Daily Brief For October 20, 2021

Daily commentary for U.S. broad market indices.

Market Commentary

Mostly in sync with bonds and commodities, equity index futures were mixed. Volatility compressed, further.

  • Ahead: Fed speak and the Beige Book.
  • Monetary uncertainty. Earnings pick up.
  • Options positioning may support prices.

What Happened: The pace of markup in the equity indices slowed as participants await key earnings, as well as updates on monetary and fiscal policy. 

Ahead is Fed-speak by Evans, Bullard, Bostic, Kashkari, and Quarles (12:00 and 1:00 PM ET), as well as a release of the Beige Book (2:00 PM ET). Tonight, also, Fed President Daly speaks (8:35 PM ET).

Graphic updated 6:45 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. Levels may have changed since initially quoted; click here for the latest levels. 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 6:40 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.

Status Quo Is Balance: Rotational trade that denotes current prices offering favorable entry and exit. Modus operandi is responsive trade (i.e., fade the edges), rather than initiative trade (i.e., play the break), coming into today’s session.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, on supportive intraday breadth and market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative buying and separation of value.

Coupled with that dynamic, in carrying forward the narrative from days prior, is the sustained presence of numerous gaps and p-shaped emotional, multiple-distribution profile structures (i.e., old-money shorts covering).

Participants will likely look to revisit, repair, and strengthen – build out areas of high volume (HVNodes) via the cave-fill process – these areas of low volume (LVNodes), later.

Graphic: Supportive delta (i.e., committed buying as measured by volume delta or buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer) in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), one of the largest ETFs that track the S&P 500 index, via Bookmap. The readings are supportive of the initiative trade or markup in price.

Zooming out, we see the Nasdaq 100 trading strong, relative to its peers. 

Given where the S&P 500’s price is in relation to the yellow anchored volume-weighted average price (VWAP), below, the average buyer, since the all-time high, holds a winning position; sideways-to-higher trade, above the upward sloping trendline, as well as the 50.00% and 61.8% retracements, likely puts in play a recovery of the all-time high.

Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) top left, Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NASDAQ: QQQ) top right, iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSE: IWM) bottom left, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust (NYSE: DIA) bottom right.

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of improving breadth amidst a seasonally bullish cycle of contributions, rebalancing, and earnings, as well as the risks associated with a taper in asset purchases and a hike in rates.

In terms of positioning, the CBOE Volatility Index (INDEX: VIX) was lower, while the VIX futures term structure was unchanged; supply at the front end of the curve, alongside the long-gamma environment, signals a potential for near-term equity market stability.

With this decline in implied volatility (a dynamic that, at least in recent history, leads into increased call selling, more dealer hedging and liquidity, as well as further realized volatility suppression), the S&P 500 found itself marked up to the key $4,510.00 low volume area (LVNode)

The $4,510.00 figure is in the vicinity of what options modeling platform SpotGamma calls a Call Wall (i.e., the level at which positive options gamma, essentially delta sensitivity to the underlying price, is highest), which is a near term magnet (and resistance) given associated hedging and a failure to see increased interest and activity in higher options strikes.

Moreover, we’re carrying forward yesterday’s price levels; 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 $4,495.75 high volume area (HVNode) puts in play the $4,510.00 low volume area (LVNode). Initiative trade beyond the LVNode could reach as high as the $4,526.25 HVNode and $4,550.00 overnight high (ONH), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,495.75 HVNode puts in play the $4,471.00 untested point of control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as low as the $4,437.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) and $4,393.75 HVNode, or lower.

Click here to load today’s updated real-time key levels into the web-based TradingView charting platform. Please note that all levels are derived using the 65-minute timeframe.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures updated 6:40 AM ET.


Cave-Fill Process: Widened the area deemed favorable to transact at by an increased share of participants. This is a good development.

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.

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.

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.

MCPOCs: POCs are valuable as they denote areas where two-sided trade was most prevalent over numerous day sessions. Participants will respond to future tests of value as they offer favorable entry and exit.

More On 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.

News And Analysis

A combination of lower growth, higher inflation isn’t good.

Sentiment in neutral territory, supporting high index price.

Cryptocurrency versus gold – debating on store of value.

Who could be the winners and losers of the energy crisis?

Feeling the strain of supply chain issues and high prices.

Global oil refiners cranking up output as margins recover.

Democrats are looking to break stalemate on Biden plan.

Bitcoin futures ETF starts as second-highest traded fund.

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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