Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.
What Happened: U.S. stock index futures established record all-time highs overnight, alongside hopes of a speedy economic recovery, as a result of pandemic relief efforts.
What Does It Mean: After a quick de-risking event and v-pattern recovery, U.S. stock indexes are positioned for further upside, as high as the 100% price projection, which happens to be above $4,000.00, a primary target in the S&P 500. According to The Market Ear, similar risk rallies have happened after hedge fund de-grossing events; now, “Equities are rising along higher yields, dollar and [volatility], and the magic word here is discounting inflation.”
Important to note also is the persistent presence of bearish undercurrents, as evidenced by non-participatory speculative flows and delta, as well as a divergence in the DIX.
More On The V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation. More On Volume Delta: Buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer. More On DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side) — we can measure buying pressure. More On Speculative Flows: Participants looking to capitalize on either upside or downside through the purchase and sale of options, the right to buy or sell an asset at a later date and agreed upon price.
What To Expect: Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open on a gap, outside of prior-balance and -range, which — in normal circumstances — suggests the potential for immediate directional opportunity. However, market participants must not discount how far the discovery process has come.
Over 11 sessions (overnight and regular-trade), participants traversed nearly 7%, a non-typical weekly trading range. Adding, the S&P 500 took out its $3,900.00 price extension (i.e., a typical recovery price target) overnight, before leaving minimal excess at the high (i.e., a proper end to price discovery).
Now, in light of the low historical probability associated with overnight rally-highs ending the upside discovery process, the odds favor (1) backfilling or (2) balance before a participants restart the upside discovery process.
So, in the best case, the S&P 500 does some backfilling to repair poor structures left in the wake of strong initiative buying. In such a case, participants would look for responsive buying to surface at or above the $3,840.00 high-volume area (HVNode). In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below the $3,840.00 HVNode, would favor continuation as low as the $3,794.75 and $3,727.75 HVNodes.
More On Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high-volume. Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure (identified as a low-volume area which denotes directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test). If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of high-volume for favorable entry or exit.
Today’s go/no-go level is the $3,880.00 HVNode. Below, would portend downside discovery and structural repair. At or above denotes balance, a sign that the market is awaiting new information to make its next move.
Levels Of Interest: $3,880.00 HVNode.
Bonus: It’s very tough to read the market at this juncture.
Buying has run out (as evidenced by the aforementioned bearish undercurrents) and it’s as if market risks are not being priced in correctly, an opinion shared by Nomura’s Charlie McElligott.
According to McElligott, crash and tail risk is holding back dealers from supplying volatility amid “a near-endless need for skew/forward vol/convexity from hedgers.” In an environment in which true fundamental buying is absent, flows as a result of activity in the derivatives market become increasingly impactful.
Adding, as the Heisenberg Report states, “markets are increasingly susceptible to the self-referential, flows-volatility-liquidity feedback loop (colloquially: the ‘doom loop’) and other manifestations of VaR shocks. Long periods of apparent calm hide an underlying fragility in true ‘stability breeds instability’ fashion.”
As a result of this new regime, as stated in the “What To Expect” section above, dealers have a difficult time taking the other side. Due to this, market participants see a persistent bid in volatility, a factor preventing many systematic and hedge fund strategies from going “all-in” on the long-side.