Why the stock market is not as bad as it seems

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Feb 24

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Friday’s S&P 500 session started off with a thud after an inflation data point went a tenth in the wrong direction. That sent the index tumbling 1.5% shortly after the open, but rather devolve into a mad dash for the exits, few owners decided to join in the selling and prices never retreated under those early.

No matter how bad the headlines get, there always comes a point where we run out of fearful sellers. What started four weeks ago as some routine profit-taking near multi-month highs has since devolved into this handwringing and talk of crashing to fresh bear market lows.

But as I’ve written many times before, every routine step back always feels like the world is ending. If it didn’t, no one would sell and prices wouldn’t fall. So by rule, people have to be scared or else they wouldn’t give up on their favorite stocks.

So who’s right here? While I would much rather be experiencing real victories instead of moral victories, Friday’s absence of follow-on selling was actually a good sign despite the red finish. An inflation reading ticked up and most investors kept their cool. That means it will take something even bigger and scarier to send these confident owners running for cover.

I know I sound like a broken record, but at this point, I don’t see anything in the headlines or price action that tells me this market is headed back to last year’s lows.

Stocks go up and stocks go down, that’s what they do. At this stage, this still looks like routine consolidation. Sure, it fell a little further than it could have, but stocks rallied 700 points from the October lows, so should we really be overreacting to a 250-point giveback?

Two steps forward, one step back. If that’s all this is, that means we are coming up on a nice buying opportunity. In a few weeks, most people will struggle to remember what they were so afraid of.

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About the Author

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.