Category Archives for "End of Day Analysis"

Sep 18

The Chinese retaliation that would crush the US economy

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Update:

The S&P 500 popped Tuesday and reclaimed the psychologically significant 2,900 level as trade war rhetoric escalated. As it stands, the US will start applying tariffs to 50% of all Chinese imports and China will retaliate by taxing 85% of our China-bound goods. As bad as that sounds, the market doesn’t care.

But this reaction from the market is not a surprise for readers of this blog. Last week I wrote:

“Confident stock owners made it abundantly clear this summer that trade war headlines and White House scandals don’t matter. If nothing can take us down, it is only a matter of time before we go up.”

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Some pundits claim the market rallied because these headlines “were less bad than feared.” But that’s hogwash. Trump’s trade war keeps escalating, and it doesn’t look like it will stop until both sides are taxing everything. I’m not sure how a full-on trade war is “less bad than feared,” especially when it is crushing Chinese growth.

No, the real reason the market doesn’t care is a lot simpler than that. We didn’t dip today because everyone who fears Trump’s trade war sold months ago and were replaced by confident dip buyers who don’t mind holding these risks. When there is no one left to sell the news, it stops mattering.

Conventional wisdom tells us complacent markets are ripe for a pullback. But what conventional wisdom fails to mention is periods of complacency last far longer than even the bulls expect. When confident owners refuse to sell, it doesn’t take much demand to prop prices up, and that is exactly what is happening here.

As far as these events being less bad than feared, things could definitely take a turn for the worse. While Trump believes he has China backed into a corner, they still have the nuclear option. They could most definitely wreak total havoc on our economy, and many of Xi’s advisors are pushing him to use it.

While tariffs on imported Chinese goods are most definitely inconvenient and will affect corporate profits and consumer discretionary spending, that is far better than the alternative. Some Chinese advisors want to prevent Chinese companies from selling critical components to US manufacturers. Nearly overnight that would bring our manufacturing sector to a grinding halt. Ford, Chevy, Chrysler, Boeing, Caterpillar, and nearly every other manufacturer uses at least a few components made in China. Take those away, and our manufacturers would be forced to shut down for weeks and even months as they scramble to adjust. The temporary layoffs and inability to sell finished products would trigger a nearly instantaneous recession. “Less bad than feared” could quickly turn into “oh my god, what just happened?”

China’s nuclear option definitely qualifies as Mutually Assured Destruction because it would be equally crippling to the Chinese economy. But just the threat of such a move could send our markets tumbling and force Trump to reconsider his threats. While Trump might have China backed into a corner when it comes to tariffs, you never know what a cornered animal capable of.

I certainly don’t expect the above scenario to play out, but it would be incredibly painful if it did. The market isn’t even considering this, and its “half-full” outlook assume everything will work out in the end. But fear is contagious this is definitely something we need to keep an eye on.

Baring the above scenario, the market is acting exceptionally well. A market that refuses to go down will eventually go up, and we are setting up nicely for a rally into year-end. Assuming Trump and China come to a reasonable compromise, that will be the catalyst for the next leg higher. But if things get ugly and fear starts to spread, get out before things get worse.

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Jani

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Sep 13

Small dips lead to small rebounds

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Update:

Thursday morning the S&P 500 popped above 2,900 resistance after China said it was willing to talk with the U.S. This strength put last week’s dip in the rearview mirror and last week’s nervousness is turning into this week’s hope.

Even though the market fell five out of six sessions last week, the losses were modest and contained. As I wrote on Tuesday:

“I didn’t expect much out of this dip and that is exactly what it gave us. Since the market likes symmetry, we shouldn’t expect much out of this rebound either. The next move is most likely trading sideways near the psychologically significant 2,900 level. It will take time for those with cash to become comfortable buying these levels before we will start marching higher again.”

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Two days later the market inched its way above 2,900, but rather than trigger a surge of breakout buying and short-covering, the rally stalled and we traded sideways the rest of the day. Small dips lead to small rebounds, exactly as expected.

While there is solid support behind these prices, this market still struggles to find new buyers. There was almost no follow-on buying this morning when we broke through 2,900 resistance. Most of that breakout buying and short covering happened two weeks ago when we first crossed this line. That meant there were fewer people to buy today’s breakout. The slow summer months are winding down, but volume is still pathetically low and it will still take time before those with cash feel comfortable chasing prices higher.

Confident stock owners made it abundantly clear this summer that trade war headlines and White House scandals don’t matter. If nothing can take us down, it is only a matter of time before we go up. The biggest near-term catalyst is the U.S. reaching trade compromises with Canada, Europe, and China. That news will push through 3,000. Unfortunately, politics is a slow and dirty process and it will be a while before we can put this episode behind us.

This market is resting and refreshing following last month’s rally to all-time highs. This is a normal, healthy, and sustainable thing to do. But since we are not refreshing through a bigger dip, that means we should expect a prolonged sideways period. When the market doesn’t scare us out, it bores us out. Things still look great for a year-end rally, but we need to be patient and let those profits come to us. This is a slow-money trade and we will have to wait a while before the next fast-money trade comes our way.


FB is flirting with recent lows as it struggles to overcome the fear of government regulations limiting its ability to make money. But as I wrote the other day, these limitations won’t be as draconian as feared and the stock will recover once these headlines are behind us. Even though prices could slip further over the near-term, this is a buying opportunity, not an excuse to sell a good stock at a steep discount.

NFLX is doing a better job than FB in recovering from last month’s earnings fueled selloff. As expected, last month’s weakness was a buying opportunity and no doubt reactive sellers are already kicking themselves for being so weak.

AAPL is already recovering from Wednesday’s sell-the-news reaction to their new phone lineup. Nothing unexpected or exciting was announced, it was simply more of the same. But more of the same is a good thing because that is what pushed AAPL over a $1 trillion market cap a few weeks ago.

AMZN is recovering from last week’s dip, but this looks more like a consolidation than the start of the next surge higher. We came a long way over the last few months and sideways consolidations are a normal and healthy part of every sustainable move higher. Things still look good for further gains later this year as desperate money managers will be forced chase the biggest winners into year-end.

Bitcoin climbed to the mid-$6k level, but the total lack of demand continues to be a problem. Last month’s bounce to $7.5k fizzled and no doubt the same thing will happen here. We could drift up to $7k resistance over the next few days, but the downtrend is still very much intact. Nothing gets interesting until we recover the previous highs near $8.5k. Unless that happens, expect lower-lows to keep piling up.

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Jani

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Sep 11

Another failed selloff:

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

On Tuesday the S&P 500 slipped at the open after China filed a petition with the WTO to retaliate against US tariffs. But that opening weakness was as bad as it got and we quickly bounced into the green. This was the fourth day the market respected 2,870 support at the old highs. Traders are definitely more inclined to buy this dip than sell the weakness. As long as confident owners refuse to sell, supply stays tight and prices remain resilient.

But this strength doesn’t surprise regular readers. Last week I wrote the following:

“…this latest round of weakness will only be a modest dip, not the start of a bigger crash. We fear what we don’t know, not what everyone is talking about. If we were going to crash because of trade war headlines, it would have happened many months ago. The fact we keep holding up so well tells us this is a strong market, not a weak one.”

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Trade war headlines were priced in months ago and we don’t need to worry about them. Owners who feared these headlines bailed out months ago and there is no one left to sell this recycling of the news. When no one sells the news, it stops mattering.

The economy continues to hum along and that is the only thing that matters to the stock market. As long as the economic numbers look good, expect prices to keep drifting higher. Institutional money managers that were hoping for a pullback will soon be pressured to chase prices higher or else risk being left even further behind. Their buying will propel us higher through year-end. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean the ride between here and December 31st will be smooth and uneventful. Expect volatility to persist, but unless something new and unexpected happens, every dip will be another buying opportunity.

Buying this 2,870 dip was better than chasing last week’s 2,920 highs, but it is too bad the market didn’t slip further and give us a more attractive entry point. I didn’t expect much out of this dip and that is exactly what it gave us. Since the market likes symmetry, we shouldn’t expect much out of this rebound either. The next move is most likely trading sideways near the psychologically significant 2,900 level. It will take time for those with cash to become comfortable buying these levels before we will start marching higher again.


It’s been a rough few days for the FAANG stocks, but they bounced back Tuesday. AMZN and AAPL took a much-needed break following their breathtaking climb higher. Pauses and dips are a healthy part of every sustainable move higher and there is nothing unusual about their price-action.

FB and NFLX continue consolidating following their tumble after second-quarter earnings. But there is also nothing alarming or unusual about their behavior here. Those were big losses and it will take a while before the market starts trusting these stocks again. Months ago traders who missed this trade were begging for a dip so they could jump in. Hopefully those traders are taking advantage of these discounts.

Bitcoin keeps slipping and is barely holding $6k support. Last week’s rebound to $7.4k is dead and gave us another lower-high since we failed to match the previous $8.4k bounce. Lower-highs tells us the next lower-low is just around the corner. Since most owners refuse to sell, supply is scarce and we are getting into the grinding part of the selloff where each dip takes weeks and months to play out. The trend is most definitely lower, but we will continue seeing these short, tradable bounces higher. But each bounce is still a selling opportunity. The worst is still ahead of us.

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Jani

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Sep 04

Hope turns to disappointment

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

On Tuesday the S&P 500 got off to a rocky start following the Labor Day weekend. Trump and Canada couldn’t come to terms on a new NAFTA and that let air out of last week’s hope-filled rally to all-time highs.

Tuesday’s weak price-action fits perfectly with what I wrote last week:

If the best trade is buying weakness and selling strength, no matter how safe 2,900 feels, this is definitely the wrong time to be buying. Resist the temptation to chase these prices higher because recent gains make this a far riskier place to be adding new money. The risk/reward shifted away from us because a big chunk of the upside has already been realized, while the risks of a normal and healthy dip increase with every point higher. In fact, if the best trade is buying weakness and selling strength, this is actually a darn good time to start thinking about locking-in profits. Remember, we only make money when we sell our winners and it is impossible to buy the next dip if we don’t have cash.

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It is little surprise Canada didn’t roll over for Trump and Friday’s arbitrary deadline came and went without a deal. Both sides threw barbs at each other in the press over the weekend, but this is little more than grandstanding for the cameras that accompanies all political negotiations.

Even though we didn’t get a deal this weekend, there is no reason we shouldn’t expect one over the next few weeks. Canadian and American businesses are far too reliant on NAFTA and it would be incredibly disruptive to both economies to throw it out. Even the president of the powerful AFL-CIO union came out strongly against excluding Canada. If the unions are against it, you know it must be really bad for business.

While the market dipped Tuesday, the losses were modest and we are still at levels that were all-time highs last week. This is more of an exhale following a strong run than the start of a bigger correction. This is an incredibly resilient market and owners have refused to sell far more dire headlines this spring and summer. There is no reason to think anything changed this week.

As I wrote last week, there are plenty of good reasons to take profits at these highs, but selling because Canada didn’t jump aboard Trump’s ‘new and improved’ NAFTA deal by an artificially imposed Friday deadline is not one of those reasons.

We take profits because it’s been a nice run. We take profits because we are running into resistance. We take profits because we buy weakness and sell strength. We take profits because we need cash to buy the next dip. But we definitely don’t sell because we are afraid of Canada collapsing this market.

Personally, I would love it if this selling spiraled out of control so that we could jump in at much lower levels. Unfortunately, I doubt we get that lucky. Instead, I expect this dip to bounce quickly. Support at the old highs near 2,870 is as far as this goes, and most likely we won’t even get that far. This is simply an exhale after a nice run and we shouldn’t read too much into this normal, healthy, and periodic gyration.

Until further notice, keep doing what has been working. That means buying weakness and selling strength in our short-term trading account and sitting on our favorite stocks with our longer-term investments.

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Jani

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Aug 28

It took a while, but 2,900 finally happened

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Update:

Tuesday morning the S&P 500 poked its head above 2,900 for the first time in history. The market continues basking in the after-glow of Trump’s Mexican deal that triggered Monday’s breakout to all-time highs. Unfortunately Mexico is only one piece in a much larger puzzle. Canada’s, Europe’s, and China’s trade deals remain elusive. All the work ahead of us is why the celebration was shortlived and we slipped under the psychologically significant 2,900 level in late-morning trade.

That said, 2,900 is a major milestone no matter how you cut it. This strength is impressive and caught a lot of people off guard. Not long ago the crowd was overrun by doom and gloom and predictions of the market’s collapse were everywhere. Between trade wars, rate hikes, rising interest rates, Turkey, Italy, Iran, and all the other drama thrown our way this year, it is no surprise traders were so negative.

Luckily regular readers of this blog knew better. Four months ago when the market was teetering on the edge of collapse and on the verge of making new lows for the year, I wrote the following:

Predicting the market isn’t hard if you know what to look for because the same thing keeps happening over and over. But just because we know what is going to happen doesn’t make trading easy. Far and away the hardest part is getting the timing right. That is where experience and confidence comes in. Several months ago investors were begging for a pullback so they could jump aboard this raging bull market. But now that prices dipped, rather than embrace the discounts, these same people are running scared. Markets dip and bounce all the time, but we only make money if we time our trades well.

The most important thing to remember is risk is a function of height. The higher we are, the greater the risks. By that measure, Tuesday’s dip near the 2018 lows was actually one of the safest times to buy stocks this year. Did it feel that way? Of course not. But that is why most people lose money in the stock market. If most people were selling Tuesday, and most people lose money, then shouldn’t we have been buying? Given the market’s reaction today, the answer is a pretty resounding yes.

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The S&P 500 is up 10% since I wrote those words back in April. 10% is a great result by itself. It is even better if a person took advantage of leveraged ETFs. But far and away the best trade of the year was profiting from these fantastic swings between optimism and pessimism by buying weakness and selling strength. Buy the dip, sell the rip, and repeat until a good year becomes a great year.

While it is fun to look back at my successful trading calls, what readers really want to know is what comes next. Luckily for us today’s strength doesn’t change anything. The best trade is still buying weakness and selling strength. The problem with today’s hope is it will be replaced by disappointment in a few days. Today we see light, in a few days we come across another stumbling block. And like clockwork, the market continues its swings between hope and despair.

If the best trade is buying weakness and selling strength, no matter how safe 2,900 feels, this is definitely the wrong time to be buying. Resist the temptation to chase these prices higher because recent gains made this a far riskier place to be adding new money. The risk/reward shifted away from us because a big chunk of the upside has already been realized while the risks of a normal and healthy dip increase with every point higher. In fact, if the best trade is buying weakness and selling strength, this is actually a darn good time to start thinking about locking-in profits. Remember, we only make money when we sell our winners and it is impossible to buy the next dip if we don’t have cash.

While I am cautious with my short-term swing-trades, this market is acting well and there is no reason to abandon our favorite medium- and long-term investments. We are still setting up for a strong rally into year-end and the only thing to do is patiently watch the profits pile up in our favorite long-term investments.

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Jani

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Aug 23

Why the market doesn’t care about the growing Trump scandal

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Update:

On Thursday the S&P 500 finished modestly lower after drifting sideways for most of the day. Headlines continue to be negative for Trump, but as expected, the market doesn’t care.

This is what I wrote Tuesday after the market initially dipped following Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and accusations against Trump:

I don’t expect the market to overreact to these Cohen headlines because anyone who was paying attention saw this coming a mile away. Remember, we fear what we don’t know, not what everyone else is talking about. There are real risks lurking out there, but this is not one of them.

 

The market is a little more vulnerable to these headlines simply because we are at the upper end of the trading range and a cool down was inevitable. If it wasn’t these headlines, it would have been something else. We are still stuck in the slower summer months and we won’t have the firepower to push a large directional move until institutional money managers return from their summer cottages. Until then we should expect these smaller directional moves to fizzle at the edges of the trading range or one reason or another.

The growing Trump scandal isn’t dampening the market’s mood and traders are not concerned about recent developments. These events first came out months ago and if prices were going to tumble, they would have done so back then. The fact we didn’t sell off initially tells us we don’t need to worry about these headlines today. If the market doesn’t care, then neither should we. The market’s benign reaction the last two days confirms that outlook.

It’s been a while since Turkey and trade wars made the headlines and our “no news is good news” market continues hovering near all-time highs. While confident owners have zero interest in selling the news, it is harder to convince those with cash to buy these highs and is why the gains have stalled. We are at the tail end of the slow summer season and it will be a few more weeks before we start seeing more meaningful buying.

Many money managers are underweight stocks because they sold defensively earlier in the year. These managers have been desperately waiting for a pullback so they could jump back in. Unfortunately, the market is not cooperating and this latest round of gains is pressuring them to chase prices higher. Once they give up waiting for the pullback, they are going to be forced to bite the bullet and buy stocks at all-time highs. The breakout is not imminent, but it is coming.

Even though the market is acting well, we are still vulnerable to near-term volatility. Risk is a function of height and it would be normal, even routine for the market to dip modestly here. Prices are responding well to these Trump headlines. That means we are more likely to go higher than lower, but the risks of a small dip are always there. As long as we know what to expect, we are less likely to overreact to a modest bump in the road.

At this point, any dip is a buying opportunity, not an excuse to sell stocks. Remember, we take profits by selling strength, not weakness. If someone is not sure they can sit through a small dip, they should take profits now. Otherwise, there is nothing to do other than patiently watch the profits pile up.

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Jani

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Aug 21

All-time highs! Who knew this was coming?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

Tuesday was a doubly significant day for the S&P 500. Not only did we notch a fresh all-time high, this also became the longest bull market in history. Not bad for a market that most were giving up on only a few weeks ago.

Last week stocks stumbled on fears of a Turkish collapse, but I wasn’t worried. If the stock market didn’t care about a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, why would it get spooked by problems in a minor eastern European country with an economy smaller than Netflix’s market cap?

Hindsight bias being what it is, everyone knows now it wasn’t a big deal. But if we want to make money we need to know these things ahead of time. Luckily readers of this blog were ready because I wrote the following last Tuesday before we dipped to 2,800 and bounced decisively off support:

While it already looks like the Turkish selloff is dead, we need to hold this bounce for a few more days to be certain. There is a chance this bounce could fizzle and we continue slipping back to 2,800 support. If that happens, that will be a far more attractive entry point. Until then I will keep watching, waiting, and hoping for that next profitable opportunity.

 

As for our longer-term positions. There is nothing to see here. Stick with what has been working and ignore the noise. The market is still setting up for a strong rally into year-end.

That was simple and profitable advice for both short-term traders and long-term investors. And even better for regular readers of this blog, they had the cash to buy the dip because I recommended locking in profits the week before.

While it is nice to reflect on profitable trades, what people really want to know is what comes next. Even though Tuesday was a record day for the S&P 500, things got a more difficult in the afternoon after Trump’s personal lawyer plead guilty and appears willing to work with prosecutors. If the worst plays out, Trump could be implicated in campaign finance violations. This was a developing story at the close and stocks continued to fall in after-hours trade.

That said, the losses were relatively minor, only falling 0.5% after the close. While this Michael Cohen stuff is making headlines today, it doesn’t really surprise anyone. This scandal has been brewing for months and if the market was truly worried about it, we would have fallen on these headlines a long time ago. If it didn’t matter then, it doesn’t really matter now.

The market is a little more vulnerable to these headlines simply because we are at the upper end of the trading range and a cool down was inevitable. If it wasn’t these headlines, it would have been something else. We are still stuck in the slower summer months and we won’t have the firepower to push a large directional move until institutional money managers return from their summer cottages. Until then we should expect these smaller directional moves to fizzle at the edges of the trading range or one reason or another.

As I said, I don’t expect the market to overreact to these Cohen headlines because anyone who was paying attention saw this coming a mile away. Remember, we fear what we don’t know, not what everyone else is talking about. There are real risks lurking out there, but this is not one of them.

And to editorialize a little here, I actually don’t think the market would mind all that much if Trump was bogged down by a scandal that robbed him of a big chunk of his political capital. The stock market got the regulatory relaxations and tax cuts it was looking for last year. In a perfect world Trump would have gone on a two-year vacation instead of starting fights with our biggest trading partners. At this point there is a good chance the market would actually cheer Trump getting his hands tied so that he couldn’t screw with anything else.

Earnings season is winding down and by all accounts, it was a good one. Trade and politics don’t matter nearly as much as economic growth and profitability. Despite all the negative headlines dominating the financial press over the last six months, companies are doing well and the stock market is rallying on that strength. Nothing else mattered then and it won’t matter now. This is a strong market and we should continue to trade it as such.

For short-term traders, the opportunity to buy was last week as we tested support, not now that we are making new highs. This is a better place to be taking profits than adding new money. Assuming this Cohen thing is short-lived, we should push toward 2,900 resistance over the next week or two. That would be a good place to take short-term trading profits.

For our long-term stocks, there isn’t a lot to do here other than relax and let the profits come to us. We are setting up for a rally into year-end and we should enjoy the ride.


As for the tech trade, it missed the early parts of last week’s bounce off of support, but it has been catching up the last two days. The tech trade will survive as long as the broad market does well and it will continue leading the way. FB and NFLX got hit pretty hard and are consolidating their losses, but the worst is behind us. These are the discounts people were praying for a few months ago. No doubt in a few months those same people will be kicking themselves for not buying these discounts when they had the chance.

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Jani

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Aug 16

The profit opportunity everyone should have seen coming

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

End of Day Update:

On Wednesday the S&P 500 forgot about Turkey and rallied sharply on news the US and China restarted trade negotiations. Those headlines were enough to put traders in a buying mood and pushed us back near all-time highs.

I assured readers on Tuesday that we didn’t need to worry too much about those Turkish headlines because this current crop of confident owners refused to sell far worse news. In fact, I said we would be lucky if prices dipped to 2,800 support because that would give us a great entry point. As luck would have it, we dipped to 2,800 support Wednesday morning before bouncing back to the highs. Savvy traders that understood what was going on were able to make a quick buck at the expense of those that didn’t know any better. (sign up for free email alerts so you don’t miss the next trading opportunity)

Last week Turkey was new and unexpected, something traders hadn’t been talking about previously. But one week and two dips later, it has come a long way and the initial shock is wearing off. Friday will mark a full week for traders to process these developments and execute a response. Traders who fear Turkey have been given plenty of time to sell and is what drove this week’s weakness. But as expected, the majority of confident owners shrugged off the news and continued to stick with their favorite stocks. If they refused to sell an escalating trade war between the two largest economies in the world, did anyone actually expect them to overreact to problems in some minor eastern European country? Turkey is getting priced-in and each subsequent recycling of those headlines will have less and less of an impact.

Wednesday’s dip to support was a great opportunity for anyone that missed the first run to all-time highs to jump aboard this rally. But now that we are back near the highs, chasing becomes riskier. The path of least resistance is still higher and this market is setting up for a strong year-end rally, but over the near-term we should expect a little more choppiness as we consolidate recent gains. That said, any positive developments from the negotiations between the US and China could fuel a swift move up to 2,900. I don’t mind owning stocks here, but anyone that missed Wednesday’s discounts and is trying to buy now should be willing to sit through a little near-term volatility.

And as usual, there was nothing to do with our long-term investments except keep holding them. Prices will keep going higher over the next few months and we want to be there to enjoy the ride.

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Jani

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Aug 14

How a savvy trader could have missed this Turkey mess

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

On Tuesday the S&P 500 rebounded from Monday’s fizzle and is recovering from a brief bout of Turkish worries. The names have changed, but the story is the same. A small European country is struggling and threatening to take the rest of Europe down with it. These headlines were the catalysts for last week’s tumble from the highs.

While we are still under last week’s highs, fear of Turkey’s economic collapse has been contained. A one day bounce is far from conclusive, but three days into this selloff and we are down less than 1%. That means most traders are definitely not overreacting to these headlines. This remains a “half-full market” and most owners are willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

While these Turkish headlines are new and impossible to predict, it was still possible for a savvy trader to sidestep this dip. I wrote the following last Thursday when stocks were at record highs and before Turkey hijacked the front page of the financial section:

Even though the market left most of its concerns behind as we climbed to these highs, that actually makes this a more dangerous place buy. Smart traders buy discounts, they don’t chase premium prices. Risk is a function of height and this week’s gains made this one of the riskiest places to buy all year. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m most definitely not calling a top or predicting and imminent collapse. But what I am saying is we rallied up to resistance and it is normal and healthy for the market to pause and even dip a little.

I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know if we stall at current levels, or if we break through 2,880 resistance and stall above it. Either way it doesn’t really matter because the risk/reward has shifted against us and this is a better place to be taking profits than adding new money. It is a fool’s errand to try and decide if the peak will be 2,862, 2,875, or 2,892. The point is ‘good enough is good enough’ and that is all that matters. And the thing to remember is we cannot buy the next dip if we don’t have any cash. Buy weakness, sell strength, and repeat until a good year becomes a great year.

But just because we slipped from the highs doesn’t mean we need to run for the hills. As expected, the selling has been limited and we didn’t even fall to 2,800 support. As with every other headline over the last six months, owners are reluctant to sell. After years of selling prematurely and regretting it, most traders have learned to hold no matter what. That has been the smartest way for long-term investors to navigate these dips and it doesn’t look like anything changed yet.

Turkey is a small nation and by itself it cannot take down the global economy. No doubt it could cause a lot of pain for some European banks, but there is no reason to think the ECB won’t come to the rescue this time too. That is why the market’s reaction to these headlines has been so muted.

That said, the danger with the above assumption is it means very little risk has been priced in. If everything works out, the upside is limited because we didn’t dip very far. But this complacency leaves us vulnerable if things do not go as planned. I don’t expect this situation to make much of a dent in the global economy, but we have to monitor it closely because if the situation deteriorates, it will weigh on stocks. Unlike Trump’s trade war, larger Turkish risks have definitely not been priced in.

The trader in me misses the days when headlines like these would lead to widespread predictions of another economic collapse. Unfortunately the days of 10% swings in the indexes are long gone. Now the best we get is a 1% dip. The stability is great for care-free holding of long-term positions, but for trading opportunities, there is a lot to be desired.

The dip to 2,820 and subsequent bounce presented us with a fairly weak risk/reward. Day traders could have profited from this few hour move, but for me I’m waiting for something more worthwhile.

While it already looks like the Turkish selloff is dead, we need to hold this bounce for a few more days to be certain. There is a chance this bounce could fizzle and we continue slipping back to 2,800 support. If that happens, that will be a far more attractive entry point. Until then I will keep watching, waiting, and hoping for that next profitable opportunity.

As for our longer-term positions. There is nothing to see here. Stick with what has been working and ignore the noise. The market is still setting up for a strong rally into year-end.

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Jani

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Aug 09

What to expect now that we reached the highs

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

On Thursday the S&P 500 slipped for a second consecutive day, but “slipped” is a bit of an exaggeration since combined both days didn’t even register a 0.2% loss. That leaves us still within 1% of all-time highs as we simply slow down following last week’s impressive bounce off 2,800 support.

Long gone are last month’s trade war and rate-hike fears. Funny how calming rising prices can be. But this isn’t a surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog for a while. Long ago we recognized this market’s strength. While others were waiting for the impending collapse, we saw a market that refused to go down no matter how bad the headlines got. One of the things I learned a long time ago is what the market is not doing is often more insightful than what it is doing.

There are few things more bullish than a market that refuses to go down on bad news. All it took was a break from the negative headlines and this market would surge on “no news is good news”. And that is exactly what happened. Remember, we trade the market, not the headlines. If the market doesn’t care about trade wars and rate-hikes, then neither should we.

That explains this markets assent to all-time highs, but the trader in all of us want to know what comes next so we can profit from it. While I’ve been calling for this move to all-time highs, I’ve also been warning that prices would run into resistance at these levels. We are still stuck in the slower summer months and that means we lack big money’s firepower to drive large directional moves. That won’t come until after Labor day when institutional money managers return from their summer cottages. Until then we should expect the market’s moves to be more measured and breakouts and breakdowns to stall quickly.

Even though the market left most of its concerns behind as we climbed to these highs, that actually makes this a more dangerous place to be buying. Smart traders buy discounts, they don’t chase premium prices. Risk is a function of height and last week’s gains made this one of the riskiest places to buy all year. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m most definitely not calling a top or predicting and imminent collapse. But what I am saying is we rallied up to resistance and it is normal and healthy for the market to pause and even dip a little.

I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know if we stall at current levels, or if we break through 2,880 resistance and stall above it. Either way it doesn’t really matter because the risk/reward has shifted against us and this is now a better place to be taking profits than adding new money. It is a fool’s errand to try and decide if the peak will be 2,862, 2,875, or 2,892. This point is good enough for me and that is all that matters. And the thing to remember is we cannot buy the next dip if we don’t have any cash. Buy weakness, sell strength, and repeat until a good year becomes a great year.

From a short-term trading perspective, this is a better place to be taking profits than adding new money. But for our longer-term investments, stick with what is working and that is buying-and-holding our favorite stocks. We might see a little near-term weakness, but this market is strong and the rally into year-end is still on.


Stock crashes are breathtakingly quick, which means NFLX and FB hanging onto current levels for two weeks tells us the post-earnings selloff is largely done. At this point it would take a new round of bad news to launch the next move lower. While it will take a while to recover recent losses, it seems most owners are willing to give their favorite stocks the benefit of doubt and are sticking with them. That means we should expect FB and NFLX to retake their leadership position later this fall. Meanwhile GOOGL, AMZN, and AAPL are either making new all-time highs or are just about to. The best trade of the first half of 2018 is getting ready to be the best trade of the second half.

It didn’t take long for Bitcoin to tumble all the way to $6k support. Long gone are the hopes of retaking $8k and now only a few hundred dollars separates us from another lower-low. This chart is very sick and we still have a way to go before this over.

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Jani

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