Markets gapped at the open and notched new post-election highs, but started sliding and filled the gap by mid morning.
Stocks hit their head on 1470 and retreated to yesterday’s close of 1461 before finding support and bouncing back to the middle of the range by mid-day. A little something for bulls, bears, and everyone in between.
The market continues marching higher in spite of all the reason it should selloff. Bears will point to the retreat from 1470 as a lack of conviction, but that is just grasping at straws. The retreat from 1470 is seducing shorts into holding, or worse yet adding to their positions. They say you can boil a lobster without him realizing it if you raise the temperature one degree at a time, and that is what the market is doing to bears here. The market takes a bite from them, retreats a bit and lulls the bears back into complacency. As long as the market keeps taking little bites, the rally will continue. What we need to watch for is the high-volume climax where the rate of gains ramps up and finally sends bears running for cover. After the last bears are chased out of the market, buying will climax, demand dries up, and we head lower. And the cycle continues……
Stocks are making higher-highs. The trend is clearly up and there is no reason to get in the way of this steamroller yet. The market is digesting the Fiscal Cliff gains over time instead of pulling back. As long as pessimism persists, look for the rally to continue. Stocks rally in the face of pessimism and decline on the back of complacency. At this juncture we are still a ways from complacency.
How far we can go from here is anyone’s guess, but a possible scenario is rallying through the Debt Ceiling compromise and once everything starts looking good, complacency sets in and the market finally pulls back.
Anything can spook the market, including its own shadow. An unexpected event could put a chill over the market and send us through all the stop-losses under 1450. If this happens, we need to keep an eye on the price action and sentiment to determine if the market is rolling over and worthy of selling, or the dip is just another bear-trap before bouncing higher.
AAPL is having a tougher go of it this morning as it gapped higher at the open, but its slide took it into the red and it hasn’t seen the same bounce the S&P500 has and it continues trading near the lows of the day. Right now the stock is plagued by momentum investors that are jumping all over each rally and pullback. These swing traders don’t care for the underlying value and are just playing a game of Chutes and Ladders. Even if you don’t play that game as a trader, it is helpful to understand the rules so the resulting volatility doesn’t shake you out at the exact wrong time. For the last three months the best trade on AAPL has been buying the dips and selling the rallies. If this continues, the smart call is buying weakness and selling strength, so rather that sell AAPL here, look to buy or continue holding instead.
Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and writer who has successfully traded stocks and options for more than a decade. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA and M.S. Marketing from the University of Colorado Denver. His prior professional experience includes manufacturing engineering at Fortune 500 companies, structural engineering, small business consultant, collegiate instructor, and managing investment real estate. He is now fortunate enough to trade full-time from home, affording him the luxury of spending extra time with his wife and two young children.