It was an eventful week. After five days of counting, Biden was finally declared winner of the election Saturday. Monday morning we got outstanding news one of the vaccine candidates tested 90% effective in preventing Covid infections. And Friday, Covid-19 infections smashed all previous records and topped 150k daily cases for the first time.
Mix all of those gigantic headlines together and the S&P 500 ended the week higher by 2%. Not bad.
The vaccine headline is obviously outstanding news. Biden’s win is good or bad depending on who you were pulling for, but mix those two viewpoints together and it is largely a wash. And 150k daily Covid infections are most definitely dreadful.
From this smorgasbord of hugely bullish and hugely bearish headlines, stocks had free reign to do whatever they wanted. If the market wanted to crash, there were far more than enough excuses to trigger a stampede for the exits. On the other hand, if stocks wanted to explode higher, Monday’s 4% gap higher was more than enough to trigger a wave of breakout buying. And what did we end up with? A modest move higher.
This muted reaction tells us this market is not vulnerable to a collapse lower and it is not ready to explode higher. Sentiment is good enough to keep us near the highs and even drift modestly higher, but that’s about it. If the market was on the verge of a huge move in either direction, it would have happened this week.
As I wrote earlier this week, prices were setting up for a 3,500 to 3,650 trading range and I don’t see anything from week’s price action that changes my mind. It is okay to own this market, but keep a stop near 3,500 support and the adventurous should be ready to short a violation of this level. But as long as the index holds above 3,500 support, things are actually looking pretty good for stocks despite these dreadful Covid headlines.
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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.