Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For October 11, 2021

Editor’s Note: The newsletter schedule has changed.

From now on, you can expect to see Daily Briefs only – Monday through Friday – posted shortly before 8:00 AM ET. The Weekly Trade Idea will be packaged into Monday’s commentary, also.

Thanks again for your continued support. I strive to simplify and add value, as best I can.

Market Commentary

Equity index futures trade sideways to lower with bonds. Commodities were mixed.

  • October bottom; a rip up into EOY?
  • Ahead: No economic reports today.

What Happened: Ahead of a busy start to the third-quarter earnings season, this week, U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower overnight alongside some mixed narratives.

Last night, it was revealed that Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) cut its U.S. growth forecast on consumption and a fiscal slowdown. Not even a day later, there is news that Goldman, alongside JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists, suggests the recent dip is a buy.

Given the Columbus Day holiday, today, no economic reports are scheduled.

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

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

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

Further, during the prior week’s trade, on mostly strong intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, equity index futures established a rounded bottom and minimal excess low.

Then, a swift recovery ensued; initiative sellers lacked the wherewithal to take prices lower, beyond the S&P 500’s $4,363.25-$4,278.00 balance area. Initiative buyers were then emboldened, expanding range and value the opposite way.

During this recovery process, the S&P 500 – as evidenced by p-shaped emotional, multiple-distribution profile structures – established a minimal excess high before momentum from covering shorts was overpowered by responsive selling at key areas of resting liquidity, at and around /ES $4,410.25 (SPY $441.00), the site of a key anchored volume-weighted average price (VWAP) level.

Note: Liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

Friday’s session succumbed to divergences in buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer, resolving some of the aforementioned emotional structures through what’s called the “cave-fill” process. 

During this process, participants revisited, repaired, and strengthened – building out areas of high volume (HVNodes), or value – areas low volume (LVNodes).

Note: The cave-fill process widened the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. This is a good development.

Moreover, September’s seasonally-aligned weakness saw the Nasdaq 100 lead lower. Last week – alongside improvement amongst some positioning metrics – the tone shifted with the cash-settled Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: NDX) rising 4.35% versus the S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) rising 3.25%.

That comes as October traditionally marks an end to weakness amidst a cycle of rebalancing and earnings; according to LPL Financial Research, “Stocks rise 3.8% on average during the fourth quarter, but the past seven times the S&P 500 was up 15% year-to-date heading into the home stretch of the year, the fourth quarter was higher every single time, up a very impressive 5.8%.” 

“Earnings for the third quarter should again be strong and mostly outpace expectations,” Leuthold Group chief investment strategist Jim Paulsen adds. “Hours worked in the third quarter rose by about 5% suggesting real GDP for the quarter may be close to 7%. With most companies reporting strong pricing power, solid real GDP growth should result in another surprisingly strong corporate earnings season.”

Graphic: LPL Financial Research unpacks S&P 500 seasonality.
Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) top left, Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) top right, iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSE: IWM) bottom left, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust (NYSE: DIA) bottom right. Spending more than a few hours of trade above trend, VWAP (yellow), and the 61.80% Fibonacci retracement suggest good odds of upside continuation.

Notwithstanding, some risks to be aware of include the Federal Reserve’s tapering initiatives and the prospects of a rise in the Fed funds rate, amidst hot sentiment, a decline in top-of-book depth, as well as back and forth entry (exit) into (from) short-gamma.

“What we see in the equity space is a lot of sensitivity to higher real yields,” Joseph Little, chief global strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE: HSBC) Asset Management, said. “We are seeing policy normalization everywhere. That creates a little bit of a challenge for [the] equity market because it does change the drivers of equity performance.”

Graphic: A “gentle reminder of the fact tapering matters,” via The Market Ear.
Graphic: Sentiment elevated, “generating a 96% historical probability of down markets in the next 12 months at current levels.”

In addition, to balance some of our Q4 bullishness, in a quote highlighted by The Market Ear, Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) explained: September 30 “was the 24th time since 1928 that the S&P experienced two or more 3-sigma shocks in 10 trading days, … [and] only in 3 of 23 episodes (and 1 in the last 50yrs) did the S&P surpass the prior month’s peak in the month following the second shock.”

Moreover, for today, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,363.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,393.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the $4,393.00 VPOC could reach as high as the $4,415.00 VPOC and $4,437.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,363.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,346.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,332.25 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,299.00 VPOC, or lower.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:20 AM ET.

Definitions

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

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

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

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.

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

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

News And Analysis

Banks bought epic amounts of safe assets; forget inflation.

The Fed is likely to side with growth and keep policy easy.

Merck seeks emergency use authorization for COVID pills.

Europe Economic Snapshot: Faster-than-expected restart.

Latin America settles into new post-pandemic slow growth.

S&P talking stock-flow confusion again – QE and tapering.

What People Are Saying

Weekly Trade Idea

About

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

Additionally, Capelj is a finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For September 26, 2021

Editor’s Note: Market commentaries to pause until Monday, October 4, 2021, due to travel commitments. As a result, I go in-depth today and offer a strong trade idea for the week ahead.

Also, if you’re in a rush, focus on the bolded text!

Market Commentary

Equity index futures recover. Yields break higher. Volatility implodes.

  • Indices have recovered 60% of sell-off.
  • Buying-the-dip psychology is breaking.
  • Watching: Taper, shutdown, debt risks.
  • Fed may stamp out life in the economy.
  • Trade Idea: Capitalizing on TSLA skew.

What Happened: After a series of outlier moves, U.S. stock index futures ended the week range-bound when responsive sellers – as confirmed by measures of market liquidity – stepped in at key moving averages and anchored volume-weighted average price levels.

Ahead is a busy week in terms of economic releases; important data on durable goods orders, consumer confidence, home sales, personal income and spending, PCE deflators, as well as manufacturing data are slated to come out.

Graphic updated 9:00 AM ET Sunday. 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. 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. 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: Be patient with me, there is a lot to condense. 

During the prior week’s trade, on mostly strong intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, equity index futures briefly liquidated; the S&P 500 went as low as $4,300.00. 

Then, a swift recovery ensued; participants took back nearly 60% of the most recent sell-off.

During the recovery process, the S&P 500 – as evidenced by emotional, multiple distribution profile structures – established a minimal excess rally high at $4,455.00 before the momentum from covering shorts was overpowered by responsive selling at key areas of resting liquidity, at and around $4,455.00, or so. 

Friday’s session, however, resolved some of the aforementioned emotional structures through what’s called the “cave-fill” process; revisiting, repairing, and strengthening – building out areas of high volume (HVNodes), or value – areas low volume (LVNodes). 

To put it simply, the cave-fill process widened the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. This is a good development.

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

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of narratives surrounding a taper to Federal Reserve asset purchases, a government shutdown, and the debt ceiling.

The implications of these themes on price are contradictory; to elaborate, in the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), it was announced that the economy made substantial progress toward the central bank’s goals and, if progress continued as expected, a moderation in the pace of asset purchases was likely. 

“Powell said that the tapering process could be wrapped up by mid-2022, which would require either an earlier start or larger reductions,” Moody’s said. 

“In other words, as long as September employment isn’t a disaster, the Fed will begin tapering at its November meeting. Therefore, it would skip a formal announcement and a one-meeting delay to dive right into the tapering process. It seems we’re headed for an eight-month taper, or [a] $15 billion reduction per month.”

The Fed’s dot plot saw movement, too; there are increased odds of a rate hike in 2022.

In regards to the debt ceiling, which caused a kink in the Treasury bill curve and may portend financial market volatility if not resolved, Powell voiced concern, noting that it must be raised. 

This is a likely development given that “lawmakers know that voting against raising the debt ceiling would have enormous economic costs,” Moody’s noted.

Graphic: “​​The spread between 5- and 30-year yields dropped below 100 basis points after the FOMC meeting, for the first time since just before last year’s Jackson Hole’s conference. Such a flat curve … signal[s] that the bond market thinks the Fed is going to make a hawkish mistake, and stamp out the life in the economy when previously there had been a belief that the Fed would be easy and let inflation move higher.” The source is Bloomberg.

Adding, after the September 17 options expiry which cut S&P 500 dealer gamma in half and opened the window to volatility, alongside threats posed by China’s Evergrande complications, the tone changed markedly, given a fraying in the buy-the-dip psychology.

While strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) suggest the selling was knee-jerk and technical, the truth is that, according to Reuters, “global stock funds lost the most since March 2020 as investors moved in [favor] of cash where they [plowed] in $39.6 billion of funds.”

Still, in the face of comments by the Fed, as well as the Evergrande and debt ceiling debacle, the liquidation resolved some fragility with respect to positioning and stocks rallied, affirming the beliefs held by Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) Peter Oppenheimer and HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE: HSBC) strategists that dip-buying is a go as “we’re still in the relatively early stages of this economic cycle.” 

To put it differently, per one Bloomberg article, “the lasting impression … is that for markets the tapir no longer has the power to induce fear in the way that it did eight years ago, … [and] [t]he post-Evergrande bounce has some life in it. It’s no dead cat.” A 4,700 or 5,000 S&P 500, as some strategists see it, could be in the cards.

Moreover, for next week, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,455.00 minimal excess high puts in play the $4,481.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,510.00 LVNode and $4,526.25 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,455.00 minimal excess high puts in play the $4,415.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,365.25 LVNode, or lower.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 9:00 AM ET Sunday.

Definitions

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

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

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

Dealers that take the other side of options trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. 

When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. 

The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.

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

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

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

Rates: Low rates have to potential to increase the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, more attractive. 

To note, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. 

Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive). In conjunction with the rapid recovery, lower rates solicit hawkish commentary as policymakers look to inhibit inflation.

Weekly Trade Idea

News And Analysis

Weakening U.S. economy threatens swelling corporate debt mountain.

Ongoing debt limit fight is as much about 2022 politics as fiscal policy.

Alhambra Investments: Next steps to watch for a scarcity of collateral. 

From New York To Sydney: See the supply shocks spanning the globe.

Economic Outlooks U.S. Q4 2021: The rocket is beginning to level off.

Nancy Pelosi: The infrastructure plan will likely pass House this week. 

Treasuries at risk as Federal Reserve paves way for breakout in yields.

The SEC’s Gary Gensler doesn’t see cryptocurrencies lasting that long.

Bear market is unlikely, but stumble in stocks may lead to a bigger fall.

What People Are Saying

Let’s Hang Out

Salt Lake City, UT September 28-30

Las Vegas, NV October 1-3

About

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

Additionally, Capelj is a finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with leaders such as John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others.

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Results

Case Study: Trading Skew With Ratio Spreads

What Happened: On June 23, 2021, shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) surged on news the company opened a Chinese-based solar-powered charging station with on-site power storage.

Prior to the development, the stock endured months of corrective activity during which negative narratives were out in full force. From calls against Tesla’s biggest bull – ARK Invest – to famed Michael Burry’s synthetic short position on the stock, it seemed as though the end was near.

However, as evidenced by Tesla’s June 23 breakout from consolidation and subsequent upside continuation in light of a 300,000 vehicle recall in China, it is obvious the fear was unwarranted.

Those who understand that markets are most influenced by credit and positioning knew this all along.

Taking a look at market liquidity metrics – such as those offered by services like HFT Alert – market participants had been aggressively accumulating shares of the company from its mid-May low.

Graphic 1: Buying accelerates (as evidenced by the purple line), in Tesla, after its mid-May bottom, via HFT Alert

Still, with skepticism out in full force, there was a heightened demand for protection, as evidenced by metrics like volatility skew, in options at and below the current stock price.

Skew: The difference in implied volatility (IV) – an estimate of potential price changes given the fear of movement – between option strikes that are close and far from the underlying stock price. 

To put it simply, the fear of corrective activity in Tesla fueled demand for protection via put option strikes farther below the stock. This, in turn, bid volatility in downside strikes, more than upside strikes. Because volatility is input in option pricing models, put options, further down the chain, were valued more relative to their call-side counterparts.

Graphic 2: June 23, 2021 screenshot implies increased demand for put options, further below (left of) the stock price, relative to calls (right) for the expiries traded. 
Graphic 3: Notice the increased volume and open interest in put option strike prices at and below $500. This dynamic results in skew, as observed in Graphic 2. 

Given this dynamic, the following sequence analysis unpacks how Physik Invest traded options tied to the carmaker leading up to, and through, the June 23, 2021 upside consolidation break.

Note: Click here to view all transactions. Adding, positions were structured in a way that would potentially net higher credits had the stock moved markedly lower or higher.

Sequence 1: After skew was observed, through 6/18/2021, the following positions were initiated against the $500 support level for a $1,011.00 credit.

  • June 11 Expiry 500P+1, 450P-2
  • June 25 Expiry 490P+9, 440P-18 
  • June 25 Expiry 550P+2, 500P-4
  • June 25 Expiry 300P+2

By 6/21/2021, all aforementioned positions were closed for a $271.00 debit, netting a $691.58 credit after commissions and fees.

Sequence 2: Through 6/29/2021, skew improved and the following positions were initiated for a $5,651.38 credit.

  • July 2 Expiry 500P+3, 450P-6 
  • July 2 Expiry 525P+7, 475P-14
  • July 2 Expiry 545P+1, 495P-2 
  • July 9 Expiry 850C+2, 900C-4 
  • July 9 Expiry 580P+11, 530P-22 
  • July 9 Expiry 350P+3 
  • July 16 Expiry 850C+4, 900C-8

Through 7/12/2021, the above structures were removed for a $90.00 debit, netting a $5,443.93 credit after commissions and fees.

Sequence 3: Through 7/6/2021, skew remained and the following positions were initiated for a $3,566.00 credit.

  • July 16 Expiry 575P+11, 525P-22
  • July 16 Expiry 600P+1, 550P-2
  • July 16 Expiry 350P+3 

Through 7/14/2021, the above structures were removed for a $473.00 debit, netting a $3,043.29 credit after commissions and fees.

Summary: In total, the sequence of trades net a $9,178.80 credit after commissions and fees. 

The above strategies were employed per Physik Invest’s core edge: the trade of ratioed, multi-leg strategies that combine short and long positions to reduce risk and increase returns. 

By leveraging the dynamics of time and volatility, through complex spreads, Physik Invest was paid to express a neutral stance on underlying Tesla stock with the potential to further capitalize on an expansion of range in either direction.

Disclaimer: There is a $0.77 discrepancy between the transaction sheet and the numbers provided in this case study. This is attributable to differences in rounding.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 26, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures trade sideways to lower. Yields lead lower.

  • China tension, infrastructure, COVID talk.
  • Ahead are new home sales and earnings.
  • S&P plays with a potential auction failure.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower overnight alongside narratives surrounding a U.S. and China stalemate, progress on infrastructure, as well as the spread of COVID-19 variants.

On COVID-19, Nordea analysts conclude: “Delta is a cause for concern around the globe, but judging from the case to hospitalization ratio, it seems as if the crisis is already mostly over. Central banks will conclude the same soon, even if the initial reaction to Delta is clearly dovish.”

Moreover, ahead is data on new home sales, as well as earnings reports by Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT), among other companies.

Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. See here for more on the Dark Pool Index and Gamma. A positive Dark Pool Index reading is bullish. At the same time, the higher (lower) the gamma, the less (more) volatility. SHIFT Search data used for options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more (less) positive then more (less) was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator.

What To Expect: As of 6:40 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Adding, during Friday’s trade, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade above $4,384.50, a prior all-time high (ATH) and balance-area high (BAH).

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket): Rotational trade in which 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).

To note, Friday’s trade happened on positive, albeit weaker breadth. This is in comparison to Thursday’s session during which breadth, measured by the Advance/Decline indicator, was negative and not supportive of an advance in price.

A key thing to watch for is acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) and whether an auction failure transpires.

If initiative buyers were to further expand the range, then all is well. However, in a failure to move higher, confirmed by trade below Friday’s $4,372.50 regular trade low (RTH Low), an auction failure may foreshadow a liquidation break.

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

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,384.50 pivot puts in play the $4,398.50 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the $4,398.50 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,407.75 ATH and $4,428.25 Fibonacci-derived target.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,384.50 pivot puts in play a potential auction failure confirmed by trade below the $4,372.50 RTH Low. Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low may reach as low as the $4,353.00 untested Point of Control (VPOC) and $4,325.75 LVNode.

To note, the last key level corresponds with two anchored Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) levels, a metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

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

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

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high volume for favorable entry or exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures. Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET.

News And Analysis

China stocks tumble in panic selling amid a broad crackdown.

U.S. infrastructure talks near finish as Senators face pressure.

U.S. real yields fell to a record low alongside growth concerns.

The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is officially over (in the West).

U.S. home price appreciation to moderate as supply increases.

What People Are Saying

About

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For May 11, 2021

Market Commentary

Index futures in balance.

  • Inflation fears stoking weakness.
  • Ahead is JOLTS data, Fed speak.
  • Index futures lower, tech weighs.
Graphic updated 7:55 AM EST.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned lower, overnight, alongside fears of rising inflation. Most affected were heavily-weighted index constituents (e.g., Facebook, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Nvidia, and Tesla), or stocks that have the most to lose in an environment that favors cyclical and value assets.

Adding, despite the Federal Reserve’s commitment to limiting talk of taper and rate hikes, traders are positioning themselves for a change in tone. Activity in the 98.00 put strike options, in the Eurodollar, suggests traders are betting on a potential surprise at the Jackson Hole symposium.

Graphic: Eurodollar bet on SHIFT’s institutional platform. The purchase of 98.00 strike put options suggests traders are looking to add “two Fed hikes to [current] expectations.”

What To Expect: Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will open far from prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity. Reason being — a state of shock, as a result of a severe overnight drop.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade below the $4,216.00 low volume area (LVNode). The HVNodes at $4,199.25, $4,190.75, and $4,177.25 (a major pivot) all were in play, yesterday.

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

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

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,169.75 overnight pullback high targets the $4,177.25 HVNode pivot. Initiative trade beyond the pivot puts in play the $4,191.25, $4,199.25, $4,211.50, and $4,224.75 HVNodes. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,177.25 pivot targets the $4,141.00 VPOC. Thereafter, if lower, participants may look for responses at the $4,137.25 and $4,122.75 HVNodes. Auctioning through $4,130.25 increases the odds of trade to the poor structure at $4,110.50.

POCs: POCs (like HVNodes described above) are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). The Dow is the strongest of the four. The Nasdaq is the weakest.
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were very interested in put strikes at and below $4,200.00 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX), May 10.

News And Analysis

Economy | The Fed is playing with fire by clinging to emergency policies. (WSJ)

Economy | Homebuying sentiment negative despite economic improvement. (MND)

Markets | Pipeline shutdown could push prices at the pump above $3 a gallon. (CNBC)

Economy | Near-term activity data unlikely to affect Fed’s policy rate outlook. (BLK)

Economy | COVID one year on, global infrastructure proves its resilience. (Moody’s)

Recovery | New U.S. COVID infections fall to the lowest level in 11 months. (FT)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Markets | What happens to stocks after the Fed stops raining money? (WSJ)

Housing | Americans moved during the pandemic. Where did they go? (WSJ)

Commodities | The role of critical minerals in the clean energy transition. (IEA)

Markets | More whacks around the head for investors after jobs data. (BBG)

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Hello, Goodbye’

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: Coming into the extended holiday weekend, on tapering volumes, U.S. index futures balanced for four regular trading sessions (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), before breaking out.

Pictured: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Thursday’s session found initiative buying surface above the $3,731.00 high-volume node (HVNode), the market’s most recent perception of value.

Given four-sessions worth of unchanged value, and the failure to fill the gap beneath a weak low (i.e., a visual level that attracts the business of short-term, technically-driven market participants) at $3,714.50, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. Amid Thursday’s late-day buying, price diverged from value.
  2. The overnight rally high at $3,747.75 was recovered (i.e., based on historical trade, there were low odds that the overnight all-time high would end the upside discovery process).
  3. The multi-month upside breakout targeting S&P 500 prices as high as $4,000.00 remains intact.

In light of the above dynamics, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,731.00 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance, or a response followed by initiative buying to take out the price extension at $3,756.75.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 initiates below its $3,731.00 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include a test of the weak, minimal excess low at $3,714.50, and subsequent follow-through as low as the $3,691.00 break-point. 

Noting: Excess forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends a sustained reversal. Absence of excess, in the case of a low, suggests minimal conviction; participants will cover (i.e., back off the low) and weaken the market, before following through.

Two go, no-go levels exist; trade that finds increased involvement above $3,752.75 and below $3,714.50 would suggest a change in conviction. Anything in-between favors responsive trade.

Conclusion: From an uneven recovery, stimulus, elections, trade, and the like, it helps to boil it down to what actually matters: price and value. 

Though risks remain, markets are pricing in the odds of a continued rebound. All broad-market indices are in an uptrend. A break below $3,600.00 in the S&P 500 would denote a substantial change in tone.

Pictured: Retest of the upside breakpoint on a weekly candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

Levels Of Interest: $3,752.75 rally-high, $3,714.50 weak low, $3,731.00 HVNode, $3,756.75 price extension, $3,691.00 break-point.

Bonus: Here is a look at some of the opportunities unfolding.

Photo by Max Walter from Pexels.

Categories
Results

Case Study: Trading Tesla’s S&P 500 Inclusion

What Happened: On November 17, 2020, shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) surged on news that S&P Dow Jones Indices would include the stock in the S&P 500, the most liquid index in the world.

Since markets are most influenced by credit and positioning, news of the inclusion was impactful. Funds tied to the S&P 500 would purchase Tesla shares from a dealer by the addition date. This means that dealers would look to purchase shares of the stock heading into the event, to later supply funds at the close of Friday, December 18, the last session before the inclusion.

In the simplest of terms, the event was a positive since it meant that (1) speculative derivatives activity and associated hedging, (2) short-term traders, as well as (3) dealers and index funds would now support the stock.

The following sequence analysis unpacks how Physik Invest traded equity and derivatives tied to the carmaker’s stock leading up to the December 21, 2020 index inclusion.

Note: Click here to view all transactions.

Sequence 1: On news of the inclusion, market participants initiated shares of Tesla out of balance, beyond trend resistance. Thereafter, in accordance with a typical give and go scenario, the stock faded, filling 50% of the low-volume area left after the initial move higher, before aggressive buying resurfaced to continue the new trend.

Through November 19, the following positions were added for a $61.00 debit, in total. At this point if all legs were to remain out of the money (i.e., expire worthless) by November 20, the maximum loss would be $61.00, approximately 1/10 of a standard risk unit, or the capital risked in a typical position.

  • 500+1/530-2 call ratio spread
  • 490+2/505-3 call ratio spread
  • 525+1/550-2 call ratio spread
  • 510+1/525-2 call ratio spread
  • 445-1 put
  • 460-1 put

By November 20, all aforementioned positions were closed for an $827.00 credit, a 1,255.74% return on initial investment.

All the above call-side structures were initiated against the $500 high open interest strike. Reason being, option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

On November 20, nearly 40% of Tesla’s gamma was to roll off. 

Pictured: November options gamma by Spot Gamma
Pictured: Speculative call-side options activity after the index inclusion announcement 

Moreover, since derivatives exposure was rolled into farther dated expiries, the stock would now be supported by dealers buying to hedge their derivatives exposure and facilitate the index inclusion.

Noting, at a simplistic level, prices often encounter resistance at prior highs due to the supply of old business. These areas take time to resolve. Breaking and establishing value (i.e., trading more than 15-minutes above this level) portends continuation.

Sequence 2: On November 20, the following structures expiring on December 4 were initiated for a $644.00 credit.

  • 450-1 put
  • 520+1/550-1 call ratio spread
  • 570+1/600-2 call ratio spread
  • 490-1/475+1 put ratio spread

Through November 24, the above structures were removed for a $876.00 credit.

Sequence 3: On November 24, the cost basis from November 19 ($61.00 debit) was reduced via an intraday long stock delta hedge that bought 10 shares at an average of $539.50.

The initial cost basis, after this particular trade, was brought down to a $0.20 debit.

Sequence 4: On November 25 the following positions were opened and closed the same day for a $179.30 credit.

  • Bought stock at $550.14 average
  • 480+1/500-2 call ratio spread

Sequence 5: On November 27, the following positions were initiated and closed by December 3 for a $117.10 debit.

  • Bought stock at $595.55 average
  • 475+1/437.5-2 put ratio spread

Sequence 6: On December 1 through December 3, the following positions were initiated, and then exited from by December 7 for a $1.77 debit.

  • Bought stock at $589.20 average
  • Bought stock at $563.77 average
  • 740+1/780C-2 call ratio spread

Sequence 7: Through December 17, the following positions were initiated and closed for a total $452.30 credit.

  • 720+1/820-2 call ratio spread
  • 740+1/830-2 call ratio spread
  • Bought stock at $632.17 average
  • 720+1/820-2 call ratio spread
  • Bought stock at $606.88 average
  • 800+1/860-2 call ratio spread
  • 500+1/480-2 put ratio spread

Sequence 8: From December 17 through December 23 the following positions were entered and exited from for a $322.00 credit.

  • 500+2/450-4 put ratio spread
  • 800+2/850-4 call ratio spread
  • 670+1/685-2 call ratio spread

Summary: In total, the above sequence of trades net a $3,098.29 credit after commissions and fees.

The strategies employed were in accordance with Physik Invest’s methodology: the trade of ratioed, multi-leg strategies that combine short and long positions to reduce risk and increase returns. 

Yes, in hindsight, one could have opted for something as simple as risk-reversals (e.g., buying calls and selling puts). However, the risks tied to such strategies are immense. By leveraging the dynamics of time and volatility, through complex spreads, risk was reduced.

Note: There were many times, during these sequences, that positions were structured in a way that would net no loss had the security moved sideways or lower into expiry.

Adding, per Fibonacci principles, one core aspect of Physik Invest’s market structure analysis, an upside target of $675.10 was established early on in the process. Tesla spent the majority of its December 18 session at this level.

Disclaimer: There is a $0.11 discrepancy between the transaction sheet and numbers provided in this case study. This is attributable to differences in rounding.

Categories
Commentary

‘Rising Tide Lifts All Boats’: Market Commentary For The Week Ahead

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: U.S. index futures auctioned to new all-time highs before weakening into Friday’s derivative expiry.

What Does It Mean: After participants established a rally-high in the December 9 overnight session, the S&P 500 liquidated down to the balance-area boundary near $3,625.00.

After the December 14 gap open on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine and stimulus progress, for the remainder of the week, indices negated prior selling, establishing a new all-time high. Friday’s trade managed to repair some structural deficiencies left in the aforementioned advance.

Pictured: Profile overlays on a 65-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Friday’s session found responsive buyers surface at the low-volume node (LVNode) near $3,680.00. Low-volume areas denote directional conviction and ought to resist future auction rotations. Auctioning through the LVNode would foreshadow further rotation and trade as low as the balance-area low.

Given that the higher-time frame breakout remains intact and selling appears non-committal, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. Both sentiment and positioning are historically stretched, while the recovery remains uneven
  2. Inflation remains cool due to the profound influence of disruptive innovation.
  3. U.S. Congress reaches deal on COVID-19 aid package, plans votes for Monday. 
  4. The decline in realized correlation due to factor and sector rotation, as well as the return of systematic option selling strategies will push the long-gamma narrative in which volatility is suppressed and the market pins or slowly rises in a range-bound fashion.
  5. The S&P 500’s higher-time frame breakout remains intact (see chart below); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) confirms equities will rally short-term with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000.
  6. Despite high CAPE ratios, stock-market valuations aren’t that absurd.

Therefore, the following frameworks for next week’s trade apply.

In the best case, buyers maintain conviction and hold the index above the $3,680.00 LVNode. Auctioning below said reference denotes a change in conviction. Participants would then look for a response near the $3,667.75 HVNode. Failure to remain above the HVNode would portend rotation, further balancing. 

In the worst case, participants initiate below the $3,625.00 balance-area low, jeopardizing the higher-time frame breakout.

Conclusion: As BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) said, “a rising tide lifts all boats”; though financial markets have largely priced in positive news surrounding vaccines and stimulus, the rally remains intact, bolstered by a drive for yield — technical factors as a result of systemic and hedge fund strategies, among other things.

Pictured: Retest of the upside breakpoint on a daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

Levels Of Interest: $3,740.75 and $3773.75 price extensions, $3,724.25 all-time rally high, the micro-composite HVNode at $3,707.75, $3,691.00, and $3,667.75, as well as the $3,680 LVNode and poor structure near the $3,625.00 balance-area low.

Bonus: Here is a look at some of the opportunities unfolding.

Photo by Fede Roveda from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 12/17/2020

What Happened: After yesterday’s Federal Reserve policy decision, U.S. index futures auctioned higher overnight alongside hopes of added U.S. fiscal and monetary stimulus, as well as vaccine rollouts.

What Does It Mean: During Wednesday’s regular trade, the S&P 500 initiated up to the $3,691.25 high-volume node, a valuable price, before sellers responded, established excess, and extended lower into the close.

Given the response to yesterday’s Federal Reserve decision, as well as overnight activity, the S&P 500 remains in a tactically bullish position, confirming the higher-time frame upside breakout which targets prices as high as $4,000.

What To Expect: In light of the overnight gap higher, the following frameworks apply for today’s trade.

In the best case, buyers maintain conviction and hold the index above the $3,691.25 high-volume node. Thereafter, upside references include the high-volume node near $3,710.00, and then the $3,720.00 price extension.

In the worst case, if the S&P 500 is brought back into range, participants can expect further balancing. The current market environment supports the long-gamma narrative in which volatility is suppressed and the market pins or slowly rises in a range-bound fashion.

Adding, the market has initiated back through $3,680.00, a low-volume area. Such low-volume areas denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. Penetrating the low-volume area would put in play the $3,667.75 high-volume node.

Levels Of Interest:  $3,680.00 low-volume node, the $3,710.00 and $3,667.75 high-volume nodes, as well as the $3,720.00 price extension.

Bonus: Opportunities unfolding.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 12/14/2020

What Happened: Alongside optimism surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine and stimulus talks, U.S. index futures auctioned higher overnight.

What Does It Mean: During last week’s trade, U.S. index futures auctioned to new all-time highs, before moving back into balance.

For the remainder of the week, participants accepted lower prices until Friday’s session established minimal excess lows, broke into prior poor structure, and ended the technical downtrend. 

Since Friday’s session found responsive buying surface at a key technical level (i.e., the high-volume node near $3,630.00 and 20-day simple moving average), buyers extended range through the $3,667.75 high-volume node, the most positive outcome.

What To Expect: In light of the overnight gap higher, the following frameworks apply for today’s trade.

In the best case, the auction makes an attempt to repair some of the poor overnight structure. Thereafter, buyers regain conviction and initiate back through the $3,667.75 high-volume node before continuing to at least the next high-volume node at $3,690.75, and then the prior all-time rally high.

In the worst case, if the S&P 500 auctions below $3,667.75, participants would look to whether the S&P 500 resists Friday’s range. Accepting Friday’s range (i.e., spending more than one half-hour period) may put in play the minimal excess lows near $3,625.00.

Levels Of Interest:  $3,667.75 high-volume node is the go/no-go level.

Bonus: Opportunities unfolding.