Daily Brief | April 28, 2022
Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.
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Overnight, equity index futures auctioned sideways-to-higher alongside some upbeat earnings announcements.
Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: FB) surged post-market, yesterday, after its main social network Facebook added more users than expected.
PayPal Holdings Inc (NYSE: PYPL) vowed to rein in costs and boost profits while Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ: QCOM) rose on an upbeat forecast.
There’s a strong push-and-pull between what’s good and bad. File Deutsche Bank’s (NYSE: DB) recent comments on a pending recession under what’s bad.
The bank sees the Fed Target Rate reaching up to 6% which “will push the economy into a significant recession by late next year.”
What To Expect
Fundamental: Divergences across different assets and markets continue.
For instance, the equity market’s pricing of risk which we can take as being reflected by the CBOE Volatility Index [INDEX: VIX]) is not moving lock-step with that of measures elsewhere.
The fear in one market tends to spread to others. Regardless of the cause, it seems that equity and bond market participants are not on the same page.
Is that really true, though? Not necessarily.
If we look at some single stocks, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX), among others (all the while S&P 500 earnings have been revised up) has suffered through a substantial de-rate and volatility as participants priced the implications of policy evolution, slower economic growth, and beyond.
That has us returning to pinning at the index level, relative to what the constituents are doing.
As well explained in Physik Invest’s March 3, 2022 commentary, this is more so a function of positioning and structural flows, or supply of liquidity.
Absent some exogenous event, participants are well-hedged for what is known (e.g., rate hikes and quantitative tightening (QT), COVID resurgences, Russia and Ukraine, among other things).
The caveat is that the Federal Reserve is far more aggressive than expected, ramping up QT, “a direct flow of capital to capital markets or flow out of,” per Kai Volatility’s Cem Karsan.
For context, it is the intention to take from the max liquidity (which pushed participants out of the risk curve and promoted a divergence from fundamentals) markets were supplied with, and this has the effect of removing market excesses, some of which have fed into volatility markets.
In part, some of the QT has been reflected in bond prices, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) explains. However, should there be far more aggressive monetary action, as Deutsche research suggests, coupled with a worsening of the geopolitical and/or economic situation abroad (e.g., Russian default), markets are likely to succumb.
“Using the balance sheet as a tightening tool represents a large change in the Fed’s attitude, and IS NOT priced into the market,” MacroTourist’s Kevin Muir adds.
“An increase in the pace of tightening of QT should mean lower stocks, wider credit spreads, and a slight reduction in the need for front-end hikes.”
Positioning: Volatility to continue as markets have traded lower and participants have priced up the cost of insurance – particularly at the short-end – on underlying equity exposure.
This is due to options delta (exposure to direction) being far more sensitive (gamma) across shorter time horizons (i.e., the range across which options deltas shift from “near-zero to near-100% becomes very narrow.”)
Yesterday, markets were pinned after exploring lower in the days prior. The activity was concentrated in short-dated bets at those levels, and that’s in part a result of some of the hedging that went on.
If markets do not perform to the downside (i.e., do not trade lower), those short-dated bets on direction will quickly decay, and hedging flows with respect to time (charm) and volatility (vanna) may bolster sharp rallies.
Whether those price rises have legs depends on what the fundamental situation is, then. Regardless, the returns distribution, based on implied volatility metrics alone, is skewed positive, albeit there are some large negative outliers.
Technical: As of 7:00 AM ET, Thursday’s regular session (9:30 AM - 4:00 PM ET), in the S&P 500, will likely open in the middle part of a positively skewed overnight inventory, just 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 $4,236.25 regular trade high (RTH High) puts in play the $4,267.75 RTH High. Initiative trade beyond the $4,267.75 RTH High could reach as high as the $4,303.75 overnight high (ONH) and $4,337.00 untested point of control (VPOC), or higher.
In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,236.25 RTH High puts in play the $4,191.00 VPOC. Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,136.00 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,101.25 overnight low (ONL), 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.
Considerations: Markets are higher after testing some key levels outlined in prior letters.
The Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ), one of the weakest products this letter monitors, just tested a major VWAP, yesterday, anchored from the lows of March 2020.
The Nasdaq has led the market down. It may lead the market higher on reversals. We’ll continue to monitor market breadth, among other metrics, for signs of strength.
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.
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.
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.
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.