End of Day Update:
The S&P500 fell out of bed Thursday morning, dragged down by German markets that are still coming to terms with the Volkswagen emissions scandal. This is just another example of how our stock market is fixated on global-macro trends instead of the more traditional domestic and company specific data. But in an impressive midday reversal, the S&P500 found its footing near 1,910 support and erased most of the early losses. This intraday change in direction looks similar, but in the opposite direction as last Thursday’s “no hike” fizzle that kicked off this week-long, 100-point selloff. Could this price-action signal a dramatic change in direction just like it did last week?
The first thing to cross off the list of stuff to worry about is this Volkswagen emission scandal. While this will destroy a historic level of auto industry shareholder wealth through recalls and government fines, this is a very company specific story. This didn’t expose a weaker than expected economy or consumer, so it won’t have a lasting impact on future earnings for the broader market. The relevant stocks will take a beating to reflect the staggering loss of shareholder wealth, but then everyone moves on.
Last week we stalled above 2,000 because few buyers were willing to chase prices higher. But 100-points lower, the value proposition is dramatically different. On Thursday, value buyers were finding deals they couldn’t refuse and owners were unwilling to discount their stocks any further. Elevated demand and tightening supply put a floor under the market and kept the selling from spiraling out of control.
Most likely this bounce will push us up to 1,950 support/resistance. From there it is anyone’s guess as to what happens next. But the great thing is no one is forcing us to pick sides right now. Instead we can wait for the market to show its hand before we decide which way to trade this move. Stall and stumble? That means August’s 1,860 lows are the next stop as we dig out a double bottom. On the other hand, if fear evaporates and the recent dip priced in the inevitable rate hike, then we could continue higher and this slip is simply a higher-low on our way up. The key is how traders respond to 1,950. Do they buy the strength? Or do they sell before the inevitable fall? While I cannot tell you right now what will happen, the market will let us know soon enough.
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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.