Daily Brief For July 21, 2021

Market Commentary

Equity index futures sideways to higher overnight. 

  • Pandemic continues to accelerate.
  • Ahead is oil market data, earnings.
  • Indices sideways as volatility ebbs.

What Happened: U.S. stock index futures auctioned sideways to higher alongside an increased spread of COVID-19 variants, earnings, and tremendous bond market volatility.

The trade comes also as leading indicators for global economic growth show unusually strong readings, according to Merrill, “pointing to one of the strongest economic expansions of the past 70 years.” In line, strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) revised higher their year-end S&P 500 price target from $4,400 to $4,600. 

Ahead, participants are looking forward to data on oil market inventory and earnings.

Graphic updated 6:30 AM ET. Sentiment Risk-On if expected /ES open is above the prior day’s range. A positive Dark Pool Index reading is bullish. At the same time, the higher (lower) the gamma, the less (more) volatility. SHIFT Search data used for options activity. Note that options flow is sorted by the call premium spent; if green and more (less) positive then more (less) was spent on call options. Breadth reflects a reading of the prior day’s Advance/Decline indicator.

What To Expect: As of 6:30 AM ET, Wednesday’s regular session (9:30 AM – 4:00 PM EST) in the S&P 500 will likely open on a small gap, just outside of prior-range and -value, suggesting a potential for directional opportunity.

Balance-Break and/or Gap Scenarios: Monitor for acceptance (i.e., more than 1-hour of trade) outside of the balance area.

Gaps ought to fill quickly. Should they not, that’s a signal of strength; do not fade. Leaving value behind on a gap-fill or failing to fill a gap (i.e., remaining outside of the prior session’s range) is a go-with indicator.

Auctioning and spending at least 1-hour of trade back in the prior range suggests a lack of conviction; in such a case, do not follow the direction of the most recent initiative activity.

Adding, during the prior day’s regular trade, the best case outcome occurred, evidenced by trade above the $4,285.25 micro-composite Point of Control (MCPOC). This is significant because it denotes movement above the fairest price to do business since the June 20 swing low. Now, initiative sellers have a clear line in the sand – $4,285.25 – when it comes to making headway into areas of demand.

Further, the near-vertical price rise wasn’t without a warrant.

After breaking down, the S&P 500 came to a micro-composite LVNode and halted. Thereafter, prices rebounded. Why was this? Stock indexes were positioned for a vicious rebound as near-term downside discovery may have reached a limit, based on market liquidity metrics and the inventory positioning of participants. 

According to SqueezeMetrics, the steepness of the GammaVol (GXV) curve suggested there was more risk to the upside than the downside, at that S&P 500 juncture.

Given this metric, strong breadth, and positive delta, as well as the resolve of a Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) pinch, the S&P 500 is positioned for higher.

Graphic: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) market liquidity, via Bookmap. Note the supportive volume delta, a measure of buying and selling power as calculated by the difference in volume traded at the bid and offer.
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.

For today, participants can trade from the following frameworks.

In the best case, the S&P 500 trades sideways or higher; activity above the $4,334.25 spike base puts in play the $4,343.00 untested Point of Control (VPOC). Initiative trade beyond the VPOC could reach as high as the $4,357.75 low volume area (LVNode) and $4,371.00 VPOC.

In the worst case, the S&P 500 trades lower; activity below the $4,334.25 spike base puts in play the $4,314.75 HVNode. Initiative trade beyond the $4,314.75 HVNode could reach as low as the $4,299.75 HVNode and $4,285.25 micro-composite POC.

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).

POCs: POCs 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.

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.
Graphic: 65-minute profile chart of the Micro E-mini S&P 500 Futures.

News And Analysis

Work-in-progress U.S. infrastructure bill faces test in Senate. (REU)

Housing starts continuing to improve as permits lose ground. (MND)

Nasdaq to spin out market for pre-IPO shares in a bank deal. (WSJ)

Decentralized finance builds on three major waves of bitcoin. (Future)

Startups on a record acquisition spree buying other startups. (CBN)

U.S. and European consumer confidence and spending rise. (Moody’s)

Titan – Fidelity for Millennials – raised $58M Series B round. (CBN)

Survey showing U.S. majority supports more tech regulation. (Axios)

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.