Category Archives for "End of Day Analysis"

Feb 05

PM: Bears cannot dent this rally

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

The market had every excuse to collapse in an avalanche of selling, but it bounced back instead.  The trend is clearly higher.  AAPL could break into the gap on broad market strength, but don’t fall for that bull trap.  NFLX’s gains might not be sustainable over the long-term, but look for the stock to continue chewing up bears.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

Stocks bounced back and recovered virtually all of Monday’s losses.  Volume was above average and higher than yesterday’s selloff.  After a month of mostly steady and calm trade, the market has given us dramatic back-to-back-to-back reversals.  The market is still finding support at 1500 and the uptrend remains intact.  When in doubt, stick with the trend and that has been the right trade so far.

MARKET SENTIMENT

The market steamrolled bears that  jumped on the short bandwagon during Monday’s selloff in another example of the easy trade being the wrong trade.  A lot of people are rooting for this market to pullback, even collapse, but ironically they are the ones holding it up.  Bears and reluctant buyers create the demand needed to keep pushing prices higher.  As long as people don’t believe this rally, it will have an ample supply of buyers ready to chase or cover short positions.

Often people mistakenly think the contrarian trade is going against the trend, but it is really going against the crowd.  This is a small but important distinction because often they are different things.  Consensus is this market is overbought and prime for a selloff, meaning the contrarian trade is betting on a continuation, and that has been the smart position to date.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome::
Bears gave it everything they had on Monday, but they couldn’t trigger wider selling.  Holders had every excuse to sell as the market broke under recent highs on a volatile down day, but bears were unable to shakeout many owners and supply dried up quickly.

The uptrend is clearly intact, the only question is for how much longer.  If we string together a couple more strong up days,  that will signal time to bailout and start looking for a shorting opportunity.  If the market calms down and consolidates in a sustainable way, look for a longer continuation.

Alternate Outcome:
This volatile trade could be the final gasps of the rally and we won’t see one last surge higher before buying dries up.  Watch support at 1500 and breaking this level over the next couple days will show bulls don’t have the support or follow-on buying to continue moving this market ahead.  A break of 1500 so soon after finding support will likely lead to a pullback to 1470 and possibly the 50dma.  How low a pullback goes largely depends on how quickly sentiment changes once the market starts selling off.  If the market stays stubbornly bullish, the dip will be deeper, but if panic follows any selling, look for a quick and sharp bounce.

NFLX daily at end of day

NFLX daily at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL followed the market’s lead and bounced back from yesterday’s weakness.  The stock is forming a trading range between $460 and $435.  If the broad market surges in coming days, look for AAPL to break into the gap, but this is be a selling opportunity, not a buying one.

NFLX is holding recent gains nicely and this pattern is more conducive to a continuation than a top.  This trade looks like 2011 all over again with shorts betting against the stock and getting killed for it.  We might not see a new $300 high out of this move, but don’t short this thing because the trend is clearly higher and any strength will turn into another powerful short-squeeze.

Stay safe

Feb 04

PM: Biggest selloff of the year

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

Biggest selloff of the year and AAPL is flirting with recent lows.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

Stocks had their biggest down day of the year, but volume was surprisingly absent for such a large move.  This shows this was the product of too little buying instead of widespread selling.  The last few weeks of gentle updrafts have spoiled investors and any losses catch people by surprise, but selling is part of any rally and a few red days here and there are not fatal.

MARKET SENTIMENT

There are two ways to look at today’s restrained selling volume.  One view says the selling was limited and will dry up soon.  The other is we need a high-volume flush to revitalize this market and today’s low-volume doesn’t qualify.  We are left deciding which scenario is more relevant to this market.

It largely comes down to how spooked traders were by this reversal from Friday’s breakout.  If complacency rules and most traders are holding on and waiting for the expected rebound, then more selling is in store.  But if the dip spooked weak hands out and brought in agressive bears, we could see selling exhaust itself quickly as another short-squeeze propels us higher.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
Selling is part of every advance.  While we are not at a major top, some selling here is normal and healthy.  I don’t know if we are in the middle of a test of 1500, 1470, or 1450, but I would bet on a rebound, not a crash.  The best thing to do is let the market tell us what it wants to do.  Finding support by midday on Tuesday is suggestive of a quick bounce.  If selling  picks up as we fail to hold 1496 and technical stop-losses are triggered,  look for support near 1480 or 1470.  A high-volume dip and reversal would be ideal for a longer continuation but not necessary for a modest bounce.

Alternative Outcome:
Could this be the big top everyone’s fearing?  We have budget talks, deficit spending, money printing, high unemployment,  and a weak global economy.  It is possible, but unlikely one of these will crash this market.  Things that everyone is watching and talking about rarely become dangerous because there is so much awareness and time to solve the problem.  This is the exact reason Europe has been able to hang on for 3+ years.  But at the same time we cannot totally ignore the possibility if a black swan and that is why we trade with stop-losses.  Violating support at 1450 will invalidate the continuation thesis and we will reevaluate the market’s health if that happens.  Of course there is no reason a nimble swing-trader needs to wait for 1450 before getting out of the market.

AAPL at end of day

AAPL at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL is trading just above $440 and a few dollars from the recent low of $435.  A lot of buy-the-dip traders put their stop-losses under $435, so expect selling to accelerate if the market breaks this key technical level.  Since everyone who is attracted to AAPL already owns it, I’m not sure how quickly AAPL will find support from new buyers if it triggers a larger wave of stop-loss selling.  The silver lining  is another wave of high-volume selling brings this stock one step closer to finding a bottom.  All the fearful and hopeful holders need to be driven off so AAPL can build a solid foundation of confident and steady holders that will not flinch in the face of further selling.  It is their steadiness that will finally allow AAPL to rebound.

Stay safe

Feb 01

PM: What weakness?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

PM Update

The S&P500 defies gravity and AAPL’s unbelievable valuation becomes even more unbelievable.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

The S&P500 responded decisively from recent weakness and threw everyone for a loop as it set another new high. Volume was slightly above average, but lower than recent days. This was the biggest up-day since the Fiscal Cliff pop, but 1% is hardly excessive.

MARKET SENTIMENT

While we need to be careful of a capitulation top, the lower volume shows the market has not sucked in the last the buyers yet. We are watching for a high-volume rally day because it signals the dam of reluctance has finally broken and the last surge of hesitant buyers is rushing in.

This market clearly wants to go higher and it will reveal how much higher in coming days. Successive up-days will signal the last rush of buyers before exhaustion, but if the market takes its time and exercises moderation, expect this to continue for a bit longer.

Everyone knows this rally is over-bought, but that is what keeps it moving higher. We need to keep a close eye on the level of cynicism remaining because it is the fuel that pushes us higher. Reluctant buyers become enthusiastic buyers the higher prices go.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
Keep doing what is working; this market is defying all calls for a pullback and that will likely continue in coming days. While this market will eventually top and pullback, you cannot get in front of this. Shorts will get their chance, just not yet.

Buy-and-hold investors stick with your plan, but conservative swing-traders should look to lock in profits. Aggressive swing-traders can hold for more, but keep this trade on a short leash and move up your stops.

Alternate Outcome:
Next week will most likely set another new high and while we could be near a top, there is still plenty of cynicism to fuel a move even higher. If we see more basing and sideways trade next week, hold a little longer. Nothing is certain in the markets and one in hand is worth two in the bush, but you also cannot make money without taking some risks. We will learn a lot more about the mood of the market early next week and that will tell us how to trade this.

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL is giving longs heartburn as it turned back from $460 and retested $450. The failure to break $460 is noteworthy and violating $450 in coming days will most likely signal lower prices in the near-term. In my unscientific observations, it seems like there are still a lot of AAPL supporters and those people need to be chased off before the stock will find a bottom. The most loved stock on Wall Street will need to become the most hated before this thing will turn around.

Stay safe

Jan 31

PM: Dip under 1500

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

PM Update

The S&P500 is resting after the recent run up and AAPL lost its mojo.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

Stocks closed under 1500 on elevated volume. Today was the third down-day out of the last four as the hangover from the pervious euphoria is catching up with the market.

MARKET SENTIMENT

Everyone knows the market cannot go up forever, so some selling is normal and expected, but what we really want to know is if this is where the market rolls, over or if this is an opportunity to buy the dip.

So far the selling has been contained and not nearly as dramatic as one would expect after the headlines we’ve seen. Unexpected strength is bullish even when accompanied by down-days. This is not to say selling cannot accelerate to the downside, but if the market finds a bottom and support on Friday, that means near-term selling has climaxed and the rally continues. A lot rides on tomorrow and it will give us greater insight into where the market is headed.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
Buy the dip if we find support, but if the market continues sliding, let it find a floor first. The uptrend will resume, but we might see better prices first. If the market decisively regains 1500 tomorrow, then it will be a good buy signal, but if weakness continues, look for support at 1490 or 1475.

Alternate Outcome:
The surge of buying might be behind us and the correction has begun. If tops were obvious, we’d all be rich by now, so we just have to trade what the market gives us. The market probably still has more upside, but we are late in the move and smart money is locking in profits and waiting for the next trade. No reason to force a trade either long or short here and the best call could be sitting this one out.

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL is stuck under $460 and everyone should give up on the chances for a quick rebound after 6-days at these levels. In fact, we still might see new lows out of this stock as hopeful holders give up on the rebound. The best trade is stepping to the sidelines and waiting for the next tradable opportunity, either higher or lower from here. A break above $465 is buyable and under $450 is shortable, but take profits in these trades early and often because this is now a volatile trading stock and profits will disappear as quickly as you find them.

Stay safe.

Jan 28

PM: Modest decline

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

Markets broke the streak of up-days  but that is a good thing.  AAPL bounced today, but is this the real deal?

MARKET BEHAVIOR

The S&P500 dipped less than 0.2% and ended an impressive streak of eight up-days.  While the fractional decline doesn’t constitute material selling, it does break the streak and lets us move past the obsession with counting up-days.  Volume was right around average as holders were not spooked by modest selling and the market closed a hair above 1500.

MARKET SENTIMENT

This was the first time the market didn’t set a new closing high in nearly two-weeks.  Buying took a break simply because there was so much of it since the start of the year.  Trading would be easy if the market went up every single day, but we are not that lucky and actually have to work for our money.  Today was the second close above 1500 and it would be nice to see two more closes at this level to confirm support.  But at the same time, some selling here is normal, expected, and healthy.  I would be more concerned about the sustainability of this rally if we kept heading higher than if we dipped and found support.

Complacency is creeping into the market, but it is just starting and not pervasive yet.  There are still a lot of recent sellers watching this market rally without them and they are tempted to jump on any pullback.  Big money managers under-weight this market are also struggling with the lesser of two evils, getting left behind or buying the top.  But the longer they wait for the pullback, the more uncomfortable they become watching the market head higher without them.  It is easier to justify losses when the entire market dips than explaining why they failed to keep up with a rallying market.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
It would be hard to count today as real selling.  The dip was minor and volume was average.  The market can refresh through either selling or sideways trading.  Today’s move was sideways and supportive of 1500, but we need to hold these levels a couple more days before we can stop expecting a pullback.

The market clearly wants to go higher and long-term investors should keep holding, but those out of the market or with shorter timeframes should wait a couple of days for the market to either pullback or build a solid base at 1500.

Alternate Outcome:
A sustainable rally goes two-steps forward, one-step back, but not every rally is sustainable or predictable.  We could continue rallying after today’s modest 0.2% pullback, but just because the market heads higher doesn’t mean we need to be part of it.  If the market doesn’t look sustainable, sit it out.  There are eleven months left in the year and there is no reason to force a trade that is less than ideal.

AAPL daily at end of day

AAPL daily at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

We all know AAPL will bounce, the question is when.  It still sounds like most people are claiming AAPL is oversold and poised for a bounce and no doubt they will be proven right, but we have to ask when and how much before deciding to make this trade.  If a lot of nervous holders are waiting for that bounce, it won’t happen.  If swing-traders are buying the dip, it won’t happen either.  I’m suspicious of all the people who think AAPL is oversold and makes for an easy trade back up to $500.  No doubt it will get there, but it might need to go through $425 first.

People are very emotionally attached to this stock and I understand the reluctance to sell when it could bounce any day now.  Rather that just cut out, set an upside target and downside stop-loss.  Maybe $490 on the upside and $430 on the downside.  Then stick to these levels.

Jan 25

PM: Close above 1500

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

The S&P500 continues making new highs, but who is buying and why are they buying?  That is the key to understanding where we go from here.  After some reflection I realized why I blew the AAPL call and hopefully this will keep me from making the same mistake in the future.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

The S&P500 finally closed above 1500 and finished near the day’s high.  Volume was slightly above average as a decent number of traders show a willingness to buy stocks at these levels.  But are they buying stocks here because they think the market is headed higher, or are they buying for other reasons, such as covering an index short as part of unwinding their hedged AAPL position?  Understanding motivation is an important part of figuring out where we are headed.

MARKET SENTIMENT

Stocks are making a strong move after breaking resistance at 1470 and have come 30-points in six-trading days.  The last down-day of any real significance was 13-trading sessions ago when the market dipped a measly 4-points.  To find a more meaningful sell-off you have to go back to the final days of last year during the Fiscal Cliff gridlock.

It is amazing how calming a smooth rally is on the nerves and there is far less fear in the market than the closing weeks of 2012.  But as a contrarian trader, I feel more comfortable when everyone else is nervous.  It is nice to think the market can rally for dozens of days without selling off, but typically the real world isn’t so easy.  There is no reason to expect a major pullback, but some selling would be normal after rallying 100-points in less than a month.

One of the more interesting dynamics at play is the market’s strength in the face of AAPL’s collapse.  I wrote why hedge funds are buying the index as they unwind their AAPL potion in this morning’s blog post.  The concern for traders is this short-covering is not an enduring phenomena and without new buyers expecting higher prices, we risk running into a ceiling real soon.  But that is a good thing, pullbacks are a health and normal part of moving forward.  When we go too-far, too-fast, it doesn’t end well.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
There is no reason the market cannot rally 14+ consecutive days without a minor pullback, but the further we go, the more we push our luck.  Knowing how the markets work, it would be foolish to suggest people rush out and buy after so many up-days.  Can we go higher?  Sure.  But is that a high-probability trade?  Of course not.

The bigger challenge is figuring out how far the inevitable down-days will go.  Will it be another 4-point dip before rallying the next day?  Or will we pull back to support at 1470?  We tend to go down faster than we go up, so we could easily retest 1470 over a couple of days next week.  But don’t short the market expecting a lot more selling than that.  Take profits early and often in any counter-trend trade.

Alternate Outcome:
If the expected outcome is a down-day after 13 up-days, then the alternative is another dozen up-days.  That surely would surprise market participants as they watch in awe as the market leaves them behind.  While the contrarian view says we should expect the unexpected, we also need real buying to propel a move like this.  If new buyers develop a fear of heights, the market peak will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Can we rally for a month without any real selling?  Sure.  It is likely?  No.

AAPL daily at end of day

AAPL daily at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL gave up another $10 as hopeful traders waited in vain for the expected rebound.  But I can’t be too critical, Wednesday afternoon I was an AAPL bull too.  As part of my blown call, I’ve done some reflection on why I got it so wrong.  It turns out I fell for one of the things I often warn other people about and that is thinking the contrarian trade is going against trend.  AAPL’s decline had clearly gotten a little out of hand and that obviously meant traders were overly bearish in the name.  But what I forgot is contrarian is going against the crowd, not the trend.  If I dug a little deeper I would have realized most traders felt there was real value in AAPL and it was only time before the stock bounced back.  The crowd expected a bounce, not a $50 selloff, and that is why we ended up with the plunge lower.

Contrarian trades work because people trade their conviction.  People own what they think will go up and sell what they think will go down.  If everyone expects AAPL to bounce, they already own it in anticipation of the bounce.  But if everyone already owns AAPL, who is left to buy?  That is exactly what happened on Wednesday and Thursday, AAPL put up good numbers, but the stock plunged because everyone who wanted AAPL already owned it and no one was left to buy.

I know better, but that still didn’t keep me from developing a blind spot when I was convinced of the value in AAPL.  The saving grace is I limited my losses by keeping my position size reasonable and cutting my losses quickly.

Stay safe

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