Three in a row

By Jani Ziedins | Intraday Analysis

Dec 12
S&P500 daily at 1:15 EDT

S&P500 daily at 1:15 EDT

Intraday Update

MARKET BEHAVIOR
Stocks slipped for a second day, undercutting support at 1,780.  If today’s losses hold, that makes eight out of the last ten sessions ending the red, a dramatic reversal from all the buying we’ve seen in recent months.  The next material level of support is 1,760 and the 50dma.

MARKET SENTIMENT
While we’ve held near all-time highs in recent weeks, there was a clear undercurrent of distribution taking place under our noses.  Eight of the last ten and twelve out of the last eighteen sessions finished lower.  The losses have been so minor that bulls could easily ignore the distribution, but violating support this morning makes this phenomena harder to hide from.

Dip buyers remain MIA.  Wednesday they failed to defend 1,800 and today they allowed us to slip through 1,780.  The saving grace is today’s violation of 1,780 didn’t trigger a free fall selloff as many owners chose to wait for the “inevitable” bounce rather than sell a dip under some “arbitrary” technical level.  And this isn’t surprising.  Every other bout of weakness this year ended in a powerful rebound to new highs and regretful sellers learned to be more patient next time.  While this strategy worked every other time this year, we inevitably come to a dip that doesn’t bounce.  It is too early to say this is the end, but the lack of urgent selling likely means we haven’t hit bottom yet.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES
Expected Outcome:
The crowd was wrong about “Sell in May” and they avoided September and October because that’s when markets crash.  But now they are waiting for the Santa Clause rally.  Will conventional wisdom end the year oh and three?  If the success in the market was as simple as following a few catchy phrases, preschoolers could beat the market.

Dip buyers need to come in and prop up the market, until then assume buyers are scarce and selling will continue.

Alternate Outcome:
The best time to buy is when everyone else is convinced we are headed lower.  Violating support this morning flushed out anyone with stop-losses.  Once that selling runs its course, supply will dry up and we will bounce yet again.

Trading Plan:
Stick with what is working.  The market is selling off without urgency and these things typically end on an emotional climax, something we have not reached yet.  Bullishness it near historic highs and we need a dramatic move to reset sentiment to more sustainable levels.  While we will eventually reach a buyable bottom, there is no reason to buy prematurely.  Wait for this move to run its course and buy the resulting strength.

Plan your trade; trade your plan

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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.