$940bn worth of options traded on Thursday last week, making it the single biggest volume day for U.S. options… ever. Interestingly, 70% of the options traded have expiries less than one week. Also worth of note is that options volume was 140% equities volume and the vast majority of those options being bought were calls. …
There are not many good looking setups on the local market for us this week, so we’ve decided to rather look at some bigger picture themes. On that note, last week we wrote about how the market is looking and feeling a little stretched, although it seems that we got it wrong. Overall, sentiment is neither extremely bullish or bearish at this stage and equity positioning by larger active funds is still mostly underweight.
Last week we called for new highs and we got them. Now we’re kind of sitting here thinking that is is looking a bit stretched and wondering if the market is not due a bit of a breather.
Our bullishness last week was clearly not the right call. Volatility has crept into the market and there is a lot of uncertainty around what happens next. Therefore, in order to clear our own minds of bias, we will be looking at markets from purely a technical perspective this week.
We saw some fear and panic… for about a whole week. Well, in truth, the institutional money didn’t even flinch. The market bounced hard. The Evergrande situation unfolding in China is still rather risky, although it seems that the CCP are doing a rather good job at a ‘controlled demolition’. They might be making an example of Evergrande in an effort to cool off property speculation in general. There have also been some large repurchase agreement (repo) activity over the weekend, which is indicative of monetary stimulus measures to prevent contagion into other sectors. For now it seems, with some help from central banks (as usual), that the bull is strong yet!
excited about. Overall though, we expect the week ahead to be ‘risk on’. At least for the developed world. South African markets might be facing its own headwinds and continued currency fallout as a result of the cabinet reshuffle last week. Setups are sparse, so play defense and don’t try to force trades that are not there.
As anticipated, the FOMC made no changes to interest rates last week and are unlikely to make any real moves without very clearly communicating it to the market. Our focus now shifts to the Jackson Hole symposium to be held near the end of the month. We think that Jerome Powell will likely use Jackson Hole as the platform on which to start communicating tapering warnings to the market. At some point the FED must admit that the printing is creating inflation. Although it will likely not do so directly, we can watch the language use around the topic. It was interesting to note that Powell essentially admitted that he does not know ‘where’ inflation is coming from. He also stated that inflation is likely to stay around longer than initially anticipated.
markets) seem to be very attractive ‘underperformers’ that seemingly offer a huge amount of value. Generally the thinking is that we are entering into a new global growth phase and that the underperforming emerging markets ‘should’ catch up to developed markets. That is an enticing narrative and one probably worth positioning for. However, there are some warning signs that are not going away and are difficult to ignore.
The events of the last week have been nothing short of horrific. But once again, we have shown that the South African spirit cannot be broken! People of all kinds have rallied to not only protect their communities and loved ones, but also to rebuild, repair and bring support to those most severely impacted by the attempted insurrection. Our ability to indiscriminately band together in the face of adversity is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. And to that end, I want to use this week’s post to encourage you to support KZN this Mandela Day.
The last two weeks have been tough. In all honesty, the reason this blog post is only being posted now is because I found it difficult to not express an opinion on the current happenings in our country. It is deeply concerning. I must have written and rewritten this first paragraph at least ten times. It just feels disingenuous to write up a blog post that optimistically looks for opportunities, while our cities are burning. So with a heavy heart, I have to force myself to clear my mind of the anxiety and noise and focus on the charts.