Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For June 9, 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

U.S. markets were weighed by action abroad before recovering late in the overnight session. 

This was ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) decision that likely results in a tightening of monetary policies in that region of the world. The expectation is that the ECB will end its bond purchases this month. Then, hike rates in July and September. 

At home, in the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to change the business model of wholesalers. In consideration is a model in which different firms compete with each other to fill investors’ trades. Some suggest this would increase trading costs.

Elsewhere, one of the largest U.S. export plants of liquified natural gas (LNG) is to shut down due to a facility explosion, raising the risk of shortages in Europe, according to Reuters.

Ahead is data on jobless claims (8:30 AM ET), as well as real household net worth and domestic financial debt (12:00 PM 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

In the past week, a narrative on bearish bets in funds such as the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NYSE: HYG) surfaced.

The ETF saw some of the largest volumes since March of 2020, presumably as traders looked to hedge for low cost, the Federal Reserve’s (FED) hawkishness. 

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “Given that HYG’s realized volatility is still relatively low, it’s an inexpensive way to hedge the impact of tightening monetary policy on corporate credit.”

According to The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, “a lot of banks continue to push credit vol[atility] as a cheap hedge. Every month, at least four banks push the theme on that trade because of ‘value.’”

This is “also, another reason why every month you see HYG put spreads hit the tape with big size, relatively speaking,” he adds.

Adding, Bridgewater Associates, which was founded by Ray Dalio in 1975, is betting on the sale of corporate bonds via credit default swaps (CDS), which are used to transfer and hedge credit exposure on fixed income products.

Bridgewater’s Co-Chief Investment Officer Greg Jensen explained their bet against corporate bonds is based on inflation remaining stubborn, resulting in the Fed to “tighten in a very strong way, which would then crack the economy and probably crack the weaker [companies].”

Here’s why that matters. 

The firms facing challenges, “are creations of easy credit,” according to Bloomberg and, now, for some of them, their time is running short as they “aren’t earning enough to cover their interest expenses, let alone turn a profit.” 

“When interest rates are at or close to zero, it’s very easy to get credit, and under those circumstances, the difference between a good company and a bad company is narrow,” said Komal Sri-Kumar of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies. 

“It’s only when the tide runs out that you figure out who is swimming naked.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Despite many of these companies having debt that could last them “months, even years,” Vincent Reinhart explains that “[a]s rates rise, it pushes more of those firms into distress, and amplifies the tightening by the Fed of financial conditions and credit availability.”

As stated yesterday, financial conditions are “the mechanism through which the Fed [impacts] the economy,” and “if the data doesn’t slow, financial conditions will need to tighten more,” potentially feeding into a freezing of credit and a harder hit on still-frothy areas of the market “with the greatest systemic risk.”

As we quoted Simplify Asset Management’s Mike Green explaining in early May, we’re more than halfway through a dot-com type collapse that’s happened “underneath the surface of the indices.” 

That’s noteworthy since still-strong passive flows continue to support the largest stocks within the index.

That said, with bonds “not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol,” per Joseph Wang, who was a trader at the Fed, “[i]nvestors in both bonds and stocks are reaching for cash by selling their assets, driving further asset price declines. For non-bank investors, ‘cash’ means bank deposits.”

How to think about trades?

As explained, yesterday, the marginal impact of further volatility compression is likely to do less to bolster equity market upside. Heading into the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event, next week, according to SpotGamma, short-dated, pre-event volatility is likely to get sold (further promoting market consolidation) while that which is farter-dated is likely to be bought.

To capitalize on a resolution of the index-level pinning, participants, too, could sell short-dated volatility (which capitalizes on pinning and the rapid decay of soon-to-expire options) and use those proceeds to fund farther dated options. 

Such a structure would assist in lower the cost of directional exposure.

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

Alternatively, if bearish on volatility, one could buy a butterfly (short two times at the money and long above and below out of the money options). 

Graphic: The risk profile of a long call butterfly spread, via Fidelity.

In such a case, the trader becomes long implied skew convexity. This is a play on the comments above, coupled with the fact that the Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of the VIX, or the volatility of volatility (a naive but useful measure of skew), dropped off largely, too, in comparison to the VIX, itself.

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

Technical: As of 6:40 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the upper part of a 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 $4,129.25 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,149.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,164.25 regular trade high (RTH High) and $4,189.25 LVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,129.25 LVNode puts in play the $4,101.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNodes could reach as low as the $4,073.25 weak high/low and $4,055.75 LVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

Daily Brief For June 8, 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 some of Tuesday’s sharp advance which happened against the trend of prevailing options activity (discussed further below).

This is as narratives remain unchanged. Investors are pricing the implications of the actions to address heightened inflation, as well as how that may play into (further) economic slowing.

Ahead is data on wholesale inventories (10:00 AM ET). Below is a light commentary to rebuild our narrative after the week-long pause.

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

Fundamental: On Friday, participants will receive an update on inflation when consumer price data is released.

Graphic: Taken from Morningstar Inc (NASDAQ: MORN). Forecasts for this week’s remaining U.S. data from a survey compiled by The Wall Street Journal.

It is one of the Federal Reserve’s commitments to promote stable prices; the institution is aiming for a soft landing just as supply chains, higher prices, and borrowing costs, among other things, are cutting into growth. 

Graphic: Via the New York Federal Reserve. Taken from Bloomberg. “The gauge brings together 27 variables that take the temperature of everything from cross-border transportation costs to country-level manufacturing data in the euro area, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK and the US.”

“The Fed is in a major jam,” said Oren Klachkin of Oxford Economics. “They don’t want to let inflation spiral but they also don’t want to kill the expansion. Finding the middle ground between those is hard, and their tools are blunt, so the task before them is monumental.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg analysis of the World Bank Group’s Flagship Report – Global Economic Prospects – for 2022. “Against the challenging backdrop of higher inflation, weaker growth, tighter financial conditions, and limited fiscal policy space, governments will need to reprioritize spending toward targeted relief for vulnerable populations.”

Last Wednesday marked the start of quantitative tightening (QT), a practice used to shrink the Fed’s balance sheet and amplify the effect of rate hikes, further cutting into financial conditions, “the mechanism through which the Fed [impacts] the real economy,” explains Dennis DeBusschere of 22V Research.

“If the data doesn’t slow, financial conditions will need to tighten more,” and this will play into less demand for goods and services, many of which (are continuing to) remain in short supply.

Graphic: Taken from S&P Global Inc (NYSE: SPGI). 

Accordingly, Joseph Wang, who was a trader at the Fed, explains well that cash, which has been spared from the market rout, is set to become scarcer.

“Bonds are not acting as a hedge and appear to be becoming less ‘money’ like due persistent declines in price and elevated rate vol,” he said. “Investors in both bonds and stocks are reaching for cash by selling their assets, driving further asset price declines. For non-bank investors, ‘cash’ means bank deposits.”

Graphic: Via the Investment Company Institute. Taken from Joseph Wang. “Investors are selling everything for cash.”

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

Graphic: Via the St. Louis Fed’s (FRED) Federal Reserve Economic Data. Taken from Joseph Wang. “The overall level of bank deposits is declining even as demand for bank deposits from investors is increasing.”

Positioning: Responsive trade is the status quo, as validated by SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Delta hedging flows with respect to changes in volatility (vanna) likely helped dampen some of the negativity of options buys and sells.”

Accordingly, measures of implied volatility, based on supply and demand dynamics talked about in the past, are falling from already low levels, and thus, the marginal impact of further volatility compression does less to bolster equity market upside.

To note the Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX), the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of the VIX or the volatility of volatility (a naive but useful measure of skew), dropped off largely, too, in comparison to the VIX, itself.

Graphic: Updated June 3, 2022. Via Tier1Alpha. “Several commentators have noticed that the price of volatility on the VIX, VVIX, has retreated sharply versus the past two years. If we look over a longer time horizon, this seems less so with a structural bid VIX tails driving higher implied hedging costs at each level of the VIX.  The current sub-100 VVIX level, while certainly lower than the past two years, is far from cheap historically.”

Given this all, SpotGamma suggests ultra-short-dated volatility, before the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, is likely to be sold, further depressing the front-end of the term structure while the “proceeds of that trade are funneled into farther-dated post-FOMC volatility.”

In other words, participants could sell short-dated volatility for exposure to that which is farther dated and, even, non-linear with respect to changes in delta (gamma) and vega (volga). 

Ultimately, such a structure would assist participants in lowering the cost of directional exposure.

Graphic: Text taken from Exotic Options and Hybrids: A Guide to Structuring, Pricing and Trading. In a long calendar spread, the trader sells shorter-dated implied volatility and uses the proceeds of that sale to fund, in part, longer-dated implied volatility exposure at the same strike.

More to come in future commentaries.

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 $4,133.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,164.25 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the RTH High could reach as high as the $4,189.25 LVNode and $4,227.75 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,133.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,101.25 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,073.25 Weak H/L and $4,055.75 LVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

Daily Brief For May 6, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned weak, inside of the prior day’s large trading range.

Yesterday, the equity indexes, bonds, and crypto (which many saw as a hedge against equities) were sold, aggressively. The selling came one day after the Federal Reserve hiked 0.50 basis points and outlined its balance sheet reduction timeline.

Notable was ten-year Treasury yields breaking the 3.00% barrier.

Despite a more dovish tone (i.e., Fed assuaging participants of a 0.75 basis point hike in the coming meetings), the near-vertical price rise (which we discussed was a function of “structural buyback” in yesterday’s morning letter) was taken back in a fire sale across all sectors.

Today is data on nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rates, average hourly earnings, and labor force participation (8:30 AM ET). Later, consumer credit data is released (3:00 PM ET).

Speaking today is the Fed’s John Williams (9:15 AM ET), Raphael Bostic (3:20 PM ET), James Bullard and Chris Waller (7:15 PM ET), as well as Mary Daly (8:00 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

Positioning: In yesterday’s detailed letter, we talked about the implications of participants’ hedging heading into and after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) event.

Mainly, markets were stretched and participants were demanding protection in size. As said:

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

After that “structural buyback,” as Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan explained clearly, it was highly likely the bear trend would hold. Participants not shifting their bets on direction (via options) to higher prices, further out in time, further suggested very little change in sentiment.

Toggle, which is an AI and machine learning research firm tracking 35,000 securities globally, sent us, yesterday, their post-Fed analysis. According to them, “during the first week after the Fed’s 50 bps hike markets broadly headed lower.”

“In fact, 1 in 5 times the drop reached more than 5%.”

Graphic: Via Toggle.

The firm’s CEO and founder – Jan Szilagyi – said, in response to the market action that “market bulls should root for stocks to go down first.”

That’s actually a powerful statement. For markets to break (rally), they sometimes need to rally (break). Said another way, at times the market is stretched. Sellers (buyers) are either too short (or too long), if we will.

In order to trade lower, for instance, that short inventory (which in and of itself is a support mechanism as it is a bunch of buy orders sitting at lower prices) must be cleared (i.e., covered).

After that support is removed, the market can succumb to whatever fundamental weaknesses it was trying to price in. 

In this case, “the incremental effects on liquidity (QE/QT),” as Karsan says.

Moreover, what’s interesting, and this is something others have picked up on, is the difference between the level of volatility that is realized and implied by activity in the derivatives market.

Another time we saw such divergences was during the 2020 Coronacrisis sell-off.

Graphic: Via @HalfersPower. On March 2, 2020, “VIX-30 day realized vol go from 99 percentile yesterday to inverted and 9 percentile today lol. (left vs. right).

Let’s unpack. So, the Cboe Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX), as described by Cboe Global Markets Inc (BATS: CBOE), is a “constant, 30-day expected volatility of the U.S. stock market, derived from real-time, mid-quote prices of S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) call and put options.”

Essentially, to make it simple, VIX is the equity market’s pricing of risk or insurance and it has a strong inverse relationship with the SPX. If SPX is lower, the VIX higher, basically.

Then, just as we have metrics to measure the change in an option’s sensitivity to the underlying direction (delta) or gamma, we have the sensitivity of an option to changes in volatility (vega) or volga.

Volga has different names. Vomma. The convexity of vega (i.e., change in vega based on change in volatility implied by market participants’ activity). The volatility of volatility. And so on.

The volatility of volatility can naively be measured through the Cboe VVIX Index (INDEX: VVIX) which, according to Cboe, “represents a volatility of volatility in the sense that it measures the expected volatility of the 30-day forward price of VIX.”

Historically, the gauge has a mean somewhere beneath 100 and a high correlation with the VIX at times of heightened stress (e.g., Coronacrisis).

Graphic: The VVIX via Physik Invest.

What’s going on is there is really negative sentiment and emotion, both of which are playing into market weaknesses and realized volatility. However, that realized volatility is not priced in.

In other words, the volatility of volatility – VVIX – is low relative to the volatility realized (and implied) and that, as I take it, essentially means that the market is not pricing up protection.

Graphic: Via The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial. “Trotting out the good old VVIX/VIX (trader heuristic) to compare SPX skew to VIX Vol. Negative sentiment but lack of fear continues.”

Why does this matter? Well, when you think there is to be an outsized move, relative to what is priced, you buy options (positive exposure to gamma) so that you may have gains that are potentially amplified in case of directional movement.

You also buy can buy options for positive exposure to volga. This is so that you may have gains that are potentially amplified in case of movement (repricing) in implied volatility.

Graphic: Via @Alpha_Ex_LLC. “Here’s 10-day realized vs VVIX on a scatter. The ‘white star’ is 40 realized but only 117 VVIX. When realized this high, VVIX typically closer to 150.”

With back-to-back daily price changes sometimes in excess of 2%, this essentially suggests to us the potential for the pricing of equity market risk to “catch up.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. The realized volatility for the SPX versus the VIX.

Per SpotGamma, much of this has to do with market participants being “well-hedged.”

“From an options perspective, participants would have to demand en masse protection (buy puts, sell calls) for liquidity providers to further take from market liquidity (sell into weakness) and that volatility skew to, essentially, blowout (e.g., Corona crisis, Meme mania, and the like).”

The Ambrus Group’s Kris Sidial, who felt that the liquidation was likely large desks de-risking their book, explains, well, too: 

“Vol is mainly used as a source of hedging. We are coming off of a big FOMC meeting where vol was slightly elevated. Think about this for a second, although SPX had a nasty day today, we are still right where we were at Tuesday… what does that tell you?”

“That means there wasn’t really a NEED to rehedge that same exposure. Volatility didn’t compress much after FOMC and when the market gave it all back it brought us right back to where we started. Put yourself in the shoes of an institution.”

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options Indicator (HIRO) for SPY shows light put selling and call buying. Participants are (likely) hedged and are not demanding protection in size amid lower prices.

Pursuant to those remarks, SpotGamma sees markets reaching a lower limit near the $4,000.00 SPX area. At that juncture, the rate at which liquidity providers add pressure in their hedging activities flattens as they, too, have hedges.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. Updated April 27, 2022.

“In turn, dealers may be able to advantageously reduce delta hedging (sell less), and supply markets with more liquidity (buy more stock). This could serve to reduce volatility.”

So, what do you do with this information? The idea is that volatility implied may reprice to reflect what is realized. In such a case, you’d want positive exposure to volga (i.e., don’t sell volatility).

This is more of a view on volatility rather than direction, at this juncture.

Directionally speaking, the returns distribution is skewed positive. This is from an overlay of proxies for buying and naive gamma exposure.

Here’s one model using similar data we often look at in this letter.

Graphic: Via nextSignals. “When SPX and [gamma exposure] nosedive after an extended selloff while dark pools’ buying sharply diverges to the upside … buy the S&P 500.”

Technical: As of 6:45 AM ET, Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a 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 $4,148.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,184.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,184.25 HVNode could reach as high as the $4,212.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,303.00 weak high (obvious breakout level), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,148.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,099.25 regular trade low (RTH Low). Initiative trade beyond the RTH Low could reach as low as the $4,055.75 low volume area (LVNode) and $3,978.50 LVNode, or lower.

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

Definitions

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For April 11, 2022

Hey team, you’re going to have to forgive me. Still am traveling through the rest of this month. Therefore, coverage will remain sporadic and less in-depth. Apologies and take care!

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures were mixed after last week’s liquidation alongside news that the Federal Reserve was interested in sharper interest-rate hikes and balance-sheet reductions to stem inflation. 

China equities were weak on the implications of COVID-19 outbreaks, among other things. 

Some Russian entities entered into effective default, as ruled by markets. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that spurred crippling economic sanctions, is ongoing. 

And, in other news, some Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) pundits suggest weakness in risk assets, like technology, may bring down cryptocurrency. 

Crypto prices “do not trade on the fundamentals of being peer-to-peer, decentralized, censorship-resistant digital networks designed for the transfer of money,” explained BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes on correlations with the Nasdaq 100 trading at record highs. 

Crypto “will lead equities lower as we head into the downturn, and lead equities higher as we work our way out of it.”

Ahead is data on NY Fed median 1- and 3-year expected inflation (11:00 AM ET). Fed-speak by Charles Evans (12:40 PM ET). The quarterly earnings season begins this week. Bank stocks to start reporting Wednesday, April 13.

Graphic updated 6:45 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-Off if expected /ES open is below the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. Learn the implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive, then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect

Fundamental: The ruling narrative, so to speak, is concerned with the management of inflation through monetary policies, credit impulse contractions, as well as the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s COVID-19 actions, and beyond.

Graphic: Via The Macro Compass.

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) roadmap for shrinking the balance sheet and raising rates was revealed in the recent release of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes. 

“The FOMC stayed far too easy for far too long and has belatedly realized their mistake,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC. 

“They are now scrambling to get policy back to neutral as quickly as they can. Once they arrive at something close to neutral, they will have to ascertain over time how far into restrictive territory they have to move to get inflation back under control.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg.

Moreover, as talked about in past commentaries, quantitative tightening (QT) amplifies the impact of rate hikes.

Per statements by JH Investment Management, through QT, central banks remove assets from their balance sheet. This is “either through the sale of assets they purchased or deciding against reinvesting the principal sum of maturing securities.” 

With that, we note that when bonds rise in value, their yields decline; “when the Fed embarks on bond-buying program[s] to support the U.S. economy, … [it nudges] the prices of these assets higher while pushing yields lower, which also has the effect of driving yield-hungry investors into relatively riskier asset categories that promise high returns.”

As liquidity is removed, this may prompt risk assets to converge with fundamentals.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Bonds continue their losing streak. This is amid end-of-quarter rebalancing inflows; “Bonds performed so poorly in the past month that exchange-traded fund investors were forced to buy in record amounts.”

At present, via CME Group Inc’s (NASDAQ: CME) FedWatch tool, participants are pricing in a heightened probability of a half-point hike next month.

Graphic: Via CME Group Inc. FedWatch tool.

Notwithstanding, per Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE: CS) research, there has been no meaningful breadth disconnect; breadth remains supportive of higher S&P 500 prices.

Via: Credit Suisse research. Taken from The Market Ear.

At the same time, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Mislav Matejka sees continued gains in earnings while equity versus credit and bond yields are still supportive of valuations.

Positioning: Keeping this section light, today.

After quarterly rebalances and options expiries, the reduction in counterparty exposure to positive gamma freed indexes (i.e., unpinned), as expected

Why? 

We see counterparties as those participants who take the other side of customer trades. The collapse in realized volatility and the move higher in equity markets solicited counterparties’ decreased (increased) hedging of put (call) options. 

The naive assumption is that counterparties are short (long) put (call) protection. When implied volatility declines and underlyings move higher, counterparties have less (more) exposure to amplified losses (gains). 

To hedge, they sell into strength and buy into weakness, basically.

As participants start to concentrate their bets in shorter-dated expiries, at higher prices, counterparties take from underlying movement in their provision of liquidity. It takes an options expiry, or some exogenous event, to disrupt this balance. 

That happened at the end of last month. Since then, increases in implied volatility and lower underlying equity prices have helped pressure indexes and increase realized volatility.

Technical: As of 6:45 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle 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 $4,468.75 poor low puts in play the $4,489.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,501.00 VPOC and $4,519.75 overnight high (ONH), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,468.75 poor low puts in play the $4,444.50 weak low. Initiative trade beyond the weak low could reach as low as the $4,409.00 VPOC and $4,395.25 high volume area (HVNode), or lower.

Considerations: 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.

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.

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 March 7, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned lower as participants looked to price in the implications of heightened inflation and risk of recession amidst geopolitical tensions.

Ahead is data on consumer credit (3:00 PM ET).

Graphic updated 5:45 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: Hawkishness with respect to monetary policy, in the face of heightened inflation and slowing economic growth, is affecting global markets.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. European markets trade weak relative to their U.S. peers.

Overseas markets have sold more, relatively, and the pricing of equity market risk in Europe is far outpacing that in the U.S.

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. Divergences in the pricing of risk across markets.

Last week, we unpacked the potential factors behind (and the implications of) divergences in cross-asset volatility. Mainly, the fear in one market tends to feed into the fear of another.

Pursuant to those remarks on this push-and-pull comes as Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) prime brokerage saw hedge-fund clients unloading risk at the fastest rate in three months, while JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) saw retail buying nearly $4.1 billion, “with money sent to S&P 500-linked ETFs more than 2 standard deviations above the 12-month average.”

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from Bloomberg.

Per Bloomberg’s John Authers, market professionals likely view reactions to geopolitical tension “as increasing the risk of stagflation, a rare combination of high inflation and a recession.”

Graphic: Via JPMorgan, from The Market Ear.

“This looks like 2007, on the eve of the Global Financial Crisis, with even higher inflation expectations and a yield curve that has not quite yet inverted.”

Graphic: Via Bloomberg. “[A]n outright inversion, which generally signals a recession a matter of months later, now seems an imminent possibility.”

UBS Group AG (NYSE: UBS) ran a machine-learning analysis that “reckons the Russia/Ukraine conflict could send the S&P 500 anywhere from 3,800 to 4,800 – a 26% range – depending on how it resolves.”

Graphic: Via UBS, from Bloomberg.

Perspectives: “Every other market is consistent with the idea that the economy is in trouble and there’s stress in the markets,” said Jim Bianco, president of Bianco Research LLC in Chicago. 

“The stock market historically does this — it’s the last market to turn, it’s the slowest market to understand the problems. It’s the market driven by narratives and hope.”

Graphic: Via @exposurerisk from @Callum_Thomas. “Slowly at first, then all of a sudden.”

Alternatively, BCA Research Ltd suggests that “Even if World War III is ultimately averted, markets could experience a freak-out moment over the next few weeks, similar to what happened at the outset of the pandemic. Google searches for nuclear war are already spiking.”

“Despite the risk of nuclear war, it makes sense to stay constructive on stocks over the next 12 months. If an ICBM is heading your way, the size and composition of your portfolio becomes irrelevant. Thus, from a purely financial perspective, you should largely ignore existential risk, even if you do care about it greatly from a personal perspective.”

Positioning: The fundamental picture is clouded by the options market positioning.

At present, in the face of continued passive buying support, the overwhelming demand for downside (put) protection (a negative delta, positive gamma trade) results in counterparty hedging that may exacerbate weakness.

The reason why? The counterparty has exposure to positive delta and negative gamma. If underlying prices print lower and/or measures of implied volatility rise (given increased fear and demand for protection), short puts rise in value (and counterparty losses are multiplied).

To overcome these potential losses, counterparties sell the underlying to hedge. If nothing happens, the protection decays, and counterparties buy back their hedges potentially bolstering the underlying market’s calmness or attempts higher.

As noted earlier and explained in detail last week, the pricing of risk across markets has diverged and the S&P 500, among other U.S. indices, is relatively strong (unlike peers in Europe and Asia). 

Among other things, one dynamic balancing this pressure from puts is negative-delta trade, by customers, on the call side. In selling calls, dealers are long (a positive delta, positive gamma trade that makes money if the underlying rises). To hedge, dealers tend towards selling strength and buying weakness, adding liquidity to the market. 

Still, again, the news is bad, and returns into monthly options expirations (like the one coming up next week) are often weak.

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

So, there is potential that weakness climaxes into the options expiration. Thereafter, the reduction in put-heavy positioning may coincide with less counterparty exposure to the positive delta.

Graphic: Via SpotGamma. “Netting call & put delta, you can see we’re near extremes in terms of put:call positions. Often large put positions are removed by expirations, which seems to coincide with market lows. Many of these are quarterly expirations which coincide w/FOMC meetings – such as next week.”

Still, the return distributions, based on where the implied volatility term structure is at, point to continued chop and expanded ranges.

And, according to some, the “real deleveraging hasn’t hit yet.”

Graphic: Via @FadingRallies.

Technical: As of 5:45 AM ET, Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a negatively skewed overnight inventory, outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for immediate directional opportunity.

Balance-Break + Gap Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) is occurring.

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. 

Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator. 

Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the visual $4,282.75 balance boundary puts in play the $4,319.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,346.75 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,375.00 VPOC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,282.75 balance boundary puts in play the $4,249.25 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as low as the $4,227.75 overnight low (ONL) and $4,177.25 HVNode, or lower.

Considerations: The $4,282.75 level has solicited mechanical responses over the past weeks.

Therefore it is considered to be a level at which short-term participants will lack the wherewithal (both emotional and financial) to respond to a successful 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

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.

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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 February 14, 2022

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

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to lower, extending the sell-off that began with the release of Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.

The Federal Reserve will convene, today, at 11:30 AM ET for an unscheduled meeting of the Board of Governors to discuss “the advance and discount rates to be charged by the Federal Reserve banks.”

Scheduled is an interview with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard (8:30 AM ET).

Graphic updated 6:50 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: Markets are catching up to divergences in breadth, trading down in the face of narratives around the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) response to heightened inflation, a challenging economic growth outlook, and geopolitical tensions.

Graphic: NYSE A-D Line versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Taken from Tom McClellan.

Pursuant to these narratives, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) lowered its targets for the S&P 500 from $5,100.00 to $4,900.00. 

“The macro backdrop this year is considerably more challenging than in 2021. However, we continue to expect that equity prices will rise alongside earnings and reach a new all-time high in 2022,” strategists said on earnings growth in light of the impact of higher rates on valuations.

“During the last 50 years, a ‘goldilocks’ environment of accelerating GDP  growth and stable real yields has typically been associated with a 12-month S&P 500 return of +16%. However, when growth is decelerating and real yields are rising, 12-month S&P 500 returns have averaged +8%.”

Graphic: Via Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS). Taken from The Market Ear

At the same time, participants are withdrawing their cash and assets held in money market funds in size.

Graphic: Via Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC).

Based on flows into equities, participants appear to be opportunistically buying the dip.

Graphic: Via EPFR. Retrieved from The Market Ear.

Looking back, when the yield curve – e.g., spread between 10- and 2-year – is between 75 and 25 basis points, stocks actually perform well. 

According to The Market Ear, “[S]imilar periods of time have typically coincided with the middle of prior cycles when economic expansion was broad-based. Worth highlighting the mid-90s, mid-00s, and late-10s.”

“Both short and long-term SPX performance following similar instances were well above typical return profiles. Average 6M performance is over 9% and average 12M performance is over 17%. Almost more notably, SPX performance was positive 90%+ of the time.”

Graphic: Via Jefferies Financial Group Inc (NYSE: JEF). Retrieved from The Market Ear.

To end this section, we point to the so-called unscheduled Fed meeting, today, and the potential for surprise rate increases, despite some policymakers, like Kansas City Fed President Esther George, attempting to cool expectations.

The historical reaction, months out, is not what participants expect would happen by default.

Graphic: Via SentimenTrader.

Positioning: As stated, Friday, Thursday’s post-CPI trade disrupted the balance of trade.

Lower prices and demand for protection, in the face of lower levels of “on-screen liquidity,” solicited dealer selling to hedge increased exposure to the positive delta from demanded short-dated, highly convex options.

Graphic: SpotGamma’s Hedging Impact of Real-Time Options (HIRO) indicator; “customers bought put options (a negative delta trade) leaving dealers short (a positive delta trade).” 

Lower prices and higher volatility compound macro flows, exacerbating weakness.

To note, much of the demand for protection is concentrated in shorter-dated options that are more sensitive to changes in implied volatility and direction. The demand is well visualized by the VIX term structure which shifted markedly at the front-end, Friday.

Graphic: VIX term structure shifts higher (dramatically at the front-end).

Going forward, there is a large monthly options expiration (OPEX) this week. OPEX is a sort-of reset; options roll-off, as do the counterparties’ hedges.

According to data compiled and analyzed by Pat Hennessy a while back, “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. 

Post-OPEX, though, according to SpotGamma, “In an environment characterized by negative gamma (wherein an options delta falls with stock price rises and rises when stock prices fall), options expiries ought to make gamma less negative.”

“Therefore, a reset that may make gamma exposures less negative, there will be a removal of [counterparties’] linear short (-delta) hedges which may further bolster attempts higher.”

So, the dip lower and demand for protection could serve to prime the market for upside (when volatility starts to compress again and counterparties unwind hedges to put-heavy exposures). 

Commitment to higher prices would likely coincide with increased interest in options at higher strike prices. We have yet to see this occur.

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

Balance-Break + Gap Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) occurred.

Acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area has been established.

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 (i.e., nothing has changed since Friday).

Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity above the $4,365.00 point of control (POC) puts in play the $4,393.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,438.00 key response area and $4,499.00 POC, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,365.00 POC puts in play the $4,332.25 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,266.25 Weak Low and $4,212.50 regular trade low (RTH Low), or lower.

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

What People Are Saying

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.

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.

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

Disclaimer

Physik Invest does not carry the right to provide advice.

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 November 24, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned within the confines of Tuesday’s range, unable to follow through on attempts higher or lower. This comes as there was a clear validation of Monday’s knee-jerk selling.

This sideways-to-lower price action in the index products is happening alongside a sell-off in new issues and richly priced technology stocks. Part of the weakness may have something to do with investors booking capital losses to lower their capital gains. 

The other part of it, according to Bloomberg, is an exodus among professional investors who were counting on high-flyers to salvage their year. 

“There was a desire to kind of keep up with the broader index. And there was definitely a view that those are higher-beta assets and that’s a way to try and play a little bit of catch-up,” Barclays Plc’s (NYSE: BCS) Todd Sandoz said. “When the market turns and it’s not working, you need to take risks down. And everybody’s in those names, so you also probably have a view to try to cut things faster.”

With indices pinned and heavily weighted constituents sideways to higher, there is only one form of reconciliation – a decline in correlation. Nonetheless, fundamentals are no different; investors may be able to buy quality stocks at a discount amidst the market’s entry into a seasonally bullish period. 

Buybacks and increased retail engagement, resilient activity, and macro metrics, as well as excess liquidity, in the face of central bank cautiousness, suggest “dips should be bought,” according to Barclays.

Ahead is data on jobless claims, GDP, durable and core capital goods orders, and trade in goods (8:30 AM ET). Thereafter is data on personal and disposable income, consumer spending, core inflation, home sales, sentiment, and 5-year inflation expectations (10:00 AM ET). FOMC minutes come later (2:00 PM ET). 

Graphic updated 6:00 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 divergent intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by an acceptance of Monday’s knee-jerk, high-tempo selling.

Though this activity marks a potential willingness to start trending lower, the nature of Monday’s liquidation, as well as the failure to follow-through (i.e., expand the range to the downside) forces us to question whether participants have it in them to push indices lower. 

In light of the activity we’re seeing, it’s tough to pick a direction and stick with it; the higher odds play, in light of the divergences we’re seeing in breadth metrics between exchanges, as well as market liquidity (below), is to responsively buy dips and sell rips.

Key levels to trade against are the high volume areas (HVNodes) at $4,691.25 and $4,647.25. The latter level corresponds with the 20-day simple moving average.

These levels are the clearest ways to measure risk, given the mechanical responses in prior trade. Should participants manage to break past either level, then conditions have changed. Follow-through is likely. Reason being? Those visual levels are acted on by short-term, technically-driven market participants who generally are unable to defend retests.
Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-committed selling 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 (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit; the market is in balance).

Context: Keeping this section very short.

We saw the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) end higher, yesterday. 

However, supply came in across the entire area of the VIX futures term structure. That, with the long-gamma environment (defined below), suggests participants are not reaching for hedges.

For the time being, that’s stabilizing, cognizant of the fact that exuberance in individual stocks, over the past weeks, fed into the stock indices themselves.

Further, the price action we’re seeing is likely the resolve of some of that weak breadth we were seeing, recently, in addition to some of the topics discussed at the beginning of this newsletter.

Graphic: Divergences in breadth. SPX versus % of SPX stocks above the 200-day average.

In short, however, should volatility continue to pick up, those participants (who were once exuberant) may reach for protection forcing dealers to reflexively hedge in a destabilizing manner.

Once that protection rolls off the table (expires and/or is monetized), dealers will reverse and support the market, buying-to-close existing stock/futures hedges to negative gamma positions. 

This flow is stabilizing and may support a seasonally-aligned rally into Christmas.

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

Spike Scenario In Play: A spike marks 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).

The spike may also be looked at as a pivot; in today’s case, the spike base is $4,697.50.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,691.25 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,711.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,740.50 minimal excess high and $4,765.25 Fibonacci, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,691.25 HVNode puts in play the $4,674.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC). Initiative trade beyond the MCPOC could reach as low as the $4,647.25 HVNode and $4,619.00 VPOC, or lower.

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.

Charts To Watch

What People Are Saying

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.

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.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For November 11, 2021

What Happened

Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways to higher, recovering much of yesterday’s fast-paced liquidation.

To note, overnight price changes aside, the Nasdaq 100 is trading weak, in comparison to the S&P 500, a dynamic most noticeable in underlying breadth metrics, and the like. 

Ahead, there are no material economic releases.

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

Coming into Tuesday’s session, participants knew that the S&P 500 had already undergone somewhat of a lackluster liquidation, Tuesday.

Those behind some of the downside velocity we saw were most likely short-term, momentum-driven participants who had poor location (i.e., those that respond to probes at visual references and lack the wherewithal to withstand major changes in tone).

To note, given the context – weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics bolstering an expansion of range below the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) anchored from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement, last week – the poor structure intact from the advance in past weeks remains a concern.

Graphic: Supportive delta (i.e., committed selling for most of the day 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.

Context: Yesterday, I talked in-depth on the implications of high leverage and risk by short-term speculators’ record call buying and put selling. 

To recap, so long as implied volatility remained bid (and stock prices continued rising) – the result of inadequate liquidity – counterparties to highly speculative trades exacerbated upside volatility in their efforts to hedge. 

As implied volatility backed off, counterparties supplied an increasing amount of their underlying hedges, calming the pace of upside price discovery.

When the high-flying stocks (like Tesla, which is a large S&P 500 index constituent) finally made the turn, the bulk of customers’ short puts (long calls) quickly rose (declined) in value, trading in-the-money (out-of-the-money). 

Due in part to short-term speculators lacking the wherewithal to stay in their margin-intensive positions, as the price fell, put buying (covering of shorts, too) took liquidity and destabilized the market.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics unpacks implications of short put options on the limit order book.

According to SpotGamma, the exuberance of the past weeks fed into the S&P complex, itself, evidenced by a lack of interest in put options at lower strikes. In other words, the S&P 500 options strike with the largest negative gamma – delta sensitivity to underlying price – failed to roll higher, while the strike of the option with the largest positive gamma did. 

With implied volatility declining into the S&P’s price rise, last week (a dynamic that, at least in recent history, leads into increased call selling, more dealer hedging, and liquidity, as well as further realized volatility suppression), associated hedging at those strikes pressured prices.

The upside was resisted and we pinned. 

Coming into this week, however, CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) was higher, with demand coming in across the front area of the VIX futures term structure. This suggested a demand for hedges and a reduction in the flows (e.g., vanna) that support sideways to higher trade. 

Graphic: Charting the CBOE Volatility-Of-Volatility Index (INDEX: VVIX) and the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX). Though both were higher, expectations of the volatility of volatility rose. Participants are reaching for those highly “convex” options which have counterparties reacting in a manner that exacerbates underlying price movement.

The implications of customers now covering their levered, long-delta exposure and demanding out-of-the-money hedges has the effect of forcing counterparties to hedge in a manner that exacerbates underlying price movement to the downside. 

This was the concern. This is what we’re starting to see.

Typically, the period leading up to the monthly options expiration (OPEX) is weak (at least in recent times) and so this trend of lower price and higher intraday volatility may persist up until that event clears counterparties’ gamma exposure and frees the market to move, more.

That’s when fundamental context likely plays a more important role. 

According to a Barclays (NYSE: BCS) note featured by The Market Ear, earnings are a tailwind.

“Amid a potentially higher macro volatility regime, we expect earnings to remain a tailwind for equities in ’22. Given our economists’ forecast of above-trend GDP growth of 4.5%, our base case gives 14% EPS growth for Europe, vs. the IBES estimate of 7%. Sticky supply bottlenecks are a threat, but margins typically expanded when global growth was above 3%, while ULCs should remain low. With comps less easy now, sector contributions to EPS growth should be more balanced between Cyclicals and Defensives, but still higher for the former.”

At the same time, in the face of inflation rising at the fastest rate since 1990, we have strong retail participation, seasonality, and buybacks to support the valuations we’re at, now.

Graphic: Inflow mania continues, via The Market Ear.

Expectations: 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 upper part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,657.75 low volume area (LVNode) puts in play the $4,673.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,695.25 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,711.75 regular trade high (RTH High), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,657.75 LVNode puts in play the $4,619.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as $4,590.00, a prior balance area high (BAH), and $4,574.25 high volume area (HVNode), or lower.

To note, a breach of the prior day’s low likely puts the S&P 500 in a short-gamma environment. When dealers are short-gamma, they buy into strength and sell into weakness, exacerbating volatility. When dealers are long-gamma, they buy into weakness and sell into strength, calming volatility.

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. Note the low-volume structure beneath current prices. There is the potential for a cave-fill to widen the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. Learn about the profile.

What People Are Saying

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, 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.

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.

Categories
Commentary

Weekly Brief For August 15, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures are set to open sideways Sunday after a divergent advance on light volume and poor structure.

  • Fundamental context – the good and bad.
  • Ahead a heavy week in terms of releases.
  • A narrow rally on unsupportive dynamics.
  • A simple way to hedge off your downside.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher last week as the baseline Dow Jones Industrial Average is forecast to have peaked, according to Moody’s.

Ahead is data on the Empire State manufacturing index (8/16), retail sales (8/17), industrial production (8/17), capacity utilization (8/17), business inventories (8/17), NAHB home builders’ index (8/17), building permits (8/18), housing starts (8/18), Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes (8/18), jobless claims (8/19), Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index (8/19), and the index of leading economic indicators (8/19).

Graphic updated 9:30 AM ET Sunday. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. See here for more on the Dark Pool Index (DPI) and Gamma (GEX). A higher DPI approximation is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX approximation, the more volatility. SHIFT data used for options activity approximation. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index from 0-100.

What To Expect: During the prior week’s trade, on weak intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade above the $4,422.75 balance area high (BAH). This trade is significant because it validated a balance area breakout.

More On Balance-Break Scenarios: A change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend) is occurring.

Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area. Rejection (i.e., return inside of balance) portends a move to the opposite end of the balance.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of peak growth, moderating inflation, renewed fiscal stimulus efforts, and increased odds of Fed tapering early next year. 

The implications of this fundamental context on price are contradictory; to elaborate, as Michael Gayed of The Lead-Lag Report recently said, narrow high yield spreads offer little potential for capital growth, and “conditions that favor higher volatility – the Fed backing off stimulus measures, the upcoming battle over the debt ceiling, high current inflation and/or longer-term deflation – could be not far off into the future.”

As an aside, this leads us into the narrative on the so-called shift from monetary to fiscal; in a conversation for a Benzinga article, Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan said the following: when liquidity is removed, as policymakers look to fiscal policy to address inequality, for instance, corporations may have to worry about making money, again.

“We’ve seen this throughout history,” Karsan said in reference to this thesis playing out over the next decade, at least. “These cycles are a lot shorter than the monetary supply-side cycles but they tend to be very bad for multiples and great for economic growth.”

Adding, in Friday’s note, the theme of liquidity was discussed. Simply put, the gap between the rates of growth in the supply of money and the gross domestic product turned negative for the first time since 2018.

“Put another way, the recovering economy is now drinking from a punch bowl that the stock market once had all to itself,” said Doug Ramsey, Leuthold Group’s chief investment officer.

Graphic: According to Bloomberg, “While stocks kept rising during frequent negative Marshallian K readings in the 1990s, the pattern since the 2008 global financial crisis — a period when the central bank was in what Ramsey calls a “perpetual crisis mode” — begs for caution.”

Moreover, for next week, given expectations of middling volatility and responsive trade, on factors like the upcoming August 20 monthly options expiration, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

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.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,459.00 untested point of control (VPOC) puts in play the $4,463.25 minimal excess high. Initiative trade beyond the minimal excess high could reach as high as the $4,470.75 and $4,483.75 Fibonacci-derived price targets.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,459.00 VPOC puts in play the $4,439.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the $4,439.00 VPOC could reach as low as $4,430.00 – a visual low likely generated by short-term (i.e., technically driven) participants who may be unable to defend retests – and the previously discussed $4,422.75 BAH.

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.

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.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 9:30 AM ET Sunday.

Weekly Trade Idea

Please Note: In no way is the below a trade recommendation. It’s a response to a solicitation for simple ways to hedge against a move lower, into the end of the month.

Options offer an efficient way to gain directional exposure. 

If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she could buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Additionally, one can spread, or buy (+) and sell (-) options together, strategically.

Commonly discussed spreads include credit, debit, ratio, back, and calendar.

  • Credit: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +1 option farther out of the money.
  • Debit: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -1 option farther out of the money.
  • Ratio: Buy +1 option closer to the money. Sell -2 options farther out of the money. 
  • Back: Sell -1 option closer to the money. Buy +2 options farther out of the money.
  • Calendar: Sell -1 option. Buy +1 option farther out in time, at the same strike.

Typically, if bullish (bearish), sell at-the-money put (call) credit spread and/or buy a call (put) debit/ratio spread structured around target price. Alternatively, if the expected directional move is great (small), opt for a back spread (calendar spread). Also, if credit spread, capture 50-75% of the premium collected. If debit spread, capture 2-300% of the premium paid.

Be cognizant of risk exposure to direction (delta), time (theta), and volatility (vega). 

  • Negative (positive) delta = synthetic short (long). 
  • Negative (positive) theta = time decay hurts (helps).
  • Negative (positive) vega = volatility hurts (helps).

Trade Idea: BUY +1 BUTTERFLY SPX 100 (Weeklys) 31 AUG 21 4450/4400/4350 PUT @4.90 LMT.

Thesis: I’m neutral to bearish on the S&P 500 and I think the index may trade sideways to lower into the next month. I will structure a spread below the current index price, expiring in 15 days. I will buy the 4450 put option once (+1), sell the 4400 put option twice (-2), and buy the 4350 put option once (+1) for a $4.90 debit or so. Should the index not move to my target, I may lose the $490 debit. Should it move to $4,400.00, I could make $4,510.00 (i.e., the $5,000.00 payout less debit at entry) at expiry. Should the index move below $4,354.90, I may lose the entire $490 debit. My goal, with this spread, is to close for credit (e.g., $9.80-14.70) if the index moves lower. Note that this trade carries a positive theta at entry.

If necessary, I will hedge the position by either (A) buying S&P 500 futures, (B) narrowing strikes, (C) selling call credit to reduce cost, or (D) roll strikes up in price and out in time.

News And Analysis

Rates recovering; realtors see price moderating.

This turning point for markets merits a hard look.

Market disruptions as Fed balance sheet swells.

Job data eases fears of a slowdown in recovery.

U.S. high yield default rate lowest start in 14 yrs.

Delta variant will not impact Fed’s tapering plan.

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.