End of Day Update:
Stocks continued the rebound, adding another 1% and closing just shy of January’s double tops at 2,065. Volume was average, but lower than the last six days of elevated trade.
While the market surged 15-points at the open, from there it was one of the most benign days of the year as we traded inside a five-point channel between 2,055 and 2,060. I cannot remember the last time we saw such laid-back intraday trade. We finally “broke out” to the upside in the final minutes of the day, if you count a two-point move to 2,062 as a breakout.
Just a few days ago I was talking about 120-point intraday swings and now a two-point surge at the close is the best we can do. Amazing how quickly things change. Calm, rational, stable trade is good for the markets, suggesting this is more than a dead-cat bounce.
Sentiment remains in the toilet. Stocktwits’ SPY stream is 55% bearish while the latest AAII survey showed bearishness surging 10% and bullishness plunging 9%. It appears recent volatility and fearful headlines have discouraged a large number of retail investors.
But just when things look the worst is usually when they turn around. This is where the last of the hopeful holdouts call it quits and sell their stock at a discount because they cannot stomach the thought of another downday. But once they finish selling, supply tightens up and we bounce. And so far that is exactly what’s happened.
Everyone who fears falling oil prices, Euro uncertainty, and volatility sold to thick-skinned bargain hunters willing to hold the risk. The current crop of owners demonstrated a willingness to own this uncertainty. That’s why when oil falls or tensions flare up in Europe, the market is indifferent. The new owners don’t care about those issues. Right or wrong, prices remain firm when no one sells.
Friday morning we get employment. While this is usually good for a few minutes of volatility, it’s been years since an employment report changed the direction of the market. The talking heads love to hype it up, but it will be ancient history by lunchtime.
Technically the big milestone is 2,065. We were turned back twice in January at this level and a lot of traders will be watching it. If we break it, expect a wave of breakout buying and short-covering. From there we will have to see how the market behaves before deciding if this bounce has the resilience to continue to all-time highs.
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.