End of Day Update:
The S&P500 crashed through support on its way to six-month lows. Again volume was surprising light for the biggest down-day in a year-and-a-half. While some are running around with their hair on fire, the lighter volume tells us most owners resisted the temptation to join the emotional selling.
There are two ways this can play out. The bullish scenario has confident owners standing strong and the resulting tight supply will put a floor under stocks. The bearish storyline plays out if confident owners lose their nerve in the face of further declines and join the emotional selling. That will lead to a surge in volume and end in more traditional capitulation bottom quite a bit lower from here.
As scary as today’s selloff felt, we need to remind ourselves that we are still within 5% of all-time highs. While most of the world has seen double-digit declines, our markets are holding up remarkably well. Either that means we need to catch up to everyone else, or more positively the US markets have become the safe haven for global investors desperately seeking shelter. Between the strong dollar and our resilient market, the US is easily the most attractive place for the world’s wealthy to move their money. This easily explains much of the strength we are seeing in the S&P500.
Over the medium-term I remain bullish on our market and still expect we will finish the year in the green. But how we get from here to there is a little less clear. Today’s weakness was a clear sell signal for shorter-term traders. While I’ve been bullish on this market, this morning’s awful price-action told us the bottom wasn’t in yet. We bounce decisively from oversold levels and retesting the lows today signaled there was more selling left. Friday could get even more ugly since nothing shatters confidence like screens filled with red.
Long-term buy-and-hold investors need to resist the temptation to bail out. This is one of those periodic market gyrations and when they sell years from now, this weakness will be long forgotten. Shorter-viewed traders need to be more cautious. It is probably getting a tad late to be adding new shorts, but those lucky enough to be short can let this play out a little longer. Just be prepared to lock-in profits because when this bounces, it will be fierce. Those with cash should resist the temptation to jump in too quickly and wait for a little more stability. As for the longs that feel stuck, there is nothing wrong with selling defensively, but don’t let a little volatility sour your attitude toward this market. Be ready to jump back in as soon as the selling exhausts itself, which is only days away. While days like this hurt, the trader in us should be excited because buying discounted shares from emotional sellers is the easiest and fastest way to make money in the market.
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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.