Is the Tax Rally running out of steam?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Dec 14

End of Day Update:

The S&P500 started the day with modest gains, but a midday slide pushed us into the red when cracks formed in the GOP’s tax plan. A couple of Senators are withholding their support unless additional benefits are passed down to the poor. That said, the “selloff” was only 0.4% and shows the market is not all that concerned about these headlines.

The market finished pricing in Tax Cuts last week after the Senate approved its version. Rather than rally on the good news, the market actually finished lower. Going down on good news tells us most of the upside has been realized. And the same happened this Wednesday when the Senate and House agreed in principle on a compromise bill. The market gave up early gains and finished essentially flat. If anyone is waiting to buy the Tax Reform pop, they are several months too late.

The bigger risk is this turning into a sell the news event. We’ve been rallying since Trump’s election in anticipation of these regulatory relaxations and tax cuts. Now that we are only days away from realizing these pieces of good news, what does the market have to look forward to? The market ignored every piece of bad news this year because nothing could dampen the hope and anticipation of tax cuts. But soon those things are going to slip into the rearview mirror. What happens when we don’t have those overriding things to look forward to? Will bad news start mattering again? That is the million dollar question.

Markets are skeptical by nature and often fear the worst. The last 12-months of optimism has been a welcome reprieve from the typical cynicism. But as soon as the crowd gets used to the market’s mood, it changes. 2017 was a good year for stocks, but if there is one thing we can cross off the list of possibilities next year, it is a repeat of this year. Bulls can hope the rate of gains accelerate, which is a real possibility. But for that to happen the economy would need to ramp up and right now that doesn’t look like it will happen. More likely is we stumble into some bad news. Maybe some economic reports miss expectations and the R word starts getting thrown around. Or something happens in Europe. Or China stumbles. Or oil, bitcoin, or Trump. Any one of those catalysts could kick off the next correction. To keep going higher, everything needs to be perfect. To tumble, we only need one thing to unnerve traders.

For the time being things still look good, but the market is most definitely not easy and I don’t expect this gentle climb higher to continue indefinitely. The market has a nasty habit of smacking us when we least expect it and there are a lot of fat, dumb, and happy investors. But as a trader, a little uncertainty isn’t a bad thing. I make the most money when the market overreacts emotionally. This year all we had was a 3% dip on the North Korean war of words. Here’s to hoping 2018 brings us more volatility and profit opportunities.


If you found this post useful, share it with your friends, colleagues, and followers!

If you want to be notified when new posts are published, sign up for Free Email Alerts


About the Author

Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and financial analyst that has successfully traded stocks and options for nearly three decades. He has an undergraduate engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and two graduate business degrees from the University of Colorado Denver. His prior professional experience includes engineering at Fortune 500 companies, small business consulting, 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 children.