Monday was another bad session for the S&P 500 as the latest step back continues and the index now finds itself just a few points above 4,400 support.
But this isn’t a surprise for readers of this blog. I warned readers to be careful back on March 29th when the index hit 4,631 following a stupifying 450 point rally from March’s lows in little more than two weeks:
Now that we’re at the highest point since the 2022 correction started and within 200 points of all-time highs, we should expect the rate of gains to stall, if not outright retrench in a very normal and healthy step-back. Retesting 4,400 wouldn’t be a surprise.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, here we are back at 4,400 support. Funny how that works.
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Now, I’m not claiming I predicted this. The rally’s momentum just as easily could have continued up to 4,800. But that wasn’t the most likely outcome and the risk/reward following a 450 point surge flipped against us. Rather than get greedy, that was the time to move to defense and make sure our trailing stops were snug up against current prices, ensuring our big pile of profits was well protected. (We only make money when we sell our favorite positions.)
March was a good month and it felt good to lock in all of those profits. (I rode that wave in a 3x ETF.) But as soon as I’m out, the first thing I start doing is looking for the next entry point.
While 4,400 support was the most obvious target, sometimes these things bounce above support and I didn’t want to be left behind if that happened this time. So I bought the bounce off of 4,450 last week and rode that for a little bit. (Start small, get in early, keep a nearby stop, and only add to a position that is working.) I was even fortunate enough to be able to move my stops up to my entry points as the bounce progressed a little.
While last week’s bounce didn’t work, it was a small position and I pulled the plug near my entry points, giving me a virtually free trade. Critics will make fun of last week’s buy because it obviously didn’t work, but by being nimble and getting in early, I had a free trade! If it made money, great. If it didn’t, I got out and it didn’t cost me anything. By that measure, it would be stupid to not jump on that ridiculously generous risk/reward. (If that’s considered one of our “bad trades”, then we are definitely doing something right!)
But now that I’m out, guess what, I’m already looking for that next entry point. And chances are good we will see a nice bounce off of 4,400 support Tuesday. Maybe it sticks. Maybe it doesn’t. But either way, I’m starting small and getting in early. If it works, great. If not, no big deal, I sell and try again next time.
TWTR popped 27% last week after Elon revealed he bought nearly 10% of the company. Unfortunately, the stock has retreated from those initial highs.
While we don’t need to give up on this trade, a savvy and nimble trader would cut bait when this undercut the pop’s lows. It’s not that we don’t believe in this trade, but every good trading plan always starts with defense. If we know ahead of time when we will get out, then a lot fewer bad things will happen to us. (Making money in the market is easy, the hard part is keeping it!)
In this case, TWTR is definitely buyable if it gets back above $50. But we need to be careful under $50 because these things have a nasty habit of closing the gap and there is no reason to ride this all the way back down to the lower $40s.
As I always remind my readers, buying back in is a lot easier than wishing prices would go back to the levels we wish we sold at.
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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.
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