The S&P 500 retreated half a percent Tuesday morning before recovering almost all of those early losses, finishing the session down a trivial amount.
Stocks retreat quickly from unsustainable levels, so the longer we hold Monday’s 4k breakout, the more real it becomes. We tested support early Tuesday and the market passed that first exam with flying colors.
While one or two days don’t make a breakout, every sustained breakout starts with those first two days. At this point, headlines remain benign and this continues the less-bad-than-feared rebound from the October lows. As always, everything could get flipped on its head at a moment’s notice, but so far things look good.
Greedy when other people are fearful and fearful when other people are greedy. That simple strategy works more often than not, and now that the market is at multi-month highs, we have to tread carefully.
4k is an important level and so far it is holding steady. But as I wrote previously, this market is more choppy and sideways than up or down. And that means even if the trend higher remains intact, we should expect lots of back and forth along the way.
At points like this, it makes sense to lock in some of our really nice profits because we don’t make money until we sell our winners. But at the same time, the market is still behaving well, so it is equally worth holding on to some of our positions too.
With one foot in and one foot out of the market, we will be in good shape no matter what happens next. If the market gets rejected 4k yet again, we pull the plug at our recently lifted trailing stops. But on the other hand, if the breakout continues, we benefit through what we are still holding and then we put he accelerator down by buying back what we sold.
This is the highly enviable “no lose” position. The only reason we are here is because we had the courage to buy when everyone else was busy forecasting the market’s imminent demise.
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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.