The S&P 500 continues racing ahead of the economy and is now less than 10% from all-time highs. The fastest economic contraction since the great depression and stocks are only down single digits? That’s the world we live in.
As I’ve written previously, this paradox largely comes down to expectations of a quick recovery combined with unprecedented levels of government stimulus. As bad as the economy looks today, when governments are throwing unlimited resources at the problem, that’s enough to placate investors.
As much as it seems like this market is ripe for a near-term dip and consolidation, it keeps chugging higher instead. I took some profits last week because that is always the smart thing to do following a strong run, but this week’s strength tells us it is already time to get back in. Maybe we are getting close to the top and these latest purchases will get stopped out prematurely. Or maybe this thing still has room to run. Either way, as long as we are thoughtful with our trading plan, entry points, and stops, we will be in good shape no matter what the market does.
As long as prices remain above last week’s close, this market is still ownable. If prices fall under this level, shift to a more defensive stance to protect our profits. We only make money when we sell our winners and it is foolish to let a good trade evaporate before our eyes. As nimble traders, it is far easier to get back in than it is to will the market higher after it took back all of our paper profits.
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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.