Daily Brief For April 21, 2021

Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.

Market Commentary

Index futures auction within prior range, position for directional resolve.

  • Virus surges, earnings accelerate.
  • Calendar light. ECB rate decision.
  • Buyers responded to lower prices.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways, overnight, after strong downside discovery the day prior.

ING Group Strategists“Markets remain very much caught between the rock of improving macroeconomic conditions and the treacherous waters of geopolitical risks and alarming Covid-19 case growth in some corners of the world.”

What To Expect: Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity. 

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative trade beyond the $4,142.00 regular trade low, down to the $4,122.75 HVNode, which is significant because denotes an area of prior two-sided trade.

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.

Further, in a nutshell, the market explored higher prices and is now probing into pockets of old value to drum up increased participation. The market is doing what it is supposed to — move to the area where participants want to do business. Given the remaining price targets at $4,200.00 and minimal excess (i.e., flat high) left behind last Friday’s price discovery, odds are participants lacked conviction and the market was unable to advertise higher prices.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

Price Discovery (One-Timeframe Or Trend): Elongation and range expansion denotes a market seeking new prices to establish value, or acceptance (i.e., more than 30-minutes of trade at a particular price level). 

This is generally a bullish dynamic. Why? Think of there being unfinished business at the all-time high. As stated earlier, a market moves to where there is business to be conducted.

Moving on, the two-day liquidation has pushed the S&P 500 down into short-gamma territory. This is not good. Why? Short-gamma is opposite to the forces that crush volatility and promote lengthy bursts of momentum.

Liquidation Breaks: The profile shape suggests participants were “too” long and had poor location.

Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of options 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.
Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) in short-gamma territory, via SpotGamma.

Due to occurrences discussed in the weekend commentary, such as increased put selling during market strength, volatility expansion and a rise in delta (i.e., exposure to the underlying asset) will force put-side option sellers to sell into weakness, to hedge off their risk, thereby exacerbating volatility.

Graphic: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

In the event that some exogenous event (e.g., COVID-19 resurgence, tax-hike) was to surface, odds favor increased volatility and potential for downside.

Moreover, for today, participants can trade from the following frameworks. 

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades higher; activity higher than the $4,142.00 regular trade low targets the $4,155 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,171 VPOC. In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,122.75 targets the $4,104.00 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond that figure puts in play the $4,082.75 and $4,069.25 HVNodes.

POCs: POCs (like HVNodes described above) are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for April 20. Activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, in strikes as low as $381, which corresponds with $3,810 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX).
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants lack directional conviction in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY).

News And Analysis

Science | Man-made lakes in U.S. West and Mexico to shrink to historical lows. (AP)

Markets | Mortgage rates come down as the bond market regains strength. (MND)

Markets | Federal Reserve will limit any overshoot of inflation target, Powell says. (REU)

Travel | Washington says travel warnings will cover 80% of the world’s nations. (BBG)

Policy | On the verge of a realignment of politics, economic policy, and living. (Ritholtz)

Markets | MIAX expanding futures division with new hires from Cboe and Citi. (TT)

Markets | U.K. scaps MiFID II requirements in ambitious capital markets reform. (TT)

Economy | While lumber prices are soaring, actual logs remain very dirt cheap. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

Innovation | Lessons from Jeff Bezos’ annual letters to Amazon shareholders. (CB)

Markets | How Robinhood made trading easy and maybe even too hard to resist. (BBG)

Space | International crew, recycled capsule: SpaceX is preparing to launch. (AMN)

Venture | A look at Stripe, the most highly valued venture-backed private company. (CN)

FinTech | Fintech IPOs: Four foundational keys to success, preparing for IPO. (FM)

FinTech | U.K. creates a new fintech sandbox for distributed ledger technology. (S&P

FinTech | Venture capital interest in Latin America swells as fintech takes flight. (PB)

FinTech | Insurtech startups are leveraging rapid growth to raise big money. (TC)

FinTech | China’s central bank plans to build out a fintech cloud infrastructure. (SCMP)


Renato founded Physik Invest after going through years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error. His work reporting in the finance and technology space, interviewing leaders such as John Chambers, founder, and CEO, JC2 Ventures, Kevin O’Leary, Canadian businessman and Shark Tank host, Catherine Wood, CEO and CIO, ARK Invest, among others, afforded him the perspective and know-how very few come by.

Having worked in engineering and majored in economics, Renato is very detailed and analytical. His approach to the markets isn’t built on hope or guessing. Instead, he leverages the unique dynamics of time and volatility to efficiently act on opportunity.


At this time, Physik Invest does not manage outside capital and is not licensed. In no way should the materials herein be construed as advice. Derivatives carry a substantial risk of loss. All content is for informational purposes only.

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