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As indicated yesterday, through the end-of-this week, newsletters may be shorter due to the letter writer’s commitments. Therefore, please read the Daily Brief for March 14, if you haven’t already, for a big discussion on bond and equity market volatility, as well as the odds of the market falling apart or rising, and positioning contexts that support that movement. If there are any incomplete statements below, we shall complete them in the coming letters. We’re laying it all out for awareness. Take care!
Headline inflation via CPI (Consumer Price Index) fell most on energy and core goods while shelter, food, and services inflation continues to be sticky. Core prices continue to be high, risking “inflationary psychology  becoming ingrained,” Bloomberg’s John Authers explains.
“There’s nothing in this report to suggest that inflation is defeated already,” explained Authers. “Not to raise the fed funds rate next week, with median inflation above 7%, would be a sign of panic,” and an acknowledgment of uncertainties with regard to the banking system, as talked about in the Daily Brief on March 14.
To note, however, contagion appears contained, despite Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) cutting its outlook for the banking system to negative from stable, and placing lenders including First Republic Bank (NYSE: FRC) on a downgrade review.
JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic did cut his equity allocation warning that not all carry trades, something this letter has talked about numerous times before (i.e., borrow at a low rate and invest in something that provides higher return), can be bailed out. Kolanovic appears worried about commercial real estate, which Simplify Asset Management’s Michael Green just told your letter writer is in a bubble that “we’re seeing crack,” finally.
Anyways, following yesterday’s CPI, traders price higher odds of a 25 basis point hike which puts the terminal or peak fed funds rate at 4.75-5.00%. Following this spring, factoring potential inflation plateau and financial system uncertainties, traders foresee the Fed easing. By year-end, traders expect rates to fall down to 3.75-4.00%. Recall that at the beginning of last week, there were no expectations of easing in 2023. Also, traders thought the Fed would raise as high as 5.50-5.75%.
Mortgage rates, determined by changes in the price of mortgage-backed securities or MBSs, fell too.
ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood, who your letter writer had the honor of interviewing in person for Benzinga articles, thinks we’re on the cusp of the “roaring twenties” as inflation “is likely to surprise on the low side of expectations” with the banking crisis also leading to “bad deflation.”
“Today, five major innovation platforms are evolving at the same time – multiomics sequencing, robotics, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology, all of which are converging,” she elaborates.
“Once the Fed stops looking backward at CPI inflation and starts addressing the deflationary banking crisis that a 19-fold increase in short rates and an inverted yield have caused, we would not be surprised to see a return to the Roaring Twenties.”
On the backward-looking measures quote in the above paragraph, former Fed trader Joseph Wang notes that the Fed and central banks, in general, are aware segments of the market may break, but that won’t discourage them from tightening further.
“As the BOE saved the gilt market through purchases and kept tightening, so the Fed can save banks and keep tightening.”
Tuesday’s letter said that following important events like CPI, the compression of wound implied volatility or IVOL, coupled with the nearing large options expirations (OpEx), sets the market up for potential short bursts of strength into the end of the month and next month.
That’s along the lines of what is happening. The S&P 500 rose mechanically after the release of CPI yesterday. Later, though the index succumbed, internally speaking the market remained strong through end-of-day, hence some short bursts boosted by some short-dated options activities, also.
As explained, yesterday, the recent re-grossing theme appears intact. Any further compression of wound IVOL and the passage of options expirations (OpEx) could support equities as month-end approaches. Though it may be too early to position for strength, one may consider it the way it was explained in the Daily Brief on March 14.
As of 6:15 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the middle part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of the prior day’s range, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.
The S&P 500 pivot for today is $3,904.25.
Key levels to the upside include $3,921.75, $3,945.00, and $3,970.75.
Key levels to the downside include $3,884.75, $3,868.25, and $3,847.25.
Disclaimer: Click here to load the updated key levels via the web-based TradingView platform. New links are produced daily. Quoted levels likely hold barring an exogenous development.
Volume Areas: Markets will build on areas of high-volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for a period of time, this will be identified by a low-volume area (LVNodes). The LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test.
If participants auction and find acceptance in an area of a prior LVNode, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to the nearest HVNodes for more favorable entry or exit.
POCs: 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.
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.
The author, Renato Leonard Capelj, spends the bulk of his time at Physik Invest, an entity through which he invests and publishes free daily analyses to thousands of subscribers. The analyses offer him and his subscribers a way to stay on the right side of the market.
Separately, Capelj is an accredited journalist with past works including interviews with investor Kevin O’Leary, ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood, FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lithuania’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė, former Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, and persons at the Clinton Global Initiative.
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Do not construe this newsletter as advice. All content is for informational purposes. Capelj and Physik Invest manage their own capital and will not solicit others for it.