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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: ‘Euphoria Is The Status Quo’

Key Takeaways:

  • Higher-time frame breakouts remain intact.
  • Volatility rises; markets are a tad euphoric
  • Equity funds went all in at the top, literally
  • Corporate credit outlook enhanced greatly. 
  • Earnings could rise faster than anticipated. 
  • Blue wave implies more stimulus, spending.
  • The bull market broadens as sectors rotate
  • M2 and yields break out; the Fed could act.

What Happened: As investors looked beyond a weak jobs report and political uncertainty, to added economic stimulus and the coming earnings season, U.S. index futures hit new highs.

Graphic 1: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Friday’s session in the S&P 500 found initiative buying surface after a test of $3,774.75, the lower boundary of the low-volume area left in the wake of Thursday’s opening drive.

The long-liquidation and subsequent recovery left the market with minimal excess (i.e., a proper end to discovery) at the highs, and a strong close, taking out the overnight stat at $3,817.75 (which had low odds of remaining, given that overnight all-time highs rarely end the upside discovery process).

Noting: Excess forms after an auction has traveled too far in a particular direction and portends a sustained reversal. The absence of excess, in the case of a high, suggests not enough conviction; in such case participants will liquidate (i.e., back off the high) and strengthen the market, before following through.

In light of the market’s search for an area to establish balanced, two-sided trade, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following: 

  1. The multi-month upside breakout targeting S&P 500 prices as high as $4,000.00 remains intact.
  2. Prices are above all major moving averages, including the year-to-date volume-weighted average price (VWAP). 
  3. After the resolution of last Monday’s long-liquidation, the market shifted into price discovery mode, evidenced by higher prices and value migration.
  4. For numerous sessions, profile structures denoted the presence of short-covering, the result of old, weak-handed business emotionally buying to cover short positions, causing swift movement followed by a stalled advance, or two-sided intraday trade.
  5. The week ending January 8 established a v-pattern recovery, a price sequence that ought to be followed by further price discovery, as high as the 100% price projection, which happens to be near the multi-month upside breakout target at $4,000.
  6. Unsupportive speculative flows and delta (e.g., commitment of buying or selling) in some instances, as can be viewed by order flow graphics 2 and 3 below. 
  7. Alongside the long gamma narrative, in which dealers buy dips and sell rips to hedge their exposure, record options activity, among other dynamics, the S&P 500 closed near $3,800, a high open interest strike. For sustained upside directional resolve, participants would look for this exposure to roll up. 
Pictured: Divergent delta in the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSE: IWM), one of the largest ETFs that track the Russell 2000
Pictured: Order flow in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500
Graphic 4: S&P 500 tests the $3,800 high open interest strike, per SpotGamma

Given the above dynamics, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,762.25 high-volume node (HVNode). Expectations thereafter include continued balance or a response followed by initiative buying to take out the price extension at $3,847.75. 

Noting: Any structure that denotes meaningful buying continuation, not short-covering, would feature elongated, upside range expansion on committed volumes, as well as the migration of value. 

In the worst case, the S&P 500 initiates below its $3,762.25 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include a test of the minimal excess low near $3,732.75 (a LVNode). A break of Monday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM ET) low would jeopardize the bullish thesis. 

Two go, no-go levels exist; trade that finds increased involvement above $3,824.25 and below $3,775.25 would suggest a change in conviction. Anything in-between favors responsive trade.

Conclusions: In a GMO article, Jeremy Grantham expressed his opinion on recent market activity.

I am long retired from the job of portfolio management but I am happy to give my opinion here: it is highly probable that we are in a major bubble event in the U.S. market, of the type we typically have every several decades and last had in the late 1990s. It will very probably end badly, although nothing is certain. I will also tell you my definition of success for a bear market call. It is simply that sooner or later there will come a time when an investor is pleased to have been out of the market. That is to say, he will have saved money by being out, and also have reduced risk or volatility on the round trip. This definition of success absolutely does not include precise timing. (Predicting when a bubble breaks is not about valuation. All prior bubble markets have been extremely overvalued, as is this one. Overvaluation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for their bursting.) Calling the week, month, or quarter of the top is all but impossible.

Continuing, in addition to market participants reckoning with the uneven recovery, stimulus, trade, inflation, among other risks, they must also worry about something that’s arguably more important: price and value.

As of now, all broad-market indices are in an uptrend, evidenced by higher prices and value. A break below $3,600.00 in the S&P 500 would denote a substantial change in tone.

Levels Of Interest: $3,762.25 HVNode, $3,732.75 LVNode, $3,824.25 rally high, as well as the $3,847.75 price extension.

Bonus: Some opportunities unfolding in the week ahead.

Photo by Valdemaras D. from Pexels.

Categories
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.