Friday was another wild session for the S&P 500 as the index popped +1.8% in early trade, crashed back to breakeven before lunchtime, and then surged +1.4% into the close.
The economy added another quarter million jobs in October and we haven’t fallen into a meaningful slowdown yet. That’s both good and bad depending on which side of the fence a person is standing on. A strong economy is good for corporate profits, but too strong means even more rate hikes are ahead of us. And that’s what traders spent all day arguing over.
Friday’s midday retreat was a concern because it suggested dip buyers were MIA. But but after that slump failed to trigger an even larger breakdown and the selling stalled near breakeven, buyers finally decided to show up a few hours later. As the saying goes, better late than never.
How we finish is always more important than how we start, so by that measure, Friday was a good session. The midday breakdown couldn’t build momentum and that tells us the ground under our feet is fairly solid. If this really was a house of cards, we would have crashed to fresh lows. The fact we are still standing tells us the market is a lot more resilient than the critics claim.
As I wrote Thursday evening, I expected this week’s Fed-fueled selloff to bounce relatively soon and that’s exactly what we got:
While we’ve seen a lot of big selloffs this year, each echo gets weaker than the one that came before it. Meaning odds are good this week’s selloff will bounce a lot sooner than many people expect. For someone that’s short this weakness, that means standing near the exits and being ready to lock in profits as soon as the selling capitulates, which could come as early as Friday afternoon.
Friday was a good day, but we need to keep this strength up next week because a retest of the lows means the bounce is dead. Friday’s bounce is buyable with stops near 3,700. Add more if the rebound continues next week and pull the plug if we slip back to our stops.
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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.