Stocks trade sideways, just shy of the 1700 milestone.
All is good with the world. Tapering is a distant memory and earnings are decent enough to keep us at all-time highs. Summer volume is traditionally light while many of the big money managers are on vacation. Low volume can exacerbate volatility when smaller positions start moving markets, but the last couple of weeks was relatively calm. Holders keep holding and the resulting tight supply is propping up prices. No one is excited to buy all-time highs, but they have no choice when few are willing to sell.
1700 is a psychological level and will likely lead to a short-squeeze and breakout buying when we push through it. After that it is anyone’s guess how far we go. Slow and steady is sustainable, a rapid surge higher is not.
Keep doing what is working. Holding the 1680 level for nearly two-weeks is supportive of a continuation. Unsustainable buying typically exhausts itself within days. Maintaining all-time highs this long shows few holders are cashing in and their confidence keeps supply tight.
Every rally ends and even as invincible as this one is, its day is coming. We are more than eight-months into this rebound off the November lows and most of the cynics have grown tired of the humiliation from incorrectly calling a top, but when they are giving up is when we need to be most vigilant. I’m still waiting for an all new headline that is not priced in. It probably won’t come for another month or two, but that will finally be the thing that lets air out of this rally.
Own this market with a stop under 1670 or 1685 depending on your risk tolerance and outlook. Look for a pop as it crosses 1700, but if the breakout fizzles and retreats instead, buying is drying up and it is time to lock-in profits. It might even be time to go short with a stop above 1700. Stay nimble and always be prepared to take profits when the market doesn’t act as expected.
AAPL is reporting after the close. The bar is dramatically lower and we wait to see if the lower expectations are justified. This earnings report is one of the last fundamental catalysts left to justify the bull case. Anything short of shockingly good numbers will likely leave the stock stuck in the lower $400s. Investor infatuation with AAPL came and went and there is little the company can do short of a revolutionary new product to become a market darling again. If AAPL’s earnings disappoint, expect the last of the hope to deflate and the stock to tumble into the $300s.
NFLX stumbled following earnings, but given how far this stock came this year and the sheer number of traders gunning for it, down 3% is pretty much a win. Sideways trade that allows the 50dma to catch up is supportive of a continuation. It doesn’t matter how overpriced this stock is, it still wants to go higher.
TSLA recovered most of last week’s downgrade. As we discussed at the time, analyst ratings are just opinion and have nothing to do with the fundamentals. While this accusation might be unfair, most analysts are analysts because they cannot trade. Upgrades and downgrades create near-term waves, but their impact quickly fades. Far more concerning is a wave of highly optimistic analyst upgrades. AAPL didn’t peak when analysts downgraded the stock, it peaked when many upgraded their price targets to $1,000 and beyond.
Plan your trade; trade your plan
Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and financial analyst that has successfully traded stocks and options for nearly three decades. 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 engineering at Fortune 500 companies, small business consulting, 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 children.