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Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Ping-Pong’

Quote Of The Week: Excessive determinism is almost always the biggest enemy of stability. This seeming contradiction is behind the concept of metastability which captures the mode of market functioning in the last years. Metastability is what seems stable, but is not — a stable waiting for something to happen. [An] avalanche is a good example of metastability to keep in mind — a totally innocuous event can trigger a cataclysmic event (e.g., a skier’s scream, or simply continued snowfall until the snow cover is so massive that its own weight triggers an avalanche).

Quote by Aleksandar Kocic, Managing Director at Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB), from Heisenberg Report.

Key Takeaways:

  • V-pattern recovery suggests higher prices.
  • Risks offset and funds looking to re-gross.
  • Dip presented a favorable buy opportunity.

What Happened: In light of a v-pattern recovery, after a quick de-risking event, U.S. stock indexes are positioned for further upside, as high as the 100% price projection, which happens to be above $4,000.00, a primary target in the S&P 500.

More On The V-Pattern: A pattern that forms after a market establishes a high, retests some support, and then breaks above said high. In most cases, this pattern portends continuation. 

What Does It Mean: This positive price action is happening in the context of bearish undercurrents, as evidenced by non-participatory speculative flows and delta, as well as a divergence in the DIX.

More On Volume Delta: Buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer.

More On DIX: For every buyer is a seller (usually a market maker). Using DIX — which is derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side) — we can measure buying pressure.

More On Speculative Flows: Participants looking to capitalize on either upside or downside through the purchase and sale of options, the right to buy or sell an asset at a later date and agreed upon price.

Adding, according to The Market Ear, similar risk rallies have happened after hedge fund de-grossing events; now, “Equities are rising along higher yields, dollar and [volatility], and the magic word here is discounting inflation.”

Further, since price pays, participants ought to discount the bearish undercurrents, and position themselves for upside. Hedge funds are doing so, as evidenced by an increase in gross exposures (Graphic 1), alongside other speculative participants that look to capitalize on their opinions through the options market (Graphic 2). 

Graphic 1: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) data suggests normalization as “HFs add back to gross exposures.”
Graphic 2: Physik Invest maps out the purchase of call and put options in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, for the week ending February 6, 2021.

Last week, per Graphic 2, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, saw a rise in purchases of short-dated call and put options. Given the tenor (i.e., the length of time remaining before contract expiration), there’s a lack of long-term commitment to direction.

Adding, early and late in the week, the purchase of put options dominated. This suggests participants were either looking to protect against or capitalize on downside. In the middle of the week, participants were looking to protect against or capitalize on upside. 

More On 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.

The above, alongside the market’s re-entry into long-gamma (Graphic 3) and a normalization of the VIX futures term structure (see Graphic 4) in which longer-dated VIX expiries are more expensive, suggests the potential for less risk and volatility in equity markets.

More On Gamma: Gamma is the sensitivity of an option to changes in underlying price. Dealers that take the other side of option 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.

Graphic 3: SpotGamma suggests S&P 500 at or above “Long-Gamma” juncture.
Graphic 4: VIX Futures Term Structure per vixcentral.com.

What To Expect: U.S. stock indexes are best positioned for further balance or upside discovery.

Graphic 5: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

In Graphic 5, the highlighted zones denote high-volume areas (HVNodes), or valuable areas to transact.

More On 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.

Last Monday, participants found acceptance in prior low-volume. Thereafter, discovery was volatile and quick as participants looked to areas of high-volume for favorable entry and exit (e.g., where the market spent the majority of its time Tuesday through Thursday).

On Friday, the S&P 500 left the HVNode near $3,840.00. As stated, HVNodes can be thought of as building blocks — they also denote areas of supply and demand. In this case, $3,840.00 can now be thought of as an area of demand. 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.

What To Do: Participants will want to pay attention to last Thursday’s $3,855.00 Virgin Point Of Control, or VPOC (i.e., the fairest price to do business in a prior session), and end-of-day spike, as well as the $3,840.00 HVNode.

More On 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.

More On Spikes: Spike’s mark the beginning of a break from value. Spikes higher (lower) are validated by trade at or above (below) the spike base (i.e., the origin of the spike).

Given the above references, the following frameworks ought to be applied.

In the best case, the S&P 500 does some backfilling to repair aforementioned poor structures. In such a case, participants would look for responsive buying to surface at or above the $3,840.00 HVNode

In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below the $3,840.00 HVNode, would favor continuation as low as the $3,794.75 and $3,727.75 HVNodes.

Note that the $3,727.75 HVNode corresponds with the $372 SPY put concentration, which may serve as a near-term target, or bottom, for a sell-off. 

Graphic 6: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: Simplicity is key here.

Participants ought to look for favorable areas to transact, such as those high-volume areas in the S&P 500 featured in Graphic 5.

Levels Of Interest: $3,840.00 HVNode.

Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘The Flow Won’

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: Amid a volatile, news-heavy week, after a slew of earnings reports by heavily weighted index constituents, and an FOMC meeting that made no change to existing monetary policy, financial markets experienced a rapid de-risking, similar to what transpired prior to the sell-off in February 2020.

What Does It Mean: After extending the S&P 500’s rally, as well as establishing acceptance near the $3,850.00 price extension, an upside target, and excess (i.e., a proper end to price discovery), participants auctioned back into range, repairing poor structures left in the wake of initiative buying.

The action found acceptance below the $3,824.00 – $3,763.75 balance-area, invalidating the prior week’s break-out to new highs.

Since then, market participants were witness to violent two-sided trade, a result of the market transitioning into a short-gamma environment (Graphic 1).

In such case dealers hedge derivatives exposure by buying into strength and selling into weakness. This, will exacerbate volatility.

Graphic 1: SpotGamma data suggests S&P 500 has entered short-gamma environment

In a conversation for a Benzinga article to be released this coming week, I spoke with Kris Sidial, co-chief investment officer at The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage fund, regarding GameStop Corporation (NYSE: GME) share price volatility, market microstructure, and regulation.

According to Sidial, the dynamics that transpired in GameStop can be traced back to factors like Federal Reserve stabilization efforts, and low rates, which incentivize risk taking (see Graphic 2).

“The growth of structured products, passive investing, the regulatory standpoint that’s been implemented with Dodd-Frank and dealers needing to hedge off their risk more frequently, than not,” are all part of a regime change that’s affected the stability of markets, Sidial notes. 

“These dislocations happen quite frequently in small windows, and it offers the potential for large outlier events,” like the equity bust and boom during 2020. “Strength and fragility are two completely different components. The market could be strong, but fragile.”

The aforementioned regime change is one in which dealer exposure to direction and volatility promotes crash up and down dynamics. Last February, the market was heavily one-sided with participants, like target date funds (e.g., mutual funds), selling far out-of-the-money puts on the S&P 500 for passive yield, and investors buying-to-open put options in an increasing amount for downside exposure, thus exacerbating volatility. 

Graphic 2: Newfound Research unpacks market drivers, implications of liquidity.
Graphic 3: SqueezeMetrics highlights implications of volatility, direction, and moneyness.

Last week, per Graphic 4, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, saw a rise in purchases of downside protection with time, which will likely lead to an increase in implied volatility and sensitivity of options to changes in underlying price.

These risks will be hedged off by dealers selling into weakness (see Graphic 3), thereby exacerbating downside volatility.

Graphic 4: 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 activity was most concentrated in put options with a strike price of $361, corresponding with $3,610 in the cash-settled S&P 500 Index (INDEX: SPX). This, alongside the market’s entry into short gamma, and an inversion of the VIX futures term structure (see Graphic 5), in which longer-dated VIX expiries are less expensive, is a warning of elevated near-term risks for equity market stability.

Graphic 5: VIX Futures Term Structure per vixcentral.com.

What’s more? Aside from breaking technical trend (Graphic 6) is DIX, a proxy for buying derived from short sales (i.e., liquidity provision on the market making side) declining, and the presence of divergent speculative flows and delta (e.g., non-committed buying as measured by volume delta).

Graphic 6: Cash-settled S&P 500 Index experiences technical breakdown.
Graphic 7: DIX by SqueezeMetrics suggests large divergence between price and buying on January 27.
Graphic 8: Divergent Delta in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500.

What To Expect: In light of the technical breakdown U.S. stock indexes are best positioned for downside discovery.

As a result, participants ought to zoom out, and look for valuable areas to transact.

Graphic 9: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

In Graphic 9, the highlighted zones denote high-volume areas (HVNodes), which 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 (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, as they have in the week prior, then future discovery ought to be volatile and quick as participants look to areas of value for favorable entry or exit.

Additionally, it’s important to remember what the market’s long-term trajectory is: up.

Late last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggested equities would rally short-term with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000 on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies. Since then, Kolanovic has downgraded growth and suggested the limited potential for further upside despite odds of a sustained economic recovery.

Note, Kolanovic has not called for an implosion in equity markets. Instead, the market is due for some downside discovery given a moderation in the recovery.

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 takes back Friday’s liquidation and auctions above the $3,727.75 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance.

In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below the $3,689.50 HVNode, would favor continuation as low as the $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes. Note that 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.

Graphic 10: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

Conclusions: Participants ought to look for favorable areas to transact, such as those highlighted areas in the S&P 500, featured in Graphic 9.

Big picture, the sell-off ought to be bought, just not yet. Per Graphic 11, euphoria is still too high.

Graphic 11: Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) sentiment indicators.

Levels Of Interest: $3,727.75, $3,689.50, $3,611.50 and $3,556.00 HVNodes.

Cover photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘Follow The Flow’

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: After prices were advertised below balance in the week prior, responsive buyers in the S&P 500 began a rally that found acceptance back inside a larger balance-area, near the $3,800 high-open interest strike.

Thereafter, initiative buyers extended the S&P 500’s rally, breaking the index above its $3,824.25 balance-area high (BAH), before establishing acceptance near the $3,850.00 price extension, an upside target, and auctioning back into range, repairing poor structures left in the wake of discovery.

What Does It Mean: In light of a failed breakdown in the week prior, U.S. stock indexes were best positioned for further downside discovery. However, after what appears to be aggressive buying in response to prices below value, it was clear that was not the case.

This leads to the following question: why did selling stop on January 15? One answer, aside from a positive start to the earnings season and prospects for further stimulus, may be OPEX, the January 15 option expiry. On expiration days, delta and gamma exposures change — depending on how derivatives exposure is removed or rolled — which causes dealers to adjust hedges.

According to SpotGamma, the January 15 expiry “resulted in a ~50% reduction in single stock gamma … [which] creates volatility because, as large options positions expire[], are closed and/or rolled, dealers have large hedges they need to adjust. There is a trove of data to suggest that the bulk of single stock call activity is long calls, and based on that we believe dealers (who are short calls vs long stock) therefore have long stock positions to sell.”

Put more simply, the price action may have been attributable to the sale of long stock that hedged expiring short derivatives exposure above the market (i.e., call side).

Per the SpotGamma S&P 500 dealer hedging graphic for the January 15 expiry below, “The black line was the mark on Thursday evening, with the red line being the forecasted position on Tuesday. This red line being substantially lower than the black suggests that dealers had to reduce delta exposure as a result of expiration. Note there is a larger shift at overhead prices suggesting this was a ‘call heavy’ expiration.”

Graphic 1: SpotGamma S&P 500 dealer hedging graphic for the January 15 options expiry

After the VIX (i.e., CBOE’s Volatility Index) expiry on January 20, alongside the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the prospects for a rally improved as “event premium in IV dries up … [and] put values drop, which allows dealers (who are short puts) to buy back short hedges … [fueling] a quick rally up to the 3850SPX/385SPY level (green arrow).”

Graphic 2: SpotGamma S&P 500 Gamma Levels

Adding, the number of put options sold to open exceeded the number bought to open, per SpotGamma, suggesting increased confidence in higher prices as market participants look to options for income, and not insurance.

Historically, the returns after such developments are mixed — more often the appearance of strong initiative buying surfaces (e.g., August and January 2020) before a liquidation helps correct excess inventory, and bring sense back into the market.

Graphic 3: SpotGamma plots opening option positions.

What To Expect: During Friday’s session in the S&P 500, responsive buying surfaced after a test of the $3,818.25 High-Volume Node (HVNode), above the $3,813.50 ledge (below which is a pocket of low-volume).

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 (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 value for favorable entry or exit.

After the S&P 500 found acceptance above the $3,813.50 ledge and $3,824.25 BAH, it encountered responsive selling near the $3,840.75 HVNode, the site of a downtrend line. Since the selling transpired at a visual level, market participants know that technically-driven, short-term traders in control. In other words, institutions (e.g, funds) tend not to transact at exact technical levels.

Given the aforementioned dynamics, participants will come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. The S&P 500’s higher-time frame breakout remains intact, per graphics 7, 8, and 9.
  2. Late last year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggested equities would rally with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000 on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies. Since then, Kolanovic downgraded growth and expressed the limited potential for further upside.
  3. The earnings of heavily weighted index constituents suggests participants discount improved speculative flows and delta (e.g., presence of committed buying or selling as measured by volume delta). Please see graphics 4, 5, and 6.
Graphic 4: Supportive order flow in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, on January 20 trend day.
Graphic 5: Supportive order flow in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY), the largest ETF that tracks the S&P 500, on January 22.
Graphic 6: Speculative derivatives activity for the week ending January 23, 2021.
Graphic 7: Daily candlestick chart of the cash S&P 500 Index

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

In the best case, the S&P 500 takes back Friday’s liquidation and auctions above the $3,840.75 HVNode. Expectations thereafter include continued balance or initiative buying to take out the $3,859.75 overnight all-time high (there is a low probability that overnight all-time highs end the upside discovery process). Thereafter buying continues as high as the $3,884.75 price projection, or double the width of the balance-area, the typical target on a balance-area breakout.

In the worst case, any break that finds increased involvement (i.e., supportive flows and delta) below $3,824.25 BAH, would favor continuation as low as the $3,763.75 BAL.

Graphic 8: Profile overlays on a 15-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

Conclusions: Despite broad-market indices being in a longer-term uptrend, the odds of substantial upside resolve are low. Participants ought to look for favorable areas to transact, such as those high-volume areas in the S&P 500 featured in graphic 8.

All in all, the risk and reward dynamics, at these price levels, are poor.

Graphic 9: 4-hour profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

Levels Of Interest: $3,884.75, $3,859.75, $3,840.75 HVNode, $3,824.25 BAH, $3,763.75 BAL.

Cover photo by Jayant Kulkarni from Pexels.

Categories
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.

Categories
Commentary

‘To Infinity And Beyond’: Market Commentary For The Week Ahead

Key Takeaways:

What Happened: During last week’s trade, U.S. index futures auctioned to new all-time highs, before moving back into balance.

What Does It Mean: After participants established an all-time rally high during Wednesday’s overnight session, the S&P 500 liquidated in regular trading, down to the micro-composite high-volume node near $3,667.75, a price level where participants spent a large amount of time in the past. The session ended in prior balance and range with poor profile structure denoting the presence of directional conviction.

For the remainder of the week, participants accepted lower prices until Friday’s session established minimal excess lows, broke into prior poor structure, and ended the technical downtrend. 

Given the mechanical trade (i.e., minimal excess at Friday’s lows) and poor structure (e.g., low-volume areas), it’s very likely that the selling range extension was the result of weak-handed, short-term momentum buyers liquidating positions in panic.

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 a key technical level (i.e., the high-volume node near $3,630.00 and 20-day simple moving average). The fact that there was a response at a technical reference confirms that participation in the market is overwhelmingly short-term; in other words, institutions (e.g, funds) tend not to transact at exact technical levels. 

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

  1. Both sentiment and positioning are historically stretched while the market has entered a short-gamma environment; in such cases, dealers hedge their derivatives exposure by buying into strength and selling into weakness. This, alongside the presence of short-term traders in U.S. equities, will exacerbate volatility in the coming week.
  2. Looking to 2021, the decline in realized correlation due to factor and sector rotation, as well as the return of systematic option selling strategies should push the long-gamma narrative in which volatility is suppressed and the market pins or slowly rises in a range-bound fashion.
  3. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggests equities will rally short-term with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000 on the basis of low rates, improved fundamentals, buybacks, as well as systematic and hedge fund strategies.
  4. Despite high CAPE ratios, stock-market valuations aren’t that absurd.
  5. Prior trade points to the non-presence of committed selling; after Friday’s session saw a failure to range extend and establish excess, the technical down-trend was broken.

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

In the best case, buyers surface at the $3,654.75 low-volume node and extend range up to the high-volume node at $3,667.75. High-volume areas denote value and should slow prices allowing participants enough time to enter and exit trades. An initiative drive through this area would portend a test of the $3,690.75 high-volume node, and then the prior all-time rally high.

In the worst case, if the S&P 500 auctions below $3,630.00, participants would look to repair the poor structure just shy of $3,625.00. Finding acceptance (i.e., spending more than one half-hour of regular trade) below Friday’s range would be the most negative outcome.

Conclusion: Though sentiment and positioning imply limited potential for further upside, the S&P 500’s higher-time frame breakout remains intact.

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

Levels Of Interest: $3,720.00 extension, $3,715.00 all-time rally high, the micro-composite HVNode at $3,690.75, $3,667.75, and $3,630.00, as well as the $3,654.75 LVNode and poor structure near $3,625.00.

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

Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT) – Acceptance after higher-time frame balance-breakout. Potential remains for a push to the balance-area projection.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) – Acceptance after higher-time frame balance-breakout. Potential scenarios include (1) continued rotation, (2) upside continuation, or (3) failed breakout and a return to balance.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ: AMD) – Acceptance after higher-time frame balance-breakout. Potential for upside continuation or failed breakout and return to balance.

Shopify Inc (NYSE: SHOP) – Balance just shy of channel boundary. Potential for upside breakout and continuation.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE: CMG) – Just shy of balance-area high. Potential for upside breakout and continuation.

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) – Rejected prior week’s balance-area. Likelihood of continuation up to S&P 500 index inclusion intact on surging call volumes, dealer accumulation. $700 strike is the high-OI strike of interest.

Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ: ZM) – Just shy of long-term trend, anchored VWAP. Potential for responsive buying.

Summit Materials Inc (NYSE: SUM) – Failed breakout, but speculative call volumes surfaced on the return into balance. Potential exists for another attempt higher.

Nasdaq-100 (INDEXNASDAQ: NDX) – Retest of balance-area high. Higher time-frame breakout remains intact.

Cover photo by SpaceX from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

‘Go Forth’: Market Commentary For The Week Ahead

Key Takeaways:

Last Week Unpacked: During much of the week, participants lacked the conviction to break through to new highs. This was evidenced by mechanical trade (i.e., low-excess at the edges of balance).

However, after Thursday’s liquidation on news that Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) would slash its 2020 vaccine production target flushed out weak-handed participants, responsive buyers surfaced and recovered the balance-area high.

During Friday’s regular trading, initiative buyers extended range — through the $3,682.00 balance-area high — up to the $3,700.00 high gamma strike. The after-hours session introduced a 4-tick excess high, providing a clear end to the upside discovery process.

Pictured: Profile overlays on a 30-minute candlestick chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures

What To Expect: Friday’s auction saw the separation and acceptance of value beyond a week-long balance-area.

This came after Thursday’s afternoon pullback found responsive buyers surface at a key technical level (i.e., the low-volume node near $3,655.00). The fact that there was a response at that technical reference confirms that participation in the market has been overwhelmingly short-term; in other words, institutions (e.g, funds) tend not to transact at exact technical levels.

Moreover, given that initiative buyers are in control, participants will come into Monday’s session in light of the following: 

  1. Both sentiment and positioning are historically stretched while the market is stuck in a long-gamma environment; in such cases, dealers hedge their derivatives exposure by selling into strength and buying into weakness. As a result, volatility is suppressed and the market pins or slowly rises in a range-bound fashion, as we’re seeing.
  2. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) strategist Marko Kolanovic suggests equities will rally short-term, with the S&P 500 auctioning as high as $4,000 in Q1 2021 on the basis of improved fundamentals.
  3. Though prior trade points to the non-presence of committed buying, Friday’s session saw the separation and acceptance of value above a week-long balance area, further confirming the higher-time frame breakout.

Therefore, knowing that higher S&P 500 prices have been accepted, the following frameworks for next week’s trade apply.

In the best case, if participants manage to further spend time and build value above the $3,682.00 balance boundary, then initiative buyers remain in control — the nearest upside level of interest is the projection near $3,710.00.

In the worst case, an initiative drive below $3,682.00 would portend a response at the $3,667.75 high-volume node. Auctioning even lower would denote a clear change in conviction. As a result participants would look to whether the $3,640.00 balance boundary holds. Breaking that reference puts the rally on hold.

Conclusion: Though sentiment and positioning imply limited potential for further upside, the market remains in a strong technical uptrend bolstered by improved fundamental factors.

Overall, the S&P 500 has confirmed a multi-month balance-break.

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

Levels Of Interest: $3,710.00 projection, the micro-composite HVNode at $3,690.75 and $3,667.75, as well as the $3,682.00 and $3,640.00 balance boundary.

Photo by Abhishek Gaurav from Pexels.

Categories
Commentary

‘Tug Of War’: Market Commentary For The Week Ahead

Key Takeaways:

  • Sentiment still stretched despite cooling after the vaccine value rotation on news of further lockdowns, which could have a material consequence on the economic recovery.
  • The pandemic-induced liquidation of businesses not equipped to survive disruption and the accelerated adoption of new technology suggests growth stocks have staying power.
  • Broad-market equity indices ended in a larger balance area suggesting further acceptance of the positive response to upside earnings surprises, a divided government, and vaccine results. 
  • Friday’s monthly options expiry may mark a decisive move depending on how existing derivatives exposure is rolled forward and the presence of impactful news.
  • Institutions differ in opinion over the market’s strength into year-end.

What Happened: Following the post-election rally, U.S. index futures remained range-bound as sentiment cooled in the face of new lockdowns and fading stimulus hopes.

What Does It Mean: After Monday’s initiative upside drive on news that another COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) was 94.5% effective at preventing cases of the virus, U.S. index futures pared their advance, as participants struggled to maintain higher prices, evidenced by a divergent delta (i.e., the non-presence of committed buying) and mechanical trade (i.e., low-excess at the edges of balance).

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

What To Expect: On Friday’s end-of-day sell-off away from value, the S&P 500 closed within a prior balance area marked by the $3,580 spike base and $3,506.25 excess low. 

Given that Friday’s session failed to retake Wednesday’s spike liquidation, auctioning back into the micro-composite high-volume node at $3,557, the fairest price to do business during the prior week’s balancing activity, initiative sellers remain in control.

As a result, participants come into Monday’s session knowing the following:

  1. Prior end-of-day spikes were the result of weak-handed, short-term buyers liquidating in panic.
  2. The selling did not attract increased participation (i.e., price diverged from value).
  3. Friday’s monthly options expiry may mark a decisive move depending on how existing contracts are rolled forward. Given that $3,600 is the highest gamma strike, the probability of sustained directional resolve, absent material news, is much lower.
Graphic by SpotGamma.com.

Therefore, in light of a weak response to the $3,557 high-volume node and Friday’s options expiry, participants can carry forward the following frameworks for next week’s trade. 

If participants manage to spend time and build value in or below the prior selling activity, then initiative sellers remain in control and the liquidation could be the beginning of a new trend to the downside, confirmed by range expansion beyond the $3,506.25 excess low. Otherwise, there is the potential for a failed break-down in which participants manage to rotate back over the $3,580, a balance area boundary. 

Conclusion: Friday’s monthly options expiry may mark the beginning of a decisive move. The only thing that’s needed? A catalyst. 

In case of sustained upside, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) gives the S&P a $3,700 target on an expectation the v-shape recovery will continue into next year. Contributing factors including a divided government, vaccine administration, rebound in profits, low rates, and a small rise in the yield curve. 

Graphic by Goldman Sachs, retrieved from The Market Ear.com

In case of further balance or selling, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) sees vulnerabilities as mutual funds look to sell $160 billion in global equities to revert to their target 60:40 allocation.

Levels Of Interest: Micro-composite HVN at $3,557, the $3,506.25 excess low, as well as the $3,580 balance-area low.