Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For July 25, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: After a short sell-off, volatility ebbs as equity index futures trade higher.

  • Unpacking factors lending to the volatility.
  • Jitters ahead of Federal Reserve meeting.
  • Earnings outlook up. Priced to perfection? 
  • COVID-19 resurgence to not limit mobility.
  • Analyzing tightening and the shift to fiscal.

What Happened: Last week’s violent trade came as inflation measures rose the largest since the Global Financial Crisis.

At and around the same time was a monthly options expiration (OPEX) which opened the window to fundamental dynamics (e.g., a shift in preferences from saving and investing to spending, monetary tightening, seasonality, COVID-19 resurgence) given a “reduction in large options positions, and the hedging associated with them,” according to SpotGamma, an authority in the space.

The subsequent sell-off then moved the market into short-gamma, an environment in which the opposing side of options trades hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness, thereby exacerbating volatility.

To note, we’re discussing the implications of derivatives since option volumes are comparable to stock volumes and, as a result, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks.

Further, the reversal caught many by surprise. Why? Downside risks were thought to have been compounded by equity, bond, and derivatives market positioning, among other factors.

For instance, some metrics implied froth with respect to the number of put options being sold to open, a potentially destabilizing force given associated hedging forces.

To note, put sales, which can be part of sophisticated volatility-based trading strategies, can imply confidence as market participants look to options for income, and not insurance.

Amidst the selling, though, some indicators suggested participants more so became interested in puts as downside protection.

Then, on July 19, the S&P 500 rebounded as near-term discovery reached a potential limit, based on market liquidity metrics and the inventory positioning of participants.

SpotGamma’s metrics confirmed; participants bought calls and sold puts suggesting confidence in the low.

In explaining the violent reversal and follow-through, it’s useful to point to three factors – the change in the underlying price (gamma), implied volatility (vanna), and time (charm) – known to impact an options exposure to directional risk or delta.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics details the implications of customer activity in the options market, on an underlying’s order book. 

In short, in selling a put, for instance, customers indirectly add liquidity and stabilize the market. 

How? The market maker long the put will buy (sell) the underlying to neutralize directional risk as price falls (rises).

On the other hand, as the market reverses and continues rising, volatility compresses, and any puts that were bought quickly lose value, thereby lowering the opposing side’s directional risk.

As a result, short hedges are bought back, adding fuel to the price rise.

Considerations: The recession is over and the outlook for earnings is great.

That is reflected by heightened valuations, peak positioning, and S&P 500 price targets.

Also, in spite of extreme fear in the face of a COVID-19 resurgence, red states, where the risks of transmission are greater given lower vaccination rates, will likely not limit mobility while blue states are more so highly vaccinated and will remain mobile, according to Bloomberg

That brings us to the topic of monetary policy. 

The U.S. is in a different place from the rest of the world and is likely to eliminate its output gap this year which would call for a tightening in policy and dollar strengthening, helping douse inflation.

Graphic: Implications of high single-digit inflation on S&P 500 returns via Bloomberg.

On that note, Moody’s strategists comment: “The impressive growth in value across many asset classes is projected to taper off within the next couple of years as supportive policy is unwound. The 10-year Treasury yield will rise above 2% by 2022 and the fiscal tailwinds will also have faded by then.”

When liquidity is removed, as policymakers look to fiscal policy to address inequality, for instance, corporations may have to worry about making money, again. 

“That’s ultimately how we grow out of these valuations,” Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained to me in an article Benzinga will release next week. “These cycles are a lot shorter than the monetary supply-side cycles but they tend to be very bad for multiples and great for economic growth.”

What To Expect: Ahead of the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting, participants will want to temper their expectations on future volatility and focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,384.50 low volume area (LVNode) pivot, a prior all-time high (ATH).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,384.50 LVNode puts in play the $4,407.75 ATH. Initiative trade beyond the ATH could reach as high as the $4,428.25 and $4,470.75 Fibonacci-derived price extensions.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,384.50 LVNode puts in play the $4,357.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,357.75 LVNode could reach as low as the $4,341.75 micro-composite Point of Control (MCPOC) and $4,325.75 LVNode.

Note also that the last key level corresponds with two key Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) levels, 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.

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

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

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

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.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were committing the most capital to call strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), last week. Note, flow in the S&P 500 may denote the trade of box spreads.

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets. Additionally, Capelj is a finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For July 18, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: Equity index futures spike lower in their attempt to discover fair prices for two-sided trade.

  • COVID, waning stimulus cloud outlook.
  • Ahead: Housing and employment data.
  • Indices diverge; breadth, inflows lower.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower.

The drop wasn’t entirely uncalled for. 

Into the seasonally-aligned price rise led by the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500, inflows decelerated and breadth weakened

At the same time, a measure of inflation – via the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – rose the largest since the Global Financial Crisis. In response, the 5s30s curve resumed its flattening and the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield ended little changed.

Graphic: Inflation at its highest in almost 30 years via Bloomberg.

Simply put, it’s likely that bond market participants shrugged off the data and an acceleration in inflation will be temporary.

Still, yields could become further depressed due in part to fundamental and technical factors – issuance, short coverings, a fading reflation trade, peak growth – as well as the August 1 reinstatement of the U.S. debt limit.

“[I]f Congress idly stands by, the Treasury will eventually hit the debt limit on October 18. The consequences would be severe,” Moody’s strategists believe. Michael A. Gayed of the Lead-Lag Report adds the odds of a rating downgrade increase, as a result, also.

Moody’s concludes: “[T]apering earlier than the markets are pricing would risk causing yields to jump when some of the technical drags are easing.”

Graphic: Bank of America Corp’s (NYSE: BAC) timeline for taper via The Market Ear

Adding, since inflation and rates move inversely to each other, a mistimed bump in rates – alongside increased nervousness over a COVID-19 resurgence and fading fiscal stimulus – would potentially take away from the commitment to keep inflation expectations closer to the Federal Reserve’s 2%-plus target.

In all, in support of the Fed’s target, COVID-19 must not become a problem, and the Biden administration, alongside Congress, must come to terms on another fiscal package – a few trillion in size – that looks to extend the Treasury debt ceiling.

As unemployment declines and labor force participation increases, expectations of rate normalization will solidify. This is a boon for beta sectors, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic.

Considerations: Investment bank and financial services company Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) believes downside risks are compounded by equity and bond positioning, low short interest, and the involvement of systemic strategies which could intensify a sell-off.

Graphic: Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) chart on futures positioning via The Market Ear.

MS says CTAs are still short bonds which, according to CityWire, could continue the bond rally, pressuring stocks as investors “fear the bond market may know[] something they don’t.”

Add the passage of the July options expiration (OPEX), the window for the aforementioned dynamics (alongside a shift in preferences from saving and investing to spending, monetary tightening, seasonality, as well as a COVID-19 resurgence) to take over is opened.

After OPEX, according to SpotGamma, “the market tends to experience its largest intraday volatility which corresponds to the reduction in large options positions, and the hedging associated with them.”

Graphic: SpotGamma’s EquityHub showed 30% of the S&P 500’s gamma expiring July 16 which, as SpotGamma has said in the past, “creates volatility because, as large options positions expire[], are closed and/or rolled, dealers have large hedges they need to adjust.”

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,334.25 spike base.

Spikes: 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 $4,334.25 puts in play the $4343.00 VPOC. Trade beyond that signposts may then put in play the $4,346.75 HVNode – which corresponds with two anchored Volume Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs). 

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

More On 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.

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

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

If higher, entry into an overhead supply area, above the $4,357.75 low volume area (LVNode), portends continuation to the $4,371.00 VPOC and$4,384.50 RTH High. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,334.25 puts in play the $4,314.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond $4,314.75 could reach as low as the $4,297.00 HVNode. Closeby is the $4,291.00 VPOC and $4,285.00 composite HVNode.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).

News And Analysis

When VIX hits an extreme, options traders look to volatility arbitrage. (tasty)

Identifying gamma squeezes with SpotGamma’s options modeling. (BZ)

U.S. banks see loan, revenue pressure despite consumer spending. (Fitch)

The U.S. economy continued to strengthen as mobility trended up. (S&P)

‘A free put on the market’: Ambrus CIO talking volatility dislocations. (BZ)

OPEC+ agrees oil supply boost after UAE, Saudi reach compromise. (REU)

An unexpected tightening in policy would generate market volatility. (Moody’s)

Semiconductor supply shortage, inflation, and technology regulation. (S&P)

Frenzied retail investing boom has been cooling off in recent weeks. (Fortune)

Delta Air is seeing positive growth in business travel as offices open. (S&P)

What People Are Saying

About

After years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets. Additionally, Capelj is a finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For July 11, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: U.S. equity index futures diverge in their attempt to discover fair prices for two-sided trade. 

  • Ahead: Economic data and earnings.
  • SPX, RUT, DJI firm. NDX tad weaker. 

What Happened: Last week, U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher, only after enduring a brief liquidation alongside anxieties surrounding the spread of COVID-19 variants, as well as an evolution in monetary policy. 

The liquidation, though, was not unwarranted. For weeks broad market indices, led by the Nasdaq 100, rose on narrowing breadth and tapering volumes.

Graphic: Breadth metrics from JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM), via The Market Ear.

Then, during the unraveling, a meaningful divergence was observed with the Nasdaq 100 trading relatively weak. This came as rates on the 10 Year T-Note rebounded after testing trend support near 1.25%.

Graphic: In line with projections future inflation is easing, the yield curve flattened while bond yields fall substantially, via Bloomberg

Technical factors – issuance, short coverings, a fading reflation trade, and peak growth – are to blame for lower Treasury yields.

“Technical factors appear to be pushing rates lower and this should be temporary as current 10-year Treasury yield of 1.3% is well below its economic fair value,” Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) strategists wrote July 8. 

Through an ordinary least squares regression using an estimate of monthly real U.S. GDP, CPI, the current effective fed funds rate, the Fed’s balance sheet as a share of nominal GDP, and a Fed bias measure via fed funds futures, Moody’s comes up with an implied “economic fair value” of 1.6% and 1.65% for the 10-year yield.

Going into year-end, on the heels of the strongest and quickest recovery in history, Moody’s sees the 10-year rising to 1.9% as the Fed announces its intent to taper in September. Once monthly asset purchases have been reduced to zero, “the Fed will reinvest proceeds from maturing assets to ensure its balance sheet doesn’t contract, which would be contractionary monetary policy. [L]ook for the first-rate hike in the first quarter of 2023.”

With that, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) suggests “[e]xpectations of higher interest rates and higher corporate tax rates by year-end are the primary reasons [to] forecast that the S&P 500 will trade sideways during the next six months.” Supporting that view are earnings estimates, the inventory positioning of participants, as well as early July seasonality metrics.

Graphic: Seasonality metrics via the Capital Market Outlook by Merrill.

Risks Ahead: As discussed in prior commentaries, after mid-July, the window for fundamental dynamics (e.g., a shift in preferences from saving and investing to spending, monetary tightening, seasonality, or a COVID-19 resurgence) to take over is opened. 

Why? Coming into the options expiration (OPEX) cycle, which starts on the third Friday of each month, associated hedging forces make it so there’s more liquidity and less movement. In other words, the market tends to pin. 

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

Thereafter, according to SpotGamma, “[t]he week after expiration the market tends to experience its largest intraday volatility which corresponds to the reduction in large options positions, and the hedging associated with them.”

Graphic: Volatility before and after OPEX, via SpotGamma.

Considerations: Ahead are some releases on consumer, producer, and import prices, as well as industrial production, consumer sentiment, and retail sales. Also, big banks kick off the earnings season with reports on second-quarter results.

Moody’s notes: “data on inflation, retail sales and industrial production could alter … estimate[s] of second-quarter U.S. GDP, which [are] currently tracking 8.2% at an annualized rate.”

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to the $4,341.75 high volume area (HVNode) pivot.

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

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

In the best case, the index trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,341.75 leaves in play the $4,363.50 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the Fibonacci-derived price targets at $4,373.00 and $4,398.50. 

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.

In the worst case, the index trades lower; activity below $4,341.75 puts in play the $4,312.25 HVNode. Thereafter, if lower, the $4,291.00 untested Point of Control (POC), $4,285.75 micro-composite HVNode, and $4,239.25 HVNode come into play.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in call strikes at and below the price in the cash-settled S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), last week. Noting, over the past few weeks, there’s been increased activity in long-dated put options.

News And Analysis

Markets | Lower stress capital buffers a credit negative for many U.S. banks. (Moody’s)

Economy | A faster recovery boosting prices, but runaway inflation unlikely. (Fitch)

Economy | Is the Fed “tempting FAIT” by assuming inflation is just transitory? (BLK)

Economy | The Fed’s dot plots are not enough in a quantitative easing world. (S&P)

Economy | China’s fading ‘first-in first-out’ rebound sending a global warning. (BBG)

Markets | Commodity boom dwarfs oil spat as emerging markets set to win. (BBG)

Economy | Unpacking several paths to higher-than-expected interest rates. (Fitch)

FinTech | Meet Unbound, a new decentralized cross-chain liquidity protocol. (VV)

Travel | Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic pull-off key test for space tourism. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For July 3, 2021

Market Commentary

Key Takeaways: U.S. equity index futures diverge in their attempt to discover fair prices for two-sided trade.

  • Economy is set for sustained boom.
  • Ahead is a light economic calendar.
  • SPX, NDX, DJI higher. RUT coiling.

Summary: Last week, U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher into Friday’s employment report. The release showed an addition of 850,000 jobs in June, the strongest employment gain since last summer. 

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 led the week-long rally, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed closely behind. Though the Russell 2000 did end lower, it has been building energy for a break.

Considerations: It was the beginning of April JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Jamie Dimon wrote strong consumer savings, an increased pace in COVID-19 coronavirus vaccinations, and unprecedented efforts to spur economic activity could mean that a boom lasts as long as 2023.

Dimon’s comments remain valid. Months after, officials are hard at work in helping the U.S. reach herd immunity with vaccines that produce antibodies for the most well-known variants of COVID-19. Additionally, the economy is making progress toward meeting the Federal Reserve’s objectives for employment and inflation; just a couple of weeks ago the institution brought forward the time frame on when it will raise interest rates. 

In a statement, BlackRock strategists noted: “We believe the Fed’s new outlook will not translate into significantly higher policy rates any time soon. This, combined with the powerful restart, underpins our pro-risk stance.”

Alongside that news, the equity market sold violently, into Quadruple Witching, or the large expiry of futures and options. Thereafter, indexes staged a massive reversal, and the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), a measure of the stock market’s expectation of volatility, traded to its lowest level since February 2020.

According to SpotGamma models, up to 50% of the gamma in and across the S&P 500 complex was taken off the table that expiry.

This, as SpotGamma has said in the past, “creates volatility because, as large options positions expire[], are closed and/or rolled, dealers have large hedges they need to adjust.”

Put more simply, the initial action, into the expiry, may have been attributable to the sale of long stock that hedged expiring short exposure above the market (i.e., call side).

After that exposure was cleared, the prospects for a rally improved, boosted by the buying back of short put hedges as volatility imploded.

Last week, though, things became a tad frothy with the number of put options sold-to-open seeing heightened levels.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s analysis suggests equity put options were sold-to-open (red arrow). 

Put sales, which can be part of sophisticated volatility-based trading strategies, often suggest increased confidence as market participants look to options for income, and not insurance.

Historically, the returns after such developments are mixed; more often the appearance of strong initiative buying surfaces (e.g., August and January 2020) before a liquidation helps correct excess inventory, and bring sense back into the market. 

Kris Sidial – co-chief investment officer at The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund – and I recently held a conversation regarding meme stock volatility, market structure, and regulation. He noted that ongoing risk-on dynamics can be traced back to factors like Federal Reserve stabilization efforts, and low rates, which incentivize risk-taking.

“The growth of structured products, passive investing, the regulatory standpoint that’s been implemented with Dodd-Frank and dealers needing to hedge off their risk more frequently, than not,” are all part of a regime change that’s affected the stability of markets, Sidial notes. “These dislocations happen quite frequently in small windows, and it offers the potential for large outlier events,” like the equity bust and boom during 2020. “Strength and fragility are two completely different components. The market could be strong, but fragile.”

That dynamic is playing out as Cem Karsan, founder at Kai Volatility, notes volatility is dramatically oversupplied. As a result, as implied volatility drops, options gamma – an option delta’s sensitivity to market price changes – rises. Associated hedging forces make it so there’s more liquidity and less movement. In other words, the market tends to pin.

Still, in line with Sidial’s comments, Karsan believes expected distributions are fat-tailed, given “fragility.” In other words, it’s hard for the market to unpin. Should it unpin, however, there’s “not enough liquidity” to absorb leverage on the tails.

Given this, Karsan finds it interesting to sell at-the-money option structures to fund out-of-the-money structures. Alternatively, knowing what forces – e.g., charm or the rate at which the delta of an option changes with respect to time – decay poses on so-called “dealer positioning,” going into the July option expirations (OPEX), one could look into long calendar put spreads on the S&P 500.

In such a case, traders are short puts in July and long puts on forward. This way, you’re collecting decay as a result of realized pinning. Here’s Karsan’s full take, from the source.

Graphic: The risk profile of a long put calendar spread, via Fidelity.

After mid-July, though, the window for fundamental dynamics (e.g., a shift in preferences from saving and investing to spending, monetary tightening, seasonality, or a COVID-19 resurgence) to take over is opened. 

In a note on COVID resurgence, to not venture too far off into the abyss, I cite strategists led by JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic who last year correctly suggested equities would continue rallying on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies. 

“The delta variant should not have significant repercussions for the pandemic situation in developed markets (e.g. Europe and North America, which have [made] strong progress in vaccinations) due to the level of population immunity.”

What To Expect: In the coming sessions, participants will want to focus their attention on where the S&P 500 trades in relation to Friday’s $4,323.00 untested Point of Control (POC).

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

That said, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the index trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,323.00 POC puts in play the $4,347.00 excess high. Initiative trade beyond the excess high could reach as high as the $4,357.50 Fibonacci-derived price target.

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.

In the worst case, the index trades lower; activity below the $4,323.00 POC puts in play the untested POC at $4,299.00, as well as the POC and micro-composite HVNode at $4,285.00. Thereafter, if lower, participants may look for responses at the $4,263.25 LVNode, $4,247.75 LVNode, as well as the $4239.25 HVNode and $4,229.00 POC.

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

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

For a full list of important levels, see the 65-minute profile and candlestick chart, below.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Weekly candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were committing the most capital to call strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX), last week. This activity denotes (1) stock replacement, (2) hedges for underlying short positions, or (3) speculation on the upside. Also, there was a meaningful bid in September puts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. This dynamic suggests participants, despite their commitment to higher prices, are hedging against near-term risks, like the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

News And Analysis

Markets | The premium Elon Musk adds to Tesla, other ventures. (Kyla)

Markets | Forward-looking indicators point to improving credit trends. (S&P)

Travel | TSA screenings surpassed 2019 levels in a pandemic first. (CNBC)

Energy | WH is worried about high oil prices, sees enough supply. (REU)

Energy | An overview of data from IEA’s Energy prices database. (IEA)

Energy | OPEC ends Friday’s meeting without a deal for agreement. (CNBC)

Agriculture | Dry weather damage spells trouble for U.S. spring crops. (S&P)

Economy | States ending jobless benefits early hit labor milestones. (REU)

Markets | Spotlight turning to mergers, acquisition for fintech SPACs. (S&P)

Economy | Jobs gain largest in 10 months; employers up wages. (REU)

Energy | Cal-ISO, utilities ask consumers to conserve amid heatwave. (S&P)

Economy | Economic growth hiccup to derail credit spread stability. (BBG)

Markets | Record S&P 500 masks fear trade gripping stock market. (BBG)

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | BTC mining now easier, more profitable after crackdowns. (CNBC)

FinTech | ‘Flight to quality’ as private insurtechs draw big investments. (S&P)

FinTech | Bank customers cement relationships with digital channels. (S&P)

Markets | Money-losing companies sell record stock, flashing signal. (CNBC)

Markets | Wall Street rebels warning of ‘disastrous’ $11T index boom. (BBG)

Mobility | When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gas cars? (REU)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

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 May 24, 2021

Quick Note: From May 25 to May 28, the daily newsletter will be off as I will be on a trip. It would not be fair for me to provide lackluster content since I won’t have all the tools at my disposal.

Market Commentary

Index futures in balance.

  • The U.S. may be facing deflation.
  • Ahead is CFNAI data, Fed speak.
  • Stock indexes sideways to higher.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher overnight alongside renewed political tensions, cryptocurrency volatility, as well as a crackdown by China on commodity speculation.

Graphic updated 7:50 AM EST.

What To Expect: Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity. 

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.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by the responsive selling that surfaced at and above the $4,177.25 high volume area (HVNode). This is not all too significant given the large monthly options expiration. Still, according to SpotGamma, “[w]hile roughly 1/3 of total QQQ gamma rolled off on Friday, … [the] QQQ remains under the control of put options,” a source of potential volatility in the Nasdaq 100.

Responsive Selling: Selling in response to prices above area of recent price acceptance.

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

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

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

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

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.

As stated in Sunday’s weekly note, equities are in a seasonally weak period. At the same time, inflation and uninspiring economic data are major worries investors are attempting to price in. That said, however, during the May 19 reversal, in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100, participants increased exposure to the upside with relatively cheap, longer-dated calls.

Further, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,177.25 puts in play the $4,227.00 point of control (POC). Initiative trade beyond the POC could reach as high as the $4,238.00 overnight all-time high. 

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

Initiative Buying: Buying within or above the previous day’s value area.

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

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,177.25 puts in play the $4,122.25 HVNode. Thereafter, if lower, key references include the $4,071.00 POC and $4,050.75 low volume area (LVNode). Long-biased traders are cautioned on trade below the LVNode. 

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). The Nasdaq is regaining relative strength. A rotation would be bullish, or supportive of a new leg higher (if one were to happen).
Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for last week. Though activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, increased trade in farther-dated call-side strikes is observed as a commitment to higher prices.
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in put strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 Index (INDEX: NDX), last week. To note, however, participants began paying up for longer-dated upside exposure (evidenced by call activity).

News And Analysis

Economy | Cathie Wood: U.S. “setting up for a massive period deflation.” (BBG)

Economy | European labor market’s capacity to absorb shocks varies. (Moody’s)

Markets | How a global minimum corporate tax could impact markets. (WSJ)

Markets | Goldman sees oil hitting $80/bbl despite likely supply return. (REU)

Security | Three disasters show gaps in the $1.7T infrastructure plan. (BBG)

Markets | Mainstream markets shrug volatile $1T crypto flash crash. (BBG)

Trade | Sea change: global freight sails out of the digital dark ages. (REU)

Politics | EU weighs sanctions over so-called ‘hijacking’ of Ryanair jet. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | HSBC CEO says bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are not for them. (REU)

FinTech | Robinhood to allow users to buy into IPOs ahead of debut. (REU)

FinTech | VCs are predicting new areas of consumer fintech disruption. (BI)

Environment | Unpacking the problems with reinforced concrete. (Convo)

Markets | First warning sign in global commodity boom flashes in China. (BBG)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For April 18, 2021

Happy Sunday! Though markets were relatively choppy, they ended higher last week. This came at a time of heightened public attention to the market.

The following commentary on U.S. broad market equity indices will discuss what happened, why it matters, what to expect, and how participants can position themselves for the coming week.

But first, here’s a quote from Sterling professor of economics at Yale, Robert J. Shiller:

“The current widespread fascination with the rising market accompanied by recent concern about a possible downward spiral and strained stock market valuations echo those of 100 years ago.”

Market Commentary

What Happened: The S&P 500, Nasdaq-100, and Dow Jones Industrial Average made new all-time highs before closing the week out with an attempt to balance and validate newly discovered prices.

  • Data suggests economic outlook improving.
  • Earnings pick up, add to clarity on recovery.
  • Risk, reward poor for new entries. Be picky.

Why It Matters: The price rise in U.S. broad market equity indices comes as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic accelerated.

According to S&P Global, the recovery’s acceleration warranted a revision in the firm’s 2021 global GDP growth forecast to 5.5%, a 50 basis point change.

At the same time, it’s S&P’s belief that U.S. inflation fears are overblown. Traders began to price in that realization, last week. 

After a slew of economic releases, yields pulled back dramatically.

In a Bloomberg article, Barclays strategists, including Anshul Pradhan, noted a raising of the bar on reflation; the drop in yields “reflects the fact that expectations for growth, inflation and the hiking cycle have all been significantly revised higher.”

Further, participants saw the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), a measure of the stock market’s expectation of volatility based on S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options, continue a multi-week drop attracting the participation of systemic strategies and opportunistic hedging, as noted last week.

It is important to note that this most recent rally in equity indices, which coincides with a historically bullish period, came soon after Archegos Capital’s default on margin calls which triggered a fire sale by several big Wall Street banks.

SpotGamma, a source for actionable insights based on activity in the options market, in a commentary, attempted to unpack the narrative which suggests the mechanical bid across the broad market is tied to a “tangled web of counterparty risk and hedging,” among other factors.

Moving beyond speculations, a couple of things are true and must be accounted for in our narrative.

First, equity market inflows, over the past 5 months, exceeded inflows of the prior 12 years, total. Second, as the April monthly options expiration (OPEX) passes and the positioning of participants changes, the risks of a near-term pullback have increased substantially. 

Despite the stock market trading in a historically bullish period, as well as declining volatility attracting the participation of systematic strategies, increased put selling, and the like, downside protection is trading cheap relative to its upside counterpart.

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

Should the market turn and customers demand downside protection in an increasing fashion, dealers’ risk exposure to direction and volatility will cause violent crash dynamics to transpire.

An example of this is last year’s sell-off.

In a discussion on rising delta and volatility forcing dealers to sell into weakness to hedge a rapid move in prices, Kris Sidial, a former institutional trader and the co-chief investment officer of The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund that looks to exploit changing market structure dynamics, said: “You have this dynamic in the derivatives market where there is a gamma squeeze when people are buying way far out-of-the-money [options], and dealers reflexively have to hedge off their risk,” Sidial said.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

Putting it all together, despite markets being in a position to move higher, should there be a turn and spike in volatility, participants must be ready to accept the possibility of a violent liquidation.

As Market Ear puts it, hedge when you can, not when you must.

What To Expect: An increased potential to correct in time and price.

In addition, metrics, like DIX, market liquidity, and speculative derivatives activity, confirm participants’ bullishness and opportunistic hedging ahead of an acceleration in the global restart and a turn in flows, the result of consumers shifting their preferences from saving and investing to spending.

Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for the week ending April 16. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, in strikes as low as $364, which corresponds with $3,640 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants are not as inclined to add call-side exposure, through the month of May, in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

What To Do: In the coming sessions, participants will want to pay attention to where the S&P 500 trades in relation to Friday’s open-high-low-close (OHLC). 

Any activity above Friday’s regular trade-low suggests participants are not yet done discovering higher prices. Trading below Friday’s low suggests an inclination by participants to (1) form a consolidation area that denotes acceptance of higher prices or (2) revert to the mean and repair some of the poor structure left behind prior discovery. 

It is important to take note of the minimal excess and cluster of price extensions at $4,200.00, a typical price target based on Fibonacci principles.

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.

So, in the best case, the S&P 500 makes an attempt to balance or discover prices as high as $4,200.00. In the worst case, participants look to auction the S&P 500 into prior poor structures and low-volume areas (LVNodes) that ought to offer little-to-no support.

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

News And Analysis

Economy | Housing starts reach the highest level since 2006. (MND)

Recovery | U.S. is unlikely to ‘just cancel’ J&J COVID-19 shots. (BBG)

Markets | Citi to exit banking in 13 markets across Asia, Europe. (BBG)

Markets | Record-high systemic leverage is pressuring rates. (Moody’s)

Economy | S&P Global Ratings expects global rebound to roar. (S&P)

Economy | Projections on global population, aging, urbanization. (REU)

Trade | Amazon sellers slammed with COVID-induced constraints. (S&P)

Recovery | How well COVID-19 vaccines work against variants. (AB)

Markets | SPACs boost credit at targets but carry unique risks. (Moody’s)
Markets | ‘Roaring Kitty’ adds to GME bet after exercising calls. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Economy | Looking at the pop culture of the original Roaring Twenties. (NYT)

Markets | Want to take your company public? Here are your options. (CB)

FinTech | Societe Generale adds first structured product on blockchain. (SG)

Exodus | Hedge funds are ready to get out of NY and move to FL. (BBG)

Trading | The answer to how much capital you should be allocating. (TT)

Venture | European venture reaches all-time high in first quarter 2021. (CB)

About

Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, Canadian businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.

 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.

Cover photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels.