Daily Brief For September 22, 2021

Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.

Market Commentary

Equity index futures trade sideways to higher with yields and the dollar. Volatility ebbs.

  • Despite risks, market in solid position.
  • Ahead: Existing homes sales, FOMC.
  • Value overlaps; a breakout is coming.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways as participants looked to position themselves for new information with respect to the Federal Reserve’s intent to make policy adjustments.

In other news, Wall Street analysts suggest China’s Evergrande debacle is not a Lehman moment. 

Ahead is data on existing home sales (8:30 AM ET), an FOMC statement (2 PM ET), as well as Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s news conference (2:30 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Neutral if expected /ES open is inside of the prior day’s range. /ES levels are derived from the profile graphic at the bottom of the following section. SqueezeMetrics Dark Pool Index (DIX) and Gamma (GEX) calculations are based on where the prior day’s reading falls with respect to the MAX and MIN of all occurrences available. A higher DIX is bullish. At the same time, the lower the GEX, the more (expected) volatility. SHIFT data used for S&P 500 (INDEX: SPX) options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if more positive then more was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s NYSE Advance/Decline indicator. VIX reflects a current reading of the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) from 0-100.

What To Expect: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’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.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on lackluster intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the worst-case outcome occurred, evidenced by symmetrical, overlapping value areas.

This is significant because sideways trade (i.e., balance) marks acceptance, or a willingness to transact at lower prices, after an earlier liquidation. 

We’re carrying forward the overhead supply; the 20- and 50-day simple moving averages, as well as the anchored volume-weighted average prices (VWAP), north of the $4,425.00 untested point of control (VPOC), are some key dynamic levels that must be taken to change the tone. 

Balance (Two-Timeframe Or Bracket) Is The Status Quo: Rotational trade that denotes current prices offer favorable entry and exit. Balance-areas make it easy to spot a change in the market (i.e., the transition from two-time frame trade, or balance, to one-time frame trade, or trend). 

Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break).

Further, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (NYSE: JPM) Marko Kolanovic, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of “technical selling flows (CTAs and option hedgers) in an environment of poor liquidity, and overreaction of discretionary traders to perceived risks.” 

Despite these conditions, Kolanovic anticipates a continued move higher in the equity market as the COVID-19 delta wave fades and companies beat third-quarter earnings expectations.

“We remain constructive on risk assets and last week upgraded our S&P 500 price target, given expectations of a reacceleration in activity as the delta wave fades and better than expected earnings,” Kolanovic added. “Risks are well-flagged and priced in, with stock multiples back at post-pandemic lows for many reopening/recovery exposures; we look for Cyclicals to resume leadership as delta inflects. We expect the S&P 500 to reach 4,700 by the end of 2021 and to surpass 5,000 next year.”

In terms of positioning, SpotGamma data suggests the S&P 500 is at an important junction ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee statement and news conference, later today; a directional move higher (lower) could set the index up for lower (higher) volatility.

Graphic: Based on an analysis of positioning in the options market, SpotGamma plots key levels to be aware of; presently, the S&P 500 is in short-gamma territory. Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in the underlying price. Those that take the other side and warehouse these risks hedge their exposure 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.

Moreover, for today, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,365.25 LVNode pivot puts in play the $4,393.75 high volume area (HVNode). Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as high as the $4,425.00 untested point of control (VPOC) and $4,481.75 HVNode, or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,365.25 LVNode pivot puts in play the $4,346.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the HVNode could reach as low as the $4,294.00 regular trade low (RTH Low) and $4,233.00 VPOC, or lower.

Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:30 AM ET.


Volume Areas: A structurally sound market will build on areas of high volume (HVNodes). Should the market trend for long periods of time, it will lack sound structure, identified as low volume areas (LVNodes). LVNodes denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. 

If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low volume (LVNodes), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to HVNodes for favorable entry or exit.

Volume-Weighted Average Prices (VWAPs): A metric highly regarded by chief investment officers, among other participants, for quality of trade. Additionally, liquidity algorithms are benchmarked and programmed to buy and sell around VWAPs.

POCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent in a prior day session. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

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.

News And Analysis

A modest shift in retail spending amid variant uncertainty.

The gobal economic recovery is hitting some speed limits.

Areas of emerging markets present investor opportunities.

The Fed debate on tapering just became a lot more tricky.

House passes debt limit suspension, setting up standoffs.

Democrats pursue the debt move with emergency option.

Evergrande is not another Lehman. Here is the bad news.

What People Are Saying


After years of self-education, strategy development, and trial-and-error, Renato Leonard Capelj began trading full-time and founded Physik Invest to detail his methods, research, and performance in the markets. 

Additionally, Capelj is a finance and technology reporter. Some of his biggest works include interviews with 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.


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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