The S&P 500 finished Wednesday’s session 0.4% higher after inflation fell to 4.9% and this key metric is now at the lowest level in two years.
While the above statement makes it seem like Wednesday was a perfectly reasonable session, lift the hood and you see it was anything but. An 0.8% opening gain disintegrated into a 0.5% loss before bouncing nearly 1% to finish up 0.4%.
Curbing inflation is critical for the Fed and the economy, so obviously a lot of investors were paying attention. The result fell in the middle of the road, not too hot and not too cool, but that didn’t stop impulsive traders from overreacting to it.
But this impulsive behavior isn’t new. This is a volatile market and traders have been overreacting to headlines and price action for a long time.
For as wild as the ride was, Wednesday’s late rebound confirms this market is still on solid ground and that 4,200 is still the target. But as is usually the case, getting there is anything but a smooth ride.
As someone positioned for the bounce up to 4,200, the midday tumble was disappointing and it even convinced me to lock in some of Friday’s profits proactively. But just because I sell a position doesn’t mean I’m giving up on it. As easy as it is to buy back in, we should never be afraid of getting defensive when something doesn’t feel right.
While we can’t jump every time we see our shadow, there are instances like Wednesday when the market does something unexpected. As much as I liked Friday’s rebound, I’m not willing to ride this position back into the dirt and I always have a backup plan in case things go wrong.
But just as important as getting out is being willing to get back in after we recognize the weakness was a false alarm. Sometimes we get lucky and the false alarm moves far enough that we can buy back in at even lower prices. Other times, like Wednesday, the whipsaw is so compressed that we are lucky to get back in near where we got out.
It is a hassle to sell and then buy back a few hours later, it sure beats allowing a profitable position to turn into a loser.
Wednesday was a wild session, but the refusal to break down means the near-term trend is still higher.
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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.