The S&P500 started Thursday with healthy gains, unwinding all of Wednesday’s losses and then some. Unfortunately the buying didn’t last and prices slipped back near breakeven by the close. This is the fifth day the 50dma has been a ceiling for stocks.
There were not any economic headlines to speak of and instead investors are still grappling with the ramifications of rising inflation and interest rates. Some people think these will smother a fragile economy. Other feel this is the economy finally returning to more normal levels following a prolonged stretch of lethargic growth.
Count me as a member of the latter group. Even though inflation and interest rates have jumped a substantial amount, we are only approaching what used to be considered low rates during more normal times. Traders fretting the worst are fearing something that hasn’t shown its face yet. So far the economic data does not show any hints the economy is slowing down. These skeptical traders fear what “could” happen, but so far the data doesn’t support their concerns.
Even though the fears that triggered February’s correction appear overblown, the large selloff brought the rally back to earth. A substantial amount of technical damage occurred and we shouldn’t expect prices to zoom back to the highs any time soon. As I was wrote last week, the rebound’s rate of gains was unsustainable and prices would likely stall at the 50dma. And so far that is exactly what happened.
But it is not all bad. Even though we are struggling with 50dma resistance, holding these levels for five days shows support for prices. Prices tumble from overbought and unsustainable levels quickly and so far that hasn’t happened. That tells us the worst of February’s selloff is already behind us and we don’t need to fear another big selloff. That said, the selloff damaged sentiment and technicals enough that it will take time for traders to trust this market again. That means we will trade sideways for a while and consolidate the previous rally’s gains. This is normal and healthy behavior and there is nothing to fear.
The thing to remember about sideways consolidations is they include moves in both directions. At times the market will look like it is breakout out. Other times is seems like it is breaking down. But these are just gyrations inside a trading range. Over the near-term, weakness should be bought and strength sold. Don’t be one of those people the market fools into buying high and selling low. Have the confidence and conviction to trade against these swings.
As expected, Bitcoin’s surge to $12k stalled and pulled back. As I’ve been writing, the time to buy the dip is when everyone is scared and fearing the worst. Not after a rebound spread a sigh of relief through the crowd. Even though prices slipped back under the psychologically significant $10k level, the selling largely stalled and prices are not entering free-fall. Even though I think BTC’s worst days are still ahead of us, we are in the eye of the storm and prices will stabilize over the near-term. If we can hold $10k for another week or two, a follow-on rally up to $14k is not unreasonable. But since lower-lows are still ahead of us, any rallies should be sold, not chased. Previous crashes in BTC resulted in price declines greater than 80% and it took half a year or longer to finally bottom. Since we are only two months into this and only down 50%, we still have a ways to go. In the meantime, enjoy this brief reprieve and for the bravest of the brave, there might be a chance to buy the dip in a week or two.
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