Cem Karsan Profile picture
Entrepreneur & Philanthropist. Father & Humanist. 20+year Quant, Vol & Trend Following PM. Ideas are my own. NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE.
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25 Nov
1/x Holiday weeks are notoriously squirrelly...Time can be decidedly difficult to partition out correctly, & can often be dramatically accelerated. That was the case today...Aided by an overwhelming retail equity call buying wave & Its commensurate gamma, today’s call squeeze led
2/x to an earlier than expected unpinning of the market & end of the correction in time & price of the last week. Fixed strike straddles were, understandably, higher on the day $5-$10, given the size of the move relative to IVol & strong gamma effects took over in what was an
3/x otherwise illiquid tape... Ultimately, we received our correction in time & price, as expected. It was a healthy one, as we had as our base case. Unfortunately, we weren’t aggressive enough in buying into it, as it was decidedly more accelerated than our models had expected..
Read 10 tweets
24 Nov
1/x As expected, a shortened Thanksgiving week this week has made it hard for neg flows to take hold & IVol compression has continued to dominate all other forces... What was not expected was the degree to which this IVol compression would overtake all other factors so quickly.
2/x A veritable Ivol EXPLOSIÓN occurred under the surface of markets today. It started much like all the other days of IVol compression of the last 1.5 weeks, but after a failed morning breakout in the market & decline back to unchanged, it accelerated into forced selling by EOD.
3/xThe standard $10-$4 declines in straddles of the last few days ended the day w/ $20-$15 declines. In fact, the vol contraction in the back was so significant it forced the acceleration of Vanna flows, calling our fair lady back from holiday for a begrudging appearance & a late
Read 9 tweets
23 Nov
1/x Thanksgiving week is upon us...The correction in time & price has played out exactly as predicted. On Fri, fixed strike straddles were once again down another $10-$4. Tactical shorts @ our levels once again paid off, as we got the predicted 2pm CST air pocket, right on time,
2/x as called for...For the 3rd day in a row this followed the playbook to a T. Vanna should be noticeably absent through Wed, but the IVol compression should dominate all other forces until 11/25. The 11/25 to 11/30 pre holiday-post holiday IVol spread continues to be 1 of the
3/x most extreme we’ve seen. This is a critical factor @ work & should continue to drive the price action, w/morning stability, RTH steps down, & significant continued Vol compression until 11/25. It is still unclear whether there will be any real drama to be had in this critical
Read 11 tweets
20 Nov
1/x The predicted correction in time & price continues. Fixed strike straddles once again we’re down $11-$5 today, & although the tape did recover late w/ some remaining OpEx Vanna flows, Tactical shorts @ our levels once again paid off after hours w/ some last minute gymnastics
2/x dropping from 3578.5 to 3544. These trades are rarely easy & obvious when right, but for the 2nd day in a row this was textbook. Tomorrow morning is OpEx. Vanna’ll be gone for a week after the morning print, but the IVol compression should remain until 11/25. The 11/25-11/30
3/x pre holiday-post holiday IVol spread is 1 of the most extreme I’ve ever seen. This should reinforce the script of morning stability w/ RTH stairsteps down w/continued IVol down. As mentioned, a sell off of any import should accelerate tomorrow by 2pm CST
Read 11 tweets
19 Nov
1/x The playbook remains the same. Fixed strike straddles were down $10-$4 across the board today, into a very weak tape, as predicted. Vanna support is gone...but the IVol compression remains. The script should continue, as expected, w/ morning stability and RTH digestion &
2/x stair steps down w/continued IVol down through the Fri morning AM OpEx print. As mentioned, be attentive to this Fri post OpEx price action. A sell off of any import should accelerate by 1pm-2pm CST going into the weekend, if there is any there ->there...If the market is well
3/x under control by Mon morning, it would make sense to start eying dips to buy tactically based on other factors between 11/25-11/27. Don’t be a hero, trying to buy into the dip too soon, as there are no guarantees it’ll be buyable, given the abundance of unsettled political &
Read 5 tweets
18 Nov
1/x Here we are on 11/18... Vanna is up late packing her bags for her trip. As stated for over a week now, UNPINNING THIS MARKET UNTIL 11/18 MORNING was not in the cards as near-term SPX was well oversupplied and vanna/charm flows have been simply too strong.Vanna will be all but
2/x gone by tomorrow afternoon and Vol oversupply should be gone by 11/25.... My base case is that a buyable dip in time and/or price is coming. & IMO short calls continues to be the play until 11/25. Watch for the last of the AM vanna flows to try and counteract some of these
3/x overseas negative flows in the AM. That will likely be a short sometime between the open & midday. From there expect more stair steps down w/ Vol, just as forecasted today. The action Thursday should be similar. Watch this Fri very carefully, a sell off of any import should
Read 9 tweets
16 Nov
1/x It took an extra day & an extra whipsaw to lose the weak longs, but as I reiterated yesterday, & as you saw again at EOD Fri + now in ETH, these massive Charm/Vanna flows are hard to fight... SO, here is the rally we have continuously called for all month, leading into 11/16
2/x in the end... as stated previously, UNPINNING THIS MARKET UNTIL 11/18 MORNING, WILL NOT BE EASY, as near-term SPX continues to be well oversupplied...As expected, increased election certainty has continued to play a positive role as well, as longer term vols have continued to
3/x decline releasing their long-embedded potential energy in the form of even more vanna flows. These Vol flows paired with 1) GS estimates of +$37B worth of systematic equity flows in an up tape over the next week. 2) as mentioned, the stabilization of the Growth complex W-Fri
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13 Nov
1/x When you know you can measure certain critical flows very well, but not all of them, & you begin to see that your flows, tho sizable, aren’t moving the market to the extent that they should, what does that tell you? Some flows you can’t see, are counteracting your known flows
2/x (maybe stress somewhere in portfolios ?, maybe known information out there about coming plans? etc)... Pretty simple, right? Just as good information is predictive, the absence of the expected result in the presence of predictive informations is often just as illuminating...
3/x That’s what happened today. By all accounts, based on structural flows, today should have been a strong day. It became evident around 10am CST today that the expected strength that we got, however, was not up to par and was being overwhelmed by other flows...so Instead of
Read 10 tweets
12 Nov
1/x Short & Sweet tonight: Today’s market action was quite constructive....Our short near dated Ivol & SCALPING FOR MEAN REVERSION IN EITHER DIRECTION WORKED PERFECTLY YESTERDAY.... & WE HAVE NOW BOUGHT INTO THIS MUCH AWAITED DIP OVERNIGHT @ our published level of 3539.75.
2/x We not only got the continued correction in time & massive vol compression we called for, But we also finally got some much needed repair of the nasty rotation beneath the surface, which has kept us cautious...That paired with the dramatic reduction in retail call buying &
3/x substitution of fearful retail put buying for the 1st time in a while speaks to improved sentiment factors... giving us the green light we have waited for. As I reiterated yesterday, UNPINNING THIS MARKET WILL NOT BE EASY, as the SPX has been well oversupplied...
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11 Nov
1/x So why did this extreme rotation happen the last 2 days? The benefits to economic growth for value stocks is obvious.BUT WHY A ROTATION & NOT A BROAD RALLY? I’ve put out a lot of commentary about how the increases in econ growth expectations that the vaccine & fiscal stimulus
2/x cause are bad for the duration trade & multiples. I’ve been pounding the table on this for quite some time. But it’s important to note that these fundamental threats to growth still come w/ a lot of potential caveats, are far from certain given the likely political landscape
3/x @ this juncture, & will likely play out over years/decades, not days or months...SO WHY?! The answer is simple. As I’ve explained before, & I worked w/ @choffstein to help him enumerate in his fabulous piece ‘liquidity cascades,’ when index IVol is compressed, as it is now,
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11 Nov
1/xToday’s market action was generally constructive as WE GOT THE CORRECTION IN TIME WE PREDICTED... That said, we continued to have a nasty rotation beneath the surface, which has kept us cautious. The dramatic NDX weakness, in the face of improving economic fundamentals is
2/x concerning in that it continues to signal that the duration trade will not likely respond well to a strong economic recovery paired w/fiscal policy & higher LT rates, & it does not appear that value is strong enough to support this market given the multiples at play & size of
3/x the growth complex. On the bright side, fear is creeping back intro the market and retail call buying was substituted for considerably more put buying for the 1st time in a while...Maybe most importantly though was the continued SPX vol compression. As I reiterated yesterday,
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10 Nov
1/x OUR ANTICIPATED PFIZER NEWS CAME SOON POST ELECTION, AS PREDICTED ... But, as is often the case, positive prospective news can serve the market better as a rumor then as actual news, as it now provides less potential future support from hopeful expectations. Despite a weak
2/x close, the market was still able to barely overtake our important level in the 1.5 st dev up of 20 day of SPX... WHERE, AS OFTEN HAPPENS W/ IMPORTANT TECH LEVELS, CLOSED DIRECTLY ABOVE IT...Today’s market action, though superficially constructive, had quite a # of concerning
3/x underlying factors beneath the surface. The dramatic NDX weakness, in the face of improving economic fundamentals is concerning, in that it continues to clearly signal that the duration trade will not likely respond well to a strong economic recovery paired w/fiscal policy
Read 9 tweets
9 Nov
1/x As noted on Thurs... 11/9 dealer positioning was very short & Vanna flows would clearly be supportive into Mon morning...That paired with more Vanna flows, on the back of greater election certainty are not a surprise here... Fri’s market action was very constructive. After
2/x Thurs when IVol moved significantly higher in the back of the curve, vol compression reappeared across the curve. NDX weakness on Thurs & Fri morning notably reversed in Fri afternoon & stabilized. The last missing positive sign, as I‘ve mentioned, was an underlying price
3/x thrust in the face of an approaching technical level in the 1.5 st dev up of 20 day of SPX. We seem to be receiving that overnight now... As tweeted, we initiated short Vol Fri late morning, upon Vol compression & NDX reversal, given these prospective coming positive vanna
Read 8 tweets
6 Nov
1/x The outlook was indeed promising yesterday... As posted, we were able to monetize our long deltas & short Vega this morning at the 3508.5 level. Good thing, b/c, as highlighted midday, fives strike IVols bottomed & moved significantly higher in the back of the curve.
2/x This kind of move into a rally can serve to unpin the market, if it continues, & shows concern on the part of institutions, retail call buying exuberance, & is a sign of increasingly short dealer gamma positioning. Moreover, we had several other ST warning signs today.
3/x NDX weakness, low P/C equity reading all day, & maybe most importantly, a very poor price thrust to an approaching technical level in the 1.5 st dev up of 20 day of SPX. This weakness is particularly notable given the dealer gamma squeeze that should have helped the market
Read 9 tweets
5 Nov
1/x Post election Vol compression w/ massive Vanna flows ✅ Rally & hold above the 20 day on close ✅ Dec/Jan election hump flattening some, but still has room to continue to decline which could yield potential energy here. 11/9 dealer positioning is also still quite short &
2/x should be supportive into Fri/Mon w/more Vanna flows & a potential election resolution soon...The outlook looks promising here. We were able to jump back in long @ EOD & are still short Vega/long gamma.Time is on the side of supporting flows,as they should continue to gain
3/x secular strength into EOY. As mentioned, continue to look for flows most on close & overnight, as we’re seeing now... It’s important to play any long w/stop @ 20 day on close, as technical picture, though improving, is still potentially precarious until we get close 1.5 std
Read 7 tweets
4 Nov
1/x So, there you have it all those months of anticipation and speculation and what do we get? The most feared outcome a possible Biden/Red Senate + a contested outcome. & does it matter? NO.... what matters? Just like Brexit. Just like 2016.... THE REFLEXIVITY OF VOL.People will
2/x prognosticate & retroactively try & attribute fundamental reasons for the move in order to rationalize the market reaction, just like during Brexit & 2016, but they will all fall flat....Yet people will accept them anyway & move on, managing their money by speculating about
3/4 fundamentals. When we have said here all along, this move was inevitable..The answer is participants were largely hedged & with the curve in backwardation, dealers are decaying shorter deltas and longer Ivols. So they must sell Vol & buy deltas. It comes down to Supply/Demand
Read 4 tweets
3 Nov
1/x The election is here. I’m not going to belabor my previous points(which u can read below),but I do have some important nuances to add based on today’s action... Given the amount of vanna flows we clearly saw today, w/ the $20 move down in SPX straddles across the board, the
2/x price action was underwhelming. It’s important to keep in mind, that these markets are still technically broken, & despite these very positive flows, which will continue this week, if these markets can’t manage to repair their technical damage post election w/ a move above
3/ the 20 day, as I’ve mentioned before, this’d be an important sign of underlying weakness. A driving point of concern today was obviously the overwhelming NDX weakness. Despite my mention of 3/4 of scenarios being positive for fiscal stim & other bullish flows on the horizon
Read 10 tweets
2 Nov
1/x So 1st things first, Vanna/Charm flows will continue to be very supportive.11/4-9 to 11/20-11/23 Ivol backwardation is simply too steep.W/out meaningful stress(<3100 SPX) the path of least resistance is therefore higher this week, despite the technically broken picture.
2/x more likely even than an up market IMO for the next several weeks though is short-dated Ivol compression, again quite simply due to the fact that dealers will be decaying dramatically longer cheap vol & skew as short term 11/4-9 Ivol expires. Pair these overwhelming dynamics
3/x with the usual OpEx cycle driven vol compression & Vanna/Charm flows into 11/18th VIX expiry+ dramatically improving seasonality + an accommodative Fed meeting Thurs 11/5 + likely positive post election Pfizer Stage 3 results... all that remains to is of course...
Read 13 tweets
30 Oct
1/x I agree with this whole heartedly. Today’s & Mon’s close...The thinking goes like this: the vol curve is so inverted that there are dealers short 11/4 puts, as these are the highest Vol, & long some cheaper Vol somewhere behind. The backwardation is so steep that as long as
2/x a real meaningful drop soon, say below 3100. Dealers are going to quickly become longer cheaper vol & shorter delta... & then they will, in turn, be forced to buy back deltas & sell vol. this would stabilize the market and lower vols & lead to a positive feedback loop of
3/3 risk on flows from the usual suspects of trend follow, risk parity, vol target. This window is critical. Textbook Vanna/Charm flows & they’re @ their most extreme.Of course, the opposite side of this is @ this very moment gamma risks are @ their peak & the market most fragile
Read 4 tweets
30 Oct
1/x In my1st year in the pits of Chicago, I quickly learned a favorite pastime of idle traders on a Friday w/nothing trading was to create a humorously absurd challenge for someone on the floor to undertake & then coax the entire trading apparatus into action betting on outcomes.
2/x By the time the challenge had fully taken hold, there would be hedge funds in London & banks in Paris taking positions on whether or not ‘John’s’ Clerk ‘Gary’could eat 150 Chicken McNuggets in 60 min..Early on I would look at Gary, look at some online research & place a wager
3/x But after a few months, it became clear you always wanted to bet on ‘Gary.’ or ‘Mary’, regardless of how crazy or ridiculous the challenge, because, invariably, ‘Gary’ was offered some portion of the winnings of the bets for him to encourage him to compete in the 1st place.
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29 Oct
1/x That was quick. All it took was 3 days to go from a technical break below the 20 day, to get a move down to 2.5 std dev down. These types of moves don’t happen easily & the scale of price weakness must be respected for what it says about supply/ demand for shares. Despite
2/x the trend change & weakness, we must be aware that sometimes countertrend rallies in a down move aremassive.We saw several things today that told me we were getting towards a short term inflection. 1-the scale of the move relative to IVol was simply too far too fast 2-retail
3/x equity call buying, after hanging in the last 2 days on the drop, suddenly disappeared & shifted to a wave of puts 3- the NDX was relatively strong 4-all of this, while after a long absence, charm/vanna flows have finally begun to show themselves once again on open & close
Read 9 tweets