Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 1, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were sideways to lower. Commodities and bonds were mixed. Implied volatility measures fell. The dollar rose.

A volatile quarter-end ahead of a long weekend. Noteworthy is the market’s responsiveness to visual levels. For instance, the S&P 500’s (FUTURE: /ES) high of the day printed at $3,821.50 or so, a key level in yesterday’s morning letter. 

This points to heightened activity by technically-driven traders with short time horizons. Such traders often lack the wherewithal to defend retests and, additionally, the type of trade may be indicative of the other time frame participants waiting for more information to initiate trades.

Moreover, on an annual basis, core inflation was the lowest since November while consumers’ spending cooled suggesting the economy is on a weaker footing. In Europe, inflation hit a record, boosting calls for more aggressive monetary policy action.

Adding, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) strategists see equity valuations falling further “[u]nless bond yields start to decline and buffer rising equity risk premiums.” Michael Burry, the Founder of Scion Asset Management, too, sees declines lasting on “earnings compression.”

Ahead is data on S&P Global Inc’s (NYSE: SPGI) manufacturing PMI (9:45 AM ET), as well as the ISM manufacturing index and construction spending (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

Fundamental: A bit philosophical here, today, as a difficult half-year has passed and I’m low on the time I have to commit to analysis this morning.

Markets are substantially lower from the end of 2021, all the while there are now, in greater quantity and frequency, calls being made that equities have more room to the downside.

That very well may be the case, and the upcoming earnings season is likely to provide investors clarity with respect to corporates’ ability to weather or pass on higher costs, among other things.

Read: Former Bridgewater Associate Talks Recession Odds, Capturing A Macro Edge.

Regardless, everything we discuss on a daily basis – fundamental and technical market drivers – will do little for us if we do not have a framework for assessing risk and opportunity

Before ever taking a position, I ask myself the following: What is it that I have to lose? For me, the answer depends. 

At times, it is dependent on a position’s payoff profile. At others, it’s the max pain I’m willing to subject myself to during adverse market conditions or when I have limited mental capital. 

As Dennis Gartman of the Gartman Letter said:

“Capital comes in two varieties: Mental and that which is in your pocket or account.”

“[T]he mental is the more important and expensive of the two. Holding to losing position costs measurable sums of actual capital, but costs immeasurable sums of mental capital.”

Graphic: Retrieved from Twitter. Dennis Gartman’s Rules of Trading.

And, with that, the other key is that the money is made in not losing it. Fortunately, this law was impressed on me, early. Returning 100%, only to suffer a 50% loss, sets you back to where you were, initially.

These comments are pursuant to traders I’ve had the honor of connecting with over the past year or so. Many made a killing to only have given most, if not all of it, back.

This has an immeasurable effect on one’s mental capital.

Though I’ve not participated in the most recent weaknesses, my mental capital has suffered. I’ve, subsequently, reduced the size of my positions and opted to define my losses, buying into volatility while it is cheap, as I view it, and waiting for the relationship to flip to sell in size.

Returning to the comment on whether the market’s de-rate has played out. I do not know. Can it go further? Probably. There are a host of references converging below current market prices, as pointed to in the Technicals section, below, that probably are taken at some point in the year.

That said, whether long or short, ask what it is that you have to lose? 

If it’s a number, define your loss and take the trade. Take (or provide) liquidity when others don’t want to. Buy (or sell) volatility when it is cheap (or expensive). Let the trade work.

It’s a coinflip, probably, at the end of the day. If we know what we have to gain and lose, we’ve moved the expected outcome that much further our way. Have a good long weekend, team.

Read: A guide to making money for individual traders retrieved from SqueezeMetrics.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,770.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,793.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter HVNode could reach as high as the $3,821.50 LVNode and $3,840.75 ONH, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,770.25 HVNode puts in play the $3,727.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the latter HVNode could reach as low as the $3,688.75 HVNode and $3,639.00 RTH Low, or lower.

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

Considerations: At $3,500.00 in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX), or $350.00 in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is the convergence of multiple visual references.

The 50.00% retracement (COVID-19 low through to 2021 peak), the 200-week moving average, and the volume-weighted average price anchored from the 2018 market bottom all converge at this $3,500.00 ($350.00) high open interest strike.

Graphic: Via TradingView. Taken by Physik Invest. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

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.

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 June 24, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures resolved a multi-day consolidation and auctioned higher, far beyond the prior day’s range. Commodities were mixed while bonds were lower.

The break from consolidation is one of the most bullish happenings in weeks. We’re monitoring whether participants add to their recent short volatility bets against direction, or whether there is repositioning and this bolsters the initiative probe.

Ahead is data on University of Michigan consumer sentiment, inflation expectations, and new home sales (10:00 AM ET), as well as some Fed speak (7:30 AM and 4:00 PM 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

Fundamental: To start, I want to apologize for any confusion, yesterday, with respect to the /GE Eurodollar quote. This newsletter said the peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – sat near December 2023. 

That’s wrong. It’s December 2022.

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. The Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE) futures curve is a reflection of participants’ outlook on interest rates. The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – is around DEC 20[22].

Okay, moving on, now!

New data is pointing to a “remarkable” drop in demand for goods and services during June, compared to months prior. 

“US economic growth has slowed sharply in June, with deteriorating forward-looking indicators setting the scene for an economic contraction in the third quarter,” S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) Market Intelligence’s Chris Williamson explained.

“The survey data are consistent with the economy expanding at an annualized rate of less than 1% in June, with the goods-producing sector already in decline and the vast service sector slowing sharply.”

Graphic: Via S&P Global Inc. “This is a sizeable miss and evidence of a quick slowdown in demand, though it’s still in positive territory (above 50). This report is consistent with a shifting narrative away from inflation worries and towards growth worries.”

Businesses (particularly in retail) are way “more concerned about the outlook” of costs and demand, as well as the path in monetary policies and deterioration in financial conditions. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Supply constraints, exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine this year, account for about half of the surge in US inflation, with demand currently making up a third of the increase, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.”

That’s validated by Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk speaking about the carmaker’s losses from new plants, supply chain problems, and the like. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Long-term ocean freight rates between China and the US West Coast are higher than spot prices for the first time since April 2020.”

“The past two years have been an absolute nightmare of supply chain interruptions, one thing after another,” Musk said.

“We’re not out of it yet. That’s overwhelmingly our concern is how do we keep the factories operating so we can pay people and not go bankrupt.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Supply chains in Asia look to be on the mend,” though it will “ take a while for supply and demand to rebalance.”

It’s a global move into recession all at once, as Jeffrey Snider of Alhambra Investments says

Read: Daily Brief for May 18, 2022

“​​Combine the potential for break in repo collateral with economy heading toward recession, no wonder the Euro[dollar] curve inversion is spreading as rapidly as it has. Possibility of something big going wrong, therefore ending rate hikes, is huge now.”

“Euro[dollar] squeeze, collateral shortage, deflationary potential in money, and now demand destruction in global real economy.”

Graphic: Via Alhambra Investments.

Over the last four decades, monetary policy was a go-to for supporting the economy. Money was sent to capital and that promoted innovation and, by that token, deflation, ultimately creating “unimportance to cash flows,” as well put by Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan. 

Now, there’s a strong commitment to reducing liquidity and credit, all the while there are chokepoints monetary policymakers have little control over. 

This has consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept deflationary pressures at bay. A stock market drop is both a recession and a direct reflection of the unwind of carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s poor sentiments and economic data reflects this.

At the same time, “bonds are not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol,” as Joseph Wang puts it. 

Bank deposits are to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, prompting investors to “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Retail buyers, who, according to Michael Wang of Prometheus Alternative Investments, “were a significant driver of the inflated valuations we saw in tech and crypto,” are capitulating in stocks, all the while froth in housing markets is soon to abate, likewise.

Notwithstanding, Mark Zandi of Moody’s Corporation (NYSE: MCO) does not see “the kind of mortgage defaults and distressed sales that would be necessary for big declines in housing values,” just as prices of raw materials are retreating as inventories are bloating.

As put forth, partially, earlier this week, one has to wonder about the likelihood that inflation is near its high and whether the de-rates have played their course.

Let’s keep an open mind and follow up on this, in detail, next week.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The hot commodities rally is cooling off fast as recession fears again ground and cloud the outlook for demand.”

Positioning: Keeping this section short. 

As stated yesterday, a feature of the equity sell-off is the suppression of implied volatility (IVOL) versus that which the market realizes (RVOL) given that participants are hedged and volatility remains in strong supply. 

Read: Daily Brief for June 23, 2022.

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

Options data and insights platform SqueezeMetrics explained that this is due in part to lower leverage, too.

“Leveraged long S&P lost favor (understandable), and marginal demand for puts went with it. Creeping into net selling territory is ‘smart’ bear market positioning. Short delta, short skew.”

Graphic: Via SqueezeMetrics.

As I said in SpotGamma’s note, last night, given “the high starting point in IVOL, as well as its place in relation to [RVOL], it makes sense to own structures that benefit either from sharp changes in underlying price or an abrupt repricing in volatility.”

Cutting into the realization of a sharp change in underlying price or a far-reaching rally, however, are short-volatility bets across shorter maturity periods (and the associated hedging), as well as big (and popularized) positions set to roll off at the quarter-end.

Liquidity providers, per SpotGamma, all else equal, will have to sell to re-hedge, and we will talk about this further, next week.

Graphic: Taken 6/22/2022. SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator points to selling of put and call options in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Those liquidity providers, who are on the other side, are more exposed to long volatility, which they hedge by buying (selling) into weakness (strength) underlying.

Technical: As of 6:40 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 positively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,821.50 LVNode puts in play the $3,843.00 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $3,911.00 VPOC and $3,943.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,821.50 LVNode puts in play the $3,793.25 ledge. Initiative trade beyond the ledge could reach as low as the $3,770.75 HVNode and $3,735.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

Considerations: Recent trade has been lackluster and the overnight break is the most bullish happening in weeks. The go-to trade this week was short volatility. Participants responded to tests of key visual areas, and sold options, particularly in shorter maturities.

In the coming session(s), some of those participants will respond to the break in a manner that bolsters the initiative drive. Notwithstanding, the key to watch for is whether participants will use the bump as an opportunity to add to their most recent short volatility bets against the direction. 

Ultimately, the more time that is spent outside of the prior consolidation area, the likelihood that the breakout is a signal to look for dips to buy and play rotations to key areas up above.

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-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.

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 June 23, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned higher, inside of the prior range, with bonds. Commodities were mixed and implied volatility measures were bid.

Yields fell after comments by Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell and growth updates in Europe stoked fears of a global downturn, per Bloomberg, as the prospects of a soft-landing look “very challenging.” 

“Financial conditions have tightened and priced in a string of rate increases and that’s appropriate,” Powell said. “We need to go ahead and have them.”

Today we’ll dive into positioning – what’s promoting responsive trade – and how to think about the market, accordingly.

Ahead is data on jobless claims and current account (8:30 AM ET), as well as S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI) manufacturing and services PMI (9:45 AM ET), followed by the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony (10:00 AM ET).

Graphic updated 7:50 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

Positioning: Fed Chair Powell added clarity to the central bank’s stance on policy, and its intent to tighten without pushing the economy into a recession, which we’ve argued we’re already in. 

Graphic: Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

“The other risk, though, is that we would not manage to restore price stability and that we would allow this high inflation to get entrenched in the economy,” Powell said. “We can’t fail on that task. We have to get back to 2% inflation.”

The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – now sits at December 2022.

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. The Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE) futures curve is a reflection of participants’ outlook on interest rates. The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – is around DEC 2022.

A feature of the equity sell-off is the suppression of implied volatility (IVOL) versus that which the market realizes (RVOL).

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). The divergence in IVOL by participants’ options activity, versus RVOL, continues to resurface in the S&P 500 via the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

As talked about before, participants are hedged and volatility remains in strong supply. Options data and insights platform SqueezeMetrics explains that this is due in part to lower leverage.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator points to selling of put and call options in the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Those liquidity providers, who are on the other side, are more exposed to long volatility, which they hedge by buying (selling) into weakness (strength) underlying.

“Leveraged long S&P lost favor (understandable), and marginal demand for puts went with it. Creeping into net selling territory is ‘smart’ bear market positioning. Short delta, short skew.”

Graphic: Via SqueezeMetrics.

Accordingly, it remains profitable to own options structures.

“This is the opposite of 2017 where the VIX was at 10% and the realized was 7%,” a trade that leverage poured into and resulted in the spectacular short-volatility ‘Volmageddon’ blow-up in February of 2018,” Dennis Davitt of Millbank Dartmoor Portsmouth explains.

Read: Daily Brief for May 24, 2022.

Graphic: Via Millbank Dartmoor Portsmouth.

How to play?

IVOL is bid and at a “higher starting point,” as I described in a SpotGamma note. Noteworthy, too, was the change in tone with respect to the non-linearity and strength of volatility with respect to linear changes in asset prices.

Read: Daily Brief for June 16, 2022.

In the current environment, we have to ask ourselves what would hurt participants the most?

It’d likely be forced selling or demand for protection by a greater share of the market in ways not seen. The associated repricing of IVOL would be a boon for those who own options, particularly in strikes further from current prices where there is a ton more convexity in volatility.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) implied volatility skew, or the difference in IVOL – an estimate of potential price changes given the fear of movement – between options strikes that are close and far from the underlying’s current price. Notice the sensitivity of this curve farther out.

Still, with volatility at that higher starting point, many have exposure to positive delta (options that increase in value if the market goes up, all else equal) and gamma (the amplification of profits as the underlying continues to trade higher). 

That (insignificant) demand in the right tail still makes it so we may position, for cheap, in spread structures that still offer attractive and asymmetric payouts (e.g., 500 to 1000 point wide Nasdaq 100 butterflies and ratio spreads maturing up to 20 or 30 days out).

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett et al. Originally sourced via Academia.edu.

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

Technical: 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, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,787.00 VPOC puts in play the $3,821.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $3,843.00 RTH High and $3,911.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,787.00 VPOC puts in play the $3,735.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,735.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,696.00 LVNode and $3,639.00 RTH Low, or lower.

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

Considerations: The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is above the convergence of a key anchored volume-weighted average price level and retracement.

In the case of a continued downside, that is an area where participants may see a response.

Graphic: Via TradingView. Taken by Physik Invest. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

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). 

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For June 22, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index and commodity futures were sideways to lower all the while bonds and volatility were bid. 

This is after participants, based on metrics included later in the letter, took the advance as an opportunity to sell at higher prices. Demanded was protection, and this bid implied volatility.

Big headlines include China sending warplanes near Taiwan after the U.S. rejected its strait claims. The Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wrote that the threat was “more serious than ever.” This is, also, ahead of Taiwan and U.S. officials talking about arms sales.

In other news, Congress was called on to pass a $0.184 per gallon gasoline tax holiday. Growth in job postings slowed as Q2 GDP forecasts have been revised lower, Chinese manufacturing orders declined by 20-30%, U.K. inflation hit a 40-year record, and sellers of homes are cutting prices in some of the hottest markets while the demand for adjustable-rate mortgages surges.

Ahead, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Patrick Harker speaks at 9:00 AM ET. Then, Jerome Powell testifies to the Senate Banking Committee at 9:30 AM ET. Later, Charles Evans speaks at 12:50 PM ET, followed by Harker and Barkin, again, at 1:30 PM ET.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: For what it is worth when it comes to talking of theory and the economy, ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood has been spot on, in many ways.

Somewhat pursuant to our detailed analysis on May 18, 2022, which talked about the impact of reduced liquidity and credit on the real economy and asset prices, Wood explained that the U.S. fell into a recession during the first quarter.

Read: Daily brief for May 18, 2022.

“If massive inventor[ies] bloat real GDP in the second quarter, they will unwind and hurt growth for the rest of the year,” she said. Last year, though badly timed, Wood said that inflation would be on its way out due in part to excess inventory which would be reflected in commodity prices.

Read: Walmart Inc’s (NYSE: WMT) inventory glut to reduce in a “couple of quarters” and how Target Corporation’s (NYSE: TGT) oversupply problem should scare all retailers.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “The hot commodities rally is cooling off fast as recession fears again ground and cloud the outlook for demand.”

“If inventories and stock prices are leading indicators for employment and wages, … then fears of cost-push inflation a la 1970’s should disappear during the next six months.”

To put it briefly, as we’ve talked about in the past, the recent market rout is a recession and the direct reflection of the unwind of carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s sentiment and reducing demand for goods, among other things, reflect this.

And, with that, after a period during which capital was misallocated, the Fed is not in a position to control price stability “without bringing down the markets,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

Read: Kris Abdelmessih’s Moontower #148 on prevailing macroeconomic perspectives.

In light of these efforts to control price stability, to remain is a continued reach for cash (or bank deposits) and the sale of non-cash assets.

Graphic: Via Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ: RDFN).

“Bonds are not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol,” as Joseph Wang, who was a trader at the Fed, puts it.

Bank deposits are to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, prompting investors to “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Graphic: Per Bloomberg, “[E]very $1 trillion of QT will equate to a decline of roughly 10% in stocks over the next 12 months or so.”

If it provides any solace, per comments by Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar, the Fed, which “can only deal with nominal [and] not real chokepoints,” is likely to change course.

This is as “nominal balance sheet and liquidity trends will, at some point, clash with the realities of a garden variety of supply chain issues.”

Likewise, Andreas Steno Larsen explains that bond yields remain governed by demographics, and this is good news for stocks, in general.

“Just look at the growth rate of the working-age population (10 years forward) versus the term premium of US Treasury bonds. The current bond bear market is not standing on structural pillars.”

Graphic: Via Andreas Steno Larsen. “Bond yields remain governed by demographics over the medium-term. Low(er) for longer.”

Positioning: To preface, I encourage everyone to check out the Daily Brief for June 17, 2022.

Moving on. So, last week, we had a large monthly options expiration (OPEX). After this, liquidity providers’ re-hedging flows supported the market.

Over the weekend, into Tuesday’s U.S. close, equities, then, traded higher. The rally, however, was not confidence-inspiring and was indicative of short-covering.

Per SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator, participants took the relief rally “as an opportunity to hedge/sell,” as I wrote for SpotGamma, yesterday.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s combined HIRO reading for the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) and SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY). Trade was responsive (i.e., buy dip, sell rip) up until 2:00 PM ET when demand for negative delta (i.e., put buying, call selling) outweighed that for positive delta.

This ultimately showed up in broad measures of implied volatility. As The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial said: “[I]n the final hour, spot [and] vol up.”

This plays into decreased odds for a far-reaching rally. Participants are positioned out in strikes that are lower and the activity in those strikes plays into a change in tone with respect to the non-linearity and strength of volatility and skew with respect to linear changes in asset prices.

As Karsan spoke to, last week, the spikes in short-dated -sticky skew – the “first we’ve seen since [the] secular decline began” – hints at a “critical change in dealer positioning.”

“We’re transitioning to a fat left tail, right-based distribution,” Karsan adds

So why does any of this matter?

There still appears to be a heavy supply of options, particularly those with less time to maturity, and skew remains poor-performing (hence comments in prior letters on the benefit of buying into implied skew convexity should volatility reprice).

Graphic: Via Charles Schwab Corporation-owned (NYSE: SCHW) TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim. Note historical or realized volatility (RVOL) versus that which is implied (IVOL).

Basically, participants are hedged and volatility remains well-supplied. 

If there was to be forced selling or demand for protection by a greater share of the market in ways not recently seen, then the repricing of the aforementioned structures would be a boon for those who own them.

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research.

Options have a “non-zero second-order price sensitivity (or convexity) to a change in volatility,” as Mohamed Bouzoubaa et al explain well in the book Exotic Options and Hybrids.

“ATM vanillas are [not] convex in the underlying’s price, … but OTM vanillas do have vega convexity … [so], when the holder of an option is long vega convexity, we say she is long vol-of-vol.”

In other words, by owning that protection – e.g., butterfly and back spreads – you are positioned to monetize on a continued non-linear repricing of volatility. The difficult part is cutting the decay of those spreads when nothing happens.

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett et al. Originally sourced via Academia.edu.

As an aside, despite the bearish tilt in positioning, there has been a notable uptick in index call buying per UBS Group AG (NYSE: UBS), presumably so that participants don’t miss out on a vicious reversal, should one transpire.

Graphic: Via UBS Group AG.

Adding, the “high starting point” in IVOL makes it possible to put on zero- and low-cost bets that deliver asymmetric payouts in case of violent and short-lived reversals. 

Read: Daily Brief for May 13, 2022.

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

Technical: 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 lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,696.00 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $3,722.50 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNodes could reach as high as the $3,735.75 and $3,770.75 high volume areas (HVNodes), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,696.00 LVNode puts in play the $3,675.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $3,639.00 RTH Low and $3,610.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

Considerations: Gap scenarios are in play, today.

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.

Definitions

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.

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 June 16, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures took back the post-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) bump. Bonds and most commodity products (less gold) followed suit. 

The Federal Reserve (Fed) admitted to run-away prices and committed to slaying inflation via tougher action. Accordingly, the central bank upped interest rates by 75 basis points. This was the largest increase since 1994 and, as the Fed commented, another 75 basis point hike may be in store at the next meeting in July.

In other news, the Celsius Network (CRYPTO: CEL), a crypto favorite that amassed in excess of $20 billion in assets, froze withdrawals to stop what some say was a potential bank run. Private equity is facing a so-called “crisis of value” given over inflated prices in that market. 

We shall unpack the latter, below, a bit.

Also, U.S. retail sales posted their first drop in five months, the Bank of England raised its rates along with the Swiss central bank which surprised with its first hike since 2007.

This is all the while Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) buyback desk was flooded with volumes about 3 times last year’s daily average. This could be construed as companies viewing the latest selloff as an “opportunity to repurchase shares rather than retrenching.”

Ahead is data on jobless claims, building permits, housing starts, as well as the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index (8:30 AM ET).

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: Fed funds rate upped 75 basis points. 

Now, it appears the rate will surpass 3% after the FOMC affirmed its commitment “to returning inflation to its 2% objective.” Participants reacted, pricing in the potential for a rate peak in the range of 4.00-4.75% early-to-mid 2023, after which the easing cycle is to likely take place.

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

The overnight rate is expected to peak near 4.23% by mid-2023. This is a given via a quick check of the Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE) futures curve, a reflection of participants’ outlook on interest rates. The peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – is around March 2023 (previously it was June).

For context, the price of /GE reflects the interest offered on U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at banks outside of the U.S. With that, they’re “expressed numerically using 100 minus the implied 3-month U.S. dollar LIBOR interest rate,” per Investopedia. This means that at current March 2023 prices (95.775), this reflects an implied interest rate settlement rate of 4.225%.

Read: The shift from the Eurodollar to SOFR is accelerating as “SOFR adoption cracked 50%.”

Moreover, the FOMC’s forecasts for inflation have moved all the while predictions for 2023 and 2024 have not. 

Graphic: Via FOMC. Taken from Bloomberg.

GDP growth estimates, too, have shifted but with the expectation there still will be growth.

Graphic: Via FOMC. Taken from Bloomberg.

As stated in this morning’s introduction (above), these policy adjustments are inflicting damage on some inflated areas of the market like crypto and private equity.

Recall that prevailing monetary policies made it easier to borrow and make longer-duration bets on ideas with a lot of promise in the future. Central banks, too, underwrote losses of this regime and encouraged continued growth. This had consequences on the real economy and asset prices which rose and kept deflationary pressures at bay.

As well put forth in our May 18, 2022 commentary, the recent market rout is a recession and the direct reflection of the unwind of carry. Capital was “misallocated” and the Fed’s move to control price stability is “completely unreasonable” as they’re not in a position to do it “without bringing down the markets,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.

Read: Kris Abdelmessih’s Moontower #148 on prevailing macroeconomic perspectives.

As Lyn Alden of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy put forth, “unfortunately for the Fed, the U.S. economic growth rate is already decelerating” and, to cut inflation, it must reduce demand for goods. Indeed, this is recessionary and is already reflected by slowing retail sales.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “As price pressures become more entrenched in the economy, spending will likely ebb either due to higher prices, higher interest rates, or both.”

As Bloomberg explains, spending has shifted and is supported by consumers spending down their savings and leveraging credit cards. 

Read: Klarna’s debt costs rise as buy-now-pay-later sector suffers.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. This “could be concerning if Americans fail to keep up on payments. That could ultimately mean a slowdown in the pace of inflation-adjusted consumption.”

“If this credit bubble ever pops, it’s going to be the most catastrophic market failure that anyone has ever read about — but let’s hope that doesn’t happen,” Mark Spitznagel, Miami-based Universa’s CIO, said in early June. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a tough spot.” 

Perspectives: “The move in markets prices in more than enough recession risk, and we believe a near-term recession will ultimately be avoided thanks to consumer strength, Covid reopening/recovery, and policy stimulus in China,” JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic and his team said

Positioning: Measures of implied volatility had come in, yesterday, and that was significant in that participants have a lot of exposure to put options.

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

Further, (naively) we see it as liquidity providers being short those puts. As volatility continues to come in, the exposure of those options to direction (delta) compresses. 

As a result, liquidity providers cut some of their negative (static) delta hedges to that positive delta put position.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility and time change, hedging ratios change. For instance, if SPX is at $4,700.00 and IV jumps 15% (all else equal), the dealer may sell an additional 0.2 deltas to hedge their exposure to the addition of a positive 0.2 delta. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

This means that the potential options expiration (OPEX) related bullishness, so to speak, was pulled forward and, now, markets, being markedly lower than they were immediately after the FOMC event, are at risk of trading into (and below) the sizeable interest down below.

Read: Daily Brief for June 15, 2022.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). Updated 6/15/2022.

As stated, yesterday, these options, down below, have little time to expiry and, thus, their gamma (options sensitivity to direction) grows rather large, at near-the-money strikes.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. 

As the time to expiry narrows, above the strike in question delta decays, and counterparts buy back their static delta hedges. 

As the time to expiry narrows, below the strike in question delta expands and counterparts sell more static delta to hedge.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading.

This means that if below these high-interest strikes, associated hedging, less any new reach for protection would pressure markets lower. If above, hedging, less new sales of protection, would bolster markets higher.

Ultimately, if lower, all else equal, the June 17 OPEX will coincide with the removal of the in-the-money options exposures in question. This opens a window during which markets may have less pressure to rally against.

Bonus: As SpotGamma explains, “​​[g]iven the supply and demand of volatility, as well as divergences in the volatility that the market realizes and implies from options activity, there’s a case to be made for maintaining positive exposure to direction via long volatility.”

Read: Trading Volatility, Correlation, Term Structure and Skew by Colin Bennett et al. Originally sourced via Academia.edu.

Graphic: Taken by Physik Invest from Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR). The divergence in volatility implied (IVOL) by participants’ options activity, versus that which the market realizes (RVOL) resurfaced on June 15, 2022, in the Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX).

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,688.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,727.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,727.75 HVNode could reach as high as the $3,773.25 HVNode and $3,808.50 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,688.75 HVNode puts in play the $3,664.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,664.25 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,610.75 HVNode and $3,587.25 LVNode, or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

Definitions

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.

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 June 13, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, futures for commodities, the equity indexes, and bonds were weak. There was no salvation in different assets. Instead, the realized correlation, across markets, tightened.

This is on the heels of inflation data updates that have traders pricing a 50-50 odds for a 75 basis point interest rate hike in July, after a 50 basis point hike this month.

That said, Ben Bernanke, who is a former Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair, said monetary policy leaders may be able to sidestep a big recession, expressing hopes that improvements in supply chains, among other things, would help rein inflation.

In other news, Chinese military officials warned their U.S. counterparts to avoid the Taiwan Strait and dismissed the need for the United Nations to review labor standards in the Xinjiang region.

This is as Britain’s economy unexpectedly shrank and Russia claims it has destroyed U.S. and European weapons stores in Ukraine. Additionally, despite OPEC+’s modest output gains, the average price of a gallon of gas rose to over $5 per gallon in the U.S. 

This output shock is likely to last into 2023 with gas potentially reaching as high as $6-$7.

Interestingly, as an aside, power grid operators in the Midwest are suggesting rolling blackouts in the coming years. This is just as power use in the South hit all-time records.

Ahead is data on inflation expectations (11:00 AM ET). This week’s focus is on the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) monetary policy decisions and large derivative expirations.

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

What To Expect

Fundamental: The CPI report was released Friday. 

Expected was an 8.2% rise year-over-year (YoY) and 0.7% month-over-month (MoM). Core CPI (which excludes food and energy) was to rise by 5.9% YoY and 0.5% MoM, respectively.

Officially, the headline number rose to 8.6%, and, the same day, consumer sentiment dropped to record lows while expectations for inflation (5-10 years from now) jumped 0.3%.

Graphic: Via All-Star Charts. Taken from the Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm.

As Bloomberg’s John Authers put it well, the report’s details “were if anything even more alarming. There’s no way around it; this was a bad report.”

Graphic: Via Schroders plc (OTC: SHNWF). Taken from the Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm. “Everyone’s (current) favorite economic data report was out this week and it showed annual CPI inflation running at an 8.6% clip. On this chart that would imply a P/E ~11x (Current P/E is ~20x).

Subsequently, a key part of the U.S. yield curve turned upside down while traders priced more tightening by September (i.e., two 50 basis point hikes and one that is potentially 75 basis points), selling nearly everything but the U.S. dollar.

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

Early last week, after commentaries resumed, we talked about the reach for cash amid poor safety in fixed income and stock price declines.

Ultimately, to quote Joseph Wang who was a trader at the Fed, an increase in the RRP (reverse repo) and QT (which is a direct flow of capital to capital markets) “would drain the pool of bank deposits by ~$1t by year-end,” and this may prompt investors to “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

Graphic: Via McClellan Financial Publications. “These bonds move a lot more like the stock market than like T-Bonds. What makes them even more interesting is that they tend to be terribly sensitive to liquidity, both good and bad.”

“Inflation is eating margins, eating consumer demand, and causing the dramatic monetary tightening we are witnessing. None of this is good for stocks,” said James Athey of Abrdn. 

“There is still much downside to come.” 

Positioning: In short, prior-mentioned supply and demand dynamics resulted in divergences between the volatility that the market realizes (RVOL) and that which is implied (IVOL).

Graphic: Via Robson Chow, founder at Tradewell. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) “is off ~5% in two trading sessions and implied volatility is still below realized volatility.”

Basically, participants are hedged and volatility remains well-supplied, due in part to suppressive volatility selling, as well as passive flows supporting the largest index constituents.

Consequently, the market’s descent has been orderly and not exacerbated by the demand for hedges and associated repricings of volatility.

This was expected, per Kai Volatility Cem Karsan’s commentary published in December 2021.

Graphic: Commentary published by Kai Volatility.

Accordingly, for “divergences in RVOL and IVOL to resolve, it would likely take forced selling,” as I explained in a recent SpotGamma commentary.

This is similar to the happenings of the Global Financial Crisis when, according to The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “vol slowly [ground] until the eventual October 2008 move (i.e., Lehman).”

“The markets were understanding that there was a change going on, especially in credit. But that risk was discounted until it was forced into realization.”

In light of this, on June 8, we talked about long volatility structures (that, one, either sold very short-dated pre-FOMC and OPEX volatility to fund that which is farther-dated or, two, buy into implied skew convexity, non-linear with respect to delta [gamma] and vega [volga] changes).

Why would you do that?

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

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

Graphic: Via Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN) research.

Ultimately, “liquidity providers’ response to demand for protection (en masse) would, then, likely exacerbate the move and aid in the repricing of volatility to levels where there would be more stored energy to catalyze a rally.”

More on these dynamics later this week.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $3,808.50 HVNode puts in play the $3,836.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,836.25 LVNode could reach as high as the $3,863.25 LVNode and $3,911.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,808.50 HVNode puts in play the $3,768.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $3,768.25 HVNode could reach as low as the $3,727.75 and $3,688.75 HVNode, or lower.

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

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.

Point Of Control: 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.

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 18, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity indices auctioned lower alongside commodities and bonds. The Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) caught a bid ahead of its large expiration this morning.

Fundamentally, the context is the same. To note, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was at a conference, yesterday, and said the central bank would continue raising rates until there is evidence that inflation is in retreat. 

Until that evidence appears, the Fed could move “more aggressively.” That was hawkish.

Today we receive updates on building permits and housing starts (8:30 AM ET). Later, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker speaks (4:00 PM 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

Fundamental: If you have not already, check out Tuesday’s letter which discussed, in-depth, some of the implications of changing monetary policies, and their impact on markets.

Today’s letter will add to our narrative.

Over the course of a month or so, markets traded marginally lower while research houses have upped their calls for a slowing in the economy or, even, the prospect of a global recession.

So, in the span of a month, the tone changed to “[w]e’re on the brink of global recession.”

Graphic: Via Robin Brooks. Taken from The Market Ear. “Global GDP is flatlining.”

Let’s try to work through some narrative and theory, here.

On March 31, 2022, we unpacked what carry trades are (i.e., the act of borrowing at low rates and investing where there are higher rates to make money so long as nothing [bad] happens), and the implications of their unwind.

Such strategies are characterized by a sawtooth wave returns pattern (i.e., steady positive returns followed by sharp drops).

Graphic: Via Risky Finance. “Cumulative log returns from shorting the VIX future, a common carry strategy. Notice the poor returns in 2008 and other market crises.”

A great book on this – “The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decay Growth and Recurring Crisis – discusses many of the different forms of carry, their attractiveness, and the implications of their failure.

Further discussed is global monetary policy feeding into the growth and the reinforcement of carry, which has become embedded (or a core force of financial conditions).

Let’s elaborate.

Carry trades often involve leverage and, to avoid losses, these strategies force traders to close positions when positions move against them, buying strength and selling weakness. 

By that token, expansion of carry plays into increased liquidity, which is related to the ease with which credit is obtained and available in the economy, a driver of economic growth and what we talked about yesterday – Planet Palo Alto – over recent business cycles.

Moreover, over the last four decades, monetary policy was a go-to for supporting the economy. Money was sent to capital and that promoted innovation and, by that token, deflation, ultimately creating “a disinterest and unimportance to cash flows.”

In other words, prevailing monetary policies made it easier to borrow and make longer duration bets on ideas with a lot of promise in the future. Central banks underwrote losses of this regime (e.g., post-1998 easing after widening of credit spreads), encouraging continued growth (and innovation). 

Now, there’s a strong commitment to reducing liquidity and credit. 

This has consequences on the real economy and asset prices, accordingly, which rose and kept deflationary pressures at bay.

What we’re getting to basically is the distinction between the economy and financial markets. 

This distinction has blurred. 

As the book explains, U.S. market liquidity, as well as the U.S. dollar’s role as a global reserve currency, makes the U.S. markets and S&P 500 at the center of the global carry regime.

A stock market drop is both a recession and a direct reflection of the unwind of carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s sentiment reflects this.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “[M]ore fund managers are worried about systemic financial risks than at any previous time in the survey’s history — which stretches back to before the GFC.”

So, what? 

Yesterday, we quoted Elon Musk saying the U.S. was facing a tough recession. This is on the heels of a large “misallocation of capital,” he says, by the government printing “a zillion amount of more money than it had,” which ultimately played into price instabilities we’re seeing today.

“The Fed has a mandate, which is completely unreasonable — to control price stability,” Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explains.

“With supply-side economics, the only way that they can control this ultimately is to pull back. And slow capital markets decrease via the wealth effect. Ultimately, there’s a significant lag, so they are not in a position to ultimately control inflation without bringing down markets.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Taken from the Weekly S&P 500 ChartStorm. “Financial conditions are rapidly and drastically tightening (= bad [for] stocks).” 

“Unfortunately for the Fed, the U.S. economic growth rate is already decelerating,” Lyn Alden of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy adds. To cut inflation, the Fed must reduce demand for goods, and this is recessionary (just as “Walmart Inc [NYSE: WMT] and Target Corporation [NYSE: TGT] are feeling the effect of the stretched consumer,” per Bloomberg).

Graphic: Via Andreas Steno Larsen. “Demand destruction in one chart. Retail sales before and after inflation adjustments.”

Positioning: Participants legged into protective put options.

Graphic: Via Sentimentrader. Taken from The Market Ear.

As talked about before, with this stretched positioning, liquidity providers had a lot of synthetic exposure to the upside (positive delta) and asymmetric losses to the downside (negative gamma). To hedge, underlyings were sold. 

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. Total call delta to put delta for all expirations. Participants are concentrated in puts.

As markets rise, and that particular options exposure decays, the pressure these liquidity providers must add, softens. That’s what we’ve been seeing over the past few sessions.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) reveals strong put selling and light call selling. This plays into a reduction in the liquidity providers’ negative gamma exposure and is a positive.

If participants were to continue trading in this manner, that may offer markets additional support. Notwithstanding, this activity likely does little to disrupt the balance of trade heading into and around the May 2022 options expiration (OPEX). 

Into that event, we expect delta hedging flows with respect to changes in time (charm), mainly, and volatility (vanna) to provide an added boost. However, with volatility coming in from lower levels, SpotGamma says, there’s not as much “stored energy to catalyze a rally.”

Instead, SpotGamma adds, “[o]ur fear, here, is that, fundamentally, markets are weak and the May OPEX opens the door for lower lows as some of the ‘max put’ positioning is cleared and markets succumb to the remaining negative gamma positioning.”

Technical: 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 lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,061.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,095.00 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,119.00 VPOC and $4,148.25 high volume area (HVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the  $4,061.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,013.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $3,978.50 low volume area (LVNode) and $3,943.25 HVNode, or lower.

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

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.

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 10, 2022

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

What Happened

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What To Expect

Context: We continue to build out the narrative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s going on? 

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

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

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

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

Why does this matter?

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

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

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

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

As The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial sums well: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 5, 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 took back a small chunk of Wednesday’s post-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) advance. Both bonds and equity indexes were lower while most commodities and the dollar were bid.

The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by 50 basis points while knocking the odds of a larger hike (~0.75 or above) later this year, all else equal. The Fed’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries (UST) and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are set to fall starting June 1.

As expected, the Fed will cut $95 billion a month from its holdings, split between $60 billion of USTs and $35 billion of MBS, per Reuters, in the span of three months.

Heading into the FOMC event, markets were sold and protection, particularly that which is shorter-dated, was demanded. This was evidenced via metrics like the VIX’s term structure which had short- and mid-term VIX futures prices higher than those that are longer-term.

The compression of implied volatility after the event affecting existing concentrations of options positioning, particularly at the short-end, coupled with lackluster options buying and selling at the index level, has us questioning the rally’s sustainability.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, productivity, and unit labor costs (8:30 AM ET).

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: The Fed is raising rates and reducing the size of its balance sheet in light of the economy’s “strong underlying momentum,” as Nordea Bank (OTC: NRDBY) research puts it, a hot labor market and elevated inflation.

During a press conference after the release of meeting statements, the Fed’s Jerome Powell assuaged participants of their fears regarding a 75 basis point hike in later meetings.

Instead, it’s likely the fed tightens twice more by 50 basis points before scaling back to 25 basis point hikes, helping bring inflation down to the 2% target.

On June 1, the Fed will start the process of balance sheet reduction at $47.5 billion ($30B UST and $17.5B MBS) a month for the first three months. This will increase to $95 billion ($60B UST and $35B MBS), after, “roughly double the maximum pace of $50 billion a month targeted in the 2017-2019 cycle.”

With QT, central banks remove assets from their balance sheet “either through the sale of assets they had purchased or deciding against reinvesting the principal sum of maturing securities,” as JH Investment Management explains

Since March, the Fed’s balance sheet was at $9 trillion, steadied by the reinvestment of proceeds from maturing securities. After a small run-up, starting in September, the Fed will allow for a maximum of $95 billion to roll off without reinvestment.

Per MarketWatch, “In this cycle, one key to markets is when the Fed might actually sell some of its holdings of mortgages $2.7 trillion. This will ripple out through U.S. debt markets.”

This, however, “would be announced well in advance,” enabling “suitable progress toward a longer-run … portfolio composed primarily of Treasury securities.”

When bonds fall in value, their yields rise. This may have the effect of driving yield-hungry investors into relatively less risky asset categories.

Graphic: Via Reuters.

Positioning: There was a large squeeze, post-FOMC. 

The prevailing narrative is that participants’ fears, with respect to how aggressive the Fed would tighten, were assuaged.

Per Standard Chartered’s (OTC: SCBFY) Steve Englander, at its core, “it is fair to say that positioning and excess pessimism reflect a big part of the market reaction.” ​​

“Overall, the tone was much more balanced than at the January and March FOMC meetings.”

As discussed in the past few letters, markets were stretched and participants were demanding protection in size. To quote the May 2 letter:

“Barring a worst-case scenario, if markets do not perform to the downside (i.e., do not trade lower), those highly-priced (often very short-dated) bets on direction will quickly decay, and hedging flows with respect to time and volatility may bolster sharp rallies.” 

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “SPX prices X-axis. Option delta Y-axis. When the factors of implied volatility and time change, hedging ratios change. For instance, if SPX is at $4,700.00 and IV jumps 15% (all else equal), the dealer may sell an additional 0.2 deltas to hedge their exposure to the addition of a positive 0.2 delta. The graphic is for illustrational purposes, only.”

That’s precisely what happened. The question now is whether there’s a sustained reversal. 

Based on SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options Indicator (HIRO), participants’ reaction to the FOMC was lackluster and capital was not committed to bets further out in price and time at higher or lower prices. 

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator for SPY. Capital was not committed to bets further out in price and time at higher or lower prices. 

If participants start to concentrate their bets at higher prices, further out in time, that confirms the odds of sustained follow-through. If not, it’s likely that indexes, after a short-term relief, will succumb to fundamental weaknesses.

According to Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan, the rally was purely a function of “structural buyback” and the baseline is that the bear trend holds.

This is because Fed is expected to continue withdrawing liquidity, and this will prompt risk assets to converge with fundamentals as “QT is a direct flow of capital to capital markets.”

Technical: 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 lower part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,260.25 overnight low (ONL) puts in play the $4,303.00 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,337.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,393.75 high volume area (HVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,260.25 ONL puts in play the $4,177.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,142.75 RTH Low and $4,123.00 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. Please note that some levels have been adjusted since this graphic was made.

Considerations: Strong advance, yesterday, characterized by very supportive breadth.

Graphic: Market Internals as pioneered by (a mentor of mine) Peter Reznicek. Notice the indicator in the top right, weighted S&P sectors (histogram) versus unweighted (blue line). During late last week, participants sold the entire market, heavily (as supported by the difference between the volume flowing into stocks that are up versus those that are down).

The weaker of the indexes we monitor – the Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) – just retook a major VWAP anchored from the lows of March 2020. 

That indicator denotes the level at which the average buyer/seller is in. In other words, that’s the fairest price to pay for Nasdaq 100 exposure (since March 2020) and, instead of being construed as a so-called supply zone, the level ought to, again, be looked at as a demand area. 

What’s next? Looks like there are some key areas where supply is likely to show. Mainly the $340.00 and $360.00 areas in the QQQ are of significance. In the SPY, those areas include $435.00 and $445.00.

Graphic: Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) with anchored VWAPs.

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.

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 3, 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 were sideways, inside of the prior range, after exploring much lower, Monday. Measures of implied volatility, bonds, and most commodities were bid.

This is alongside news that Russia is dodging default, the necessity for the Fed to drop inflation down to 4% by year-end per Citadel’s Ken Griffin, the U.S. Treasury’s intent to scale back sales of longer-term debt, falling earnings estimates, Taiwan preparing to fend-off a potential invasion as Beijing ordered officials to find ways to fight against western sanctions, similar to those used against Russia, among other things including Fitch trimming China’s 2022 growth forecast.

Also, near risk-free, inflation-protected I bonds will pay 9.62% through October, the Treasury said, and here’s more on the Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C) trader that’s behind a European crash.

Ahead is data on job openings and quits, as well as factory and core capital goods orders (10:00 AM ET).

Read on for coverage on the fundamental and technical position of the market, as well as ways to position for future trade.

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

Fundamental: The Federal Reserve (Fed) is expected to raise its target overnight rate by about 50 basis points and provide updates on quantitative tightening (QT).

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch Tool. Market participants expect a near-100% chance the fed moves its target rate to 75 or 100 basis points.

The expectations of the aforementioned have played into a tightening of financial conditions which, as Columbia Threadneedle’s Gene Tannuzzo explains, “reduces demand and ultimately slows inflation.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Tighter financial conditions are the mechanism that reduces demand and ultimately slows inflation,” said Tannuzzo, the firm’s global head of fixed income. “If financial conditions don’t tighten and inflation remains high, in their eyes, they need to hike more.”

The key is the update on QT. As Bloomberg’s John Authers puts it well, “what the Fed does with its balance sheet at the margin [] matters for asset prices, and there is little or no lag.”

Graphic: Via Crossborder Capital Ltd. Taken from Bloomberg.

The Fed’s liquidity reductions, thus far, have played into the market’s troubles since the start of the year. This is as QT has an impact on the “ability to roll over or refinance investments.”

Graphic: Taken from The Market Ear. “46% of non-earnings driven market cap changes were explained by Fed balance sheet expansion since GFC.”

Perspective: JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists note that investors’ fears are unwarranted. The U.S.’s economic expansion has not been derailed. 

“Worries about China’s growth outlook, a negative take on the Q1 earnings reporting season, concerns about higher bond yields and further tightening of financial conditions from a strong dollar, all appear to have soured equity and credit investors’ sentiment,” the strategists said. 

“We find these fears overblown.”

Positioning: Comments from yesterday’s morning letter remain valid, today.

Participants’ bets on the direction are concentrated in negative delta (long puts, short calls). The exposure is short-dated and extremely sensitive to changes in implied volatility and direction.

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear. “Retail Investors buyers of 0-1 DTE (days-to-expiry) puts are largest on record.”

Those options carry a lot of gamma and are exposed to the potential for asymmetric or convex payouts. This is not good for those who are on the other side.

In hedging a short put, for instance, a positive delta and negative gamma trade, counterparties sell underlying if there is weakness or jumps in implied volatility. If the underlying trades higher, or dips in volatility, the counterparty will buy the underlying, all else equal.

Taken together, in such an environment, the counterparty leans toward taking liquidity and this exacerbates underlying movement if there’s a thinning liquidity environment, SpotGamma says.

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

In other words, hedging matters more in such an environment. This was clear during Monday’s trade when a bout of put selling and light call buying appeared in both the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) and Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ).

This, ultimately, too, fed into the compression of volatility at the short-end of the term structure, yesterday. To re-hedge, counterparts likely bought into the market’s weakness and bolstered the near-vertical reversal, and close higher.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator for SPY. A rising blue and orange denote put selling and call buying, respectively.

The odds of follow-through, to the upside, come back to the fundamental situation and Fed announcements this week. Should fears with respect to monetary policy be assuaged, then volatility can compress and that, alone, will spur a buy-back of those underlying short hedges.

If participants start to concentrate their bets at higher prices, further out in time, that confirms the odds of sustained follow-through. If not, it’s likely that prices, after a short-term relief, will succumb to fundamental weaknesses.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,123.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,176.00 overnight high (ONH). Initiative trade beyond the ONH could reach as high as the $4,247.00 VPOC and $4,279.75 ONH, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,123.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,055.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,978.50 LVNode and $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode), or lower.

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

Considerations: Most interesting was Monday’s response at a key technical level ($4,055.75) outlined in the morning letter.

Specifically, the E-mini S&P 500 probed $4,056.00 before staging a sharp reversal and closing higher. This is noteworthy as it tells us a lot about who has (or is gaining) the upper hand.

Push-and-pull, as well as responsiveness near key-technical areas (discernable visually on a chart), suggests technically-driven traders with shorter time horizons are (becoming) active.

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

Adding, the Federal Reserve’s meeting this week concludes with statements to be shared on Wednesday. For weeks heading into this event, (larger) participants (that move by committee) have de-grossed and hedged. For that reason, the reliability of our technical levels took a hit.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from The Market Ear. Per Bloomberg, “Hedge funds tracked by Morgan Stanley have also cut their net leverage — a measure of risk appetite that takes into account long versus short positions — to a two-year low.”

In the very near term, until more fundamental information is revealed, these technical-driven traders may play a larger role in the volatility. These traders, given capital constraints and tolerances, often trigger sharp moves in their entry and exit on news. Caution on whipsaw.

How I’m Playing: Presently, the market is stretched to the downside and participants are leaning, heavily, one way.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma, “Put vs Call gamma suggests stretched positioning.”

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

Consider zero- or low-cost bets that deliver asymmetric payouts in case of reversals.

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

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

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

For those spreads that are not zero cost, debits can be offset with credit sales (on the put side) in products that have shown relative strength like the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX). This, inherently, carries more risk. Read more about these strategies, here.

Please note that the above is NOT a trade recommendation or advice.

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.

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.

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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