Triple Witching and Rebalancing to Shake S&P and Nasdaq Tech-Driven Rally

James Hyerczyk
Updated: Jun 21, 2024, 12:49 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • This week’s triple witching and index rebalancing events are expected to increase trading activity and market volatility.
  • The recent stock rally, led by a few tech giants, faces sustainability concerns due to weak market breadth and low trading volume.
  • Passive investing trends contribute to market concentration in a few mega-cap stocks, making the market more susceptible to sharp movements.
S&P 500, Nasdaq, Dow Jones

Potential Volatility Ahead

The U.S. stock market, currently in a record-setting rally, faces potential volatility this week due to weak market breadth, the occurrence of triple witching, and index rebalancing. Although the market typically sees subdued trading in the summer months, several indicators suggest that a surge in volatility could be imminent.

Weak Market Breadth and Low Trading Volume

The rally has been driven primarily by a handful of Big Tech stocks, raising concerns about the sustainability of the uptrend. Healthy rallies are usually characterized by broad market participation, where a large number of stocks advance and trading volumes are high. However, recent data indicates otherwise. Since early June, only one trading day has seen trading volumes exceed the year-to-date average across major exchanges, highlighting a lack of broad-based enthusiasm. Moreover, the S&P 500 has experienced significant negative divergences, with more stocks declining than advancing on multiple occasions, a phenomenon not seen to this extent since 1990.

Triple Witching and Index Rebalancing Events

This week’s volatility could be exacerbated by the phenomenon of triple witching, where stock options, stock-index futures, and stock-index options contracts all expire simultaneously. This event, coupled with the quarterly rebalancing of major indexes, typically increases trading activity and market volatility. The upcoming rebalancing will see significant adjustments in the S&P Technology Select Sector Index, with notable changes in the weightings of giants like Microsoft, Nvidia, and Apple. Such shifts necessitate substantial buying and selling of these stocks by funds tracking the index, likely leading to heightened volatility.

Effects of Passive Investing on Market Concentration

Passive investing trends have contributed to market concentration in a few mega-cap stocks, further amplifying volatility risks. Research indicates that the rise in passive fund investments disproportionately inflates the stock prices of the largest firms, exacerbating market imbalances. This concentration makes the market more susceptible to sharp movements, as significant shifts in these few stocks can heavily influence broader index performance.

Increased Volatility Expected

Given the combination of weak market breadth, upcoming triple witching, index rebalancing, and the effects of passive investing, traders should brace for increased volatility. While the summer months are usually calm, the current market setup suggests a different scenario. Investors might consider diversifying their portfolios by incorporating mid-cap and small-cap stocks to mitigate risks associated with overconcentration in large-cap stocks. Additionally, staying informed about market trends and adjusting strategies accordingly will be crucial in navigating the anticipated turbulence.

Preparing for Market Fluctuations

The stock market’s recent rally, driven by a narrow group of stocks, coupled with structural factors like triple witching and index rebalancing, sets the stage for a potentially volatile period. By understanding these factors and preparing for increased market fluctuations, traders can better manage their investments in the coming weeks.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

Did you find this article useful?