Mole’s Cunning Plan

Equities have been holding their ground overnight and it’s completely plausible that we may see an attempt to squeeze momentum higher early in today’s session. However, thus far the reversal has been anemic and the recent lack of buying mojo calls into question whether or not the bulls will be able to overcome the first major hurdles waiting ahead.

For one there’s the 25-day SMA (weak) near 1950 followed by a volume hole a few handles further near 1960. If you remember my ‘zoning low’ chart then you recall that this is where the bearish scenario rapidly loses its luster.

Since yesterday’s drive higher our SPX P&F chart has switched into bullish mode, as would be expected due to the double top break out I pointed at last week. Now this is the price potential given we hold here and perhaps even drive higher. But if we run into a wall then this would trap a hell of a lot of longs, wouldn’t it?

And that potential scenario has been in the minds of market makers as the VIX:VXO isn’t yet buying this rally. So short term near term option premiums seem to going at a slight premium.

On a quarterly basis however the market believes that it’s clear sailing ahead – kind of. A bit tepid that signal but let’s not try to read too much into it. One step at a time.

So what happens right here and now is rather important, wouldn’t you say? The GBP/JPY correlation meanwhile is pointing down and I intend to keep a close eye on that one during the open. Yesterday it’s been useless to us as Forex markets were digesting the BOE’s quarterly inflation report.

Now if you’re a sub then you may have taken our NQ long and thus far it’s banked 1R as of this writing. So we have to make a decision now – do we hold it in expectation of a run higher or do we take our R here and run for cover? I have decided on a hybrid approach – which means I will advance my stop to break/even and keep the NQ long. Meanwhile, as I’m expecting downside, I will balance myself delta neutral where I expect the most weakness. This way I can wait until I get a proper entry on the short side which will only happen if we see spoos run into a wall. So effectively I just bought myself a cheap pass to sit out some of the whipsaw we can expect up here – I agree with Scott that we are approaching an important inflection point.

And here’s what I suggest on the short side – please step into my lair:

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So that is it – Mole’s cunning plan – and no invasive surgery is required. ┬áNow let’s see if we get away with it ;-)


Bear Time!

As all of you know I am probably the least bearish trader around. I am a trend following pattern trader. However, to all things a season, and it is the exact time for the bears to finally do some technical damage to the tape.

Why do I say this? Because as pullbacks have gotten shallower and shallower over the last few months volatility (real volatility in price right now, not the market take on implied future volatility in the VIX) has fallen to a historical extreme and then painted an uptick. I posted these two charts on Sunday and I think they are well worth a revisit.

Very strong price action late in a trend is a classic sign of capitulation of one side and typically marks the terminal stage of any move. Objectively price action could not have been stronger over the last few months.

Volatility, in this instance measured by a normalized (expressed as a percentage) ATR (14) with a 100 period 1 standard deviation bollinger on it is a good objective measure of volatility (though it must be said it is slightly lagging). Objectively, when ATR is below its 1 standard deviation bollinger it is historically low. When you get an uptick from extreme low volatility it is a time for extreme caution for trend following traders, and counter trend trades become a positive expectancy again.

We are somewhere near the terminal phase of a low volatility melt up. In low volatility moves on all timeframes from 15min to monthly counter trend setups have a very pronounced negative edge UNTIL you have extreme low volatility and then an uptick from that low base. This is a remarkable and repeatable concept I suggest you all take to heart.

Anyhow, I’m digressing. I told you to avoid long setups this week as best case for the bears we are in a trading range and there is not sufficient distance to the upper boundary to justify getting long on a risk/reward basis

Now let’s take a closer look at what happened today, and see how that affects the overall picture. As you can see today’s price action represents extreme failure by the bulls. Perhaps they were waiting for the Fed garbage to play out but still this is very bearish price action.

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Careful of the potential fed whipsaw :)

Scott Phillips

Time To Strike The Iron

We are at an important inflection point this morning and it’s time to strike the iron as it’s hot hot hot! I’m running a bit late today so I only have time to report on equities – but it’s a very good one, so pay attention:

This is what’s working in our favor right now – the GBP/JPY is still looking divergent or at least unsupportive. Could change quickly but there are no guarantees in the trading game. So let’s look at the price action on the futures side:

This is a textbook RTV-S configuration and you can play it by the rules. My discretionary style however differs a bit from Ivan and Scott which is why I use Net-Lines as additional price inflection points. Sometimes they afford me better entries near important price congestion clusters. In this case we have a typical 1-2 pattern here (if you allow me a tiny bit of wave wanking). What comes next will of course determine where prices head next. I personally have no bone in this fight (yet), so I’m able to objectively assess all entry possibilities that the tape is affording me right now. Here we go:

  • Short via the NLSL below 1948.25 – put your stop above a few ticks above yesterday’s highs (1953.25).
  • Short via the regular RTV-S entry point one tick below (or at if you want) 1937.25. Your ISL will again be above 1953.25. This will result in a smaller position size as you are affording yourself a larger stop. When in doubt use our handy futures risk calculator.
  • Long above the NLSL or yesterday’s highs. My stop would be below 1937.25.

Now I know what you’re thinking – those NLSL entry triggers are dangerously close to each other, and you’re right. I will have to monitor the Zero after the open (you do have a subscription right?) as to assess whether participation favors more up or downside. If you’re cheapskating it I suggest you watch the 100-hour SMA on the spoos plus the GBP/JPY correlation. In summary I’ll be all over this like a fat kid on a Mars bar – this could be a very fun campaign.

You have been briefed – now get busy!

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