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Implied Volatility May Rise, Credit Spread May Widen Amid High Stakes Data

Posted June 3, 2024 at 10:00 am
Michael Kramer
Mott Capital Management

Stocks had a bizarre trading day on Friday, but as we have discussed in the past, a market on close imbalance can produce outsized moves late in the day, especially on a Friday at month-end. That is essentially what appears to have happened, with a large imbalance of about $7 billion in total to buy. This helped to push the market higher in the final minutes of trading. 

These imbalances are one-and-done and provide no predictive value for what will happen the following day. In this case, the imbalance could have been associated with month-end rebalancing. Also, given the size of the intraday moves, traders using 0DTE options may have been forced to buy back positions from earlier in the day, squeezing the situation. It isn’t to say that markets can’t continue higher on Monday; at the same token, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the gains given back either, especially given how much economic data is due to come this week.

S&P 500 Index

The Fed will be in a blackout period this week, and Treasury auctions will not be a factor in the afternoons. This means that economic data will be the more significant driver of market movements, and there will be plenty of economic data to come this week, with the job report on Friday being the highlight.

More importantly, it has become increasingly clear that the market is amid one giant trade, and there are signs trade is possible in the midst of a reversal, as measured by credit spreads, correlations, and skew. It seems that some of these are hitting historically low levels, and over the next two weeks, implied volatility will find it hard to move lower, given a job report, a CPI report, and a June FOMC meeting.

This means that the short-dated levels of implied volatility may rise this week, and the 1-week 50-delta S&P 500 option IV tends to also track closely with credit spreads, which have been trending higher over the past few weeks. With all the news coming, especially between the job report this week and the Fed meeting next week, the 50-day delta IV is likely to push higher over the coming days as investors look for hedges. This could widen credit spreads, as credit spreads and IV trade together.

BVOL Index (SPX 1W 50D VOL)

Additionally, this week, the ECB is expected to cut rates by 25 bps and will likely give the market clues about when the following rate cut will come. This may also have a hand in the historically tight credit spreads in Europe, such as the German and Italian 10-year, which is currently just 1.31%. We know over time that US credit spreads also trade with European credit spreads, and if the trend in the spread of German and Italian bonds is higher, then high yield spreads here in the US are likely to follow.

IBOXHYSE Curncy (MARKIT CDX.NA.HY.42 06/29)

Also, the 1-month implied correlation index is also at historically low levels at this point, and it confirms and tells us the same thing that implied volatility and credit spreads are saying, which is that risk-taking is pretty much to the max. While these values could also go lower from historical standings, there isn’t much lower for them to go.

Cboe 1-month implied correlation index, 1D, CBOE,

Meanwhile, there is also a Bank of Canada policy decision this week. There is expected to be an 81% chance of a rate cut, with the market pricing in a second rate cut in October. The USDCAD has also been on our radar and has been consolidating the last several sessions. The market appears to be waiting for clues as to when and how much the Bank of Canada will likely cut and how much spreads between the US and Canada could widen.

A push in the USDCAD back above 1.385 would be a significant signal for risk-off overall, and a push higher in the USDCAD would make sense if credit spreads and IV rise.

US Dollar / Canadian Dollar, 1D, FXCM,

For all the hype around the equity market, the S&P 500 has gone nowhere since mid-March and is basically in the middle of the Rising Broadening Wedge we have been tracking now for a few weeks. Meanwhile, Friday’s rally only returned the index to resistance and nearly completed a 61.8% retracement. Being that the rally was driven by a market-on-close imbalance, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the move higher given back by Monday or Tuesday.

S&P 500 Undex, 15, SP

Originally Posted June 2, 2024 – Implied Volatility May Rise, Credit Spread May Widen Amid High Stakes Data

Charts used with the permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P. This report contains independent commentary to be used for informational and educational purposes only. Michael Kramer is a member and investment adviser representative with Mott Capital Management. Mr. Kramer is not affiliated with this company and does not serve on the board of any related company that issued this stock. All opinions and analyses presented by Michael Kramer in this analysis or market report are solely Michael Kramer’s views. Readers should not treat any opinion, viewpoint, or prediction expressed by Michael Kramer as a specific solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell a particular security or follow a particular strategy. Michael Kramer’s analyses are based upon information and independent research that he considers reliable, but neither Michael Kramer nor Mott Capital Management guarantees its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. Michael Kramer is not under any obligation to update or correct any information presented in his analyses. Mr. Kramer’s statements, guidance, and opinions are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Neither Michael Kramer nor Mott Capital Management guarantees any specific outcome or profit. You should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investment commentary presented in this analysis. Strategies or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value. Investments or strategies mentioned in this analysis may not be suitable for you. This material does not consider your particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs and is not intended as a recommendation appropriate for you. You must make an independent decision regarding investments or strategies in this analysis. Upon request, the advisor will provide a list of all recommendations made during the past twelve months. Before acting on information in this analysis, you should consider whether it is suitable for your circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser to determine the suitability of any investment.

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