End of Day Update:
Break out the party hats, the S&P cracked 2k for the first time. The market came a long way from the 666 doldrums in 2009 and with the benefit of hindsight, all the predictions of doom and gloom were grossly exaggerated. Maybe the Fed’s intervention saved us, or maybe it was the resilience of the human spirit. Either way it shows it is better to bet on the market than against it. Further, I have no doubt this secular bull is not even halfway done, but that is the long-term view, as traders we are more interested in what comes next.
While the market is clearly higher than it was a couple of weeks ago when it sank to 1,905, bears desperately cling to a few glimmers of hope even as we make record highs. Today’ volume was pathetically low. The only day in recent history undercutting today’s low was July 3rd’s half-day. We were also unable to close above 2k when breakout buyers failed to flood the market following this momentous occasion. Summer’s traditionally low-volume often leads to more erratic moves since it gives a larger voice to smaller players. The real question is what will happen when big money returns after Labor day.
With the VIX back in the 11’s, whatever fear sprouted from the Ukrainian and Iraqi crises has clearly vanished. While the 90-point plunge did a good job purging weak holders, it seems like we returned to nearly the same level of complacency. While complacent owners are often bullish because their reluctance to sell keeps supply tight, we have to wonder how many prospective buyers have not already bought into the invincible rally. While markets can top in a dramatic inverted V pattern, more often they end with a double-top or head-and-shoulders. Very few people see a top coming and either fail to lock-in profits when times are good, or they assume every dip is buyable. The recent rebound further reinforces the widely held view that every dip is buyable, but by the time everyone knows something, it soon stops working.
While I don’t have a crystal ball, it seems the market is at a critical juncture and either we end the year dramatically higher or dramatically lower . Will buyers continue to chase prices to record highs? Or will smart money start locking-in profits in coming weeks ahead of the inevitable pullback? It won’t be long before we have our answer. If the market continues marching higher, join the bandwagon, but another dramatic sell off in the near-term will be a big warning sign to anyone who is paying attention.
Two-years ago the market was afraid of its own shadow and traders would scramble for the exits every other week. Now it seems civil wars and sanctions against some of the world’s largest oil producers hardly raises an eye. My how far sentiment has swung in a couple of years. While everyone knows the market will pullback at some point, the hard part is figuring out exactly when it will happen. Is it next week, next month, or next year? I think the next few weeks will go a long way to telling us how the year will end.
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.