The S&P 500 surged another 2% Thursday, bringing the weekly gains to more than 7%. Not bad for a few days of work.
While the early strength Wednesday morning was largely attributed to optimism following Trump’s strong showing, Biden has been eating into those margins and is clawing his way back to frontrunner status. But rather than tumble on Trump’s dimming prospects Thursday, the stock market kept charging higher.
Thursday’s enduring strength confirms the market’s optimism isn’t due to Trump’s prospects, but instead, relief of a split government. As I wrote yesterday evening, the stock market loves ineffective governments. It can always price in good news and bad news, what it can’t handle is constantly changing rules. A slit government greatly increases the odds of legislative gridlock. As far as the stock market is concerned, the less that comes out of Washington, the better.
And while it was nice to see stocks explode higher the last few days, we must acknowledge this strength consumed an awful lot of near-term upside. This move puts us back near all-time highs.
If the only thing we were dealing with was an undecided election, everything is set for a continued march higher. But what is largely hidden behind these vote-counting headlines is today was the first time the U.S. had more than 100k positive Covid tests in a single day.
The election was great and we are well on our way to a completely ineffective and unproductive government. But once that euphoria wears off, the front pages will fill up again with Covid headlines and the news definitely isn’t good.
Two steps forward, one step back. Expect the market to run into some near-term resistance near the old highs. Maybe prices slump after Biden is declared the winner. Maybe stocks fall if Trump refuses to concede and promises to fight the result. Or maybe prices simply climbed a little too far and need some time to cool off.
No matter the reason, this is a better place to be taking profit than adding new money. If a person is sitting on nice profits, at the very least, follow this strength higher with a trailing stop. Remember, we only make money when we sell our winners.
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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.