Selling begets selling

By Jani Ziedins | Intraday Analysis

Apr 04
S&P500 daily at 1:23 EDT

S&P500 daily at 1:23 EDT

Intraday Update

MARKET BEHAVIOR
We slipped over 25-points from record highs as buyers failed to embrace these new levels.   The market opened strong following a decent employment report, but we waterfalled lower as the market undercut recent technical levels at 1,890 and 1,880.

MARKET SENTIMENT
This reaction was not driven by fearful headlines and is primarily the result of traders trying to game each other.  We often see volatility surrounding the monthly employment data, but it is typically short-lived and over the last few years it hasn’t had a lasting impact on trading.  Good report or bad, the market continued its relentless march higher from the 2009 lows.  It seems unlikely today’s decent employment report that fell in line with expectations will derail this rally.

We have seen periodic selloffs during this 5-year-old bull market, but each was following some spooky headline that threatened the solvency of the global financial system, giving traders flashbacks of 2008.  We’ve seen more modest weakness recently due to political gridlock or the impending Taper, but so far we don’t have any of that headline fear mongering going on today.  That means this is not the “crash” bears have been waiting for and this move is simply a rebalancing of supply and demand.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES
Expected Outcome:
The market is in the middle of an emotion driven selloff.  We are undercutting recent support levels as autopilot stop-losses are kicking are adding fuel to the fire, but so far there is little headline fear to shatter the confidence of bulls that have been conditioned to buy every dip.  Once the selling frenzy slows, expect the market to find a floor as supply dries up.

Alternate Outcome:
There are bullish and bearish headlines every single day.  If the market wants to sell off, it will be easy to find a justification.  Nothing shatters confidence like screens filled with red.

Trading Plan:
Long-term investors should ignore these daily moves, but shorter-term traders should be treading lightly here.  Bears shouldn’t expect the market collapse without a dramatic headline and bulls need to be careful about buying the dip so close to the upper end of the recent trading range.  Sometimes the best trade is no trade.

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.