Why stocks no longer care about Ukraine

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Aug 28
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

End of Day Update

Stocks cratered when Ukrainian officials announced Russian forces invaded their country. Actually cratered might be a too strong of a word to describe the early 9-point selloff. How about we say stocks yawned 9-points following reports of a Russian invasion.

Here’s the headline bears have waited for and they are dumbfounded by the market’s lack of a reaction. How could such bearish news result in this small of a dip? Easy, everyone who feared the Russian escalation sold a couple of weeks ago during the dip to 1,900.  With all those worrywarts long gone, that means anyone still holding stocks isn’t afraid of the Ukrainian crisis since they already demonstrated a willingness to own stocks through the previous dip.  While the media can hype up the story all they want, if owners don’t care to sell the fear, stocks will hold firm in spite of the noise. The time to sell the Ukrainian crisis was when it first developed. Now that it’s old news, the market doesn’t care. If bears are looking for something to takedown the market, they need fresh and unexpected headlines.

Volume continues to be pathetic leading up to the three-day weekend. Labor Day is the traditional transition from summer trade to the more serious fall session, ultimately leading to year-end positioning. Big money managers that spent the summer at the beach house are returning to work and the decisions they make will determine how we close the year.  Will they feel compelled to chase the market and continue bidding prices up to record highs? Are they content with their portfolio and will coast into year-end?  Or do they see valuations getting a little too rich and start locking-in profits? While we don’t have the answer to these questions now, at least we know what to look for in coming weeks as September trade sets the tone for the fourth quarter.

Stocks continue trading near 2k and show both a lack of breakout buying and profit taking.  But pausing more often leads to a continuation than a reversal, so we should expect the next move to be higher. But if this is the start of the next leg higher, or one last short-squeeze before reversing lower has yet to be seen.  By mid-September we should have a better view on what big money is thinking and how they are positioning for the rest of the year.



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.