Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.
What Happened: After a slew of the earnings reports by heavily weighted index constituents, U.S. index futures further accepted lower prices.
What Does It Mean: Earlier in the week, the S&P 500 failed to drum up initiative buying after an upside break of the $3,852.50 ledge. Participants sold the break, introducing excess (which forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends sustained reversal) and acceptance below the $3,824.00 – $3,763.75 balance-area. This invalidated last week’s break-out to new highs.
Since then, market participants were witness to violent two-sided trade, a result of the market moving into a short-gamma environment (graphic 1); in such cases dealers hedge their derivatives exposure by buying into strength and selling into weakness. This, alongside the presence of short-term traders in U.S. equities (as evidenced by selling that transpired at yesterday’s high, since institutions tend not to transact at exact technical levels) will exacerbate volatility.
Adding, it’s important to bring back yesterday’s graphics that showed a proxy for buying derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side) decline and a substantial change in tone in terms of speculative derivatives activity.
Since posting graphics 2 and 3, the bearish thesis is still intact. This is due to the divergent speculative flows and delta (e.g., presence of non-committed buying or selling as measured by volume delta) during Thursday’s session, as can be viewed in Graphic 4. This information means that the short-covering rally that lasted much of yesterday’s regular trade was not supported; increased capital was not committed into yesterday’s highs.
What To Expect: Friday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open inside of prior-balance and -range, suggesting limited directional opportunity.
Given today’s month-end derivatives expiry and yesterday’s acceptance inside of the $3,824.00 – $3,763.75 balance-area, the odds of substantial downside during Friday’s session is low. Instead, participants should position themselves for two-sided, responsive trade.
Still, because the market initiated out of balance, lower, responsive sellers have been emboldened. As a result, participants ought to respond to probes into value. Therefore, as long as the S&P 500 remains below the $3,794.75 high-volume node (HVNode), an area that offers favorable entry and exit, the bearish narrative remains intact.
The go/no-go for upside is the $3,823.75 regular-trade high. The go/no-go for downside is $3,721.00 overnight low. Anything in-between portends responsive, non-directional trade.
Above $3,823.75 puts in play the $3,842.00 HVNode. Below $3,721.00 , participants ought will look to respond to the $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes, in the worst case.
Levels Of Interest: $3,823.75 regular-trade high, $3,721.00 overnight low.