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Worried About a Real Crash? Keep Your Eye On The VIX

It’s pretty clear that markets are not having a good day today…

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This article was originally published by Zero Hedge

Is This A Real Crash? Keep An Eye On The VIX For The Answer

It’s pretty clear that markets are not having a good day today, and all else equal, it’s likely they will only get worse for the simple fact that gamma is now broadly negative, and more put buying (and selling) will lead to more selling (and put buying).

As our friends at SpotGamma note, for those looking at market support (and resistance), the main levels remain similar to that of Wednesday: support at 4600 and resistance at that 4650 area which is also the gamma flip point. The bulk of positive gamma is positioned up into the 4675-4700 which is where we see major resistance. As gamma is negative we anticipate large directional swings in todays shortened session. More key support details in the video below.

 

But perhaps more important than chartism today is what the VIX will do. With the fear index currently around 27, the VIX complex is in sharp backwardation (shown below).

This is generally what we see when markets are crashing, however SpotGamma does not (yet) consider this a full-blown S&P500 crash because, as they noted earlier this week, gamma is quite low, “and along with holiday liquidity it was likely markets were poised for a lot of volatile chop.”

For today’s session, SpotGamma looks for volatility to be sold near the open, and for markets to make at least an attempt at recovering 4650. However, what would cause the situation to rapidly deteriorate is if traders do elect to purchase put options. Due to negative gamma, dealers would in turn likely need to short futures, which would lead to sharper drawdown in markets.

The easiest way to monitor for this activity is with watching the VIX – a higher VIX indicates traders are purchasing put options. In this case we see a markets dropping quickly to 4550, which is a significant hedging “node” per SG’s EquityHub model.

Conversely if the VIX declines sharply at the open its a signal that traders are selling put options, and that could lead to a vanna-induced rally back over 4650.

Zooming out, the S&P won’t be “out of the woods” until/unless 4700 is regained.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/26/2021 – 11:19

Author: Tyler Durden

Economics

Commodities: Oil rally pauses, Gold lower, Bitcoin breaks $40k

Oil Energy traders were not surprised to see the oil price rally slow down.  WTI crude fell after a surprise build with US stockpiles and following a…

Oil

Energy traders were not surprised to see the oil price rally slow down.  WTI crude fell after a surprise build with US stockpiles and following a bloodbath on Wall Street that sent risky assets into freefall. Crude prices may not have a one-way ticket to $100 oil, but the supply-side fundamentals certainly support that could happen by the summer.  The next few trading sessions could be difficult for energy traders as oil prices may move more so on investor positioning ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC policy decision and over a handful of brewing geopolitical risks, that include Russia-Ukraine tensions, Iran nuclear talks, and developments with global handling over North Korea. 

The crude demand outlook is also providing steadily positive support for oil prices throughout the rest of the year.  Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch, noted, “Absent any further COVID-related disruption, oil demand is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year and to further strengthen in 2023.” The oil market should remain very tight and if we have any disruptions to productions, that should easily send prices much higher. 

Gold

Gold prices edged lower as commodities got punished after Wall Street entered into a major de-risking mode.  Normally gold performs well when Treasury yields drop, but today was all about going back to cash. Earnings have underwhelmed and fears of how the economy will handle higher interest rates has many investors concerned that risky assets could continue to slide further next week. 

Given that large parts of the economy will still perform well this year despite higher borrowing costs, gold will eventually find the right balance of becoming both a safe-haven and inflation hedge.  Gold most likely won’t be vulnerable to an excessive panic-selling market selloff given how strong the economy is positioned, so if prices can break past the $1850 barrier post-Fed, the path to $1900 should be there. 

Bitcoin

Bitcoin has quickly gone from a consolidation pattern to the house of pain.  The world’s largest crypto plunged as crypto traders de-risk portfolios following the bloodbath in stocks and in advance of next week’s FOMC policy meeting. Risky assets did not stand a chance today and momentum selling accelerated after Bitcoin broke below $40,000 level. Bitcoin remains in the danger zone and if $37,000 breaks, there is not much support until the $30,000 level.   

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Author: Ed Moya

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Economics

US Close: Market jitters ahead of Fed and massive earnings week, Netflix tanks

Wall Street has gone from debating how aggressive one should rotate out of tech into cyclicals, to sell it all. US stocks have been on a rollercoaster…

Wall Street has gone from debating how aggressive one should rotate out of tech into cyclicals, to sell it all. US stocks have been on a rollercoaster ride after abysmal results from Netflix. Investors have two big worries:  it seems every day traders are reminded inflationary pressures are not going away anytime soon and could prompt the Fed into becoming overly aggressive in tightening monetary policy. The other concern is that profit growth expectations may have been too optimistic and underpriced in the ballooning labor costs. Geopolitical risks are also adding fuel to the selling pressure.

Next week will be massive for tech earnings as Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, and Samsung report. Netflix shocked and if the other mega-cap giants hugely disappoint, the Nasdaq will be in trouble.

Netflix

Netflix shares collapsed over 20% after delivering disappointing subscriber guidance for the first quarter.  The streaming giant acknowledged that the competition has intensified and the impact to COVID disruptions is still being felt. The company is still posting strong revenue numbers and has a strong revenue outlook and has growth potential outside of North America.

It comes as no surprise that after today’s plunge, at least nine firms lowered their ratings for Netflix.  Netflix is still the king of content and while this is the first heavyweight to post a rather disappointing outlook, it really isn’t that bad.  The mega-cap stock’s overall subscriber growth for the past few quarters was solid, and it could easily be expected that the first quarter would be soft as many people will be returning to pre-COVID behavior. 

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Author: Ed Moya

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Economics

Week Ahead – Fed and earnings in focus

Investors in need of a lift Earnings season is off to a rocky start and not only are investors not comforted by what they’re seeing, but it’s also…

Investors in need of a lift

Earnings season is off to a rocky start and not only are investors not comforted by what they’re seeing, but it’s also contributing to the unease in the markets. The next week will be huge after an awful start to the year that’s brought inflation and interest rate anxiety, earnings disappointment, and increased geopolitical risk.

The Federal Reserve will have an opportunity to ease the growing concerns in the markets that four rate hikes and balance sheet reduction won’t be enough to get inflation under control. The last week has seen plenty of speculation around the possibility of the first 50 basis point increase in more than 20 years and up to seven hikes next year which isn’t helping to calm the nerves.

The Nasdaq has been hit hard by the combination of higher yields and risk aversion which will make the big tech earnings next week all the more important. Netflix got things off to a disappointing start and paid the price. Can the other big tech names turn things around?

Will the Fed ease investor fears?

Pressure growing on Boris Johnson

SARB expected to raise rates again

US

This is building up to be a huge week on Wall Street after investors have been rattled by a rough start to earnings season and now face a critical FOMC meeting that should pave the way for a March liftoff.  The main event is the Fed policy meeting and press conference, but a close second will be the next round of earnings.  The Fed is worried about inflation and will be delivering a series of interest rate hikes in the first half of the year.  This week’s meeting is all about preparing markets for how they will normalize policy this year with rate hikes and balance sheet reduction. 

With the Nasdaq falling into correction territory, stock traders will look to see if Microsoft, Intel, and Apple earnings can help form a bottom.  Investors are growing cautious over the outlook as margin pressures continue to get hit over surging wage and transportation costs.    

Geopolitics is also becoming a key focal point for investors, with US and Russian talks over Ukraine potentially having a huge impact on energy prices. US policy over North Korea may become more aggressive as the country seems poised to resume nuclear missile tests.  

EU 

Plenty of economic data to come from the euro area next week which will no doubt draw a lot of attention, starting with the flash PMIs on Monday.

With markets once again getting ahead of the curve and pricing in a small rate hike in October, despite President Christine Lagarde pushing back against it, there will be a lot of focus on the releases and what they tell us about inflation.

Italian lawmakers will start voting next week for the country’s next President, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi the favorite.

UK

A relatively quiet week as far as the UK is concerned. From a data standpoint, the week basically starts and finishes on Monday with the flash PMIs. With four rate hikes priced in this year, the focus remains on the inflation outlook and whether more may be needed.

Of course, the political arena is far more in the headlines right now. Boris Johnson is hanging on by a thread as we await the outcome from Sue Gray’s investigation into Downing Street parties during lockdown. Pressure has become almost unbearable on the Prime Minister but he came out fighting during PMQ’s and if Gray returns a favorable report, he could well live to see another day. 

Russia

A quiet week on the economic side, with industrial output on Tuesday and PPI on Wednesday the only notable releases.

As far as Russia is concerned, the focus is on the geopolitics and whether the country is, as the US warns, about to invade Ukraine. The market impact could be very negative in that case and the currency is already coming under some pressure, despite higher oil prices, as the odds increase.

South Africa

Inflation rose faster than expected last month, reaching 5.9%, up from 5.5% in November, which is right at the upper end of the central bank target range of 3-6%. The jump has made a second consecutive 25 basis point hike very likely which will take the repo rate to 4%.

Turkey

A rare moment of refrain from the CBRT this week saw the repo rate remain at 14%. That brought an end to a run of four consecutive rate cuts that saw the repo rate slashed by 5% and inflation soar to 36%.

The move left the lira quite stable for another week after an extraordinarily volatile couple of months. Governor Sahap Kavcioglu’s briefing on the quarterly inflation report on Thursday will be all the more interesting after the decision to hold rates. 

The CBRT said this week that a comprehensive review of the policy framework is being conducted and the lira will be prioritized. Perhaps we’ll learn more about what that means next week and whether more volatility is coming.

China

China Industrial Profits for December, which will be released on Thursday, is a key gauge of the strength of the business sector. The consensus stands at 10%, up from the November gain of 9.0%.

China has responded to recent Covid-19 outbreaks by enacting a zero-tolerance policy. There are more than 20 million people are in lockdown, but the economy has held up.

India

The Indian state of Maharashtra announced that it will reopen schools this week. Although the state had the highest number of Omicron cases in the country, new cases have fallen sharply. This raises hopes that Omicron has peaked and the economy can reopen. India has been devastated by Covid, recording almost 500,000 deaths from the pandemic.

No major data next week but traders continue to look for clues around a possible rate hike in February in response to rising global yields and higher oil prices.

Bank Holiday on Wednesday.

Australia 

Australia releases CPI for Q4 on Tuesday. The consensus stands at 0.8% QoQ, unchanged from the third quarter. Price rises have been driven by an increase in energy, food, and new home construction costs. The energy component may ease in the coming months and wage growth remains weak, which means that inflationary pressures should be contained.

PMIs will be released early in the week which could dictate early trading.

Australia Day bank holiday on Wednesday.

New Zealand

New Zealand will publish CPI for Q4 on Thursday. Higher energy continues to fuel an upswing in inflation, with the headline reading expected to rise above 5.0% YoY. On a quarterly basis, CPI is expected to have climbed 0.8%, after a sharp rise of 2.2% in Q3. Gasoline and food costs are the primary drivers of inflation. 

Japan

After decades of deflation, Japan is seeing a rise in inflationary pressures.  On Tuesday, we’ll get a look at BoJ Core CPI, the central bank’s preferred inflation indicator. This will be followed on Thursday by Tokyo Core CPI for January. The consensus is a 0.2% gain, down from 0.5% prior. 

Inflation has been boosted by rising energy and food costs, which will likely continue to boost inflation. At the same time, the Omicron wave is a downside risk.


Economic Calendar

Monday, Jan. 24

Evergrande next dollar bond interest payments are due

German Chancellor Scholz discusses Covid pandemic strategy

Lawmaker ballot starts for Italy’s presidency

COP27 climate summit

European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels

European Commission VP Sefcovic and UK Foreign Secretary Truss meet for Brexit talks

Economic Data/Events

Australia CPI

Singapore CPI

Eurozone PMI

Germany PMI

UK PMI

Australia PMI

Japan Bank PMI

Taiwan industrial production, money supply

South Korea retail sales, department store sales

Switzerland sight deposits

Tuesday, Jan. 25

US FOMC begins a two-day meeting

IMF launches the World Economic Outlook update

Economic Data/Events

Germany IFO business climate

Mexico international reserves

New Zealand performance services index

Australia consumer confidence, CPI

Hungary Rate decision

US Conference Board consumer confidence

UK public finances, public sector net borrowing

Japan department store sales

Vietnam industrial production, retail sales, trade, CPI

Turkey real sector confidence

Spain PPI

Wednesday, Jan. 26

Economic Data/Events

FOMC Rate Decision: The Fed may stop bond purchases and set up a March liftoff

US new home sales, wholesale inventories

BOC Rate decisions: May raise rates 25 bps to 0.50%

Poland GDP

China industrial profits

New Zealand trade, credit card spending

Philippines agricultural output

Japan PPI services, leading index

Thailand capacity utilization, manufacturing production index

Singapore industrial production

Poland unemployment

Russia CPI, PPI

Switzerland Credit Suisse survey expectations

Spain mortgages

EIA Crude Oil Inventory Report

Thursday, Jan. 27

Economic Data/Events

US Q4 Advance GDP Annualized Q/Q: 5.8%e v 2.3% prior

US initial jobless claims, durable goods

European Central Bank’s Edward Scicluna speaks at a European Savings and Retail Banking Group event

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund releases key figures for 2021

Turkish central bank releases its quarterly inflation report

Hungary Rate Decision: Expected to raise interest rates by 30 basis points to 2.70%

Hong Kong Trade

Mexico Trade

Switzerland Trade

New Zealand CPI

Spain Unemployment

Singapore Unemployment

South Africa rate decision: Expected to raise rates by 25 basis points to 4.00%

South Africa PPI

China industrial profits

Japan machine tool orders

Australia Westpac leading index, Bloomberg economic survey, import-export price index

Russia gold and foreign reserves

Germany consumer confidence

Friday, Jan. 28

Economic Data/Events

US consumer income, University of Michigan consumer sentiment

German GDP

France GDP

Sweden GDP

Eurozone economic confidence, consumer confidence

Singapore Unemployment

Sweden Unemployment

Norway Unemployment

France PPI

Australia PPI

New Zealand consumer confidence

Japan CPI: Japan (Tokyo)

Thailand forward contracts, foreign reserves

Turkey economic confidence

South Africa monthly budget balance

Italy economic, manufacturing, and consumer confidence

Sovereign Rating Updates

  • Hungary (Fitch) 
  • Ireland (Fitch)
  • Finland (Moody’s)
  • Austria (DBRS)

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Author: Craig Erlam

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