End of Day Update:
The S&P500 slipped back under 2,100 resistance two-days after closing above this level for the first time in six-months. This tepid response to the breakout tells us few are excited to buy these 2016 highs. We rallied nearly 300-points from February’s lows with nothing but modest dips along the way. While it’s been a great ride, at some point this rebound will exhaust the supply of available buyers and we will slip into a very normal and health pullback.
There is nothing to fear from a routine stepback following such a large price move. In fact we should embrace a cooling off period because the higher we go without one, the larger and more violent the inevitable pullback. Sentiment has recovered to more normal levels after reaching nearly historically bearish levels only a handful of weeks ago. StockTwits $SPY sentiment reclaimed 50% bullishness for the first time in recent memory and AAII bearish sentiment is well under historic averages. Nothing like a 300-point rebound to calm previously frayed nerves.
Not so long ago traders couldn’t make a move without first seeing what happened overnight in China. Then oil became the obsession. Three-months later and the global economy is still standing as most of these fears faded into the distance. While things could have been ugly, most often the market fears the worst and reality turns out far less bad. Nearly four-months after January’s sell off started, things don’t look so bad.
Even though the world looks less bad than many predicted, we shouldn’t rush off and buy stocks with reckless abandon. Risk is a function of height. The higher we are, the more vulnerable we are to a pullback. While we feel better about the market, this is actually the riskiest it’s been since the start of the year. The time to dive in was back when everyone was fearfully selling stocks at steep discounts and we were 200 and 300 points lower. Now that stocks are selling at full price, they are far less attractive from a risk/reward perspective. Given how far we’ve come, this is a far better place to be taking profits than adding new positions.
While every dip over the last three-months has bounced, we are not far from the one that keeps falling. It concern me that few buyers showed up after we broke through 2,100 resistance. Without new money it will be hard to keep the momentum going. Typically these things rollover fairly quickly, so if it’s going to happen, it should happen over the next couple of days. A little profit taking soon turns devolves into waves of anxious selling. If on the other hand we continue hanging out near 2,100 resistance for several days, that tells us few owners are taking profits because they are waiting for higher prices. No matter what the experts think should happen, when confident owners refuse to sell, supply gets tight and prices rally.
I’m concerned about Thursday’s inability to hold the 2,100 breakout. For those that have profits, this is a good time start thinking about locking them in. The most aggressive can look at shorting this weakness with a profit target of at least 2,060 support. Fail to bounce there and the 50/200dma and 2,000 support are in play. But if bears cannot get the ball rolling, look for the rebound to continue up to all-time highs near 2,130.
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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.