Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 12, 2022

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

Graphic updated 7:00 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. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

Fundamental

The top headlines are on the inflation conjectures, the depth and breadth of the energy crisis, supply constraints, EUR/USD parity, geopolitical unrest, and global economic slowing.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Dollar surge, European growth path, waning demand, and increasing supply weigh on copper, a bellwether of the world economy.

A boiling point, if not already, is soon to be reached, in short.

For instance, the energy crisis, which is, in part, the result of earlier capacity erosion, short-term triggers, and panic, is expected to worsen according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Per Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), a “full interruption to Russian flows to Europe would be equivalent to a 35% supply shock to the European gas market.” 

Graphic: Retrieved via The Market Ear. Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). “[W]e estimate bills would increase by c.65% from here in this event, bringing the total household cost for power and gas to nearly €500/month, creating a meaningful affordability problem. Versus the summer-2020 trough, we estimate that gas/power bills would have increased by nearly 300% on this basis.”

What does this mean for the markets we’re focused on day-to-day in this letter?

Well – and this is pursuant to the Daily Brief for Monday, July 11 – markets have only suffered through compression in multiples. Does it stop or is there a looming earnings compression?

Most likely there is an earnings compression. For now, it is only sentiment that is taking the hit. 

Graphic: Retrieved via The Market Ear. Taken from FactSet Research Systems Inc (NYSE: FDS). 

When will the turn occur?

As stated yesterday, it will be the earnings season that is likely to shed clarity on the answer all the while – what is known right now – a strong dollar is for sure to translate into a headwind for S&P 500 earnings growth.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. The “Fed is still perceived as having more room to hike rates going forward, also on the back of the strong US jobs report for June,” Unicredito SPA (OTC: UNCRY) analysts explained. “On the other hand, other central banks, such as the ECB and the BoE, might be forced to become more prudent, given the more direct exposure their respective economies have to the gas and energy crisis.”

What’s lending to the dollar’s strength?

Let’s start with the following. Participants were extending moneyness to nonmonetary assets, given easy monetary policies and an environment of ample debt and leverage (which cuts into asset price volatility). 

Graphic: Retrieved from The Market Ear. Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

When the reverse happens – tighter liquidity and credit – and volatility eventually rises, the demand (and competition) for money (or cash) deflates assets.

Graphic: Via Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C). According to Joseph Wang, amidst asset price volatility and bank deposits to drain about $1 trillion or so by year-end, investors will “continue to lower their selling prices to compete for the cash they want.”

It is a deflationary pulse manifesting disinflation in consumer prices, that will prompt the Fed to reverse itself on rates and quantitative tightening (QT).

What does this mean?

Depends on the timeframe. 

Though the policy pivot may come alongside a peak in the de-rate markets are experiencing, now, longer-term there are multi-decade trends brewing on the back of the de-globalization pulse, for instance, and a tendency to spend wealth, instead of creating it (as supply chains are replicated here at home), is inflationary which makes the context for a more two-sided market in the future (rather than straight up or down).

Read: Former Bridgewater Associate talks recession odds, capturing a macro edge.

What about the dollar?

With the Fed “still perceived as having more room to hike rates going forward,” per Unicredito SPA (OTC: UNCRY), all the while “other central banks, such as the ECB and the BoE … [are] more prudent, given … the[ir] gas and energy crisis,” short-term dollar strength does more to diminish the global reliance on the U.S.

This is explained even better by Lyn Alden of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy.

The dollar is the dominant currency for carry primarily due to easy monetary policies removing the risk of an ultra-strong dollar. Accordingly, the dollar is “the currency that most offshore debt is denominated in all over the world,” as explained by Bankless, who interviewed Alden.

“Non-US entities make dollar-based loans and transactions in pretty much all markets everywhere because it’s considered more trustworthy than native fiat,” they add. “When there’s a disruption in global cash flows, there’s effectively a short squeeze on the dollar.”

“The stronger the dollar gets in comparison, the less tenable it becomes as a global reserve,” and that is a pressure on the long-term trajectory of that currency.

Positioning

Yesterday’s letter was spot on with respect to positioning.

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

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

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

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

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

Read: Explanations and Applications – Moontower on Gamma.

Technical

As of 7:00 AM ET, Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, is likely to open in the 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.

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

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

Any activity below the $3,830.75 MCPOC puts into play the $3,800.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $3,774.75 HVNode and $3,755.00 VPOC, or lower.

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

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

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

Example: The below 65-minute S&P 500 chart with volume profiles was included in the July 8, 2022 edition of the newsletter. Prices were near an inflection (micro-composite point of control and two key volume-weighted average price levels). From thereon, selling surfaced.

This is what is meant by responsiveness near key-technical areas.

Graphic: Updated 7/2/22. 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For 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 May 19, 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 continued lower as weakness spread overseas. Commodities were mixed and yields were lower. At a high-level, measures of implied volatility held their bid.

Apart from the removal of structural forces underpinning a rally into mid-week, earnings reports played into “fears of the consequences of if inflation is brought under control,” per Bloomberg.

Ahead is data on jobless claims and manufacturing (8:30 AM ET). Later, existing home sales and leading economic indicators (10:00 AM ET). No events are scheduled for tomorrow.

Graphic updated 8:30 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: On the heels of Target reporting lower profits on costs and tighter margins, the beloved Cathie Wood of Ark Invest chimed in with a note on an explosion in inventories. Late last year, we quoted Wood suggesting businesses were scrambling to increase inventories.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Target announced that sales were up, but profit was down thanks to increasing costs and tightening margins. Also like Walmart the day before, the market rewarded the stock with its biggest one-day decline since the Black Monday crash of October 1987. That’s alarming, although it’s worth pointing out that Target had been a conspicuous beneficiary of the pandemic to date.”

Though early, she said inflation would eventually be on its way out and inventory build-ups were one of the indicators to watch.

“Walmart Inc’s (NYSE: WMT) inventories increased 33% in nominal terms on a year over year basis, translating into 20-25% in real or unit terms, as Target Corporation’s (NYSE: TGT) inventories increased by 42% and 30-35%, respectively,” Wood said.

At the same time, sentiment has plunged to Great Recession levels, all the while consumers are “rebelling against their loss of purchasing power,” and China is in turmoil (talked about May 16).

These comments play into the recession narratives we unpacked earlier this week (May 17 and May 18). Monetary policies sent money to capital and that bolstered deflationary trends. 

Then came the pandemic and the increasing effects of inequality; money was sent to labor, and that bolstered inflationary trends.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Overall wage increases were 6% in April, for the second month running — too high for the Fed’s comfort but at least with no increase. It is the least well paid who are commanding the highest percentage rises.”

As we quoted Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explaining, today’s contractionary monetary policy is a blunt tool and is not equipped to “address the main problem which is a lack of supply to absorb the demand.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “China appears to be gradually easing its lockdown of Shanghai, but that won’t bring immediate relief to global supply-chain congestion.”

Likewise, Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) Zoltan Pozsar explained what he felt was “the Fed is pursuing demand destruction through negative wealth effects,” as the “central banks can only deal with nominal” chokepoints.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Taken from The Market Ear. “A stronger dollar, lower equity prices, and higher mortgage rates will weigh on demand growth [and] Over time weaker output demand should lead to weaker labor demand Don’t fight the Fed as this is what Fed wants (slower growth).”

By that token, we must “[c]onsider at least the possibility that the extreme volatility and lack of liquidity [we] see in markets is by design, and the Fed will not be deterred by it, but rather that it will be emboldened by it in its singular pursuit of price stability.”

Why does any of this matter? 

As quoted, yesterday, “[w]ith supply-side economics, the only way that they can control [price stability] is to pull back. And slow capital markets decrease via the wealth effect. Ultimately, there’s a significant lag, so [the Fed is] not in a position to ultimately control inflation without bringing down markets.”

By that token, a stock market drop is both a recession and a direct reflection of the unwind of global carry. It is the manifestation of a deflationary shock, and today’s sentiment, the gradual build-up of inventories, tightening of financial conditions, and the like, are a reflection of this.

Graphic: Via Guggenheim Partners. Taken from MarketWatch. The “ Fed is headed toward overtightening financial conditions just as employment show some softness.”

Perspectives: Recall that the indexes are trading relatively strong, in comparison to constituents, especially those that are smaller technology and growth companies.

Essentially, “we’re two-thirds of the way through a dot-com type collapse,” we quoted Simplify Asset Management’s Mike Green explaining.

“It’s just happened underneath the surface of the indices which is [that] … dynamic of passive flows supporting the largest stocks within the index, whereas the smaller stocks can be influenced to a greater extent by the behavior of discretionary managers.”

Pursuant to those remarks, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Marko Kolanovic says there are significant opportunities in the beaten areas of the market.

“I almost refuse to talk about ‘where should I buy S&P?’” he said adding that “[m]ost of the bad things have happened already this year.”

“There will be no recession this year, some summer increase in consumer activity on the back of reopening, China increasing monetary and fiscal measures.”

Per the earlier quoted Pozsar, Kolanovic, like Wood, maybe too early in his calls.

“Banks’ stock buybacks are lowering SLRs [], and the Fed is about to embark on QT,” Pozsar says. For context, QT (Quantitative Tightening) is the central banking authorities’ removal of balance sheet assets via sales or the non-reinvestment of the principal sum of maturing securities. 

The dynamic is as follows: if bonds are sold, their values fall and yields rise, thus pushing yield-hungry investors into less risky asset categories.

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

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.”

Given Pozsar’s findings, the Fed is likely to do QE again in the summer of 2023. 

Checking Eurodollar (FUTURE: /GE), a reflection of participants’ outlook for U.S. interest rates, shows the peak of the Fed-rate-hike cycle – terminal rate – at around June 2023.

Positioning: This week’s expiration of options on the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), per SpotGamma, pulled forward the positive effects of volatility compression heading into the large May monthly equity and index options expiration (OPEX).

“Barring a forced re-pricing, we saw what was already little fuel to the upside drained into the weighty VIX options expiration (as bets on the VIX decay, this leads to hedging that bolsters S&P 500 upside),” SpotGamma said. 

“Following this event (and the coming monthly May OPEX), we see the door open to lower prices amid the removal of “max put” positioning which “clears the way for lower-lows.”

Heading into the monthly OPEX, if the S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) is well below $4,000.00, “the buyback of short futures to short put exposures that no longer require liquidity providers to hedge,” may bolster a sharp reversal.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. Taken from The Market Ear. “Deep short gamma where dealers are trapped in selling low and buying high and the poor liquidity environment, where the pushing of deltas (both ways) gets even more magnified due to non-existent volumes. This dynamic works both ways.”

Technical: As of 8:30 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 $3,862.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $3,908.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as high as the $3,943.25 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,061.00 virgin point of control (VPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $3,862.75 LVNode puts in play the $3,836.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNodes could reach as low as the $3,795.75 and $3,727.25 HVNodes, 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.

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 March 31, 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

A mixed bag, overnight, with U.S. equity indexes pinned at their most recent swing highs ahead of large options expirations (OPEX). 

News, too, was mixed. Notable was the United States’ potential release of oil reserves amounting to nearly a million extra barrels of oil a day. Oil sold alongside this update. 

Geopolitical tensions remain. Mainly, Russia and Ukraine tensions are ongoing and there’s a lack of clarity on what’s going on with the negotiations between the two parties.

Additionally, China is weighing the raise of billions to stabilize its economy and cut off the spread of the crisis. The money would stem risks from small, weakened banks and developers.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, personal income and consumer spending, PCE price index, as well as real disposable income and consumer spending (8:30 AM ET). Later, Chicago PMI is posted (9:45 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: Carry trades (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) are receiving attention, again.

In recent days, it’s been the sale of the Japanese yen and the purchase of the Aussie dollar.

Example: Via Bloomberg.

Prior to 2008, this carry trade, according to a commentary by Bloomberg’s John Authers, which “became very correlated with speculative equity investing, … suffered an almighty crash as the yen appreciated dramatically against the Aussie dollar in 2008.”

Basically, Bank of Japan (BoJ) interventions are dovish and consistent, as Authers explains, buying bonds at a massive scale and “making the country an irresistible source of [cheap] funds.”

The risk of the trade is that the yen appreciates. In such a case, the opposite of what is going on now (similar to what happened during the Global Financial Crisis or GFC) occurs.

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.

Mainly, 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.”

One such trade is that which captures the VIX futures curve roll yield.

Basically, the VIX futures curve is (usually) in contango (i.e., sloping upward) as farther-dated contracts are priced up (since portfolio insurance [should] cost more over longer periods). 

As those contracts near expiration, they converge with spot.

If volatility is flat (all else equal), the sale of farter-dated contracts allows you to capture the difference between the future and spot (or shorter-dated contracts). 

It’s a bit more complex, but that’s a general idea. Such trades attract lots of capital (and leverage) as they work (most of the time); positioning turns one-sided and complacency builds.

Eventually, markets move and this hurts those with not much wherewithal such as during 2020 when yield-seeking participants (who were forced out the risk curve given the reduction in rates and market stabilization programs) deleveraged en masse.

Since 2020, hardcore volatility selling (especially that which is short-dated), if you will, hasn’t returned and, as stated in yesterday’s commentary, this “has us a little less concerned (about some sort of armageddon situation).”

According to Banco Santander SA’s (NYSE: SAN) cross-asset research, “[t]he supply of volatility remains very subdued in a trend that has continued since the pandemic. For example, there are still virtually zero sales in short-term index variance swaps.”

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

Graphic: Via SG Cross Asset Research. Taken from Corey Hoffstein.

Notwithstanding, Santander’s research says that the demand for volatility (to hedge) remains strong “amidst the elevated uncertainty from geopolitics and central banks.”

With there being less of a supply of something, demand is not as easily absorbed and may have greater implications for the pricing of that something (such as the volatility of volatility itself).

Graphic: Cboe VIX Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX). Per the Milken Institute, “The VIX is a measure of the expected volatility in S&P 500 index options. It trades as a futures contract, and there are also options traded on this futures contract,” and the VVIX, which is the “expected volatility of the VIX futures contract,” is referred to as “the VIX of the VIX.”

Hence, we see sharper moves in measures of volatility itself as the counterparts to this demand seek to absorb and hedge their risks (in the underlying), in accordance with prevailing regulatory frameworks, among other things.

Though we’ll, once again, explore this phenomenon in later commentaries, as well as the potential implications of its return in size, below is an interesting conversation featuring Kevin Coldiron, co-author of the “Rise of Carry” book pointed to earlier. Check it out!

Positioning: Yesterday’s commentary explained well the implications of recent positioning. If you haven’t checked it out, click here.

Conditions, today, are similar. OPEX’s clearing of existing options exposure, in the coming days, likely opens the door to underlying breadth which has improved markedly since early March. 

Though today’s market is unprecedented, so to speak, improvements in breadth support a historical case for sideways-to-higher through tightening cycles.

Graphic: Via JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM).

Should there be some exogenous event or weakness on fundamentals, any new demand for protection (in size) likely adds velocity to a leg lower. Caution new buyers.

Graphic: Via Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

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 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 $4,611.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,618.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,631.00 regular trade high and $4,641.75 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,611.75 LVNode puts in play the $4,573.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,546.00 spike base and $4,533.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or lower.

Considerations: The market is in balance. This is 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).

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

Capelj 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

All You Need To Know For November 8, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to higher alongside an absence in impactful fundamental developments and news catalysts.

Ahead, today, there are no major data releases scheduled.

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

What To Expect

On supportive intraday breadth and lackluster market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by a gap and hold of newly discovered S&P 500 prices.

This activity, which marks a potential willingness to continue the trend, coincides with poor structure, a dynamic that adds to technical instability.

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

Context: The aforementioned trade is happening in the context of interesting developments with respect to fiscal and monetary policy, as well as supply and demand imbalances.

To start, in regards to fiscal policy, ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood thinks that there will be no capital gains tax rate increases and an installment of a minimum corporate tax (about 15%). 

“I think that is one reason the market’s been rallying,” she said in an episode of In The Know

In sticking with Wood’s theses, why would the market be rallying if all that we (i.e., the market participants) see, in the news, is heavily focused around fears of inflation, so to speak? It wouldn’t; Wood feels that inflation is on its way out.

Major reasons? 

(1) Productivity increases will offset dented margins and therefore not lead to impactful price increases; (2) turmoil, with respect to China’s housing and financial sector, ought to depress commodity pricing further as “when China has caught a cold, commodity prices get pneumonia”; (3) at-home inventory build-ups may takeaway from consumption during the holidays (for which businesses are scrambling to increase inventories), and this ultimately should be reflected in commodity prices, given excess inventory; (4) disruptive innovation and declining cost curves.

“The markets are conflicting,” she explains. “You’ve got energy and financials at the top for the year, 54% and 35%, respectively. Those two sectors are associated with very strong boom time economies with a yield curve steepening, meaning long rates are rising faster than short rates.”

“That would be consistent with inflation, but the other two top-performing sectors are real estate and consumer discretionary, and those do not benefit from inflation. They benefit from inflation coming down and lower interest rates.”

The bond market, on the other hand, is in the lower inflation camp. At the same time, the dollar is going up alongside assets like bitcoin, often construed as an inflation hedge.

“Could this mean that the velocity of money is going down,” she asks. “Velocity of money has been coming down because people have been saving and putting money into assets.”

This dynamic is supported by disappointing GDP figures with growth coming mostly from inventories; “Real final sales were slightly negative. Could it be … that [millennials] would prefer not to spend on goods and services, but to invest?”

It seems that participants are increasingly extending moneyness to nonmonetary assets – given monetary policies and an environment of debt and leverage that ultimately cuts into asset price volatility – adding to the prevailing risks of carry when volatility does rise and the demand for money pushes deflation.

A great explainer on the growth of global carry is the book titled The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis.

“Ivy Zelman of Zelman Research came out this week. She made a fantastic call on the housing bubble and bust starting in 05-06, and she was right, just a little early. She is very concerned that the housing prices we’re seeing right now are not sustainable,” because of speculation, as well as iBuying and private equity participation. 

For instance, just last week, Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ: Z), a major iBuyer, sought to raise liquidity, dumping properties en masse.

“This is unsustainable … and I’m wondering if even the housing market inflation is going to give way, here,” Wood added. 

That leads to the question: what effects will a taper and the eventual reduction in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – a removal of liquidity – have?

Thus far, given monetary frameworks and max liquidity, markets rallies have been enforced by some of the processes embedded within the volatility market

To quote Cem Karsan of Kai Volatility: “There’s this constant structural positioning that naturally drives markets higher as long as volatility is compressed, or there’s a supply of volatility.”

“As volatility is compressed, … the hedging vanna and charm flows, and whatnot will push the markets higher,” Karsan added in reference to options sliding down their term structure (vanna) and skew decaying (charm). Both dynamics have counterparties covering their hedges to the most dominant customer positioning in the market (i.e., short call, long put). 

With option volumes now comparable to stock volumes, related hedging flows can represent an increased share of volume in underlying stocks; “It’s not a coincidence that the mid-February to mid-March 2020 downturn literally started the day after February expiration and ended the day of March quarterly expiration. These derivatives are incredibly embedded in how the tail reacts and there’s not enough liquidity, given the leverage, if the Fed were to taper.”

Learn more about the implications of convexity, edge, and risk management, as well as Liquidity Cascades: The Coordinated Risk of Uncoordinated Market Participants.

Aside from a lot of these big picture dynamics – growing derivatives markets and tail risk, the heightened moneyness of nonmonetary assets, trends in seasonality, earnings surprises, and more – we have some more impactful near-term happenings to be aware of.

Graphic: “Whenever the market has been up 20%+ YTD through to October (like e.g. THIS YEAR), it has *always* had an up month in November (albeit with a n=8). Basically I would say it speaks to the momentum in the market, which despite the September stumble seems pretty much alive and well.” – Callum Thomas

The first is fragile positioning. The second is the monthly options expiration (OPEX). 

According to SqueezeMetrics analyses, “middling dark pool sentiment and middling gamma exposure [portends] … 1-month negative returns.”

Alongside that, according to data compiled and analyzed by Pat Hennessy, “2 weeks prior to OPEX (e.g., 7/30/21 to 8/6/21 in this late-cycle) [have] been extremely bullish,” while “OPEX week returns peaked in 2016 and have trended lower since.”

Graphic: @pat_hennessy breaks down returns for the S&P 500, categorized by the week relative to OPEX. 

This comes as investors marked the S&P 500 up to the $4,700.00 strike, at which positive gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – is highest. 

In referencing a note I wrote for SpotGamma, “as volatility continues to decline, the gamma of those options, which are now at the money, ought to increase, forcing counterparties to supply more liquidity.”

Ultimately, $4,700.00 ought to be a magnet (or resistance) into that aforementioned pre-OPEX weakness.

This is unless (1) volatility declines markedly, “a tailwind for the S&P complex as options slid[ing] down their term structure would cause dealers to continue covering their hedges in an asymmetric manner,” or (2) more capital is committed to options at higher strikes. 

Graphic: SpotGamma shows large positive gamma at the $4,700.00 strike. “Large options strikes are considered to be support or resistance zones. The change in gamma at various levels over time can shed light on how traders are viewing the market (i.e., adding calls is bullish, puts bearish).”

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

Market Is In Balance: Current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,674.75 visual low (likely paid attention to by short-term, technically driven market participants who seldom defend retests) puts in play the $4,711.75 regular trade high (RTH High). Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,722.00 and $4,735.00 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,674.75 visual low puts in play the $4,663.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,619.00 VPOC and $4,590.00 balance area boundary (BAH), or lower.

As an aside, the $4,674.75 visual low corresponds with the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) anchored at last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. 

This is a metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

Options Expiration (OPEX): Traditionally, option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure. In recent history, this reset in dealer positioning has been front-run; prior, there was an increase in volatility after the removal of large options positions and associated hedging.

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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