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The Bulls Are Still Trapped Below 4,200 on The S&P 500

This column is my opinion and expresses my views. Those views can change at a moments notice when the market changes. I am not right all the time and I do not expect to be. I disclose all my positions clearly listed on the page, and I do not trade my account on the stocks spoken of in this column unless fully disclosed. If that does not work for you stop reading and close the page. Do not bother me or harass me.

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Stocks managed to conclude the week on a positive note, primarily driven by flows related to options, attributed to Friday’s OPEX. The primary concern in the future is the location of the call wall and its potential impact on pushing the market higher. The call wall represents the level with the highest call gamma, acting as a resistance level. Similarly, the put wall signifies the level with the highest put gamma, serving as a support level.

The call wall has remained consistently at 4,200 in the S&P 500 for a considerable period. Preliminary data suggests that the call wall will likely persist at 4,200 for Monday. It’s important to note that this can change on a daily basis. Understanding the position of the call wall holds significant importance, particularly if one anticipates a market upturn from the current state. This implies that market makers are likely to sell S&P 500 futures above 4,200, thereby restricting the index’s upward movement. Furthermore, the 4,150 level is likely to be the zero gamma level. This signifies that market makers will also act as sellers of the S&P 500 below 4,150. As the index experiences a decline, the selling pressure intensifies due to entering a negative gamma regime.

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Consequently, the current situation leaves the bullish investors in a predicament, unless there is a significant shift in the sentiment of the options market. Presently, the options market does not seem to provide the equity market with the necessary impetus to move higher. As long as this situation persists, both the index and the bulls remain trapped. While it is possible for the index to reach 4,225, I have reservations about its ability to surpass that level given the prevailing dynamics.

Although the index broke above the diamond pattern this week, it is crucial to acknowledge that as long as the call wall remains at 4,200, there is a substantial risk that this entire rally could be a deceptive trap for the bulls and might even trigger a significant reversal in the index. Especially now that a significant portion of gamma has been removed after OPEX, the supportive cushion that aided the market this week is no longer in place.

Moreover, the decrease in gamma levels is likely to result in an increase in the VIX. Currently, the spreads in the VIX futures contract compared to the spot price remain considerably wide. This condition is typically associated with market tops, further indicating a potential negative outlook for the market.

Lastly, let’s analyze the McClellan US Summation Index, which has been exhibiting a notable divergence from the NASDAQ 100. This divergence is historically concerning, as it has often resulted in unfavorable outcomes over the past few years. The summation index serves as a gauge of changes in advances and declines, providing insights into the overall breadth of the market. The current pattern bears a striking resemblance to similar actions observed in late 2018, the spring of 2019, February 2020, September 2020, and throughout the second half of 2021.

In general, this type of divergence has typically been associated with unfavorable outcomes.

Have a good weekend.


Charts used with the permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P. This report contains independent commentary to be used for informational and educational purposes only. Michael Kramer is a member and investment adviser representative with Mott Capital Management. Mr. Kramer is not affiliated with this company and does not serve on the board of any related company that issued this stock. All opinions and analyses presented by Michael Kramer in this analysis or market report are solely Michael Kramer’s views. Readers should not treat any opinion, viewpoint, or prediction expressed by Michael Kramer as a specific solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell a particular security or follow a particular strategy. Michael Kramer’s analyses are based upon information and independent research that he considers reliable, but neither Michael Kramer nor Mott Capital Management guarantees its completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such. Michael Kramer is not under any obligation to update or correct any information presented in his analyses. Mr. Kramer’s statements, guidance, and opinions are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Neither Michael Kramer nor Mott Capital Management guarantees any specific outcome or profit. You should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investment commentary presented in this analysis. Strategies or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value. Investments or strategies mentioned in this analysis may not be suitable for you. This material does not consider your particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs and is not intended as a recommendation appropriate for you. You must make an independent decision regarding investments or strategies in this analysis. Upon request, the advisor will provide a list of all recommendations made during the past twelve months. Before acting on information in this analysis, you should consider whether it is suitable for your circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser to determine the suitability of any investment.