Equities bull flag flies high

December 18, 2017 10:46 AM

E-mini S&P (March)

Last week’s close: Settled at 2682, a new all-time high

Fundamentals: Equity markets have picked up right where they left off Friday with the S&P and NQ both trading into uncharted territory. This week will be about passing tax reform, and after a compromise was reached Friday, the House is set to vote on Tuesday, while the Senate could vote as early as Tuesday. But tax reform will not be the only thing on the agenda as Washington must pass a budget by Friday to avert a shutdown. Should we have expected anything less than a last-minute showdown on the hill before Christmas? Absolutely not. Though the S&P and NQ broke out on Friday, the Russell 2000 small-caps are lagging about 1.5% below the spike high from two weeks ago. This trade will be critical to watch this week, as we want to see a confirmation and breakout in the Russell in order to signal that the S&P has legs through the 2715 target we discussed on last night’s Tradable Events this Week. There, we also discussed Eurozone CPI, which was in line with expectations this morning. Today is quiet on the data front, but get ready as Tuesday through Friday will be exciting.

Technicals: What more could a bull ask for than what we got on Friday’s session; a clean breakout weekly close in the S&P, while the bull flag breakout was also confirmed in the NQ. Both should continue to stretch gains in their respective melt-up phases. Our upside target in the S&P is 2715.25, resistance comes in this morning at 2694.50 and we want to see price action hold and close above 2688 in order for momentum to remain strong.

Bias: Bullish

Resistance – 2688**, 2694.50**, 2715.25***

Pivot – 2681.50-2682

Support – 2675.50**, 2667.25**, 2651.75-2652.50***


Crude Oil (February)

Last week’s close: Settled at 57.

Fundamentals: Crude oil traded higher into the weekend as buyers reemerged due to the crack in the Forties Pipeline, a potential Nigerian strike and Baker Hughes announcing that producers cut four rigs, the first drop in six weeks. Mid-week there was some optimism that the situation in the North Sea was overexaggerated, however, the market seemed to disagree as prices edged higher into this morning with February reaching 57.81. INEOS said this morning that their time frame is still two to four weeks and the cracks have not spread. Nigerian oil workers did go on strike today causing another situation that needs to be monitored. It is important to watch the most closely effected contract, Brent. For us, Brent has not accelerated higher in a worrisome fashion. Today is the last day to trade January futures and they settle tomorrow; expiration can be a choppy nonsensical trade, similar to what we have seen over the last week.

Technicals: Price action has stalled against resistance at the 57.65 level; a close above here will turn the tape higher and begin to neutralize our position. To the downside, we want to see a close back below first support at 57.33-57.35 at a minimum, while a move and close below 56.99-57.08 will be absolutely critical in turning the tape bearish in the near-term. Ultimately, there is a consolidating wedge pattern between $55 and $59; a move outside of this wedge would ignite a directional move that has legs.

Bias: Bearish

Resistance – 57.65**, 58.45**, 58.97***, 59.96***, 62.58**

Pivot – 57.33-57.35

Support – 56.99-57.08**, 56.11-56.30**, 55.00-55.25***

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About the Author

Bill Baruch is President and founder of Blue Line Futures, a leading futures and commodities brokerage firm. Bill has more than a decade of trading experience and focuses on developing trading strategies for both long and short-term trading approaches. Prior to Blue Line, Bill was the Chief Market Strategist at iiTRADER.  Bill is a featured expert on CNBC, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal as well as other top tier publications.