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Commentary

Market Commentary For 2/3/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: After strong earnings from Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), alongside stimulus optimism, market participants traded responsively in Tuesday’s regular trading range, suggesting an acceptance of higher prices.

What Does It Mean: Late last week, market’s were in a good position for downside discovery. Since then however, conditions have changed markedly.

Further, given the retracement, the S&P 500, in particular, is in a position to digest the recent advance. In other words, two-sided trade that repairs some of the poor structures (as evidenced by low-volume areas) left in the wake of initiative buying would be the most positive outcome.

In the simplest way, high-volume areas can be thought of as building blocks. 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. 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 value for favorable entry or exit.

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

Currently, the S&P 500 is rotating at the $3,842.00 high-volume area (HVNode).

As stated, HVNodes can be thought of as building blocks — they also denote areas of supply and demand. In this case, $3,842.00 can be thought of as an area of supply. The primary strategy is to respond to probes into these supply (i.e., selling responsively) and demand (i.e., buying responsively) areas as they offer favorable entry and exit.

Important to add is the presence of divergent speculative flows (Graphic 1) and the decline in a proxy for buying derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side), per Graphic 2.

Graphic 1: Speculative derivatives activity for February 2, 2021.
Graphic 2: DIX by SqueezeMetrics suggests divergence between price and buying intact.

Given that the market will likely open in-range, participants should look to whether the advance holds (i.e., a market will transition from up and down, to sideways trade). Holding the gap would suggest initiative buyers are in control, near-term. Auctioning below Tuesday’s regular-trade low ($3,799.00) would be the most negative outcome.

In the best case, the market will initiate above, or find acceptance at (in the form of rotational trade) the $3,842.00 HVNode. In the worst case, responsive sellers appear and restart the downside discovery process. Any break that finds increased involvement below the $3,799.00 regular-trade low, would favor continuation as low as the $3,727.75 HVNode.

The go/no-go for upside is the $3,843.50 overnight-trade high. The go/no-go for downside is $3,799.00 regular-trade low. Anything in-between portends responsive, non-directional trade.

Levels Of Interest: $3,843.50 ONH, $3,799.00 regular-trade low.

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Commentary

Market Commentary For 2/2/2021

Notice: To view this week’s big picture outlook, click here.

What Happened: Ahead of big earnings from Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), alongside stimulus optimism, initiative buyers extended Monday’s broad market rally overnight.

What Does It Mean: Despite being in a good position for downside discovery due to deleveraging, inversion of the VIX term structure, a shift into short-gamma, and a rise in purchases of downside protection with time, market participants responded to probes into prior value.

As a result, stock indexes are at an interesting juncture. The S&P 500, in particular, took back all of Friday’s selling, and is now resting at the $3,794.75 high-volume node (HVNode).

What To Expect: Tuesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) will likely open on a gap, outside of prior-balance and -range, suggesting the potential for directional opportunity and high volatility.

Currently, the S&P 500 is rotating around the $3,794.75 HVNode.

As stated in the past, high-volume areas can be thought of as building blocks. A structurally sound market will build on past areas of high-volume. If participants were to auction and find acceptance into areas of prior low-volume (as they did Monday), then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick (as it was) as participants look to areas of high-volume for favorable entry or exit (where we are at now).

Given that the market will likely open on another gap, participants should look to whether the advance holds (i.e., a market will transition from up and down, to sideways trade). Holding the gap would suggest initiative buyers are in control, near-term. Auctioning below Monday’s regular-trade high ($3,777.00) would be the most negative outcome.

In the best case, the market will initiate and find acceptance (in the form of rotational trade) above the $3,794.75 HVNode.

In the worst case, responsive sellers appear and continue the downside discovery process. Any break that finds increased involvement below the $3,727.75 HVNode, would favor continuation as low as the $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes.

The second to last HVNode corresponds with the $361 SPY put concentration, which may serve as a near-term target, or bottom, for this sell-off, given last week’s activity at that strike (below graphic).

Graphic: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, for the week ending January 30, 2021.

The go/no-go for upside is the $3,804.00 overnight-trade high. The go/no-go for downside is $3,717.25 regular-trade low. Anything in-between portends responsive, non-directional trade.

Levels Of Interest: $3,804.00 ONH, $3,717.25 regular-trade low.

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Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Hello, Goodbye’

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: Coming into the extended holiday weekend, on tapering volumes, U.S. index futures balanced for four regular trading sessions (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET), before breaking out.

Pictured: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Thursday’s session found initiative buying surface above the $3,731.00 high-volume node (HVNode), the market’s most recent perception of value.

Given four-sessions worth of unchanged value, and the failure to fill the gap beneath a weak low (i.e., a visual level that attracts the business of short-term, technically-driven market participants) at $3,714.50, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. Amid Thursday’s late-day buying, price diverged from value.
  2. The overnight rally high at $3,747.75 was recovered (i.e., based on historical trade, there were low odds that the overnight all-time high would end the upside discovery process).
  3. The multi-month upside breakout targeting S&P 500 prices as high as $4,000.00 remains intact.

In light of the above dynamics, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,731.00 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance, or a response followed by initiative buying to take out the price extension at $3,756.75.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 initiates below its $3,731.00 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include a test of the weak, minimal excess low at $3,714.50, and subsequent follow-through as low as the $3,691.00 break-point. 

Noting: Excess forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends a sustained reversal. Absence of excess, in the case of a low, suggests minimal conviction; participants will cover (i.e., back off the low) and weaken the market, before following through.

Two go, no-go levels exist; trade that finds increased involvement above $3,752.75 and below $3,714.50 would suggest a change in conviction. Anything in-between favors responsive trade.

Conclusion: From an uneven recovery, stimulus, elections, trade, and the like, it helps to boil it down to what actually matters: price and value. 

Though risks remain, markets are pricing in the odds of a continued rebound. All broad-market indices are in an uptrend. A break below $3,600.00 in the S&P 500 would denote a substantial change in tone.

Pictured: Retest of the upside breakpoint on a weekly candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

Levels Of Interest: $3,752.75 rally-high, $3,714.50 weak low, $3,731.00 HVNode, $3,756.75 price extension, $3,691.00 break-point.

Bonus: Here is a look at some of the opportunities unfolding.

Photo by Max Walter from Pexels.

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Commentary

Market Commentary For 12/23/2020

What Happened: After a day of balance, and a brief overnight liquidation alongside news that President Donald Trump would not sign a coronavirus relief bill until the size of stimulus checks is increased, U.S. index futures rebounded, with the S&P 500 returning to the $3,691.00 ledge, a level that’s repeatedly attracted responsive sellers.

What Does It Mean: During Tuesday’s session, participants accepted the prior day’s recovery, evidenced by the two-sided trade at prices where the most activity occurred during the prior day, or point of control (POC).

Given that participants deem the high end of Monday’s range fair to do business in, participants will come into Wednesday’s session knowing that the $3,691.00 high-volume ledge is a key upside reference. The aforementioned ledge denotes a pause in discovery, likely attributable to the declining participation ahead of the holiday weekend.

That said, below the ledge, responsive buyers continue to resurface at the $3,667.75 high-volume node (HVNode) on long liquidations (i.e., those events that are caused by overly committed short-term participants that trim positions in panic because they lack the wherewithal or conviction to follow-through).

Pictured: Visual of /MES $3,691.00 ledge.

What To Expect: In light of the overnight recovery and trade near the $3,691.00 ledge, the following frameworks apply for today’s trade.

In the best case, buyers hold the the index above its $3,667.75 HVNode. Holding said reference would be indicative of continued balance after Monday’s recovery; in such case, participants would look for signs of follow-through above the $3,691.00 ledge. Once the ledge cracks (i.e., participants initiate and accept, spend more than 15-minutes above the level), it ought to (1) offer support and (2) draw in buyers to continue the upside discovery process up to, at least, the $3,700.00 and $3,707.75 HVNodes.

Anything higher targets the $3,724.25 overnight rally high.

Levels Of Interest: The $3,691.00 ledge, $3,667.75, $3,700.00 and $3,707.75 HVNodes, as well as the $3,724.25 overnight high.

Bonus: Big-picture breakout remains intact. See below for opportunities unfolding.

Pictured: Daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index
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Commentary

‘Rising Tide Lifts All Boats’: Market Commentary For The Week Ahead

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: U.S. index futures auctioned to new all-time highs before weakening into Friday’s derivative expiry.

What Does It Mean: After participants established a rally-high in the December 9 overnight session, the S&P 500 liquidated down to the balance-area boundary near $3,625.00.

After the December 14 gap open on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine and stimulus progress, for the remainder of the week, indices negated prior selling, establishing a new all-time high. Friday’s trade managed to repair some structural deficiencies left in the aforementioned advance.

Pictured: Profile overlays on a 65-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Friday’s session found responsive buyers surface at the low-volume node (LVNode) near $3,680.00. Low-volume areas denote directional conviction and ought to resist future auction rotations. Auctioning through the LVNode would foreshadow further rotation and trade as low as the balance-area low.

Given that the higher-time frame breakout remains intact and selling appears non-committal, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. Both sentiment and positioning are historically stretched, while the recovery remains uneven
  2. Inflation remains cool due to the profound influence of disruptive innovation.
  3. U.S. Congress reaches deal on COVID-19 aid package, plans votes for Monday. 
  4. The decline in realized correlation due to factor and sector rotation, as well as the return of systematic option selling strategies will push the long-gamma narrative in which volatility is suppressed and the market pins or slowly rises in a range-bound fashion.
  5. The S&P 500’s higher-time frame breakout remains intact (see chart below); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) confirms equities will rally short-term with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000.
  6. Despite high CAPE ratios, stock-market valuations aren’t that absurd.

Therefore, the following frameworks for next week’s trade apply.

In the best case, buyers maintain conviction and hold the index above the $3,680.00 LVNode. Auctioning below said reference denotes a change in conviction. Participants would then look for a response near the $3,667.75 HVNode. Failure to remain above the HVNode would portend rotation, further balancing. 

In the worst case, participants initiate below the $3,625.00 balance-area low, jeopardizing the higher-time frame breakout.

Conclusion: As BlackRock Inc (NYSE: BLK) said, “a rising tide lifts all boats”; though financial markets have largely priced in positive news surrounding vaccines and stimulus, the rally remains intact, bolstered by a drive for yield — technical factors as a result of systemic and hedge fund strategies, among other things.

Pictured: Retest of the upside breakpoint on a daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

Levels Of Interest: $3,740.75 and $3773.75 price extensions, $3,724.25 all-time rally high, the micro-composite HVNode at $3,707.75, $3,691.00, and $3,667.75, as well as the $3,680 LVNode and poor structure near the $3,625.00 balance-area low.

Bonus: Here is a look at some of the opportunities unfolding.

Photo by Fede Roveda from Pexels.

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Commentary

Market Commentary For 12/17/2020

What Happened: After yesterday’s Federal Reserve policy decision, U.S. index futures auctioned higher overnight alongside hopes of added U.S. fiscal and monetary stimulus, as well as vaccine rollouts.

What Does It Mean: During Wednesday’s regular trade, the S&P 500 initiated up to the $3,691.25 high-volume node, a valuable price, before sellers responded, established excess, and extended lower into the close.

Given the response to yesterday’s Federal Reserve decision, as well as overnight activity, the S&P 500 remains in a tactically bullish position, confirming the higher-time frame upside breakout which targets prices as high as $4,000.

What To Expect: In light of the overnight gap higher, the following frameworks apply for today’s trade.

In the best case, buyers maintain conviction and hold the index above the $3,691.25 high-volume node. Thereafter, upside references include the high-volume node near $3,710.00, and then the $3,720.00 price extension.

In the worst case, if the S&P 500 is brought back into range, participants can expect further balancing. The current market environment supports the long-gamma narrative in which volatility is suppressed and the market pins or slowly rises in a range-bound fashion.

Adding, the market has initiated back through $3,680.00, a low-volume area. Such low-volume areas denote directional conviction and ought to offer support on any test. Penetrating the low-volume area would put in play the $3,667.75 high-volume node.

Levels Of Interest:  $3,680.00 low-volume node, the $3,710.00 and $3,667.75 high-volume nodes, as well as the $3,720.00 price extension.

Bonus: Opportunities unfolding.