Can Both Bulls and Bears Be Right?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Jan 06
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

End of Day Update:

Another brutal day for the market, this time slipping under prior support at 2,000. The saving grace is we reclaimed this technical level by the close, even if just barely. Volume was higher than yesterday and well above average. No doubt the continued weakness and violation of a widely followed technical level triggered a wave of stop-loss orders, causing this surge in volume.

Timeframe and timing are everything in the market. In a situation like this, both bull and bear can be right. A nimble dip-buyer can make a quick buck when this selloff bounces on Wednesday or Thursday. But the bear could also be right when the rebound fizzles and the selloff continues next week.

Sentiment on Stocktwits SPY boards has been all over the place. Last week it was oozing with 68% bullishness, but a few short days later it flipped on its head with 61% bears boasting about the imminent collapse. We need to remember this is primarily a measure of day-trader sentiment. While a very active group, they are small and cannot sustain directional moves without the support of big money. This Stocktwits sentiment skew likely means we are getting close to near-term bounce, but we need to widen our lens if we want to figure out what happens next. That means looking at investors with a longer time horizon.

Source: Stocktwits 1/6/2015

Source: Stocktwits 1/6/2015

There have been countless 2015 predictions circulating the financial press and the vast majority of pundits and big money managers expect this to be another good year. But the thing to remember is people naturally talk their book. If they are bullish on the market, then they are already fully invested. Where we run into trouble is when everyone is bullish, that means few are left to buy the market and keep pushing it higher.

We’ve gotten used to sharp selloffs followed by equally fast rebounds. If the market finds a floor Wednesday or Thursday, expect the dip-buyers to rush in and send us back to the 50dma and 2,050. But since this trade is getting a tad too obvious, be prepared for the relief to be temporary. The market is split in two, diametrically opposing camps, bulls expecting us to continue marching higher and bears predicting a devastating collapse. The third, and most widely overlooked option is a slow grind lower with countless head fakes along the way to zing and humiliate overly aggressive bulls and bears.

Jani

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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.