This column originally appeared on Real Money, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Jim Cramer and other writers even earlier in the trading day.
Tuesday was a pretty good day for old-line momentum favorites like Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOG - Get Report) , with the former gaining more than 2% and the latter around 1.3%. Even names like Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) managed to close in the black on a day where the E-Mini S&P 500 futures (Es) remained trapped within Tuesday's regular-session range (an inside day). (Alphabet, Facebook and Apple are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.)
A number of smaller-cap names made solid gains during Wednesday's session as well. Names on my watch list, such as Blackhawk Network Holdings (HAWK) , Care.com (CRCM - Get Report) , Control4 (CTRL) and Titan Machinery (TITN - Get Report) all surged to new monthly highs on intraday ranges that were at least double their three-month averages. These sort of smaller-cap names have no problem trading on their own momentum, and as we saw Wednesday, often offer better (or at least different) trading opportunities than the equity futures when auctions narrow and volumes begin to decline.
For those trying to stay actively involved while the equity futures figure out which way they want to break, a few additional names on my watch list for day and swing trades are Sinclair Broadcast (SBGI - Get Report) , Alibaba Group (BABA - Get Report) , NutriSystem (NTRI) , Paycom Software (PAYC - Get Report) , Dexcom (DXCM - Get Report) and Synopsys (SNPS - Get Report) . All names are strengthening, or already strong. And I am only interested in trading them long.
As far as Wednesday's Es auction is concerned, buyers entered the market one tick ahead of the 2347 to 2348.50 support zone outlined in that morning's Trader's Daily Notebook. And from there, traders auctioned the contract back into our 2358.50 to 2360 resistance zone. Outside of buying the opening dip, I don't believe the auction offered all that much to the active day timeframe participant.
Several Real Money readers asked whether Wednesday's light volume was a noteworthy development, and while it was pretty light, I really don't believe it's a big deal. We've seen this market climb higher on ever-dwindling volume figures for years. So to those who continue to fret over volume, I'd encourage you to let it go.
As far as the numbers are concerned, approximately 1.6 million Es contracts were transacted, on average, each day during the regular session between March 21 and Tuesday. During that time, we saw volume spike as high as 2.43 million regular-session contracts on March 21, and dip as low as 1.31 million regular-session contracts on Monday. Wednesday's regular-session volume came in at 993,000 contracts, or nearly 38% lower than the average for all days between March 21 and Tuesday.
Moving on to Thursday's Es auction, we'll enter the session with a focus on 2352.50 and 2358.50 to 2360. Those currently positioned for an upside drive beyond 2360 would rather not see a single contract transact beneath 2354.75, but in an attempt to avoid being too tied to such a narrow range, I'd suggest those looking long maintain their bullish bias as long as we're trading above 2352.50.
As long as responsive buyers remain active above 2352.50, we'll continue to look for bullish continuation above 2360, with renewed supply expected to enter the auction toward 2370.25 and 2376.25.
A failed trade from 2352.50 opens the door to selling toward 2345.75, with 2332.50 to 2334.75 remaining our secondary, and notably more aggressive, downside target.
Any trading or volume profile related questions can be posted in the comments section below, emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to my Twitter feed @ByrneRWS