Nov 15

Should we have seen today’s bounce coming?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

On Thursday the S&P 500 gapped lower at the open, undercutting the widely followed 2,700 support level and triggering another wave of defensive selling. But in midmorning trade, supply dried up and by the end of the day, the market surged 50-points above those early lows.

Everyone knows the market moves in waves, but that doesn’t stop people from being surprised every time it moves in waves. Our bullish or bearish bias convince us each gyration higher or lower is the start of a much larger move. Last week bulls were convinced the market was racing back to the highs. This week bears claimed their long-awaited collapse was finally upon us. And you know what, both sides got it wrong. That’s because they forgot the market moves in waves.

In Tuesday’s free blog post, “Don’t fear the normal and routine”, I warned readers:

“Every dip feels real and by rule, it has to. If it didn’t, no one would sell and prices wouldn’t dip. Without a doubt, October’s correction felt real. This week’s collapse feels just as scary. But just because it feels real doesn’t make it real. In fact, all of the selling over the last few weeks makes it even harder for this dip to find new sellers. The longer this drags on, the more people sell, the fewer sellers we have left, and the more solid the market becomes.”

Guess what? Thursday’s early selloff failed because we ran out of sellers. Pundits love to tell us no one can predict the market, but it really isn’t that hard once we realize that the same things keep happening over and over. Sign up for Free Email Alerts so you don’t miss profitable insights like these.

I wish the only thing we needed to know was what comes next. Then making money would be easy. Unfortunately, that’s not how this works. Not only do we need to know what is going to happen, but more importantly, we need to know when it is going to happen. Getting the timing right is where all the money is made.

While no one knows precisely when the market will make its next move, we do know when the odds are on our side. For example, this morning we knew the market was ripe for a bounce. Number one, we remember markets move in waves. Number two, all of the selling over the last few weeks chased off a big chunk of would-be sellers and supply would be tight. While there are no guarantees in the market, seeing the dip under 2,700 support stall because supply was drying up was a great signal this was time to jump in and buy the dip.

If both bulls and bears agree the market moves in waves, then both sides should have seen today’s rebound coming. The main point of contention is what comes next. Bulls say today’s higher-low is a healthy part of the recovery process. Bears claim this bounce only delays the inevitable collapse. But as long as both sides agree we will go higher over the next day or two, there is only one way to trade this.

That said, I definitely fall in the bull camp. As we witnessed in October, crashes are breathtakingly quick. Selling begets selling and cracks turn into gaping holes. But that’s not what is happening here. Wednesday’s dip under 2,700 bounced quickly. As did Thursday’s dip under this critical support level. If the market was fragile and vulnerable, that was the perfect way to launch a tidal wave of defensive selling that knocks us under October’s lows. Is that what happened? Nope. Supply dried up and we bounced. At this point, it is harder to find fearful sellers than confident dip-buyers, and that bodes well for the market’s continued recovery.

But just because the market bounced today and things look good, don’t forget markets move in waves. That means this rebound will inevitably stall and pullback. The longer these consolidations drag on, the more volatility shrinks and the smaller these swings become. We are getting further along in the healing process and that means we shouldn’t expect this rebound to be as sharp as last weeks, or for the next dip to be as dramatic.

Of course, all of this goes out the window if we tumble under 2,700 support Friday and launch a tidal wave of defensive selling. But barring that worst case scenario, things look good and the path of least resistance over the near-, medium-, and long-term is higher.

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Jani

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Nov 13

Don’t fear the normal and routine

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Update:

Tuesday was a back-and-forth session for the S&P 500 as early gains fizzled and we closed modestly in the red. The early strength ran into resistance near the 200dma as last week’s relief turned into this week’s second-guessing.

As I warned readers last week, the sharp rebound from October’s lows was unsustainable and a pullback was coming:

This rebound recovered nearly two-thirds of the October selloff and that is about as far as these things go before they start running out of steam….this is definitely a better place to be taking profits than adding new money. At the very least, expect prices to consolidate for a while as investors warm back up to this market. But more likely, volatility will persist and that means a dip back to 2,700 support would be a normal and healthy part of this recovery.

Three trading sessions after I wrote that, we find ourselves testing 2,700 support. Sign up for Free Email Alerts so you don’t miss profitable insights like these.

People claim no one can predict the market, but it really isn’t that hard once we realize the same things keep happening. A decisive rebound following October’s sharp correction was never in doubt. The same goes for the subsequent rebound stalling and taking a step back. The question isn’t if, but when. The hard part is getting the timing right and that is where all the money is made.

Now that last week’s relief is long gone, we find ourselves questioning this market again. Monday’s collapse under the 200dma was as ominous as it gets and that triggered a wave of defensive selling. Traders who were paralyzed by fear during October’s correction and didn’t bailout were not going to make the same mistake this time.

But the thing to remember is most people can only sell once. Once they’re out, their opinion no longer matters. And in fact, the only thing they can do is buy back in. So while a huge number of people sold over the last several weeks, their pessimism no longer matters. And in fact, their pessimism is actually bullish because they will eventually turn into the buyers that fuel the recovery. Buying high and selling low is a poor trading strategy, but the crowd cannot help itself.

Every dip feels real and by rule, it has to. If it didn’t, no one would sell and prices wouldn’t dip. Without a doubt, October’s correction felt real. This week’s collapse feels just as scary. But just because it feels real doesn’t make it real. In fact, all of the selling over the last few weeks makes it even harder for this dip to find new sellers. The longer this drags on, the more people sell, the fewer sellers we have left, and the more solid the market becomes.

Tuesday’s price action was awful and the longer we hold near 2,700 support, the more likely it is we will violate it. But what matters most is what happens next. Does that violation launch another wave of defensive selling? Or does supply dry up and prices rebound?

I think the worst is already behind us, but there are no guarantees in the market. Traders nerves are frayed and anything could happen if panic sets in. But as long as that doesn’t happen, a dip under 2,700 that stalls and recovers is a great entry point for anyone that wants to get back in. Remember, by the time it feels safe, it will be too late to buy the discounts. But if we drop under 2,700 and trigger another avalanche of contagious selling, expect things to get a lot worse.

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Jani

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Nov 07

Should we trust this rebound?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Update:

The S&P 500 exploded higher Wednesday following the U.S. midterm election that saw Democrats take control of the House and Republicans add to their majority in the Senate. There was a little bit of good news for everyone and that put traders into a buying mood.

These gains erased a big chunk of October’s selloff. Anyone who sold defensively over the last several weeks is coming to regret that hasty decision. But that is the way the market works. Every buyable dip feels like we are on the verge of a much larger collapse. If it didn’t, no one would sell and we wouldn’t dip in the first place.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to look back and see the bounce off of 2,600 support was the obvious bottom. But since this bottom was only a couple of weeks ago, it isn’t hard to recall exactly how hopeless the outlook was when we reached those lows. Traders were not excited to buy the dip, they terrified of the next leg lower. Remember how you felt at that moment and don’t forget it. That is what every buyable dip feels like.

For those of us that have been doing this a while and lived through countless dips like October, we know better than to overreact to periodic bouts of emotional selling. As I wrote on October 23rd:

“Over the last 69 years, only 11 times have prices tumbled more than 15% from the highs. We often think of big crashes like 1987, the Financial Crisis, or the Dot-Com bubble. But those events are exceedingly rare. All the other pullbacks over the last 69 years have been 15% or less. While 15% is a lot, it isn’t terrifying. And even better, all of those under 15% pullbacks were erased within a few months. Small and short. That sounds like something we can live with.”

And so far, that is precisely what happened this time. There was no real substance behind October’s selloff and that is why we recovered so quickly. The only people who lost out were the ones that overreacted to the fearmongering. That said, there is nothing wrong with selling defensively and it can even be profitable. The key is knowing when to get back in.

October 30th, the day after the market bounced off 2,600 support, I wrote a post titled “What Makes Tuesday’s rebound different

“no matter which side of the bear/bull debate you stand on, there is an excellent chance this market is ripe for a sharp move higher.

2,700 is the next most obvious price target. But the market likes symmetry and a rebound to 2,700 doesn’t even come close to matching the intensity of October’s selloff. While we could pause and even retrench a little at 2,700 over the next few days, the most likely target for this rebound is the 200dma/2,800/2,820 region the previous bounce stalled at in mid-October. Even rising up to and above the 50dma and the start of this selloff near 2,870 is on the table.”

That was a bold prediction when prices were in the low 2,600s and it was met with a lot of skepticism, but it doesn’t seem so far-fetched after the market closed at 2,813.

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Predicting the market isn’t hard because it keeps doing the same thing over and over again. The challenge is getting the timing right. While it was nice to see this 200+ point rebound coming before it happened, what readers really want to know is what comes next.

While I’d love to say we will continue surging up to all-time highs, that isn’t how this works. October’s selloff did a lot of damage to investor confidence and it will be a while before people feel comfortable chasing prices back to the highs.

This rebound recovered nearly two-thirds of the October selloff and that is about as far as these things go before they start running out of steam. Momentum could carry us up to the 50dma and even 2,870 where this whole thing started, but we should expect demand to dry up soon.

For short-term traders, this is definitely a better place to be taking profits than adding new money. At the very least, expect prices to consolidate for a while as investors warm back up to this market. But more likely, volatility will persist and that means a dip back to 2,700 support would be a normal and healthy part of this recovery.

Anyone scared out during October’s selloff and looking to get back in, resist the urge to chase prices higher over the next day or two. Instead, wait for the inevitable pullback and consolidation over the next few weeks. Volatility is still high and that means big moves in both directions are ahead of us. But as long as the economic data holds up, the worst is already behind us.

If you found this post useful, Follow Me on Twitter so you don’t miss future updates: 

Jani

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