Keep On Trying ‘Till We Reach the Higher Ground

I was off the trading desk and on a holiday this last week, which was very relaxing. Now I have all kinds of catch-up work to do, so going to make this a brief(ish) one today. Go ahead and play the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover or the Stevie Wonder original while you read and the post title will make all the more sense. Plus it’s a great song.

So here we go…

WTI Crude Oil

This last week was the monthly contract roll, which is usually something of a thrill ride and this week had its fair share of hurking and jerking over a $5 range. Looking at the weekly chart I think you have to seriously consider the possibility that WTI is trying in earnest to find an intermediate term bottom here. Not that it always matters for your intraday tactics, but you have to be aware of the higher-time frame, particularly at the recent range edges. To fade or not to fade, that is always the question.


In reality, there are a couple of legitimate ways to see the chart above. First and my favorite is that we’re bottom fishing in the low 50s now. We have 3 consecutive weeks of higher POCs, with this week’s was right around 53.50. This is pretty significant… we just haven’t seen anything like this in quite some while. A base for some further upside has been established, but as always the question is whether we can keep it going given the still-massive oversupply conditions we’re facing. Of course, we’re coming into the summer driving season in North America, so seasonality should start to become something of a factor. Assuming of course the Northeast ever manages to dig out and thaw out.

The other legit way to view the weekly price action above is to see it as just a dead cat bounce and we’re headed for another leg lower, likely back to test the January lows in the 43.50s. Here and now we’re at a pretty critical technical juncture in the WTI market in my view. So… dead cat bounce or bottom found? At this point I’m favoring the “bottom fishing” view simply because it’s clear that buyers are seeing value in this range of prices. At the end of the day, it’s all about value.

So looking at the week, I think Thursday and Friday are the most interesting days to examine:

[one_half first]







Merged, Thursday and Friday (left) provide a somewhat balanced profile. Apart, right, we have a reasonably balanced Thursday and a very unbalanced Friday with both a very, very, poor high and low. However, we did achieve a higher value area. This is a tell for Monday, I’m thinking, and again the merged Thursday/Friday auction is a little out of balance in a bullish way. Completing/balancing this late-week action would mean a test of a well-established area of balance which has a bottom in the 52.90s. If the bulls are able to crack 53.00 early in the week it would not be unreasonable at all to expect a rapid test of the weekly high around 55. Above that 53 area and there may be some significant buys stops for the popping and given the risk on undercurrent of last week, as nuts as it may sound, a test of the 60 handle could be in the cards this week or next. It may not stick, but a test like this soon is not out of the question given the recent ranges. Looking the other way, should we see selling with buyers failing to defend the 49.50s I’d expect higher time frame support in the 46s. Again this expectations is based on the evidence – for the last several weeks buyers are voting on the value at these prices with their wallets. Should buyers fail to materialize there, I’ll almost certainly be targeting the lows in the 43s for a second test and potentially a double bottom. Through that and… well… let’s cross that bridge when it’s in front of us.

S & P 500

Without a doubt, the charts are shouting risk on in the senior US equity indexes. In the ES we built a pretty convincing area of balance/acceptance around 2094 and the shot through the 2100 ceiling with a mighty crack:



This push left an area of singles (highlighted above) behind, and given the time and volume in the early week balance, in my view it’s most constructive the see the area above the singles as a new, incomplete auction. I’m going with that thesis then unless we see something contradictory from Asia and the EU overnight tonight. Save that, I’m expecting to see this nascent auction to provide us with a balanced target test of the 2015 area Monday. Of course, you can’t discount the “Greek factor” in Friday’s price action, and as is so often the case, the ES may want to re-test area where price took off very, very soon. In this particular case, I would expect a check and repair of the singles (shown above) around 2100 again during regular trading hours on Monday and even down to the balance area POC around the 94-95 handle. Should buyers fail to provide support for this region it’s not unreasonable in my view to expect a quick trip to the Friday lows around 2082. The bottom line is that Friday’s profile is an ugly, skinny trend auction example and it needs some fix-up. If we test higher without addressing the structural issues in Friday’s auction, I’ll likely view this is a head fake, particularly if the overall internals are showing anything but continued exuberance.  The reality is that this structure will be repaired, it always is, it’s just a matter of when. So again, let’s take it one step at a time.

Trade ’em well this week…


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