Stocks are holding the recent breakout following a modest test of 1,925 support last week. Volume remains light in the traditionally slow summer vacation months.
We are holding record highs in spite of negative headlines coming out of Iran and the potential for more political gridlock in DC. With multiple days to digest these headlines, they are largely priced in and we shouldn’t expect further selling based on what we already know. Markets crashes typically arrive with a sell first, ask questions later reaction to spooky headlines and the fact we held 1,925 support for a 4th day suggests this market is indifferent toward these concerning headlines. Barring an unexpected deterioration in the situation, we should expect the uptrend to continue.
These headlines rattled nerves, but didn’t cause many people to hit the sell button. Five-years into this bull market and nearly three-years since we’ve seen anything resemble market panic, investors have become very complacent. While we all know this cannot last, in the near-term complacency is bullish because it means most owners are unwilling to sell no matter what is going on around them. Their confidence keeps supply tight and makes this death-defying really possible.
Expected Outcome: Higher in the near-term
Confounding the skeptics and finding support tells us there is little that will rattle this market. While history reminds us this cannot last forever, in the near-term this “hold no matter what” attitude among stock owners keeps pushing us higher. At this point it doesn’t seem like we will find a headline that sends owners running for the exits and instead this market will only top when we run out of optimistic buyers.
Markets rarely get things right the first time and this leads to over and undershooting. Fears of Sequester and Fiscal Cliffs were clearly overblown. This time we are largely ignoring civil war in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Under appreciating the risks involved in these situations leaves us vulnerable to a worse than expected outcome. The higher we go, the harder we fall.
Anyone sitting on profits should have an exit plan. Maybe that is proactive selling into strength or it is a trailing stop, but don’t let complacency cause you to let these profits evaporate when the market rolls over. Bears waiting for this market to crack need to be patient. These headlines out of the Middle East were the perfect catalyst, but since the weakness already bounced back, admit defeat and wait for something bigger.
Plan you trade; trade your plan
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.