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Chart Advisor: Settling to Support

Posted October 4, 2021 at 1:53 am
Gordon Scott

Friday, 1st October, 2021

1/ Buyers show up to hold indexes at support 

2/ J.P. Morgan holds on to gains

3Netflix reaching new highs

4/ The bottom line

1/ Buyers Show Up to Hold Indexes at Support 

After a shaky opening to the trading session, indexes roared back toward the upside to start the month. Buyers piled on into the close, sending State Street’s S&P 500 Index ETF (SPY) and Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) higher by more than 1%. The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) rose nearly 2%, and Invesco’s Nasdaq 100 ETF (QQQ) climbed 0.7%, breaking a five-day losing streak.

Stocks were bolstered by news of a new oral treatment for COVID-19, which in turn lifted sectors tied to the economic recovery, such as travel, airlines, and banks. Economic headwinds remain and inflation fears persist in an environment where companies are struggling to maintain profit margins despite the ongoing supply chain bottlenecks.  

The short-term trend of the major indexes tilts to the downside. October can be viewed as the start of improved performance for stocks, but it will be interesting to see how supply chain constraints and increased costs due to rising inflation will affect consumer spending going into the holiday season.  

2/ J.P. Morgan Holds on to Gains 

Investors have recently bid up the share price of J.P. Morgan (JPM) above its moving average range, well above the stock’s 20-day moving average. Option traders appear to be positioned for JPM to continue to rise, as recent option activity has skewed toward call options over put options.

While puts outweigh calls in the open interest – 633,000 to 500,000 – recent trading volumes favor calls. On Friday, calls accounted for more than 60% of JPM’s option trades as the share price rose 2%. Put open interest is higher than average over the past 52 weeks, while call open interest is weaker than usual.  

For Oct. 15, which is the next monthly expiration date for options, the $165 call has the highest amount of open interest, with over 14,000 options open at that strike price. The next highest is the $170 call, with nearly 12,000 in the open interest. Option trading activity is signaling that investors are placing optimistic bets.  

3/ Netflix Reaching New Highs 

Netflix (NFLX) emerged from a volatile September unscathed, rising more than 2% in one of the historically worst months for stock performance. While the NFLX share price has fallen from the top of an extreme range, NFLX is still trading comfortably above its 20-day moving average, as well as outperforming the S&P 500 (SPX) over the past month, illustrated on the chart below.  

As a result of the continued rise, NFLX has seen elevated option activity. Puts slightly outnumber calls in the open interest – 367,000 puts to 334,000 calls. However, over the past 5 trading days, 75% of the option trades have been calls, expressing a bullish sentiment. The put/call ratio has dropped nearly 4% in that same time span, and the current call open interest is higher than usual over the past 52 weeks.  

For the next monthly option expiration date, out-of-the-money call options far outnumber out-of-the-money puts. There is elevated activity at every strike from $650 to $675. Implied volatility for these options is rising, indicating that more are being bought than sold.  

4/ The Bottom Line 

Stock indexes rebounded somewhat, while some stocks showed a continuation of recent strength. In particular, J.P. Morgan and Netflix drove to new highs and held onto their gains through the otherwise turbulent week. 

Originally posted on 1st October, 2021

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