Daily Commentary: August 25, 2023

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How To Trade Powell’s Speech Today

Posted by Peter Stolcers on August 25

The market is searching for news to trade off of and this speech is important.

PRE-OPEN MARKET COMMENTS FRIDAY – Yesterday the market gapped higher after Nvdia posted excellent earnings. The SPY gapped above a key resistance level at $445 and the table was set for a breakout. That opening move was smacked down and the market staged a gap reversal. That confirmed that resistance was firmly in place and the price action resulted in a bearish engulfing candle. This morning we are waiting for comments from the Fed Chairman 30 minutes after the open.

In my pre-open market comments yesterday I told you what to watch for. Stacked consecutive red candles into the gap would be a sign of heavy selling pressure would be your signal to short.

Powell will need to whisper “sweet nothings” into our ears to reverse the bearish price action this month and I doubt he will do that. He would have to hint that a pause in September is likely. That would excite buyers. The Fed is in recess and there are many data points that will be released between now and the FOMC meeting. Why would he paint the Fed into a corner? He wouldn’t. He has stated that the Fed whiffed on inflation a year ago and that core inflation is not dropping as quickly as they had hoped. Hourly wages have been “hot” (.4% increase in July) and that is a major input cost for companies. The massive sell-off in bonds is happening because a rate cut was priced into Q4. As that deadline approaches, those losses have to be established because the Fed has been steadfast in their rhetoric.

Is the Fed close to ending its tightening? Yes. Will they “flinch” today? Not likely in my opinion.

How should we trade the speech today? If you have shorts on from yesterday, you should have taken gains on most of the position ahead of major news. You have a good entry point and lots of cushion. Given that the remarks are not likely to change, you keep some of the shorts on and you lean into the bearish price action from yesterday. You wait for the speech and you gauge the reaction.

The S&P 500 is up 20 points before the open. It is going to take dovish remarks to discourage shorts. The selling pressure yesterday was very steady (no bounces) and the volume was heavy. Resistance at $445 was confirmed in spades. Any wimpy attempt to squeeze shorts that features mixed overlapping candles on light volume with long tails and wicks after a “nothing burger” statement will be a gift for shorts. That is our ideal set up for adding to short positions. The only thing we need to be very careful with is “actual” dovish comments and long green candles closing on their high. If the rhetoric is unchanged (likely), sellers are going to return. Any stacked red candle closing on its low with heavy volume is your clue to short and that is when swing traders should reestablish short positions.

Support at $436.90 and resistance is at $440.30.

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