After six days of gains, the S&P500 finally slipped into the red Tuesday. The size of the loss was insignificant when compared to last week’s rebound, but seeing the market bump its head on the 50dma was insightful, even if the pause was expected.
Financial headlines continue to be benign and most traders are focused on the longer-term ramifications of rising interest rates and inflation. Fears over these items sparked February’s sharp selloff, but have since failed to extend the selloff. It seems most traders who fear higher interest rates and inflation already sold and were replaced by new owners willing to hold those risks. While the recent correction rattled investor nerves, it didn’t shatter confidence and most owners are confidently holding for higher prices.
That said, February’s selloff was large enough that we cannot bounce back like nothing happened. Deep and emotional selloffs leave their scars and it takes a while for prices to build back to their previous levels. We recovered a huge chunk last week, but the rate of that rise was unsustainable and pausing at the 50dma is a normal and healthy thing to do.
We put enough time and distance from the dip’s lows to say the early February selloff is over. Market crashes are breathtakingly quick and almost never include six consecutive up-days in the middle of the crash. Without a doubt we can undercut those lows, but it will take a new catalyst to kick off the another leg lower and it will be a new selloff, not an extension of February’s emotional selling.
But just because the selloff is over doesn’t mean we are back in rally mode. We often see volatile trade during consolidations and base building. That means sharp rebounds followed by another round of selling. It wouldn’t be unusual or unexpected to see last week’s rebound stall at the 50dma and retreat back toward 2,600 support. Emotions are elevated and that means traders oscillate between believing everything is great to fearing the end of the world. This wide range of emotions leads to the bounces and dips that form traditional bases and consolidations. In range bound markets, it is best to trade against the market by buying weakness and selling strength. Don’t let the crowd’s emotions trick you into giving away money by buying high and selling low.
This isn’t rocket science, we just need to be pay attention because the market keeps doing the same thing over and over. In January I warned readers the relentless rise in prices was unsustainable. After February’s 10% correction, I told readers the selling went too far and it was actually the safest time to buy in months. And after six consecutive up-days, I warned readers that we would stall at the 50dma. This isn’t hard if you know what to look for. And to answer the question in this post’s headline, neither. This is a range bound market we shouldn’t expect a strong directional move anytime soon.
Bitcoin’s rebound continued over the weekend and got near $12k. Everything looks a lot better after a 100% bounce off of the lows. But that is what makes me nervous. The time to buy is when everyone is predicting a collapse, not when everyone is feeling better.
This rebound took a lot of pressure off of BTC owners, but we will start running into overhead resistance. Many premature dip-buyers jumped in between $12k and $15k and we should expect many of those regretful owners to sell when they can get their money back. Their selling will slow the assent over the near-term.
Over the medium-term, I question where the next round of BTC buyers will come from. This latest selloff burned new investors and scared off prospective investors. On the other end of the spectrum, BTC bulls bought everything they could during this dip and are now fully invested. Where does the new money come from? I cannot answer that question and is why I don’t believe the bottom has been put in yet. Previous BTC selloffs erased more than 80% of the value and took more than six months to complete. If we do the same this time, we won’t bottom until we fall under $4k and it won’t happen until sometime this summer or fall.
Until further notice, BTC is still in a downtrend and that means bounces should be sold.
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