Time to cool off?

By Jani Ziedins | Intraday Analysis

Dec 03
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

Stocks opened under 1,800 and failed to reclaim this nice round support level by the close. The market is still 50-points above the 50dma following its 160-point, nearly straight-up bounce off the October lows.  This is the eighth-week the market’s been above the 50dma and is the longest stretch since we did nine-weeks back in January and February.  No matter what side of the bear/bull debate we fall on, it is perfectly reasonable to expect the market to retest support at the 50dma in coming weeks.  Sometimes that involves a pullback, other times it simply means pausing so moving average can catch up.

The last few weeks have been worry-free once our politicians quit their bickering and raised the debt ceiling, removing the risk of a catastrophic default.  Since then it’s been clear sailing with the tail winds of Yellen’s confirmation hearing and stronger than expected October employment numbers.  But the thing is the market is a worrier by nature and it cannot go long before fear over some impending disaster creeps in.  Today’s weakness is largely attributed to a bad day on the German markets and increasing concern over Taper in our part of the world.

Markets often move in waves as the pendulum of sentiment swings between fear and greed.  It’s been a good run and we should expect a move the other direction at some point.  But when the fear creeps in, embrace it, don’t be afraid of it.  Nervous sellers dumping shares at a steep discounts is the way confident traders make money.  Their fear is our profit.

Expected Outcome:
Anyone holding out for higher prices in the near-term needs to see the market reclaim 1,800.  This proves dip-buyers are alive and well.  Without that, we could see the market slip back to the mid 1,700s as value oriented buyers wait patiently for more attractive prices.

Earlier this year the traditional “sell in May” was a bad idea, as was the conventional wisdom  that September and October are horrible months to own stocks.  Now we have many of those same people pointing out how strong December traditionally is.  2013 hasn’t payed much attention to conventional wisdom, so I wouldn’t count on the Santa Clause Rally either.

Alternate Outcome:
Reclaiming 1,800 and setting new highs this week shows this rally isn’t ready to take a break and wants to keep going.  While we can debate the sustainability of such a move, only price pays and we cannot argue with a rallying market.

Trading Plan:
Traders need to quickly decide on what timeframe they are using.  Longer-term investors will sit through any near-term weakness and use these opportunities to buy more of their favorite stocks.  Shorter-term investors should lock in recent profits and look to buy back in at lower levels.  The most aggressive can short the market with a stop above 1,800.  If we reclaim and hold 1,800 we need to reevaluate expectations of near-term weakness.

MSFT daily at end of day

MSFT daily at end of day

TSLA blew up in shorts faces as a German regulatory agency deemed the car safe following recent reports of battery fires. That sent the stock up $20.  But is this a fundamental catalyst that will get the momentum bandwagon going again?  That is harder to say.  I have my doubts, but if the stock reclaims the 50dma, then let the party continue.  If it hits its head on this level, we likely still have more selling in front of us.  No matter how safe the car is, the public if fascinated by this story and expect any future car fires to be front page news.  This is no different from the TM gas pedal incidents or Gulf Coast shark bite scares.  The more rare the event, the bigger the news it is, especially when someone catches video of it on their smart phone.

AAPL is off to the races again as the iPhone and iPad are flying off the shelves this holiday season.  While that was expected, more surprising is the PBS News Hour reported that MSFT‘s Surface was the best-selling tablet at Best Buy over the weekend.  While this was aided by aggressive pricing, buyers might actually be looking for more utility out of their tablets than Angry Birds and Candy Crush.  I believe the future lies in full featured tablets and MSFT/INTC are the only ones providing these capabilities.  While many accuse MSFT/INTC of falling behind the times, I actually think they are ahead of the pack on this one.

Plan your trade; Trade your plan


About the Author

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 has an undergraduate engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and two graduate business degrees 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.