The S&P 500 slumped 1.2% after weekly unemployment claims saw their first increase since late March. This triggered the biggest equity decline in nearly a month. Is the market telegraphing worse things to come? Or was this a trivial wobble ahead of the next leg higher?
Clearly the economic rebound stalled. But this isn’t news. We’ve been dealing with surging infection rates since last month and the inevitable return of business restrictions. Today’s employment numbers only confirm what we already knew was coming.
Was today finally the wakeup call the bears have been waiting for? Is the evidence so incontrovertible that even the most oblivious bull can no longer continue living in denial? That’s what the cynics are hoping for anyway. But if the fastest economic collapse in modern history and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression didn’t spook these oblivious investors, why would anyone assume a modest uptick in initial unemployment claims would be the thing that finally breaks this market?
While today’s loss felt dramatic because volatility has been nonexistent over the last few weeks, a 1.2% Covid fueled dip hardly qualifies as the start of anything. As long as this market remains above 3,200, the rebound is alive and well. Even a dip under 3,200 isn’t that big of a deal if supply dries up quickly. A nimble trader will start peeling off some profits if we dip under 3,200, but this more of a risk management decision than concern about an impending collapse.
Until further notice, I will continue giving this market the benefit of doubt. But, if the selling feeds on itself and prices dip further, it’s not a big deal. We liquidate at our trailing stops and buy the next bounce. As much as I root for our country, economy, and stock market, the more this market dips, the more money I make so I don’t mind.
As I wrote yesterday, TSLA‘s lackluster reaction in after-hours trade to yesterday’s record-setting fourth consecutive profit was an ominous sign. Prices opened green this morning, but that was as good as it got. While the earnings were fantastic, the stock rallied in anticipation of these headlines and it fell into the “sell the news” trap.
Keep holding for higher prices if we bounce tomorrow, but if prices fall under $1,500 get defensive. Even if the future is bright, there is no reason to ride a near-term dip down $500. Lock-in some profits and get ready to buy the next bounce.
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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.