End of Day Update:
The S&P500 sliced through 2,100 support and fell all the way to the 200dma before mounting a feeble bounce into the close. Traders clearly took notice as volume surged to the highest level in over a month.
Today’s selloff clearly rattled nerves and has many fearing worse things to come. Money managers, gurus, and journalists all smell blood in the water. And they’re not the only ones. The Stocktwits $SPY sentiment gauge swelled to 63% bearish. Bullishness on AAII’s sentiment survey is hovering near five-year lows. The CBOE Put/Call ratio spiked today to levels only seen a few times in the last five-years. And Investor Intelligence reports 58% of investment advisors are bearish. It seems everyone lost confidence in this market.
Given how bearish these indicators are, you’d think we are in the middle of a long and deep correction. The funny thing is we are only 2.4% from all-time highs. The most plausible explanation is a highly insightful crowd and savvy pundits see the storm clouds brewing and are getting out ahead of the long-awaited correction. That is of course if you think pundits and the crowd are good at identifying important turning points.
As a devout contrarian, if the crowd get this right, I’ll eat my hat. I really don’t want to eat my hat because I really like it, but I don’t have anything to worry about. It’s not because the crowd and gurus are stupid. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Supply and demand drives market pricing and by rule the majority’s opinion is already priced in. Common sense tells us that anyone anticipating a correction would sell their stocks ahead of time. From this we can infer the large majority of people with bearish outlooks are at the very least underweight stocks. If that’s the case, then most of the selling is already behind us and this is the safest time to buy and hold stocks in quite some time. No one said being a contrarian was easy, but to make money we have to make the hard trades.
The headline event everyone is looking forward to is the monthly jobs report due before Friday’s open. While the media hypes this up every month, it’s been years since this report made a lasting impact on prices. This Friday will be no different. Expect early volatility, but the numbers will be forgotten by the close.
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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.