PM: Modest decline

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Jan 28
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

Markets broke the streak of up-days  but that is a good thing.  AAPL bounced today, but is this the real deal?

MARKET BEHAVIOR

The S&P500 dipped less than 0.2% and ended an impressive streak of eight up-days.  While the fractional decline doesn’t constitute material selling, it does break the streak and lets us move past the obsession with counting up-days.  Volume was right around average as holders were not spooked by modest selling and the market closed a hair above 1500.

MARKET SENTIMENT

This was the first time the market didn’t set a new closing high in nearly two-weeks.  Buying took a break simply because there was so much of it since the start of the year.  Trading would be easy if the market went up every single day, but we are not that lucky and actually have to work for our money.  Today was the second close above 1500 and it would be nice to see two more closes at this level to confirm support.  But at the same time, some selling here is normal, expected, and healthy.  I would be more concerned about the sustainability of this rally if we kept heading higher than if we dipped and found support.

Complacency is creeping into the market, but it is just starting and not pervasive yet.  There are still a lot of recent sellers watching this market rally without them and they are tempted to jump on any pullback.  Big money managers under-weight this market are also struggling with the lesser of two evils, getting left behind or buying the top.  But the longer they wait for the pullback, the more uncomfortable they become watching the market head higher without them.  It is easier to justify losses when the entire market dips than explaining why they failed to keep up with a rallying market.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
It would be hard to count today as real selling.  The dip was minor and volume was average.  The market can refresh through either selling or sideways trading.  Today’s move was sideways and supportive of 1500, but we need to hold these levels a couple more days before we can stop expecting a pullback.

The market clearly wants to go higher and long-term investors should keep holding, but those out of the market or with shorter timeframes should wait a couple of days for the market to either pullback or build a solid base at 1500.

Alternate Outcome:
A sustainable rally goes two-steps forward, one-step back, but not every rally is sustainable or predictable.  We could continue rallying after today’s modest 0.2% pullback, but just because the market heads higher doesn’t mean we need to be part of it.  If the market doesn’t look sustainable, sit it out.  There are eleven months left in the year and there is no reason to force a trade that is less than ideal.

AAPL daily at end of day

AAPL daily at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

We all know AAPL will bounce, the question is when.  It still sounds like most people are claiming AAPL is oversold and poised for a bounce and no doubt they will be proven right, but we have to ask when and how much before deciding to make this trade.  If a lot of nervous holders are waiting for that bounce, it won’t happen.  If swing-traders are buying the dip, it won’t happen either.  I’m suspicious of all the people who think AAPL is oversold and makes for an easy trade back up to $500.  No doubt it will get there, but it might need to go through $425 first.

People are very emotionally attached to this stock and I understand the reluctance to sell when it could bounce any day now.  Rather that just cut out, set an upside target and downside stop-loss.  Maybe $490 on the upside and $430 on the downside.  Then stick to these levels.

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About the Author

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.

Fil January 29, 2013

Hi Jani,

It seems that you’re being a contrarian and eyeing the gap fill. With this gap fill so well announced now, there’s no guarantee that it won’t fall right thru it or we simply won’t get there at all. I guess my mind is trying to get ahead of the others, ended up being the contrarian of the contrarian and can’t decide which has higher probability. What do you think of those two scenarios that I just listed? Any comment is appreciated.

Thanks,
Fil

    Jani Ziedins January 29, 2013

    A lot of people still see value in AAPL and that a headwind that will make a rebound difficult. If everyone who likes AAPL already owns it, who is left to buy it? Like we saw with NFLX and FB, the stock will probably need to be left for dead before it can resurrect itself. Once all the hopeful abandon hope and sell out, selling pressure will dry up and it will head higher. But that is a longer-term story. n We might see a sucker’s rally in the near-term and that is why any strength should be sold. I see significant resistance near $500 as all the earnings traders try to get out at break-even and it will probably take a few attempts before it can break this level. Selling at $490 would let someone get out before the stock hits its head on resistance.

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