Daily Brief For May 24, 2021

Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.

Quick Note: From May 25 to May 28, the daily newsletter will be off as I will be on a trip. It would not be fair for me to provide lackluster content since I won’t have all the tools at my disposal.

Market Commentary

Index futures in balance.

  • The U.S. may be facing deflation.
  • Ahead is CFNAI data, Fed speak.
  • Stock indexes sideways to higher.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned higher overnight alongside renewed political tensions, cryptocurrency volatility, as well as a crackdown by China on commodity speculation.

Graphic updated 7:50 AM EST.

What To Expect: Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open inside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a limited potential for immediate directional opportunity. 

Value-Area Placement: Perception of value unchanged if value overlapping (i.e., inside day). Perception of value has changed if value not overlapping (i.e., outside day). Delay trade in the former case.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by the responsive selling that surfaced at and above the $4,177.25 high volume area (HVNode). This is not all too significant given the large monthly options expiration. Still, according to SpotGamma, “[w]hile roughly 1/3 of total QQQ gamma rolled off on Friday, … [the] QQQ remains under the control of put options,” a source of potential volatility in the Nasdaq 100.

Responsive Selling: Selling in response to prices above area of recent price acceptance.

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.

Options: If an option buyer was short (long) stock, he or she would buy a call (put) to hedge upside (downside) exposure. Option buyers can also use options as an efficient way to gain directional exposure.

Options Expiration (OPEX): Option expiries mark an end to pinning (i.e, the theory that market makers and institutions short options move stocks to the point where the greatest dollar value of contracts will expire worthless) and the reduction dealer gamma exposure.

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.

As stated in Sunday’s weekly note, equities are in a seasonally weak period. At the same time, inflation and uninspiring economic data are major worries investors are attempting to price in. That said, however, during the May 19 reversal, in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100, participants increased exposure to the upside with relatively cheap, longer-dated calls.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above $4,177.25 puts in play the $4,227.00 point of control (POC). Initiative trade beyond the POC could reach as high as the $4,238.00 overnight all-time high. 

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.

Initiative Buying: Buying within or above the previous day’s value area.

Overnight Rally Highs (Lows): Typically, there is a low historical probability associated with overnight rally-highs (lows) ending the upside (downside) discovery process.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below $4,177.25 puts in play the $4,122.25 HVNode. Thereafter, if lower, key references include the $4,071.00 POC and $4,050.75 low volume area (LVNode). Long-biased traders are cautioned on trade below the LVNode. 

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.
Graphic: Daily candlestick charts of the S&P 500 (top left), Nasdaq 100 (top right), Russell 2000 (bottom left), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (bottom right). The Nasdaq is regaining relative strength. A rotation would be bullish, or supportive of a new leg higher (if one were to happen).
Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), for last week. Though activity in the options market was primarily concentrated in short-dated tenors, increased trade in farther-dated call-side strikes is observed as a commitment to higher prices.
Graphic: SHIFT search suggests participants were most interested in put strikes at and below current prices in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX) and Nasdaq 100 Index (INDEX: NDX), last week. To note, however, participants began paying up for longer-dated upside exposure (evidenced by call activity).

News And Analysis

Economy | Cathie Wood: U.S. “setting up for a massive period deflation.” (BBG)

Economy | European labor market’s capacity to absorb shocks varies. (Moody’s)

Markets | How a global minimum corporate tax could impact markets. (WSJ)

Markets | Goldman sees oil hitting $80/bbl despite likely supply return. (REU)

Security | Three disasters show gaps in the $1.7T infrastructure plan. (BBG)

Markets | Mainstream markets shrug volatile $1T crypto flash crash. (BBG)

Trade | Sea change: global freight sails out of the digital dark ages. (REU)

Politics | EU weighs sanctions over so-called ‘hijacking’ of Ryanair jet. (BBG)

What People Are Saying

Innovation And Emerging Trends

FinTech | HSBC CEO says bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are not for them. (REU)

FinTech | Robinhood to allow users to buy into IPOs ahead of debut. (REU)

FinTech | VCs are predicting new areas of consumer fintech disruption. (BI)

Environment | Unpacking the problems with reinforced concrete. (Convo)

Markets | First warning sign in global commodity boom flashes in China. (BBG)


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, 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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