The S&P500 slipped back to 2,800 support as trade war fears flared up and Trump made comments about the Fed’s interest rate hikes and dollar strength.
While any kind of weakness feels scary following this month’s pleasant surge above 2,800 resistance, we need to keep it in perspective. Down-days are a healthy and normal part of every move higher. Given the magnitude of the headlines swirling around us, a 0.4% decline feels fairly insignificant. As I’ve been saying for a while, if this market was fragile and vulnerable, we would have collapsed months ago. There is far more than enough ammunition for a large market selloff. In fact most bears are shocked we haven’t collapsed given how dire the news is. But as traders, the thing we can never lose sight of is we don’t trade the headlines, we trade the market. If the market chooses to ignore these headlines, then so should we. If it didn’t matter last week, last month, and the month before that, why is it all of a sudden going to start mattering now? Quick answer is it won’t.
No matter what people think should happen, Trump’s trade war has largely been priced in. Anyone who fears these headlines bailed out months ago and was replaced by confident dip buyers. Right or wrong, this turnover in ownership means the remaining owners don’t care about these headlines. When no one sells the headlines, they stop mattering. That is how we find ourselves in a paradoxical market that rallies 100-points after Trump imposes billions of dollars of tariffs on the Chinese. These things don’t matter because no one is left to sell the news. This market is not “rigged”. It is not “irrational”. It is behaving exactly like it should. The people who don’t understand this strength are simply looking at the wrong things.
While it is easy to make these claims after the fact, I’ve been telling readers to expect this rally for a while. This is what I wrote last month as the market teetered on the edge of what most assumed would be another leg down.
Bears have been gifted everything. Horrible headlines. Violating key support levels. The largest one-day selloff in months. Yet they are unable to do anything with it. Instead of crashing, this market is holding up amazingly well. Respecting 2,700 support for four days demonstrates strength, not weakness. If this market was fragile and vulnerable, there has been more than enough to send us tumbling. Yet here we stand.
Back when everyone feared the worst, I told readers to not worry about it. Anyone who listened avoided giving away money by selling at the wrong time and profited nicely as the market surged 100-points over the next few weeks. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I have been doing this long enough to know what we need to worry about and what we can ignore. I fear the things I don’t know, not what everyone is talking about. Trump’s trade war has dominated the financial press for months. That meant it was already priced in and not something we needed to worry about.
And what was true last month is still true this month. This market doesn’t care about all the things the bears are talking about. If we were going to crash, it would have happened by now. That tells us we are standing on firm ground. That said, the 100-point rally from 2,700 support consumed a lot of upside and the easy gains are now behind us. From here every additional point gets harder and slower. That path of least resistance is still higher, but it requires more conviction and patience.
If a person bought last month’s dip and is sitting on healthy profits, there is nothing wrong with taking profits here if that is what their strategy dictates. But at the same time, those that are more patient can squeeze a few more dollars out of this market. If this month’s rebound pushed us to overbought and unsustainable levels, we would have fallen back into the trading range by now. Instead, 2,800 resistance turned into support and is holding us up quite nicely. The next obvious target is all-time highs at 2,880. We will get there eventually, but it will take a few weeks and there will be lots of back-and-forth between now and then. Remember, red days are a normal and healthy part of every move higher.
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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.