AM: New highs, but……..

By Jani Ziedins | Intraday Analysis

Mar 25
S&P500 daily at 2:53 EDT

S&P500 daily at 2:53 EDT

AM Update

Stocks still struggle with all-time highs even on good news out of Europe.  AAPL is holing up as momentum traders buy the break above the 50dma.  How much further can this go?

MARKET BEHAVIOR

Stocks set a new high, but turned back just shy of 1565 and fell nearly 20-points from the high to the low.

MARKET SENTIMENT

So much for the pop and all-time highs on Cyprus.  It’s lunchtime and the market already moved on.  More interesting is the struggle with 1550.  The last few dips to this level have been buying opportunities, but are there enough buyers left to do it one more time?

Markets only move when people buy or sell.  Anyone already positioned for a move can do nothing but watch.  If everyone bought in  anticipation of a Cyprus resolution, when that resolution becomes reality, the market stalls because no one is left to buy the news.  The same goes for all-time highs.  If everyone bought early, anticipating an all-time high breakout, the market stalls because no one is buying the breakout.

The only thing that matters is what people think and how they are positioned.  Technicals, fundamentals, and news only play a supporting role in moving markets.  They only matter when they cause people to change their outlook and adjust their portfolio. If the greatest and most loved company in the world comes out with a cure for cancer, its price will surge when people buy more shares.  The problem arises when everyone loves it so much they already own all they can hold.  Then the life saving news goes unnoticed in the stock because it doesn’t trigger new buying.  This is why understanding how people are positioned is far more important than knowing what is in tomorrow’s newspaper.  We cannot predict the news, but we can predict people’s reaction to it.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
This dip is a buying opportunity only if there are more buyers left to keep pushing prices higher.  This is what happened a couple of months ago.  The widespread cynicism provided plenty of fuel for a sustained move higher.  But here we are, another 100-points higher and it took a lot of buying to get here.  Do we still have gas in the tank, or are we running on fumes?

Today’s reversal from all-time highs is concerning.  There was zero short-squeeze from breakout buyers as we set new highs and cynical bears did not cover on a constructive news out of Europe.  The most likely explanation is people are no longer short this invincible market.  Bears and shorts are often the last on board the rally bandwagon, so we need to be extra careful here.  There will be more zigzagging as the fight between bulls and bears is evening up.  That in of itself is a warning sign as the formerly dominant bull is losing strength and the beaten down bear is fighting back.

I see nothing in today’s price action that is bullish and we could be on the verge of more selling if dip-buyers fail to show up in meaningful numbers.  While the market could continue higher, this is finally time to start thinking about shorting the market.

Alternate Outcome:
The bull isn’t dead yet and we are only a fraction off of 52-week and all-time highs.  .  If this market holds 1550 for a couple more days, it shows buyers are still willing to get in at these levels.  That bodes well for a continuation.  With today’s failure to break above 1565, that is quickly turning into a psychological barrier.  We need to close above it to put this whole all-time high thing behind us and start focusing on something else.

AAPL daily at 2:53 EDT

AAPL daily at 2:53 EDT

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL is holding up nicely on a day when the market is in the red.  With the 50dma behind us, the biggest technical milestone is $485.  This will be a far larger hurdle to clear than the 50dma.  The moving average is simply a line on a chart that people follow.  Support and resistance are areas where people bought and sold stock and are far more meaningful for influencing individual investors.  These are levels that represent profits and losses.  This is where people can get their money back.  This is where people promised they would sell if the market would only give them a second chance.  That has real meaning and it will be a challenge to overcome.  Swing and momentum trading can get us to$485, but only follow on buying from a wider pool of investors can move us beyond it.  The nimble trader should consider locking in along side all the other short-term traders.

Stay safe

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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.