Pre-Market Update for 7/16/2020

Small-Caps Reclaim 200-Day Moving Average

8:00am (EST)

The market surged on Wednesday’s open following news of an experimental coronavirus vaccine that showed it was safe and provoked immune responses in an ongoing early-stage study. Phase 3 results will begin later this month after the vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies in all 45 patients included in an early-stage human safety trial.

The majority of the gains fizzled with Tech trading lower by midday despite better-than-expected economic news and blowout 2Q earnings from the Financial sector for the 2nd-straight session. However, the small-caps showed strong momentum throughout the session with the other major indexes blowing by Monday’s previous peaks, as well.

The Russell 2000 zoomed 3.5% after tagging an intraday high of 1,485 while closing back above its 200-day moving average. Early June and lower resistance at 1,470-1,485 was cleared and held with a close above the latter signaling a retest towards 1,500-1,515.


The S&P 500 also advanced 0.9% with the first half peak reaching 3,238. Longer-term and lower resistance at 3,225-3,250 was recovered with a close above the latter signaling additional strength towards 3,250-3,275.


The Dow extended its winning streak to 4-straight sessions after adding 0.9% and testing a morning high of 27,071. Prior and lower resistance from the start of June at 27,000-27,250 was breached but held with a close above the latter getting 27,500-27,750 back in play.


The Nasdaq was higher by 0.6% following the intraday run to 10,604. Lower resistance at 10,600-10,700 was cleared but held with a move above the latter signaling a retest towards 10,800-10,900 and fresh all-time highs.


Industrials were the strongest sector after rallying 2.6% while Energy and Financials soared 2.2% and 2%, respectively. There were no sector laggards for the 2nd-straight session.

In economic news, MBA Mortgage Applications rose 5.1% following the prior week’s 2.2% gain. All of the strength was in refinancings where the index jumped 11.9% as mortgage rates declined further into record territory. The purchase index dropped -6.1%. The pace of applications on a 12-month basis slowed, however, to a 61.1% year-over-year rate versus 71.1% previously. Refis slipped to a 106.5% year-over-year pace from 110.9% while purchases tumbled to 15.5% versus 33.2% previously. The 30-year mortgage rate declined to 3.19% from the prior record low of 3.26% and was at 4.12% a year ago. The 5-year ARM rose to 3% from 2.98%.

New York Empire State Manufacturing Survey increased 17.4 points to 17.2 in June, topping forecasts for a print of 8.9, after surging 48.3 points to -0.2 previously. The index is recovering from the record -56.7 plunge to an all-time low of -78.2 in April, while ending four months in contractionary territory. The employment component moved up to 0.4 from -3.5 and is off the historic low of -55.3 in April. The workweek improved to -2.6 from -12. New orders rallied to 13.9 from -0.6 previously and is up from April’s all-time low of -66.3. Prices paid slipped to 14.9 from 16.9, with prices received at -4.5 from -0.6. The 6-month gauges were mixed with the outlook index falling to 38.4 from 56.5. The future employment gauge rose to 21.1 from 19 while future new orders slid to 41.9 from 52.9. Prices paid edged up to 28.6 from 25.6 and prices received increased to 10.4 from 7.5. Capex nearly tripled to 9.1 from 3.1.

June import and export prices each rose 1.4%. Those increases follow May revised gains of 0.8% for imports and 0.4% for exports. On a 12-month basis, import prices were contracting at a -3.8 % year-over-year clip versus -6.2% previously, while export prices were falling at a -4.4% year-over-year rate versus -6.2%. For import prices, petroleum prices climbed another 23% after bouncing 16.1% in May. Prices are still off -38.6% year-over-year, however. Excluding petroleum, prices rose 0.3% from 0.2%. For export prices, agricultural prices increased 1.4% versus -0.5%. Excluding ag, prices were up 1.4% from 0.5%.

Industrial Production rose 5.4% in June, lifting capacity utilization to 68.6%, with both above forecast. There was no revision to the 1.4% bounce in May production while capacity utilization for May was nudged up to 65.1%. Manufacturing production was up 7.2% after bouncing 3.8% in May. Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing rose another 105% after the 120% surge previously. Excluding vehicles and parts, manufacturing was up 3.9% versus the prior 1.9% gain. Utility production rebounded 4.2% from -3.5% while mining production dropped -2.9% from -6.1%.

The Fed’s Beige Book noted economic activity increased in almost all of the 12 Districts, but remained “well below” pre-pandemic levels. Consumer spending picked up as businesses reopened, and retail sales rose in all Districts, led by a bounce in vehicle sales, along with sustained growth in food, beverage, and home improvement. Manufacturing moved up, but from very low levels. Leisure and hospitality spending improved but was far below year-ago levels. Demand for professional and business services increased, but was still weak. Transportation activity rose overall. Construction remained subdued, but picked up in some Districts. 

The Beige Book also said Home sales picked up moderately but commercial real estate activity remained low. Employment increased on net in nearly all Districts, but payrolls in all Districts were well below pre-pandemic levels. And job turnover remained high. “Contacts in nearly every District noted difficulty in bringing back workers because of health and safety concerns, childcare needs, and generous unemployment insurance benefits. Many contacts who have been retaining workers with help from the PPP said that going forward, the strength of demand would determine whether they can avoid layoffs.”

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) fell for the first time in 3 sessions following the intraday pullback to $165.83. Current and upper support at $166-$165.50 was breached but held. A close below the latter would suggest a retest towards $163.50-$163 and the 50-day moving average.

Lowered resistance is at $167-$167.50. A close above the $168 level would be a bullish signal for a run towards $169.50-$170.


The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) fell for the 2nd-straight session with the late day low tapping 27.17. Prior and upper support at 27.50-27 was tripped but held. A close below the latter would signal additional weakness towards 26.50-26 and the 200-day moving average.

Lowered resistance is at 30-30.50 and the 50-day moving average. A close above the latter would be a renewed cautious signal for the market.


The Spiders Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) extended its winning streak to 4-straight sessions after testing an opening peak of $270.54. Prior and lower resistance from early June at $270.50-$271 was cleared but held. A close above the latter would signal additional momentum towards $272-$272.50.

Current support is at $268-$267.50. A close below the $267 level would signal an ongoing backtest towards $265.50-$275.

RSI remains in an uptrend with lower resistance at 60-65 getting cleared and holding. A close above the latter would signal additional strength towards 70-75 with the latter representing and the June peak. Support is at 55-50.


The Financial Select Sector Spiders (XLF) was also,up for the 4th-straight session with the intraday top at $24.26. Prior and lower resistance from mid-June at $24.25-$24.50 was cleared but held. A move above the $25 level would be a more bullish signal for a possible retest towards $25.75-$26 and the 200-day moving average. 

New support is at $24-$23.75. A close below the latter would likely signal a further pullback towards $23-$22.75 and the 50-day moving average. 

RSI is in an uptrend with key resistance at 55 getting reclaimed. Continued closes above this level would signal additional strength towards 60-65 with the latter representing the May high. Support is at 50-45 with the latter holding since late June.


Volatility is signaling possible higher highs over the near-term but must clear the early June low to give the bulls continued confidence. Futures were showing a weaker open after midnight to start today’s session so the continued trading ranges could be extended.

Momentum Options Play List

Closed Momentum Options Trades for 2020: 23-8 (77%). All trades are dated and time stamped for verification. New subscribers can look at the past history to see how the trades have played out or to research our Track Records. Do not risk more than 5% of your trading account on any one trade but do try to take all of the trades.

Please remember, all “Exit Targets” and “Stop Targets” are targets. You should not have any “Stops” entered to close any trades or “Limit Orders” in your brokerage account unless I list one. I will send out a “Profit Alert” or “New Trade” if I want you to close a position or if a new trade comes out. Otherwise, follow instructions at all times in the Daily‬ updates.

Viavi Solutions (VIAV, $13.28, up $0.26)

VIAV August 14 calls (VIAV200821C00014000, $0.60, up $0.05)

Entry Price: $0.60 (7/13/2020)

Exit Target: $1.20

Return: 0%

Stop Target: None

Action: Wednesday’s peak reached $13.33 with lower resistance at $13.25-$13.50 getting recovered. A close above the latter and the 200-day moving average would be a bullish signal for a retest towards $13.75-$14 snd hurdles from late February. Rising support is at $13-$12.75. Earnings are due out the 2nd week of August.


Western Union (WU, $22.13, up $0.57)

WU August 22 calls (WU200821C00022000, $1.15, up $0.30)

Entry Price: $0.70 (7/10/2020)

Exit Target: $1.40

Return: 50%

Stop Target: 90 cents (Stop Limit)

Action: Set an initial Stop Limit at 90 cents to start protecting profits and to avoid a loss.

Shares traded to an afternoon high of $22.25 with prior and lower resistance at $22-$22.25 getting cleared and holding. New support is at $21.75-$21.50.