Category Archives for "End of Day Analysis"

Jun 23

Is the market losing its mind?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

Did someone forget to tell the Nasdaq we’re in the middle of the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression???

Talk about a major divergence from reality. While the cynics cannot help but argue with this market, never forget, we trade stocks, not headlines or the economy. If stocks want to go up, there is only one way to trade this. If you don’t agree, your only choice is to get out of way because if you don’t, you are going to get run over.

Without a doubt, this rebound will end at some point because they always do, but this is definitely not that point. This month’s 6% collapse was the perfect setup to trigger a much larger collapse. If this rally was overbought and vulnerable, that was more than enough to trigger a much larger avalanche of follow-on selling. Instead, confident owners shrugged and bought the dip. When stubborn owners refused to sell, headlines don’t matter. End of story.

At this point, keep an eye on Monday’s lows. If we fall to this level, start locking-in some profits. If we retreat back to the previous Monday’s close, peel off some more profits. And if we return to this June’s lows, get all the way out. Anything other than that and lookout above. I fully expect the S&P 500 to match the Nasdaq and reach new highs over the next few weeks. We buy higher-highs, we don’t sell them.

If everyone knows the Fed rigged this market to keep going up, quit complaining about it and enjoy the ride!

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Jun 18

Why this market is ignoring “Second Wave” headlines

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

Thursday was the fifth trading session since the S&P 500 collapsed 6% in a single day. As dire as the situation felt last week, the market is doing a remarkable job of holding it together.

In the five sessions since last week’s collapse, the index already reclaimed 2/3s of those losses. If there is one thing we know about larger selloffs, they are breathtakingly fast. Compare this week’s reaction to the five sessions that followed February’s original Coronavirus breakdown. There, indexes fell another 12% during those next five trading sessions.

Without a doubt, we need to stand up and pay attention any time the market sheds 6% in a single day. But what happened last week was definitely different from what started back in February. That means we need to be careful drawing connections between the two events.

Even more important than the initial loss is how traders respond to it over the next few days. February’s first drop telegraphed the impending collapse that would eventually shave 35% off the index. The last few days has seen traders respond by buying the dip, not adding to the weakness.

As paradoxical as this dip buying seems given the widespread headlines proclaiming “a second wave”, it actually makes a lot of sense when you breakdown the supply and demand occurring under the surface.

The last few months have seen a tremendous amount of selling. Anyone scared of the Coronavirus and the ensuing shutdowns abandoned ship a long time ago. And not only that, when these panicked owners were selling, confident dip buyers were snapping up those discounts despite the headlines.

If confident dip buyers didn’t care about the “first wave”, do we really expect them to be scared by a “second wave”? No, of course not. That stubborn confidence is why stocks have been so steady despite predictions of a bigger selloff.

As long as the market remains above 3k support, everything is going according to plan and all-time highs are still in our near-term future. What happens after we get there is still undecided, but for the time being, enjoy this rebound, don’t fight it. Keep your stops near 3k and quit worrying about it.

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Jun 16

When to get worried about this market

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 rallied for the third day in a row and continues recovering from last week’s devastating 6% tumble.

One large bearish collapse followed by three smaller bullish responses. Which signal is legitimate and which is misleading? That’s the question everyone wants the answer to.

Thursday’s crash was the worst day since the original Coronavirus meltdown. What started as a disappointing open quickly morphed into a mad dash for the exits. But as quickly as the selling started, it exhausted itself and stocks have already recovered a big chunk of those shocking losses.

If there is one thing we know about crashes, they are breathtakingly fast. No one has time to think and if you pause even for a second, you get run over. That’s what occurred Thursday. But rather than extend the panic selling the runaway selling like we saw back in March, the subsequent price action has been far more orderly and thoughtful.

Few things calm nerves like rising prices and the last three days of gains has a lot of people feeling better. Last Thursday’s second thoughts are quickly fading from memory and confidence is returning.

As I wrote previously, until further notice, we give this rebound the benefit of doubt. Trends continue countless times but they reverse only once. Going strictly off the probabilities, last week’s dip was far more likely to bounce than it was to continue. And that’s exactly what we are seeing.

And as long as this market remains above 3k support, we continue giving it the benefit of doubt. Fall under this level and all bets are off.

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Jun 11

Is this the start of the end, or just another buyable dip?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

It was a dreadful day for the S&P 500. In fact, this nearly 6% loss was the worst day for the index since the depths of the Coronavirus collapse back in March.

There was no definitive headline driving today’s selling. Instead, this was one gigantic tidal wave of second-guessing that hit all at once. Between the struggling economy and signs of a second wave of infections in Asia, many investors slammed on the brakes and those second-thoughts were contagious.

As well as the market has done over the last few months, it is was actually surprising it took this long for stocks to take a meaningful step-back. But as I’ve been writing, investors have largely been ignoring headlines and this remains an emotionally driven market. Those blinders propelled us on the way higher and this group-think contributed to today’s simultaneous, mega-collapse.

But as bad as today felt, did anything change? No. The economy is still in shambles and a second wave of infections is inevitable. All things we knew yesterday and none of this is new to anyone. If these things didn’t matter before, then it probably doesn’t matter now. Stocks made a huge run since the March lows despite these fears and periodic waves of profit-taking like this are inevitable.

But just as important to this market is the nearly unlimited amount of money and resources governments are throwing at this problem. If we learned anything over the last decade, it’s that stocks absolutely love free money and by that metric, the good times are still rolling. The free money is flowing out of control and despite today’s temporary dip, expect those unprecedented flows to keep propping up stock prices.

This pullback was long overdue, but this was just a normal and healthy step-back on our way back to all-time highs. This is not the start of some much bigger collapse. Expect this selloff to bounce like every dip that came before it this spring. If the bounce doesn’t occur Friday, then look for it early next week.

But just because this market will bounce doesn’t mean we should ride this wave lower. Every responsible trader uses stops to protect themselves in case they are wrong. Earlier this week I suggested last Thursday’s close was a good level for a trailing stop. We undercut that level early in the day and that was our signal to get out no matter what we thought was going to happen next.

Now that savvy traders are in cash, it is time to start looking for the next buying opportunity. If prices bounce tomorrow morning, test that opening strength with a small buy and stop under the early lows. (It doesn’t matter if we open red or green, just which direction the market moves after the open.) If prices rally through the day, keep adding more. If prices finish near the daily highs, hold over the weekend.

On the other end of the spectrum, if prices fall from opening levels tomorrow morning, stay in cash and wait for the bounce. (An aggressive trader can short the weakness, just stay nimble and take profits early and often) As bad as today felt, traders should be excited to see this volatility. As much fun as it was riding this spring’s wave higher, we make a lot more money from this back-and-forth.

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Jun 10

Is it too late to buy TSLA?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

TSLA broke through $1,000 for the first time ever and is 250% above its March lows. That’s one heck of a ride for anyone lucky enough to catch it.

I will be the first to admit I’m not a big TSLA bull. It’s an expensive stock and prone to wild swings. But those same wild swings that give bulls and bears so much to argue about are the things swing-traders dream of. Who cares which side is right as long as the stock keeps giving us these huge, tradable swings.

Back in early May, I told readers this stock was buyable if it could get above $800 and hold those gains:

This is a strong sign and breaking through resistance in a sustainable way seems inevitable. That means the most likely next move is higher and if we get through $800, then all-time highs near $1,000 is the next stop.

Well, here we are! Now the big question everyone is asking is what comes next? This is a red-hot stock and there is a very good chance this is another bubble. While that scares some people, what should we be doing when we see a bubble? Why, buying it, of course! What a silly question.

Ride this thing higher with a trailing stop just under $1k and enjoy the profits. Obviously, the safer time to jump aboard this move was back at the $800 breakout. But for the more adventurous, this is still buyable with a stop just under $1k. That said, late buyers should be prepared to get squeezed out a few times by false alarms and whipsaws. But as long as you are committed to buying back in every time the stock pops back above $1k, you will be in the catbird seat for the next leg higher. A few small losses are no big deal if we are there to catch the next big move. $1,200 here we come!

Now that all the hype is out of the way, make sure you keep your head screwed on tight. Just because $1,200 seems likely doesn’t guarantee we will get there. Stay disciplined and always keep a nearby stop just in case we get this one wrong. If we get stopped out prematurely, we can always jump back in when prices recover. But losses, those are forever and we want to avoid them to the best of our abilities.

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Jun 09

The warning signs we need to be looking for

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 experienced its biggest dip in nearly three weeks. As bad as that sounds, the losses were modest and only pushed the index back to levels that were fresh highs two days ago. If we want to find other signs of resilience, the Nasdaq bucked the trend and actually closed at the highest level in its history. Even our bad days are not very bad and that’s been a very good thing for anyone who still believes in stocks.

At this point, the S&P 500 is so close to all-time highs that testing this level seems inevitable. What happens after we get there is still up for debate, but the market tends to go where people are looking and the next big milestone is all-time highs. Stating the obvious, this is a very bad time to be short stocks.

In my previous free posts, I explained why this market is headed higher. As long as prices keep making higher-highs, everything is going according to plan and we have nothing to worry about. But everyone knows all good things eventually come to an end and this strength will be no different. Today I’m going to describe the warning signs we need to be looking for.

Maybe the next dip will be headline-driven. Or maybe demand will dry up as we run out of new buyers willing to pay even higher prices. Either way, hints of the next meaningful dip will first show up in the form of weak closes.

The final hour of trade is when intuitional traders make their moves and where we first see any shifts in their outlook. More than red or green closes, what really matters is how prices moved in the final hour of the day. A good day can finish red or a bad day can still finish green. What we are looking at is which direction and how strongly we moved in the final hour. Are we above the early lows, like today? That is a good day even when we finish red. Did early strength fizzle and close well off the highs? That is a bad day even if we closed in the green.

The other meaningful signal to look for is a series of lower-highs and lower-lows. If every good day is slightly less good than the one before it, that tells us large institutions are taking profits, not adding more money. If big money is selling, then we should be moving out the door too.

Right now we don’t have anything to worry about because the market keeps closing strong and making higher-highs. But the best time to plan what comes next is before it happens. If you are ready and prepared for what is coming, you will never be caught off guard.

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Jun 08

Are all-time highs inevitable?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

It’s been six days since I wrote the free post titled “Why this market is still buyable“. Back then the S&P 500 was 10% short of all-time highs. Today, we find ourselves only 5% away from that “unthinkable” mark.

As I wrote back then:

This paradox largely comes down to expectations of a quick recovery combined with unprecedented levels of government stimulus. As bad as the economy looks today, when governments are throwing unlimited resources at the problem, that’s enough to placate investors.

Nothing’s changed since then and is why prices keep marching higher. At this point, why argue with what is working? The index is almost certainly headed back toward all-time highs and the only real question is what happens after we get there. But as nimble traders, we can worry about that when we get there. Until then, enjoy this ride higher and keep moving your trailing stops up. Right now, some stops near Thursday’s close and another portion near Friday’s intraday lows look to be be pretty good levels.

Now, maybe this rebound is getting a bit too obvious to everyone and that causes these gains to stall short of all-time highs. But as long as we respect our stops, it won’t be a problem. In fact, for the disciplined and nimble trader, near-term dips are simply another profit opportunity.

As the cliche goes, “plan your trade and trade your plan”. Until something changes, keep giving this market the benefit of doubt.

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Jun 02

Why this market is still buyable

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 continues racing ahead of the economy and is now less than 10% from all-time highs. The fastest economic contraction since the great depression and stocks are only down single digits? That’s the world we live in.

As I’ve written previously, this paradox largely comes down to expectations of a quick recovery combined with unprecedented levels of government stimulus. As bad as the economy looks today, when governments are throwing unlimited resources at the problem, that’s enough to placate investors.

As much as it seems like this market is ripe for a near-term dip and consolidation, it keeps chugging higher instead. I took some profits last week because that is always the smart thing to do following a strong run, but this week’s strength tells us it is already time to get back in. Maybe we are getting close to the top and these latest purchases will get stopped out prematurely. Or maybe this thing still has room to run. Either way, as long as we are thoughtful with our trading plan, entry points, and stops, we will be in good shape no matter what the market does.

As long as prices remain above last week’s close, this market is still ownable. If prices fall under this level, shift to a more defensive stance to protect our profits. We only make money when we sell our winners and it is foolish to let a good trade evaporate before our eyes. As nimble traders, it is far easier to get back in than it is to will the market higher after it took back all of our paper profits.

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Jun 01

Is TSLA’s breakout the real deal?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

It took a while, but TSLA finally broke away from $800 resistance. The stock first returned to this key level in late April but it has been suck drifting mostly sideways ever since.

As I wrote back in April, the first time we rallied to $800 was a great time to lock-in profits following a soilid breakout from $600. We only make money when we sell our best positions and anyone insisting on more than 30% over a couple of few weeks is definitely getting greedy.

The great thing about taking profits proactively is we can always get back in. When the stock held firm near $800 instead of hitting its head and retreating, that told us this was still buyable as long as prices held above $800. There were a few wobbles along the way, but whipsaws are part of this game and only a problem if we get discouraged and give up. The patient investor that stuck to their trading plan was finally rewarded with today’s nice pop. As the saying goes, better late than never.

Maybe this is the breakout we’ve been waiting for. Or maybe it is nothing more than a sympathy pop because Elon’s other company, SpaceX, made history this weekend after it safely launched astronauts into space. Either way, TSLA’s breakout is a good trade to participate in as long as we jumped aboard closer to $800 and have a stop near this level. In fact, those that have profits in this should at the very least move their stops up to their entry point, giving them a (mostly) free trade.

If TSLA’s strength was due to nothing more than a SpaceX sympathy plan, the air will probably come out of TSLA over the next few weeks and prices will retreat back to $800. If we bought right and moved our stops up, no big deal. It was a good trade and totally worth trying. That’s because the other possibility is a follow-on surge of buying that rechallenges $1k resistance. Win and we make money. Lose and we get out at our entry-level. Hard to argue with that risk/reward. While I don’t know if this breakout is the real deal, my trading plan has me covered no matter what happens next.

Looking ahead, if the stock rallies up to $1k over the next few weeks, that’s our chance to do this all over again. Take profits near the next resistance level and wait for prices to dip. If they don’t, then we have to greenlight to buy the next breakout.

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May 28

Is it finally time to start locking-in profits?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 continued climbing this morning and notched yet another higher-high for this unprecedented rebound. But just as the market was looking invincible, concerns about the long-forgotten Chinese trade war started seeping back to the forefront.

The last two weeks have been a great run as the market ricocheted off the May lows. The index bounced 300-points over a handful of days and as good as that felt, everyone knows this cannot continue indefinitely. Savvy traders buy weakness and sell strength. Now that this resilience is obvious to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, maybe it is time to start taking some profits off the table.

As I wrote yesterday, this is definitely late in the game to be adding new money. And given today’s weak close, it might also be time to start thinking about locking-in some profits too. Maybe that means taking profits proactively. Maybe that means tightening up our training stop. Or even better, a bit of both.

Wednesday’s lows look like a good spot for a trading stop. Fall under that level in early trade tomorrow and we should definitely be moving to a defensive posture. On the other hand, if traders forget about this afternoon’s fizzle and start piling back into the market as they have done countless other times during this rebound, stick around and let those extra profits come to you.

Everyone knows markets move in waves and it’s been a good run. Rather than get greedy or become complacent, start eying the exits. If we get squeezed out by a false alarm, no big deal. Just buy back in when prices resume their uptrend. But if prices fall further, even better, that gives us another opportunity to buy the dip.

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May 27

Is it still safe to buy this rebound?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

As unpopular as this rebound has been with the cynics, it could care less and keeps chugging higher. We saw the market rebuff another selloff attempt today. A promising pullback had a good start as the indexes skidded into yesterday’s close and then followed that up by converting a nice open this morning into a bearish reversal before lunchtime. As ominous as this price action looked, most owners shrugged and continued holding. When confident owners don’t care, headlines and worrying price action stop mattering. As long as confident owners keep holding stubbornly, every dip fizzles and bounce within hours.

Now obviously this cannot last forever, but this is our reality and we need to keep giving this rebound the benefit of doubt until it proves otherwise. What could have started the long-awaited pullback unsurprisingly turned into yet another push higher.

This two-week-old bounce has been a great trade for readers who had the wherewithal to buy two weeks ago at much lower levels. But what about the people who missed this move? That’s a much trickier question to answer.

With a couple hundred points of profit cushion acting as a buffer, proactive dip buyers have time on their side. Keep following this move higher with a trailing stop and let the profits come rolling in. But what about the guy who missed that initial move? Is it too late?

Unfortunately, this is a much riskier level to be buying in because prices have already realized a big portion of their near-term gains and pushed the risk/reward away from us. Buying these higher levels exposes us to a fair amount of risk and with each passing day, the profit opportunity gets smaller and smaller.

Sometimes the best trade is to wait for a better trade. I really like the way the market is trading here, but for anyone still out of this market, it is better to wait for the next lower-risk entry point. It will come along sooner than you think.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

May 26

The real reason this market is defying gravity

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 popped 2% at the open on the first day back from the long Memorial Day weekend. Governments around the world continue relaxing their economic restrictive policies. But even more important, they keep pumping out free cash. It’s gotten so excessive that some people are actually earning more on unemployment than they were in their jobs.

If we only learned one thing from the market over the last decade, it loves free money. As long as the Fed, ECB, and other governments continue handing out free money, expect stock prices to defy gravity. Why fight what is working?

Which is exactly what I wrote last week:

“when a market is trading this well, we follow those signals and keep jumping aboard the bounces. I have no idea how much longer this rebound can continue defying gravity, but as long as it keeps telling me it wants to go higher, I have no choice but to grab on and enjoy the ride.”

Unfortunately for the stragglers, now that the market is nearly 8% above the lows from two weeks ago, the easy money is behind us. Anyone waiting to buy the “confirmation” is putting themselves at risk of a very normal and healthy near-term dip. Two-steps forward, one-step back kind of thing. As much as I harp on this, the safest time to buy is when it feels the most risky. Buy the bounce early when you can place a sensible stop a nearby stop. If we’re wrong, we get dumped out for a small loss. If we’re right, we make big bucks and are sitting on a pile of profits when everyone else is debating whether it is too late to get it.

Is it too late to buy? I have no idea, but I will keep riding this as long as it keeps going higher. My stops are at Friday’s close and we’ll see if this afternoon’s late tumble into the close turns into anything more significant than the failed dips last week. Maybe we test Friday’s close and maybe we don’t. But for those of us with a profit cushion, riding these routine gyrations will be far easier than anyone who chased this strength today and bought high.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM $AAPL $AMZN

May 21

Was today’s down-day a warning signal or no big deal?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

Obviously, many up-days are good days and down-days are bad days. But don’t overlook the fact there are also bad up-days and good down-days. Where in this matrix did today’s price action land? Good question.

Stocks rebounded nicely from last week’s modest selloff and set two fresh higher-highs this week. There are few things more bullish than responding to an attempted dip with higher-highs. Not only did the market refuse to breakdown, but prices resumed rallying to even higher levels.

That said, the market stumbled into Tuesday’s close. A waterfall selloff in the last hour of trade is always something to be wary of. If we get a few too many weak closes in a short period of time, that tells us big money is getting out and we shouldn’t be far behind. But rather than extend Tuesday’s weak close, the index bounced even higher Wednesday. All clear right? Well…not so fast. In a bit of groundhog day, today’s price-action produced another weak close. Is this second weak close something we should be worried about?

No, and I’ll tell you why. First, the weakness developed early in the day and rather than trigger another waterfall selloff, supply dried up and prices drifted sideways for the remainder of the day. The all-important final hour of trade was more flat than anything and that told us big money wasn’t abandoning ship today.

The second thing to keep in mind is down-days are a very normal part of every move higher. In fact, I get nervous if we go too long without a normal and routine down day. They are healthy and they keep uptrends healthy sustainable.

The short answer to the original question is today was a good down-day. There was nothing unusual or noteworthy about today’s 0.78% loss. That means the path of least resistance remains higher and there is no reason to worry about today’s very benign down-day. Until further notice, continue giving this rebound the benefit of doubt.

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May 20

Trading wisdom for the cynic in each of us

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

The S&P 500 bounced back from yesterday’s late-day tumble. But this was expected. As I wrote yesterday:

I don’t see any reason to expect today’s late selloff will turn into anything more dramatic. Last week’s dip was our best chance to crack this rebound. If bears couldn’t get it done with a far better setup, I doubt they have what it takes this time around.

And not only did the market shrug off yesterday’s dip, it went ahead and set yet another high water mark for this rebound. As bad as the economy is today, investors are encouraged by the modest improvements and are forecasting a far better outlook six months from now.

There are two ways to approach any market. Trading what we think “should” happen, or trading what “is” happening. As obvious as the correct answer is, far too many people get caught arguing with the market. There are a million reasons this market should be lower (30 million reasons if you count the job losses!) Yet this market keeps grinding higher. The worst economic contraction in modern history and stocks are barely down 10%. Surely something is broken.

And you know what, something probably is broken. But when the market is broken, we go with it, we don’t fight it. The only other option is to get out of the way. At this point, a mountain of stubborn bears have been bankrupted by this rebound. The more they resist, the more they lose. Now, maybe at some point they will be proven right. But most of them will be long dead and buried by then and that small victory won’t matter.

No doubt this market will go down at some point. But this is most definitely not that point. Until then, expect every dip to be quick and shallow. If this rebound was going to break, it would have happened by now. It is okay to disbelieve this market. But it is not okay to trade against it.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

May 19

Is today’s late selloff a warning sign?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 finished in the red for the first time in three sessions. That said, today’s losses only gave up a small portion of yesterday’s gains. So far the rebound is fully intact and prices are just shy of the rebound’s highs. As long as this market keeps making higher-highs, everything remains on track.

While a 1% loss doesn’t mean much by itself, the one noteworthy attribute of today’s pullback is almost all of the selling occurred in the final hour of trade. This is when the largest institutions trade and almost all of their participation seemed to involve selling.

How much of that was swing-traders locking in recent profits and how much was fearful owners looking to get out before the next fall? We won’t have a conclusive answer for a few days, but here is what to look for. If it was simple profit-taking, then this is nothing more than a fleeting bout of indigestion and this weak close won’t amount to anything meaningful. On the other hand, if this is more chronic nervous selling, it could become contagious and trigger follow-on waves of defensive selling over the next few days.

Which is it? Well, since the market rebuffed a far more promising selloff opportunity last week, I don’t see any reason to expect today’s late selloff will turn into anything more dramatic. Last week’s dip was our best chance to crack this rebound. If bears couldn’t get it done with a far better setup, I doubt they have what it takes this time around. Last week’s bounce ended, continuing the trend of higher-highs and bulls remain fully in control as long as prices remain above Friday’s close.

Unless we see an extension of today’s waterfall selling, the path of least resistance remains higher. While I don’t have a problem shorting the next promising crack, remember, shorting is going against the trend and it must be done with extreme caution. That means starting small, keeping nearby stops, and admitting defeat early. Just ask anyone who held a short over the weekend what it feels like to give a short trade “a little more time”.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

May 14

Know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 stumbled into a 2% hole not long after the open and it looked like the previous two days of selling was only just the beginning. The economy shed another three million jobs last week but as bad as that sounds, it wasn’t materially worse than the headlines we’ve been dealing with over the previous two months. If last week’s three million jobs lost didn’t dent the rebound, why was this week’s numbers any more significant? And that’s the conclusion investors came to as prices bottomed in midmorning trade and spent the rest of the day powering higher, finishing more than 3% above those early lows.

Is this week’s selloff already over? It sure appears like it. Rather than look at what the market is doing, I prefer looking at what it is not doing because often that is far more insightful. Far and away the most striking thing the market is not doing is selling off in the face of the most severe economic contraction in our lifetime. Rather than argue with what the market is not doing, we need to be savvy enough to recognize and respect the significance of the market’s defiance.

I’ve been there right alongside the crowd questioning the logic of this unbelievable rebound. It doesn’t make any sense. But that is also the reason we need to fear it. When the market disagrees with us, we are always the one that’s wrong, if for no other reason than the market is far more powerful than we are. If this market wants to trade strong, there are only two options, hop aboard or get the hell out of the way.

That said, even I couldn’t resist the urge to look for cracks in this facade. There is a lot of air underneath is and if this breaks, it could get ugly. I shorted the dreadful close two days ago and was adding to my short position yesterday. But rather than stubbornly stick with that trade this afternoon, I saw it was moving the wrong direction and I had no choice but to bailout. We don’t need to wait until our stops are hit to recognize when a trade is going off the rails. This morning was the perfect setup to extend the selloff. Instead, supply dried up and dip buyers flooded the market. That was my signal to lock-in the short profits I had and even get a little long.

If today’s bounce fizzles, I can always get short again. But if this strength persists, it will put a lot of shorts in a very uncomfortable position. As the saying goes, it is better to be out of the market wishing you were in, than in the market wishing you were out.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

May 13

Why this dip might be different

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 stumbled on Wednesday for the second day in a row. While economic headlines haven’t changed in a material way, the market’s previously upbeat mood seems to be shifting more cautious the last few days.

Is this finally the long-awaited pullback? Maybe, but prices still remain within a few percent of the rebound’s highs. To this point, the market resisted every other invitation to sell off, including the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression and the fastest contraction in corporate earnings ever. If those shocking headlines couldn’t break this market, why should “a little cooling” off be any more successful?

As I often write, headlines only matter when they convince owners to sell. This time around, confident owners didn’t flinch during the latest employment report or when the appalling second-quarter earnings were released. Since confident owners didn’t care, the headlines didn’t matter.

But we also need to remember, supply is only half of the pricing equation. No matter how confident owners are, if we start running out of buyers willing to push prices even higher, then we also have a problem. The difference is oversupply happens quickly while running out of demand is a more gradual process. Rather than crash lower following an unnerving headline, flagging demand shows up more often as a gradual series of lower-highs and lower-lows. Are we at that point? Maybe, but it is a little too early to say conclusively.

For the time being, we can continue to short this weakness as I described in yesterday’s post. But until further notice, we need to be very careful shorting such a strong market. More specifically, that means if the short trade isn’t working, get out immediately and don’t wait for it to start working. A whole lot of bears shorted this market at much lower levels and their patience with a losing position only added to their misery. Counter-trend trades are one of the hardest ways to make money in the stock market and that means we need to be extremely nimble. Keep a nearby stop and be willing to admit defeat quickly. If the selloff resumes after we get out, we can always put the short trade back on. As the popular saying goes, it is better to be out of the market wishing you were in than in the market wishing you were out.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

May 12

The start of something bigger or more of the same?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis

The S&P 500 opened with modest gains, but that was as good as it got and prices quickly retreated back near breakeven, where they remained through midday. Unfortunately, the situation got even dicier after Anthony Fauci testified to Congress that he felt many of the states’ reopening were acting prematurely given federal infection and testing guidelines. Any threat to the recent wave of economic reopenings put investors on the defensive and stocks ultimately finished 2% lower following an acute wave of selling into the close.

Stocks have been trading really well the last few weeks, rebuffing every bearish headline and they continued hovering near the rebound’s highs despite the economic carnage surrounding us. Did today’s late-session selling change anything? Or is this more of the same and the rebound will be back to normal tomorrow?

This is one of those half-full, half-empty situations. How you feel about this market determines how you view today’s late swoon. Bulls think this is more of the same and are not worried. Bears are hoping this is finally the long-awaited pullback.

Which side is right? There are legitimate cases for both outcomes and unfortunately, only time will tell. That said, just because we don’t know what happens next doesn’t mean we cannot come up with a sensible plan to trade it. We know this market will either breakdown or it won’t. If it breaks down, we short it. If it doesn’t breakdown, we don’t do anything. Pretty simple, eh?

Pick a level tomorrow, maybe the market’s open. If prices fall under that mark in the first 30 minutes, short it with a stop just above the early highs. On the other hand, if prices rally above the opening levels, don’t do anything unless prices retreat under those early levels. That’s where go short with a nearby stop.

If this market is finally breaking down, it will be spectacular. If we get anything short of spectacular Tuesday or Wednesday, then the status quo remains in effect and this is still a strong market. If there is one thing bears learned over the last few weeks, we definitely don’t want to short a strong market.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM

May 07

TSLA: Hitting its head on resistance or refusing to go down?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

TSLA has been struggling with $800 resistance the last two weeks. The most promising day occurred last week when the stock smashed through resistance following a strong earnings report, yet more ominously, it tumbled 10% from those early highs and finished the day solidly in the red.

I won’t bother with a fundamental analysis of Tesla. Number one, there are plenty of other articles written about how under or overvalued TSLA is (take your pick). But more importantly, number two, I don’t care. I trade the stock, not the company. If it wants to go higher over the near-term, I’m more than happy to hop on and enjoy the ride. If it wants to go lower, I can do that too. By the time the stock eventually settles into its “true” value, I’ll be long gone and it doesn’t matter to me.

Back to the stock, there are two ways to interpret this price action just under $800. What a person sees largely depends on their preexisting bias. Bears see a stock hitting its head on resistance and on the verge of tumbling back to $600 support. On the other side, bulls see a stock that refuses to go down. And the best part about a stock that refuses to go down? It eventually goes up.

Last week I would have sided with the bears. Smashing through resistance following a strong earnings report only to be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of profit-taking is never a good sign. And then the next day Elon slammed the stock even further by calling it overvalued. Yet rather than unleash waves of follow-on selling, supply dried up and prices bounce back to $800 and have been stuck there ever since.

For the time being, this is a strong sign and breaking through resistance in a sustainable way seems inevitable. That means the most likely next move is higher and if we get through $800, then all-time highs near $1,000 is the next stop. But that’s a big “IF”. If prices remain stuck under $800 into next week, this starts looking a lot more like stalling and the real problem turns out to be a lack of demand.

Which is it? Who cares? As nimble independent investors, we don’t need to commit ourselves to these positions ahead of time. Wait for the $800 breakout, buy it, and keep a stop under this level. If prices race higher, hang on and enjoy the ride. If the retreat again, bail out and go short. While I don’t know for certain which way this stock will go next, I do know it will move fast once it makes up its mind. Whether that is up or down, I don’t care as long as my trading plan keeps me on the right side.

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM $TSLA

May 06

The bearish developments that could be taking place under our nose

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis: 

The S&P 500 is perfectly content hanging out between 2,700 and 2,900, a range it’s been stuck inside since early April. As shocking and unprecedented as the headlines have been, it is definitely strange to watch stocks slip into a relatively tight trading range.

Uncertain markets are typically volatile. And without a doubt, this market had its share of volatility in February and March. And by some measures, it is still incredibly volatile with 2% and 3% moves occurring multiple times a week. The difference is now most of these big swings are offset by equally large swings in the opposite direction. One day up, the next day down.

One way to interpret this sideways grind following a strong runup is distribution. Smart money is getting out and dumb money is getting in. And to a certain extent, it is hard to not see that point of view when looking at this stubbornly resilient market. This is the worst economy since the Great Depression, yet the S&P 500 is only down 15%. The Nasdaq even less. Something definitely doesn’t compute.

The next big move hinges on what comes next. Do infection rates continue to moderate? Will the virus largely disappear once warmer summer temperatures arrive? Will a stir-crazy public start going back to their normal routine even without a vaccine? That’s the scenario this optimistic market is pricing in. And so far that is the way things are progressing.

But success in the market doesn’t come from predicting what comes next. It comes from understanding the risk/reward and exploiting skewed opportunities to our advantage. If the market is expecting good things, then most of those good things are already priced in and there is not a lot of upside left for recent buyers. On the other hand, these optimistic projections put a lot of air underneath us if there is even the slightest hiccup along the way. Limited upside and unlimited downside, that’s definitely not a risk/reward skew I want to own, let alone be buying.

I like the way this market is trading and it deserves our utmost respect. Only a fool is stubbornly shorting this strength. But the bear is no more foolish than bull buying stocks with reckless abandon at these levels. Both sides are making the same mistake and allowing their bias to cloud their judgment. While these ideologues are arguing why their side is better than the other, opportunists are grinding out a few bucks from this rally and that dip. Smart money doesn’t care who wins. All they care about is following the market’s lead.

While I don’t trust this market, I know better than to fight it. I’m fully prepared to short this strength, but I won’t pull the trigger until I see those cracks forming. And if those cracks never show up, then I’m just as content grabbing this rebound and riding it all the way back to the highs. It makes no difference to me** as long as I’m making money. (**For the country and front-line workers, I definitely hope this is a sharp v-bottom recovery taking the economy back to the highs a quickly as possible.)

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM