Why Bulls AND Bears keep getting this market wrong

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

May 23

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 tumbled -1.1% Tuesday, giving back a significant portion of last week’s big gains.

Easy come, easy go. Luckily, this reversal doesn’t surprise readers. As I wrote in last Friday’s free post when the index was pushing to multi-month highs:

This is a choppy market and if we’re not taking profits when we have them, we will be taking losses a few days later. The market is still acting well and we don’t need to run for the hills, but it definitely makes sense to peel off some profits, putting a nice chunk of change in our pocket and lowering the risk if this selling continues next week.

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And wouldn’t you know it, here we are a few days later, and anyone still holding watched a nice pile of profits slip through their fingers.

We buy when we don’t want to buy, which is exactly what I was telling readers to do last Monday before stocks popped:

Until something changes, I’m sticking with what is working and that is waiting for the index to rally up to, and through 4,200 resistance. The market is taking its time, but as I’ve been saying for a while, something that refuses to go down will eventually go up.

And we sell when we don’t want to sell, like last Friday when stocks were challenging multi-month highs.

Trading isn’t hard when we recognize what’s coming. Last week, this was a market that refused to go down, making 4,200 the next obvious target. But once we got there, it was time to switch directions because this is a choppy, indecisive market, not a directional one.

Bears betting on a breakdown last week were just as wrong as bulls this week betting on a breakout. Buy when the crowd claims stocks are on the verge of collapse and sell when the crowd is fat, dump, and happy.

This market will make a big directional move at some point, but this is not that point. We are slipping into the slower summer months, and institutional money managers are sneaking off to their summer cottages. Until they return in September, expect this choppiness and indecisiveness to continue. That means buying the dips and selling the rips for the foreseeable future.

If you are not taking profits when you have them, you won’t have profits left to take.

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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.