Daily Brief For September 24, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures trade sideways to lower staying within the prior day’s range.

  • China has deemed crypto illegal.
  • Equity market enduring outflows.
  • Positioning risks are back in line.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to lower overnight after a series of outlier moves; despite global equity funds seeing their first outflows in 2021, positioning risks, among other things, cooled. 

In other news, China deemed all crypto-related transactions illegal and holders of China Evergrande Group’s dollar bonds haven’t received a coupon payment due Thursday. 

Ahead is Fed-speak by Loretta Mester (8:45 AM ET), alongside data on new home sales (10:00 AM ET), and other Fed-speak by Jerome Powell and Esther George (10:00 AM 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, Friday’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 positive but lighter intraday breadth and divergent market liquidity metrics, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by initiative buying that ceased at $4,455.00.

This trade is significant because it resolved the $4,425.00 untested point of control (VPOC), an area of unfinished business so to speak.

In the process of resolve, the S&P 500 – as evidenced by emotional, multiple distribution profile structures – established a minimal excess rally high at $4,455.00 before the momentum from covering shorts was overpowered by responsive selling at key areas of resting liquidity, at and around $4,455.00, or so.

Graphic: Divergent delta (i.e., non-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 responsive trade or balance (i.e., rotational trade that suggests current prices offer favorable entry and exit).

Further, the aforementioned trade is happening in the context of global equity fund outflows, a theme in line with a recent fraying in the buy-the-dip psychology. 

The implications of this theme on price are contradictory; to elaborate, according to Reuters, “With outflows of $24.2 billion, global stock funds lost the most since March 2020 as investors moved in [favor] of cash where they [plowed] in $39.6 billion of funds, Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) said, citing EPFR data. Bond funds saw inflows of $10 billion.”

Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett commented: “Pessimism over passage of the $1 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion build back better Reconciliation caused the second-biggest outflow ever from infrastructure funds and largest from consumer funds on a year-to-date basis.”

Nevertheless, Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (NYSE: GS) Peter Oppenheimer, alongside HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE: HSBC) strategists, believes dip-buying is a go as “we’re still in the relatively early stages of this economic cycle.” 

We saw some large participant(s) take advantage of the recent dip; there was a “flurry of [bullish] trades with the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) … involved call spreads maturing in each of the next three months. The total cost was about $50 million.”

Moreover, for today, given expectations of lower volatility, participants may make use of the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,437.75 micro composite point of control (MCPOC) puts in play the $4,455.00 minimal excess high. Initiative trade beyond the minimal excess high could reach as high as the $4,481.75 high volume area (HVNode) and $4,510.00 low volume area (LVNode), or higher.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,437.75 MCPOC puts in play the $4,415.75 LVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,415.75 LVNode could reach as low as the $4,393.75 HVNode and $4,365.25 LVNode, 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.

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.

Excess: A proper end to price discovery; the market travels too far while advertising prices. Responsive, other-timeframe (OTF) participants aggressively enter the market, leaving tails or gaps which denote unfair prices.

News And Analysis

Global equity funds see their first outflows in 2021.

Moody’s: Taper, shutdown and debt ceiling, oh my.

China bans crypto transactions, eyeing mining halt.

Underwater homeowners bailed out by equity rise.

Libor law will reduces structured finance disruption.

Pfizer clearance setting stage for broader booster.

Foreclosure starts rise following moratorium expiry.

No sign of Evergrande coupon payment Thursday.

Trader spent $50M on options betting on SPX rally.

China: I’m forever blowing bubbles. How bad is it?

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.


Market Commentary For The Week Ahead: ‘All In At The Top’

Key Takeaways:

  • Analysts extended 2021 S&P 500 targets.
  • Fear and greed are tugging at each other. 
  • Jefferies ups 2021 GDP forecast to 5.25%.
  • Net equity buying the largest in months.
  • Inflation is rising where you don’t want it.
  • Positioning suggests elevation of volatility.
  • The big picture breakouts remain intact.

What Happened: Coming into the extended holiday weekend, on tapering volumes, U.S. index futures balanced within prior range. 

This activity occurred in the context of a larger balance-area forming just beyond the $3,600.00 multi-month break-out point. Given the lack of range expansion, in addition to the aforementioned responsive, back-and-forth trade, participants are signaling a lack of conviction.

Though there is a lot of noise in the markets — an uneven recovery, stimulus, elections, trade, and the like — one key point remains: the multi-month upside breakout targeting S&P 500 prices as high as $4,000.00 remains intact. Add to this the recovery of Monday’s liquidation fueled by weak-handed, short-term buyers, and the fact that the all-time $3,724.25 rally-high was established in an overnight session, it is highly likely that the upside discovery process has yet to end.

Note: Historically, there is a low probability that overnight all-time highs end 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 session found responsive selling surface near the $3,691.00 profile level. Given that participants had difficulty in sustaining higher prices, alongside shortened holiday trade, the following frameworks apply for next week’s trade.

In the best case, the S&P 500 remains above its $3,667.75 HVNode, and continues to balance. As stated earlier, given the tapering volume and holiday, the odds of directional resolve are quite low. 

Two go, no-go levels exist; trade that finds increased involvement above $3,691.00 and below $3,667.75 would suggest a change in conviction. Anything in-between favors responsive trade.

Conclusion: Bank of America Corp’s (NYSE: BAC) Michael Hartnett summarized it best: “[T]he year of the virus, the lockdown, a crash, a recession, an epic policy panic, the greatest stock market rally of all-time, a V-shape economic recovery, and ending with a vaccine for COVID-19.”

Though risks remain, markets are pricing in the odds of a continued rebound. Unless some exogenous event were to transpire, technically speaking, all broad-market indices are in an uptrend. A move below $3,600.00 in the S&P 500 would denote a change in tone, increasing the likelihood of a failed breakout that would target prices as low as $3,200.00.

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

Levels Of Interest: The $3,691.00 boundary and $3,667.75 HVNode.

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

Photo by Raka Miftah from Pexels.