This was one of the most volatile weeks in S&P 500 history with the highs and lows spanning more than 20%. The moves were so dramatic in fact, the index actually started a new bull market after climbing 20% from Monday’s lows! (Also making this the shortest bear market in history.)
These are strange times. I was there for the dot-com bubble. 9/11. The housing crash and financial crisis. I even have memories of 1987’s Black Monday. But few things compare to the levels of uncertainty we are feeling today. 1987 blindsided market participants and few things are as shocking as watching 9/11 unfold in real-time. But neither of those events affected Mainstreet the way Coronavirus has completely and totally shut down the global economy. Everyone was numb after 9/11, but most people resumed their lives after a few days.
Not today. Governors are instructing, if not downright ordering, citizens to stay in their homes for at least two weeks. And that is just the start. No one knows how much further this could go. Stocks rallied this week after Congress approved a $2 trillion dollar stimulus package and the Fed assured us they have “unlimited ammunition” to combat this economic slowdown. That was good enough to launch stock prices 20% above Monday’s lows. But can these things solve our problems? No…not even close.
This week’s rebound was more of a massive relief-rally and short-squeeze than a vote of confidence about our “new” outlook. While it was definitely nice to see the stock market string together a few positive days, our situation is not any better this Friday than it was last Friday. In fact, in many ways, they are worse now because this virus continues expanding at an exponential rate and this week’s shelter-in-place orders had a minimal impact on the growth curve.
As nice as it felt to see the market put together an impressive performance this week, we are far from out of the woods and should expect this historic volatility to stick around for a while. At the very least, expect prices to retest the lows over the next week or two. Maybe we find support at the prior lows. Maybe we don’t. Either way, hopefully, anyone who was savvy enough to buy this week’s rebound is also savvy enough to lock-in a big portion of those profits before they evaporate. Investors can buy these discounts for the long-haul, but traders need to be extremely nimble because today’s profits will turn into tomorrow’s losses if we allow ourselves to get greedy.
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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM
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.