Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.
What Happened: Alongside optimism around an economic rebound, U.S. stock index futures established record all-time highs, overnight, before trading back into range.
What Does It Mean: On the heels of a de-risking event and v-pattern recovery, indices, like the S&P 500, maintained higher prices.
This price action occurred in the face of bearish undercurrents, highlighted in past commentary.
Important to note, however, is a pick up in call-side activity in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500. This comes alongside the S&P 500’s re-entry into long-gamma (Graphic 1) and rotation near the $3,900 high-open interest strike.
Further, the addition of derivative exposure at higher strikes (Graphic 2), farther out in time, suggests an inclination by participants to maintain long exposure through February’s monthly options expiration (OPEX), a day that often marks an end to pinning (which we’ve seen over the past week).
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 Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of option trades hedge their exposure to risk by buying and selling the underlying. When dealers are short-gamma, they hedge by buying into strength and selling into weakness. When dealers are long-gamma, they hedge by selling into strength and buying into weakness. The former exacerbates volatility. The latter calms volatility.
What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open outside of prior-balance and -range, suggesting the potential for immediate directional opportunity.
This comes after participants traversed over 7%, a non-typical weekly trading range, taking out the 127.20% price extension, a typical recovery target.
Given how far the discovery process has come, attention is drawn to the overnight high. Typically, there is a low historical probability associated with overnight rally-highs ending the upside discovery process. Add on the fact that Tuesday’s regular trade left minimal excess (i.e., a proper end to price discovery) at the high, odds point to the increased potential for higher trade or balance in the coming session(s).
Given that reference, the following frameworks apply.
In the best case, the S&P 500 does some backfilling to repair poor structures left in the wake of strong initiative buying overnight. In such a case, participants would look for responsive buying to surface at or above the $3,912.25 regular-trade high.
In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below the $3,908.75 high-volume area (HVNode), would favor continuation as low as the $3,900.00 and $3,880.00 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.
Levels Of Interest: $3,908.75 HVNode.