With bullish activity in single stocks like Tesla Inc (which was primed for an options-driven squeeze heading into Monday) feeding into S&P positioning, alongside the removal of hedges to positioning that was pressuring stocks and indices heading into Friday OPEX, and passive buying support, there’s potentially more room for higher, to put it simply.

Graphic: SpotGamma posts on TSLA’s options positioning, Monday.

In the end, the concern is whether this bullishness leaves participants reaching for downside (put) protection, later. This would have destabilizing implications, as Sidial alluded to earlier.

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

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 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 higher; activity above the $4,798.50 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,805.50 extension. Initiative trade beyond the $4,805.50 could reach as high as the $4,814.00 and $4,832.25 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,798.50 LVNode puts in play the $4,790.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,777.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,756.00 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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 January 3, 2022

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned higher. Ahead is data on Markit Manufacturing PMI (9:45 AM ET) and Construction Spending (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:20 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

Technicals: Given the Monday gap, the S&P 500, based on its relation to Thursday’s failed balance breakout and end-of-week liquidation, is positioned for sideways-to-higher.

To note, however, the persistence of responses to technical levels, weaker-handed participants (which seldom bear the wherewithal to defend retests) carry a heavier hand in recent discovery.

Via volume profile analysis, we see a plethora of low-volume pockets – voids – that likely hold virgin tests. Successful penetration often portends follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels (quickly run for the exits when wrong).

Graphic: Weekly chart for the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). Technically, indices are still positioned for sideways or higher.

Fundamental: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of higher valuations, interest rates, and tax rates, according to Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

These themes serve as a headwind.

To elaborate, as Nordea recently explained, 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: The “annual rate of change in the Fed Funds rate” via topdowncharts.com.

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.

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.

“Our view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the Covid-19 outbreak,” JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) noted

“We believe this will produce a strong cyclical recovery, a return of global mobility, and strong growth in consumer and corporate spending, within the backdrop of still-easy monetary policy.”

Positioning: According to JPMorgan Chase & Co, “S&P 500 skew overprices downside and underprices upside probabilities relative to historical returns.”

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, JPMorgan’s analysis suggests downside protection is overpriced.

This is all the while the S&P 500’s implied volatility remains above pre-COVID levels.

“SPX implied volatility is well above its pre-Covid level across the term structure.” The compression of volatility lowers the counterparties’ exposure to the positive delta. This “vanna” flow may support higher prices.

Taken together (in the face of last week’s options expiration which reduced the level of positive sticky options gamma concentrated mostly at the $4,800.00 level in the S&P 500), current options positioning and buying pressure supports a seasonally-aligned price rise in January.

Explanation: As a position’s delta rises with underlying price rises, gamma (or how an option’s delta is expected to change given a change in the underlying) is added to the delta. Counterparties are to offset gamma by adding liquidity to the market (i.e., buy dips, sell rips).
Graphic: SpotGamma data suggests the pin heading into Friday’s options expiration is no more.

The continued compression of volatility will only serve to bolster any price rise as “hedging vanna and charm flows, and whatnot will push the markets higher.”

Should that thesis not pan out – meaning the removal of hedging pressures associated with “put-heavy” single stock options positions and an end to tax-loss harvesting, among other factors – indices likely succumb to the “stealth correction” of its lesser weighted constituents.

Were participants to reach for downside protection, the implications of this would be staggering. In such a case, markets will tend toward instability. At present, the metrics don’t point to this.

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, amidst heightened cash allocations that are likely to be redeployed, “January is the big inflow month but the seasonality from here is looking less exciting.”

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,791.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,799.75 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,805.00 and $4,815.00 extensions, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,791.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,781.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,767.00 VPOC and $4,750.75 overnight low (ONL), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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 29, 2021

Notice: Given travel commitments, commentaries will be suspended until January 3, 2022. 

As an aside, I’m sincerely honored to have you as a subscriber. 

This newsletter began as a tool to hold myself accountable for objectively assessing dominant narratives and market-generated information. 

Since launching, this commentary has grown. Content and engagement have improved.

Now, with many of the 200 or so of you that are reading this actively, I have spoken with via email, and the like, regarding trader development, among many other things.

When it comes to markets, at the end of the day, whether you’re at a bank (as some of you are) or at home, we’re all alone. The implications of this are staggering.

How are we to objectively assess and act on what the market is signaling to us with no framework or community to work off of?

That’s the problem and I hope to make a bigger impact, going forward.

Wishing you good health and success next year and beyond!

Best, 

Renato

What Happened

In the face of a “stealth correction,” and an “off-loading of risk” by professionals, the S&P 500 remains strong further bolstered by options selling and volatility compression.

This is as less heavily-weighted constituents remain volatile; with hedging pressures sticky at the index level, the only reconciliation can be a decline in correlation. 

As liquidity remains “holiday-thinned,” so to speak, coming into Friday’s weighty “Quarterlys” options expiration, positioning metrics suggest indices ought to stick at higher prices.

Thereafter, expect increased movement.

Moreover, ahead is data on trade in goods (8:30 AM ET) and pending home sales (10:00 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Given the persistence of responses to technical levels, 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. Successful penetration often portends follow-through as the participants that were most active at those levels (quickly run for the exits when wrong).

Context: In the face of market internals that look weaker than at any time since March of last year, the S&P 500 remains strong, relative to its counterparts.

As alluded to in a prior section, the commitment of capital on lower volatility is upping the dealers’ addition of liquidity, which supports high prices but may limit further price discovery.

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

According to SpotGamma, “[a]s participants keep adding to their bets at $4,800.00, the dealer only takes on more exposure to positive gamma.”

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Based on the fact that we are at the S&P Call Wall and are approaching this large OPEX, we look for a pause and some consolidation in markets here.”

So, with liquidity “holiday-thinned,” so to speak, and participants’ concentration of activity in near-the-money options strikes, coming into this week’s “Quarterlys” options expiration, indices are to remain pinned.

After Friday, the market is more susceptible to fundamental forces as, according to SpotGamma, there will be “a decrease in sticky gamma hedging.”

Couple current options positioning and buying pressure – via short sales or liquidity provision on the market-making side – metrics suggest middling returns 1-month out, or so.

Graphic: Data SqueezeMetrics. Graph via Physik Invest.

Moreover, the expectation is that positive fundamental forces and dealers’ covering of hedges to remaining “put-heavy” positioning bolster seasonally-aligned price rise in January.

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

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

After a fast move higher over the past week or so, with positioning metrics as they are, it does not make sense to commit massive debits to static or variable long-delta trades. Cost matters.

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

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 $4,776.00. Below bearish (change in tone). Above bullish (status quo).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,781.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,798.00 minimal excess. Initiative trade beyond the minimal excess could reach as high as the $4,805.50 and $4,815.00 extension, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,781.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,770.50 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,732.50 HVNode and $4,717.25 low volume area (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. 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.

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.

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 23, 2021

What Happened

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

That, ultimately, adds to technical instability.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 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 6, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to higher after Friday’s liquidation had the S&P 500 undercutting its 50-day simple moving average (SMA), a visual go/no-go level.

Strength shifted, again, to the Russell 2000 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 was underwater. This comes as policymakers look to temper inflation with the tightening of monetary policy.

In regards to news, China’s central bank looked to boost liquidity for its slowing economy. It was also found that a new virus variant was not fueling a surge in hospitalizations; the U.S.’s adviser on the issue, Anthony Fauci, said there wasn’t “a great degree of severity to omicron.”

That didn’t stop the economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) from cutting their forecasts for U.S. GDP next year; the estimates were revised down on an expectation the omicron strain would drag growth.

Ahead are no important releases on fundamental data.

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

What To Expect

On weak intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the worst outcome occurred; there was an expansion of range, to the downside, and participants spent the majority of the session building value at lower prices (i.e., levels at which 70% of that day’s volume occurred).

The lower bound of Friday’s range was $4,500.00 or so, at which the 50-day SMA corresponded with a large base of resting liquidity. 

To note, the 50-day is visual level at which short-term, technically-driven participants were likely buying in response to probes below developing balance. 

Successfully auctioning beneath the 50-day is a concern. Those short-term participants lack the wherewithal (both emotional and financial) to defend retests.

Continuation lower, in such a case, is likely.

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

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

According to Bloomberg, “the Fed is seen responding to the inflation fears stalking businesses by leaning toward an older playbook of prioritizing the fight against price pressures — even if that risks weaker growth over the longer term.”

In line with the aforementioned, traders already started pricing in potential rate overshoots with the “December 2024 eurodollar yields [rising] above December 2025 contracts, a curve inversion that signals expectations the central bank may consider cutting rates in 2025.”

The result is that the U.S. may realize the swiftest tightening in financial conditions since 2005 if the Fed was to hike rates three times next year.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg, trades price in a rapid increase in the real Fed rate.

This development carries weight; now, more than during the tech-and-telecom bubble, low rates support current valuations.

Graphic: Low rates support current valuations better than the ‘90s, according to Nasdaq.

The reason being? 

“Lower interest rates lead to future cashflow discounting less – leading to higher valuations. From another perspective, a company with a 5% profit margin is a much more attractive investment when long-term borrow costs are less than 2%, as they are now than when it costs 5%-7% to borrow money back in the ‘90s.”

The Fed’s intent to taper faster, and eventually hike rates, just as liquidity conditions have deteriorated, pushed “the orange dot [in the above graphic] toward the right during the year.”

Notwithstanding, “growth in earnings is so far stronger than the multiple compression caused by rising rates (blue line),” and that is helping support this year’s rally.

The intent to moderate stimulus is likely to serve as a headwind; there’s always a possibility of unanticipated policy adjustments, in the face of a resurgent COVID-19 digging further into the economy’s growth.

That’s partially why we saw Goldman Sachs cut their forecasts for GDP. 

Graphic: Via The Market Ear. Goldman Sachs cut its forecast for GDP.

But, for every negative view, there is a positive (either by the same institution or a competitor).

We see JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM), among others, doubling down on their bullishness.

“We are calling for another year of positive earnings surprises, relative to current consensus estimates.”

Similarly, the market may shrug off omicron just as it did beta and delta

Graphic: Via The Market Ear, the market shrugs off COVID-19 variants with ease.

And, despite the market’s trade in short-gamma (a “negative [gamma] implies the opposite [selling into lows, buying into highs], thus magnifying market volatility”) destabilizing demand for downside protection is concentrated in shorter-dated options

Graphic: A roll lower in the VIX term structure brings in supportive flows. Via The Market Ear.

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

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

Such development plays into a thesis held by Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO). 

“The forecast is that the Dow Jones Industrial Average increases this quarter and peaks in early 2022. However, the rest of the contours of the forecast didn’t change. We expect the DJIA to steadily decline throughout 2022, but because it will now peak later than previously thought, the level of the DJIA will be higher at the end of next year and over the near-term forecast.”

Similarly, here are some views by Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), compiled by The Market Ear. 

“The Morgan Stanley’s Global Risk Demand Index (GRDI) [fell] to a 10Y low reading of -4.2SD, last Friday (currently -3.SD). Historically, such a level has proved to be a solid buy signal over the next 3m. Other signs that investor sentiment has overshot to the downside include the VIX > 30, a steep put-call skew, and the AAII survey where 42% of respondents are bearish (90th percentile reading). Over the last decade, MSCI ACWI has risen 98% of the time over the next 3m post this signal and by an average of 10%.”

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,523.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,551.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,590.00 balance area high (BAH), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,523.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,492.25 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,471.00 and $4,425.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 3, 2021

What Happened

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,590.00 balance area high (BAH). Initiative trade beyond the BAH could reach as high as the $4,629.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,647.25 HVNode, or higher.

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

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For December 2, 2021

What Happened

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

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

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

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

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

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

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

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

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic: VIX term structure. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charts To Watch

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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