A lot can change in 36-hours. Monday afternoon stocks cratered, shedding more than 100 points from the early highs. There are few things more frightening than a strong open that devolves into a panicked selloff. That plunge shoved us under the prior October lows, triggered another avalanche of reflexive selling.
But just when things were the most hopeless, prices bounced sharply off 2,600 support and the market hasn’t looked back. While it is only three days, prices have reclaimed a big chunk of October’s selloff and the mood has definitely shifted. Panic has given way to cautious optimism. No longer is the crowd fixated on trade wars, Chinese growth, and peak earnings. Instead, traders are remembering the U.S. economy is still in pretty darn good shape.
There comes a point in every emotional selloff when things go too far and are ripe for a snapback. That is exactly what I told readers to expect in Tuesday’s free blog post:
“If there is one thing both bulls and bears can agree on, it is that markets don’t move in straight lines. It has been a brutal October for stocks. At the very least, a near-term bounce is overdue. After definitively undercutting the early October lows and setting off a tidal wave of panicked defensive selling, this is about as good of a double-bottom setup as we will ever see.”
Three days later and 140-points higher, that is precisely what happened. Sign up for Free Email Alerts so you don’t miss profitable insights like these.
So far I’m stating the obvious because everyone already knows what happened. What readers are more interested in is what comes next. And for that, we can also look back at what I wrote on Tuesday because it is still relevant today:
“2,700 is the next most obvious price target. But the market likes symmetry and a rebound to 2,700 doesn’t even come close to matching the intensity of October’s selloff. While we could pause and even retrench a little at 2,700 over the next few days, the most likely target for this rebound is the 200dma/2,800/2,820 region the previous bounce stalled at in mid-October. Even rising up to and above the 50dma and the start of this selloff near 2,870 is on the table.”
We already checked 2,700 off the to-do list, and as expected, the gains slowed a little after we reclaimed this critical support level. But this is just a pause before the next leg higher.
After Thursday’s close, AAPL reported record earnings, but gave a slightly disappointing revenue forecast. Last week the exact same story played out in AMZN and is what contributed to Monday’s collapse. But the thing about headlines is they lose their bite with each retelling. Apple’s disappointment could weight on prices Friday, but it won’t be anywhere near as big of a deal as it was when AMZN told us the same thing. The shock wears off over time and life moves on. That is exactly what is happening in Thursday’s after-hours trade as the S&P 500 only dipped a fraction of a percent following AAPL’s “disappointing” news.
While the next move is still higher, we shouldn’t expect prices to race back to all-time highs. As I wrote earlier, everyone knows markets don’t move in straight lines and that means any rally higher will end in a step-back. Bulls and bears will argue if this will be two-steps forward, one-step back, or one-step forward and two-steps back. At this point, it doesn’t really matter because the next move is higher and the move after that will be a step-back. Once we get there, we can weight the likelihood of higher-lows or lower-highs. But until then, enjoy the (somewhat bumpy) ride higher.
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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.