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.

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 27, 2021

Market Commentary

Led by the Russell 2000, U.S. equity index futures explored lower overnight.

  • Risk-off everything China-related.
  • Ahead: Data dump and earnings.
  • S&P stuck in range, VWAP pinch.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower as equity weakness in China deepened. Chinese government bonds and the yuan fell also, alongside fears that U.S. funds are selling Hong Kong and China assets aggressively.

In light of the volatility, Crescat Capital portfolio manager Otavio Costa tweeted: “A yuan devaluation is one of the main deflationary risks today. I know you heard this over and over again… but something is indeed unraveling. Chinese banks and ADRs are in big trouble. PBOC will be forced to act.”

A devaluation is indeed something to fear. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) roiled global equity markets after its 2015 yuan devaluation.

In addition to this context, ahead, participants will receive data on durable and nondefense capital good orders, the S&P Case-Shiller home price index, consumer confidence, housing vacancies, as well as Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) earnings.

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

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

After establishing a new high – $4,416.75 – overnight, weakness in China spilled over; U.S. equity index futures, led by the Russell 2000, traded lower in conjunction with yields, a boost to the tech- and growth-heavy Nasdaq 100.

Rates: Low rates have to potential to increase the present value of future earnings making stocks, especially those that are high growth, more attractive. To note, inflation and rates move inversely to each other. Low rates stimulate demand for loans (i.e., borrowing money is more attractive). In conjunction with the rapid recovery, lower rates may solicit hawkish commentary as policymakers look to inhibit inflation.

To note, Monday’s trade happened on positive, albeit weak breadth, similar to Friday’s session. At the same time, a Volume Weighted Average Price pinch developed.

Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP): 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. ​​

Look to buy above a flat/rising VWAP pinch. Sell below a flat/declining VWAP pinch.

All that said, similar to Monday, a key thing to watch for is an auction failure and subsequent liquidation break, confirmed by trade below the $4,372.50 regular trade low (RTH Low).

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

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,398.75 high volume area (HVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,408.75 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,416.75 overnight high (ONH) and $4,428.25 Fibonacci extension.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,398.75 HVNode pivot puts in play the $4,390.50 minimal excess low. Initiative trade beyond the $4,390.50 low could reach as low as the $4,374.25 HVNode and $4,353.00 untested Point of Control (VPOC).

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.

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

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. Graphic updated 6:40 AM ET.

News And Analysis

China’s yuan, bonds tank amid fears of foreign selling.

U.S. infrastructure talks are encountering some snags.

Bitcoin steady below $40,000 on Amazon speculation.

Hypothetical look at 35 years of SPX option strategies.

The Federal Reserve meeting starts today. Watch this.

What People Are Saying

About

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Daily Brief For July 13, 2021

Market Commentary

U.S. equity index futures diverge overnight.

  • Ahead: Inflation, earnings, Fed speak.
  • SPX, RUT, DJI lower. NDX firming up.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures traded in different directions.

The S&P 500, Russell 2000, and Dow Jones Industrial Average traded relatively weak, in comparison to the technology and growth-focused Nasdaq 100. 

This rotation is likely attributable to technical factors – issuance, short coverings, a fading reflation trade, and peak growth pushing lower Treasury yields – as well as the upcoming monthly options expiration and pre-earnings positioning.

Ahead is data on inflation and earnings with some Fed speak around noon Eastern time. 

Graphic updated 7:20 AM ET.

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

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade up to the $4,373.00 Fibonacci-derived price target. 

This price exploration comes amidst a divergence. As noted, the Nasdaq 100 is trading relatively strong in comparison to the S&P, Russell, and Dow. The holding pattern is not only attributable to positioning ahead of the monthly options expiration (OPEX), but second-quarter earnings, inflation expectations, and the like. 

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.

“The broad markets are settling back and awaiting U.S. inflation,” said Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds SA. “We view the environment as one of gestation as earnings come in, before the risk-taking trend starts again, though a higher U.S. inflation print could create a temporary setback.”

That said, the dip in the 10-year Treasury yield is not all too concerning. 

Graphic: S&P 500 performance when 10-year Treasury yield slides via The Market Ear.

Obviously, that’s just one data point. Another consideration is the unwind of certain stimulus measures, like quantitative easing (QE) which shifts the returns distribution right.

Graphic: Impact of QE on S&P 500 returns via The Market Ear

Knowing the above, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,365.75 low volume area (LVNode) pivot puts in play the $4,378.75 minimal excess overnight high (ONH). Thereafter, if higher, the $4,398.50 and $4,417.50 Fibonacci price extensions come into play.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,365.75 puts in play the $4,343.25 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,314.75 HVNode and $4,291.00 untested Point of Control (POC).

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

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

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.

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

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

News And Analysis

Economy | Yellen sees U.S. companies pushing back global tax deal. (BBG)

Energy | OPEC+ impasse risks price war as demand keeps surging. (REU)

Politics | Biden team mulls digital trade deal to counter China in Asia. (BBG)

Politics | Biden to warn companies of risks of operating in Hong Kong. (FT)

Markets | Boeing cutting 787 production on new structural problems. (REU)

Markets | Goldman dealmakers’ bumper quarter counters trade slump. (BBG)

Markets | JPM fell amid climbing expenses, loan growth expectations. (BBG)

Economy | PBOC said monetary policy unchanged despite RRR cut. (BBG)

FinTech | FTX deal provides institutions new access to crypto market. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

About

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 1/11/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: Alongside a rise in cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus that could delay the pending economic recovery, U.S. index futures backed off their all-time highs during weekend trade.

What Does It Mean: Last week’s long-liquidation and subsequent recovery left the market with minimal excess (i.e., a proper end to discovery) at the highs, and a strong close, taking out the overnight stat at $3,817.75 (which had low odds of remaining, given that overnight all-time highs rarely end the upside discovery process).

Noting: Excess forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends a sustained reversal. The absence of excess, in the case of a high, suggests not enough conviction; in such case participants will liquidate (i.e., back off the high) and strengthen the market, before following through.

What To Expect: Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open on a gap, in prior-balance and -range, implying higher volatility at the open.

Noting: In most cases, a break-out (i.e., gap) from balance is usually the start of a short-term auction. Therefore, placing trades in the direction of the gap is the normal course of action. Further, gaps tend to fill within the first half-hour of regular trade (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET). The longer a gap holds, however, the higher odds of continuation. Should responsive buyers auction through the entire gap, then conditions have changed.

Two major dynamics to note:

  1. For numerous sessions, profile structures denoted the presence of short-covering, the result of old, weak-handed business emotionally buying to cover short positions, causing swift movement followed by a stalled advance, or two-sided intraday trade.
  2. The week ending January 8 established a v-pattern recovery, a price sequence that ought to be followed by further price discovery, as high as the 100% price projection, which happens to be near the multi-month upside breakout target at $4,000.

Given the above dynamics, the go/no-go level for upside in the S&P 500 is the $3,824.25 regular trade high. The go/no-go level for downside is the regular trade low at $3,775.25.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,762.25 high-volume node (HVNode). Expectations thereafter include continued balance or a response followed by initiative buying to take out the price extension at $3,847.75. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 initiates below its $3,762.25 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include a test of the minimal excess low near $3,732.75 (a LVNode).

As of now, all broad-market indices are in an uptrend, evidenced by higher prices and value. A break of Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) low would jeopardize the bullish thesis.

Levels Of Interest: $3,762.25 HVNode, $3,732.75 LVNode, $3,824.25 rally high, as well as the $3,847.75 price extension.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Euphoria Is The Status Quo’

Key Takeaways:

  • Higher-time frame breakouts remain intact.
  • Volatility rises; markets are a tad euphoric
  • Equity funds went all in at the top, literally
  • Corporate credit outlook enhanced greatly. 
  • Earnings could rise faster than anticipated. 
  • Blue wave implies more stimulus, spending.
  • The bull market broadens as sectors rotate
  • M2 and yields break out; the Fed could act.

What Happened: As investors looked beyond a weak jobs report and political uncertainty, to added economic stimulus and the coming earnings season, U.S. index futures hit new highs.

Graphic 1: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Friday’s session in the S&P 500 found initiative buying surface after a test of $3,774.75, the lower boundary of the low-volume area left in the wake of Thursday’s opening drive.

The long-liquidation and subsequent recovery left the market with minimal excess (i.e., a proper end to discovery) at the highs, and a strong close, taking out the overnight stat at $3,817.75 (which had low odds of remaining, given that overnight all-time highs rarely end the upside discovery process).

Noting: Excess forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends a sustained reversal. The absence of excess, in the case of a high, suggests not enough conviction; in such case participants will liquidate (i.e., back off the high) and strengthen the market, before following through.

In light of the market’s search for an area to establish balanced, two-sided trade, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following: 

  1. The multi-month upside breakout targeting S&P 500 prices as high as $4,000.00 remains intact.
  2. Prices are above all major moving averages, including the year-to-date volume-weighted average price (VWAP). 
  3. After the resolution of last Monday’s long-liquidation, the market shifted into price discovery mode, evidenced by higher prices and value migration.
  4. For numerous sessions, profile structures denoted the presence of short-covering, the result of old, weak-handed business emotionally buying to cover short positions, causing swift movement followed by a stalled advance, or two-sided intraday trade.
  5. The week ending January 8 established a v-pattern recovery, a price sequence that ought to be followed by further price discovery, as high as the 100% price projection, which happens to be near the multi-month upside breakout target at $4,000.
  6. Unsupportive speculative flows and delta (e.g., commitment of buying or selling) in some instances, as can be viewed by order flow graphics 2 and 3 below. 
  7. Alongside the long gamma narrative, in which dealers buy dips and sell rips to hedge their exposure, record options activity, among other dynamics, the S&P 500 closed near $3,800, a high open interest strike. For sustained upside directional resolve, participants would look for this exposure to roll up. 
Pictured: Divergent delta in the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSE: IWM), one of the largest ETFs that track the Russell 2000
Pictured: Order flow in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500
Graphic 4: S&P 500 tests the $3,800 high open interest strike, per SpotGamma

Given the above dynamics, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,762.25 high-volume node (HVNode). Expectations thereafter include continued balance or a response followed by initiative buying to take out the price extension at $3,847.75. 

Noting: Any structure that denotes meaningful buying continuation, not short-covering, would feature elongated, upside range expansion on committed volumes, as well as the migration of value. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 initiates below its $3,762.25 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include a test of the minimal excess low near $3,732.75 (a LVNode). A break of Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) low would jeopardize the bullish thesis. 

Two go, no-go levels exist; trade that finds increased involvement above $3,824.25 and below $3,775.25 would suggest a change in conviction. Anything in-between favors responsive trade.

Conclusions: In a GMO article, Jeremy Grantham expressed his opinion on recent market activity.

I am long retired from the job of portfolio management but I am happy to give my opinion here: it is highly probable that we are in a major bubble event in the U.S. market, of the type we typically have every several decades and last had in the late 1990s. It will very probably end badly, although nothing is certain. I will also tell you my definition of success for a bear market call. It is simply that sooner or later there will come a time when an investor is pleased to have been out of the market. That is to say, he will have saved money by being out, and also have reduced risk or volatility on the round trip. This definition of success absolutely does not include precise timing. (Predicting when a bubble breaks is not about valuation. All prior bubble markets have been extremely overvalued, as is this one. Overvaluation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for their bursting.) Calling the week, month, or quarter of the top is all but impossible.

Continuing, in addition to market participants reckoning with the uneven recovery, stimulus, trade, inflation, among other risks, they must also worry about something that’s arguably more important: price and value.

As of now, all broad-market indices are in an uptrend, evidenced by higher prices and value. A break below $3,600.00 in the S&P 500 would denote a substantial change in tone.

Levels Of Interest: $3,762.25 HVNode, $3,732.75 LVNode, $3,824.25 rally high, as well as the $3,847.75 price extension.

Bonus: Some opportunities unfolding in the week ahead.

Photo by Valdemaras D. from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For 1/6/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: Alongside U.S. Senate election uncertainty and new COVID lockdowns, U.S. index futures balanced overnight after Tuesday’s recovery.

What Does It Mean: A divergence between price and value resolved itself in Monday’s regular trade. Thereafter, during Tuesday’s recovery, participants auctioned the S&P 500 off its $3,705.00 ledge, into a low-volume area, before responsive selling appeared at the $3,727.25 high-volume node (HVNode).

What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will open inside of prior-balance and -range.

Given muted conviction (e.g., non-presence of committed buying or selling as measured by volume delta) and technical trade (i.e., responses at predictable levels), as well as an outstanding overnight all-time high (i.e., historically, there is a low probability that overnight all-time highs end the upside discovery process), the following framework applies.

Similar to Tuesday, the S&P 500 will likely open within prior-balance and -range, so volatility will be high. The go/no-go level for upside is the $3,734.50 recovery high, above the $3,727.25 high-volume node. The go/no-go level for downside is Monday’s regular trade low at $3,652.50. A break below Monday’s low would portend downside follow-through as low as the high-volume nodes near $3,610.00 and $3,555.00. In a failure to break either go/no-go level, the normal course of action would be responsive trade.

Noting: High-volume areas represent value and have the tendency to attract price. Should the market auction into the high-volume area, then prices should slow as balanced, two-sided trade takes over (i.e., the region offers attractive entry and exit). Auctioning through the high-volume area would be the most positive outcome.

Levels Of Interest: $3,734.50 recovery high and $3,652.50 Monday regular trade low.

Categories
Commentary

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

Key Takeaways:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Max Walter from Pexels.