Category Archives for "Weekly Analysis"

Feb 19

Why this rally still has room to run

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly-Analysis:

It was a disappointing, holiday-shortened week for the S&P 500 with the indexes closing in the red every single day. That said, all four losses only added up to a measly -0.7% decline and the index remains within 1% of all-time highs.

If this is the best bears can manage, our near-term prospects look pretty good. As I’ve been saying for a while, if this market was grossly overbought and vulnerable, the collapse would have happened by now.

Remember, market crashes are breathtakingly quick and if you hesitate, even for a moment, you get run over. Four down days that don’t even add up to 1% are many things, but breathtaking is not one of them.

Everyone loves to warn of complacent markets, but the important thing cynics fail to mention is just how long complacency lasts before the fall.

By definition, weak markets do not keep setting record highs, and by that measure, this is most definitely not a weak market.

Everything will come crashing down at some point because it always does. But lucky for us, this is not that point.

There is nothing to do here other than keep holding for higher prices and continue raising our trailing stops.

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Feb 05

Weekly Analysis: What does next week have in store for us?

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis:

Last week was the S&P 500’s worst week since right before the election (-3.3%). This week was the index’s best week since the election (+4.7%). Funny how that works.

Every week has economic news, but last week nothing rose to the level of, “the worst economic developments in three months.” Just like nothing this week was, “the best economic news in three months.”

Instead, last week’s and this week’s volatility was driven by swings in investor sentiment, primarily affected by a spectacular bubble in a few fringe stocks.

Last week this out-of-control fire threatened to spread to the rest of the market. While investors were willing to accept stretched valuations in the best-of-the-best stocks, they were not willing to tolerate it in nearly bankrupt video game retailers and movie theater chains.

But over the weekend, those bubbles burst without taking anything else down with them and the indexes have been rallying in relief ever since, finishing this week with five consecutive gains.

What does next week hold? More of the same. While we won’t be able to match “the best week in three months”, the index will continue grinding away at record highs.

As much as the cynics love to hate this Teflon market, the one thing we know about fragile and vulnerable markets is they don’t keep making record highs. What is high tends to get even higher and that is definitely the case here.

Stick with what has been working and that is riding this relentless rally higher.

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Jan 22

Weekly Analysis: Can this bull market really keep going?

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

This was another record-breaking week for the S&P 500. The index rallied 1.9% and all-time highs continue getting even higher.

Biden assumed the presidency on Wednesday with far less drama and rancor than we’ve seen in recent weeks, which was a welcome sight. That said, investors were not really concerned and the market rallied modestly on the news of a peaceful transition. But this makes sense. Stocks were not selling at a discount because of this political uncertainty and that meant there wasn’t much room to bounce when reality turned out less-bad than feared.

If we step back and look at the big picture, this was one of the most contentious elections in recent memory and Covid infection and fatality rates are off the charts. How does the stock market react to all of this bad news? By carving out fresh highs.

If this bull market really was as overbought and fragile as the cynics claim, there have been more than enough bearish headlines to send this crashing. Yet here we stand.

As ugly as the headlines have been, these things are old news and already priced in. Investors are always looking six months ahead and no matter how bad things look today, between a highly effective vaccine, warmer summer months, and an endless supply of free money, investors are actually in a pretty good mood.

While it feels like this market has gone too far, it always feels that way at the highs.

Stick with what has been working and that is holding for higher prices. Keep our stops in the mid to upper 3,700s and see how far this goes.

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Jan 15

Is this the start of the end?

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis:

The S&P 500 lost 1.5% this week. Not great, but had it not been for the previous week’s strong gains, Friday’s close would have been a record high.

Everyone knows stocks cannot go up every…single…day (or week). Markets move in waves and every two steps forward are followed by one step back.

This week’s step-back was triggered by Biden’s extremely generous Covid relief package. The size caught some investors off guard and rather than cheer the extra free money, some people started fretting over the inevitable tax increases. Giveth with one hand, taketh with the other.

But should we really be worried about a 1.5% giveback? Say what you want about this market, but weak and vulnerable markets don’t keep setting new record highs. This bull market will die like all of the others that came before it, but this is not that time. Keep giving this rally the benefit of doubt until it gives a clear and compelling reason not to. Until then, enjoy the ride.

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Dec 18

Weekly Analysis: How to respond if volatility picks up next week

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis:

It was another decent week for the S&P 500. The index finished 1.3% higher and it continues grinding its way into record territory.

Stocks are trading well despite the political bickering going on in Washington. Our “leadership” is struggling to agree on a stimulus bill and just as important, a funding bill to avoid a very unhelpful government shutdown. That said, this gamesmanship is S.O.P. for how things get done in D.C. and every agreement looks like it is going down in flames moments before it gets passed.

At this point, the market is trading really well. That said, we are quickly approaching the lull between Christmas and New Year’s. Don’t expect much meaningful to happen over the next two weeks because most big money managers have already left for Florida or Aspen. If these institutional investors wanted to make any portfolio adjustments before year-end, they already did it and we should expect stocks to coast into 2021.

While the gap between Christmas and New Year’s should be quiet, things can get a little choppy when retail investors take control. But even if we see volatility pick up next week, ignore it. These impulsive little traders run out of money quickly and any move they trigger stalls and reverses not long after.

Trading opportunities will definitely get more interesting after the calendar rolls over to 2021. Until then, relax and take a moment to stop and enjoy the holidays. It’s been a great year for trading and we should be very thankful to be as fortunate as we are!

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Dec 11

Weekly Analysis: Is this the best bears can do?

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

It was a relatively quiet week for the S&P 500 as the index slipped a modest 1% over the last five trading sessions. What’s even more noteworthy is the minuscule size of the decline when you consider four of the last five sessions finished in the red.

These almost inconsequential down-days tells us there is very little selling pressure in the market. Given the size of the run from the November lows, quite predictably, we exhausted a huge chunk of demand. But on the flip side, very few owners are interested in locking in profits at these all-time highs.

This continues to be a very complacent market. Most equity owners are holding for higher prices and that keeps supply tight. While we always hear warnings about complacent markets, the thing the critics fail to mention is complacency can last a very, very long time before the fall.

No doubt this rally will end like all of the other rallies that came before it. But given how weak the selling pressure has been lately, this is clearly not that time.

The index very easily could slip and test 3,600 support or even 3,500. But until something dramatic changes investor sentiment, expect any dip to be modest and bounce quickly.

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Dec 04

Weekly Analysis: Why this market is doing so well

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Weekly Analysis: 

It was another positive week for the S&P 500 with the index climbing 0.8% over the last five sessions. While no one is excited by a sub-1% week, given where we could be, this resilience is actually a noteworthy accomplishment.

Covid infection and hospitalization rates are off the charts and setting new records nearly every day. November hiring also tumbled dramatically from October’s levels due to expanding Covid restrictions. Either of these headlines could have triggered a stock crash, yet neither one did. Instead, stocks closed the week at record highs. Funny how that works.

This is another data point confirming this is a half-full market. Rather than sell the disappointing employment headlines, traders bought the increasing prospects of additional stimulus.

We don’t trade the news, we trade the market’s reaction to the news. At this point, there is nothing to do but go along with the trend and keep moving our stops up. Maybe this house of cards will come crashing down at some point, but we are not at that point yet. If this market was vulnerable to a collapse, it would have happened by now. Instead, most investors continue looking toward the future with optimism and that’s the way we need to trade this.

But none of this should surprise anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while. We know better than to trade what we think should happen. Instead, we always focus on what the market is doing. And right now, it is ignoring all of the bearish headlines. As traders, if the market doesn’t care about the headlines, then neither should we.

As with any bearish event, there always comes a point where the stock market has fully priced it in and it starts looking toward what is coming next. Everyone knows how bad this latest Covid flareup is and understands what it is doing to the economy. Yet these same investors keep holding because they know we are getting closer to the end of this mess.

I’m still concerned about the lingering collateral damage affecting the economy next year. But as long as investors are fixated on the recovery, that’s the only thing that matters and so far the recovery is progressing nicely. Once we get past Covid, investors might take a more critical eye of lingering unemployment and damage to corporate balance sheets. But as long as the stock market is not concerning itself over these things, then neither should we.

Stick with what has been working, which is owning this rebound and following it higher with a trailing stop. While we are vulnerable to a pullback at any time, at this point, it seems like most investors want to keep holding for higher prices. As long as this remains a half-full market, expect any weakness to be fleeting and to bounce back quickly.

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Nov 20

Weekly Analysis: The biggest problem with this market

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

End of Week Analysis:

The S&P 500 finished the week down a modest 0.8% but remain within a stone’s throw of all-time highs.

As expected, the rate of gains slowed as we approached last week’s intraday highs and the market is quickly settling into a 3,500(ish) to 3,650(ish) trading range ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Stocks rallied 10% in early November and anyone predicting that rate of gains to continue clearly doesn’t understand how this game works. I still like this market and am anything but bearish, but two steps forward, one step back. That’s how this works. Always has, always will.

Most of the big headlines are already behind us. Investors who are afraid of this spike in Covid infection rates have already sold. Those that wanted to buy the vaccine breakthroughs have already bought. And now everyone is sitting around waiting for what comes next.

Maybe these infection rates moderate naturally without oppressive government-imposed shutdowns. Or maybe we fall back into another round of punishing stay-at-home orders. At this point, no one knows for sure.

While things turn out less bad than feared most of the time, the biggest challenge for this market is prices are already near the highs. That means there isn’t much margin for error. Stocks are priced for a good outcome and any hiccup will send us lower.

Limited upside if things go right and lots of downside if things go wrong. That makes this a poor place to own stocks. I don’t mind holding long-term investments because that time horizon is measured in years, not months. But for anything shorter-term, we need to be careful because the risk/reward is currently skewed against us.

More interesting trading opportunities will come along soon enough. This just isn’t one of them.

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Nov 13

What this week’s price action taught us about what comes next

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

It was an eventful week. After five days of counting, Biden was finally declared winner of the election Saturday. Monday morning we got outstanding news one of the vaccine candidates tested 90% effective in preventing Covid infections. And Friday, Covid-19 infections smashed all previous records and topped 150k daily cases for the first time.

Mix all of those gigantic headlines together and the S&P 500 ended the week higher by 2%. Not bad.

The vaccine headline is obviously outstanding news. Biden’s win is good or bad depending on who you were pulling for, but mix those two viewpoints together and it is largely a wash. And 150k daily Covid infections are most definitely dreadful.

From this smorgasbord of hugely bullish and hugely bearish headlines, stocks had free reign to do whatever they wanted. If the market wanted to crash, there were far more than enough excuses to trigger a stampede for the exits. On the other hand, if stocks wanted to explode higher, Monday’s 4% gap higher was more than enough to trigger a wave of breakout buying. And what did we end up with? A modest move higher.

This muted reaction tells us this market is not vulnerable to a collapse lower and it is not ready to explode higher. Sentiment is good enough to keep us near the highs and even drift modestly higher, but that’s about it. If the market was on the verge of a huge move in either direction, it would have happened this week.

As I wrote earlier this week, prices were setting up for a 3,500 to 3,650 trading range and I don’t see anything from week’s price action that changes my mind. It is okay to own this market, but keep a stop near 3,500 support and the adventurous should be ready to short a violation of this level. But as long as the index holds above 3,500 support, things are actually looking pretty good for stocks despite these dreadful Covid headlines.

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Nov 06

Free Weekly Analysis: What the market thinks of a Biden presidency

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

This week’s 7.3% gain was the best five-day performance since late March. Not bad for a market that was (allegedly) on the verge of collapse only a few days ago.

The biggest headline was obviously the presidential election. While stocks initially popped Wednesday morning following Trump’s unexpectedly strong performance, as the week wound down, Trump’s chances of scoring a second underdog victory were slipping away. Of the five battleground states still up for grabs, Biden has a modest lead in four of them.

But rather than retreat on Trump’s dimming prospects, stocks continued holding all of this week’s robust gains. It turns out the market is far more excited about the split government than who is going to occupy the White House. We got confirmation of that sentiment Friday morning when Georgia and Pennsylvania flipped blue and stocks barely budged. If this market feared a Biden presidency, stocks would most definitely not be holding steady near all-time highs.

Now that the election is (mostly) behind us, we get to shift our focus to what comes next. Which at this point is the dramatic surge in COVID infections. The U.S. and Europe are smashing previous daily records for positive tests and local governments are moving back into lockdown.

Will the economic damage from this second, larger COVID wave be as bad as this spring? Given stocks are within a few percent of all-time highs, most investors don’t seem worried about it. But that’s the problem with the stock market, things don’t matter until they do.

Can stocks surge to fresh records while the global economy is weighed down by another round of stay-at-home orders? Probably not. Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in these COVID infection rates, stocks will run into a ceiling near the old highs. Limited upside and lots of downside? It’s hard to justify that risk/reward.

Stocks are trading well and we have to respect that. But keep your trailing stops nearby and be ready to lock-in profits. Wait a few days too long and those gains will morph into losses.

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Oct 30

Are bad weeks contagious or are we more likely to find a bottom?

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

The S&P 500 shed nearly 6% over the last five sessions in the worst weekly loss since this spring’s Coronavirus collapse.

A recent spike in Covid infection rates and the looming presidential election created a risk cocktail many equity owners could no longer tolerate. The selling kicked off Monday with a 2% tumble and it peaked Wednesday following another 3.5% collapse. To put a bow on all of it, we finished near the weekly lows.

Sell first, ask questions later became many people’s trading plan and they were offering steep discounts to get out at any price. But as bad as all of this seems, the selling largely climaxed Wednesday and the last two sessions were testing but not exceeding the weekly lows in a meaningful way.

Nervous owners often place stop-losses under recent lows and crossing those widely followed levels triggers waves of autopilot selling. We saw that phenomenon at work on Monday and Wednesday in those multi-percent tumbles. But Thursday and Friday turned out differently. Both days undercut the prior lows but that violation did not trigger another cascading wave of defensive selling. That absence of auto-pilot selling suggests we are finally running out of nervous owners. At least for the time being.

As is always the case, few things shatter confidence like screens filled with red. While we might have exhausted this week’s supply of nervous sellers, tumbling next week on a hung election or spreading lockdowns could create an entirely new category of nervous sellers. That said, we got rid of a lot of nervous sellers this week and to trigger that next leg lower we need something new. If next week turns out to be more of the same, or even better, “less bad than feared”, the lows are already behind us.

For the more nimble-minded trader, expect this volatility to persist for a while. Remember, volatility means large swings in both directions. Set a tripwire on either side of Monday’s open and ride the next wave higher or lower, take profits in the afternoon and do it again Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Most likely, prices will bounce Monday morning after nothing bad happens this weekend. Buy that bounce and ride it higher through the day. But remember, volatility is off the charts and that means every bit of up is followed by a bit of down. Take profits Monday afternoon and get ready to throw the tripwires out again Tuesday morning.

On the other hand, if the Covid situation gets worse this weekend and prices slump Monday morning, short that weakness and ride that wave of selling lower. But just like above, take profits Monday afternoon and be ready to set tripwires again Tuesday morning.

This is a volatile market and no matter which way it goes, expect these intraday moves to be fast and one-way. That makes this the perfect environment for directional day trading. Jump on the early move and take profits later that day. Avoid holding large positions overnight because one day’s up turns into the next day’s down.

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Oct 23

Free Weekly Analysis

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

The S&P 500 lost half a percent this week as it consolidates gains near recent highs. While not a great week, such a minor pullback near the highs and in this dubious headline environment is actually a constructive sign. Overbought markets tumble from unsustainable levels quickly and so far that hasn’t happened here, suggesting stocks are neither overbought nor unsustainable.

As much as investors are looking forward to another round of Covid stimulus, it appears that won’t get done before the election. But as I wrote previously, the market isn’t overly concerned about a week here or there as long as it looks like something will get done eventually. If the timing was critical to the market, we would have seen far more dramatic swings as these negotiations dragged on. Instead, most owners shrugged and kept holding their favorite stocks.

With little more than a week to go before the election, we shouldn’t expect a lot from the market between now and then. If the polls, Supreme Court, or even the outcome of the election mattered, we would have seen far more volatility show up in the price action. Instead, most investors seem pretty content with what they see and are comfortable holding for higher prices.

In my opinion, the biggest near-term risk is a wave of sour-grapes selling by supporters of the losing candidate. This could trigger a near-term dip in the hours and days after the election, but this is typically a fleeting phenomenon. Once those sore-losers finish giving away their stocks at a discount, supply will dry up and prices will bounce.

On the other hand, if the election goes off without a hitch and we know the winner Wednesday morning, stocks could actually rally in relief that we avoided a constitutional crisis.

Dip or no dip in the days after the election, expect stocks to trade well for the remainder of the year.

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Oct 09

The mistakes bears made

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

The S&P 500 finished the week higher by nearly 4%, giving us the biggest weekly gain in several months. Not bad for a market that many people had given up for dead little more than two weeks ago.

As I’ve been saying for a while, this is a volatile market and that means big moves in both directions. Markets love symmetry and as quickly as prices fell in early September, we should have expected an equally impressive rebound. An 8% advance from the lows in little more than two weeks is not something we see very often. Hopefully, most readers recognized this strength early and find themselves sitting on a nice pile of profits.

As I often remind people, no matter what we believe, our plan always needs to account for the possibility we are wrong. It was fair to be bearish and think the market was on the verge of collapse a few weeks ago. But more important than up or down was having an exit in mind if a short didn’t go according to plan. There is nothing wrong with trying a trade, but always have a clearly defined point, decided ahead of time, where you will admit defeat and close your positions. No one is right all the time, myself included. This is why I spend far more time planning my exits than my entires.

For those that missed the rebound, unfortunately, one of the characteristics of sharp rebounds is the bulk of the gains arrive early. While there still more upside left in this move, the gains will be slower and take longer. That said, as long as the index remains above 3,400, keep giving this the benefit of doubt. In a few more weeks we should be challenging all-time highs.

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Oct 02

Should investors be worried about Trump’s Covid-19

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis:

Global markets were rattled Friday morning after Trump revealed he contracted Covid-19 and the S&P 500 crashed 1.5% at the open. That said, stocks quickly found their footing and spent the rest of the day trading above those early lows, closing down a “less bad” 1%. Most significant for traders is the index continued respecting 3,320 support.

While this wasn’t a great way to end the week, the index still added 1.5% over the last five days in its first positive performance since late August. It is about time!

So far, Trump is only exhibiting minor symptoms and even in his age group, severe complications are highly unlikely (only 1 out of 20). But even if he develops a bad case, this is a human development, not an economic event and it will not affect the equities markets in a lasting way. There is a very clear chain of succession and strict protocols will prevent any significant uncertainty or disruption. Without a doubt, this would affect the country’s psyche and be another historic/tragic event for 2020, but it will not affect the economy in a meaningful and lasting way.

That said, the market’s initial reactions isn’t always based on logic and reason, especially in times of extreme uncertainty. This has been a volatile several weeks for stocks and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. But as long as stocks remain above last week’s lows, the market is trading well enough to earn the benefit of doubt. Until we crash under the lows, approach every dip as if it is on the verge of bouncing. (Only after we crash under recent lows should we consider shorting.)

As I wrote Thursday:

Any breakout must cross 3,400 and any retreat will fall under 3,320. Those are our tripwires. Buy the breakout and short the breakdown. Start small, get in early, keep a nearby stop, and only add to what is working. If we stick to that plan, it doesn’t matter which way this goes next. Be prepared for a head-fake or two along the way but as long as we get in early and get out early, the risks are pretty low.

Despite Friday’s dramatic headlines, nothing changed. Short the breakdown and buy the rebound. Start small, get in early, keep a nearby stop, and only add to what is working. If the first trade doesn’t work, pull the plug and try again. When it works, take profits and do it again next time.

Expect this extreme volatility to stick around until after the election and that means every bit of up will be followed by a bit of down. Get in early and take profits quickly. As long as we trade confidently and proactively, this is a target-rich environment.

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Sep 25

What we learned this week

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis: 

It was a dramatic week for the S&P 500 with large swings in both directions. But when the dust settled, the index lost a modest 0.6%. Not bad considering it was down more than 2% percent on multiple occasions this week.

This ended up being the fourth consecutive weekly loss and as discouraging as that sounds, the index actually finished near the weekly highs, largely thanks to Friday’s impressive rebound.

Was it a good week? A bad week? Or a bit of both?

Bears cheered Monday’s violation of 3,300 support and subsequent tumble. But just when the situation looked like it was spiraling out of control, Tuesday’s bounce recovered all of those losses and Bulls were breathing a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, their relief was short-lived and Wednesday’s one-way selloff sent prices racing back to the lows. Thursday was the least eventful day and ended mostly where it started. And Friday surprised everyone when prices surged, salvaging the week almost entirely by itself.

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it was.

Before this week, I was giving this market the benefit of doubt. Bull markets rebound countless times but they die only once. On a purely statistical basis, it is always smarter to bet on the rebound. And that is the way I was treading September’s bounce until this week. I was even willing to give Monday’s tumble a pass since we recovered a big chunk of those early losses by the close. As most experienced traders know, it isn’t how you start the day but how you finish that matters most.

Wednesday’s tumble was the one I couldn’t forgive. If the market was truly oversold, prices should have sprung back decisively, not retreated back to the lows. Wednesday told us two things. First, this market is not grossly oversold and ripe for a snapback. And second, there are still a lot of nervous owners barely hanging on.

I’m not bearish by any stretch, but I’m no longer holding out for a big bounce. Markets can only do one of three things, up, down, or sideways. At this point, it looks like this market wants to grind sideways and that means we should expect a lot more choppy trade like this week. There will be big pops and dramatic drops, but expect these moves to fizzle and reverse within days, if not hours.

The best way to trade this chop is to get in early, keep a nearby stop, and just when it feels like things are finally going your way, lock-in profits because the wind is about to change directions. We will see violations of the lows and pops back above support, but rather than chase these directional moves, we should be taking profits and getting ready for the reversal.

And if that sounds like too much work. Don’t worry about it. Sometimes the best trade is to not trade. Better opportunities will be along soon enough. We just have to be disciplined and patient enough to wait for them.

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Sep 18

After retreating back to the lows, what comes next

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Analysis:

It was a mixed week for the S&P 500. Monday started with a nice pop as the index launched its second rebound attempt from September’s swoon. Unfortunately, stocks could only string together two winning sessions before three successive losses knocked us back to where we started. So much for bounce attempt #2.

Headlines remain dreadful, but they’ve been dreadful for months and in that regard, nothing has changed. Instead, most of this weakness comes from the high-flying tech sector that led this miraculous charge to all-time highs. Live by tech stocks, die by tech stocks. At least that’s how this has played out so far.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the tech trade. These companies are still performing at the top of their game and most are insulated from Covid. In fact, many like NFLX and AMZN actually benefited from the lockdowns.

If it isn’t the fundamentals, what is the problem with the tech trade? Simple. Two steps forward, one step back. Cognitively, everyone knows the market moves in waves, unfortunately, most people forget this very basic concept in the heat of battle. Tech stocks raced higher and it only makes sense that at some point, they take a break and cool off. This appears to be that point.

If September’s dip is a normal and healthy thing to do, there is no reason to panic and abandon ship. The world is not ending and the market is not crashing. This is nothing more than stocks taking well deserved a break. These tech companies were the best-of-the-best coming into September and they will still be the best-of-the-best leaving September. All we need to do is put up with a little near-term volatility. No big deal.

Friday’s intraday dip in the S&P 500 undercut both the weekly lows and made fresh monthly lows. Nervous traders often place their stops under recent lows and that leaves us vulnerable to an avalanche of autopilot selling if the market undercuts those widely followed levels. But guess what happened today when we undercut the lows? Nothing. The market slid past the lows and rather than accelerate lower, supply dried up and prices bounced.

This resilience tells us we are running out of nervous sellers and there is very little supply underneath the market. Most owners do not have their finger on the sell button. If they did, we would have seen that avalanche of selling overwhelm the market this afternoon. Instead, most owners shrugged and kept holding. That is a very bullish development.

As I wrote earlier this week, as long as the S&P 500 remains above 3,300, this continues to be a dip-buying opportunity. Only after the market crashes through 3,300 should we consider shorting. If the imminent collapse is as big as the naysayers claim, we can afford to be a little late and still make a boatload of money. Until then, I’m giving this bull market the benefit of doubt. That means buying every bounce attempt, including Friday afternoon.

Obviously, the first and second bounce didn’t work, but that’s to be expected. If we knew which bounce was the real deal, this would be easy and everyone would be rich. Now that we’re on bounce attempt #3, I’m a little more hopeful. Statistically speaking, the 3rd bounce tends to be the most successful.

As long as we start small, get in early, keep a nearby stop, and only add to what is working, any losses from buying the wrong bounce are small. More important is that we put ourselves in the right place at the right time to profit when this thing finally takes off. If I’m wrong and the market collapses next week, no big deal. I’ll close my long and go short. In fact, my trading account actually prefers a bigger selloff because volatile markets are extremely profitable. The bigger the dip, the bigger the payday.

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Sep 11

The breakdown that wasn’t

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free End of Week Analysis: 

The S&P 500 started the holiday-shortened week the same way it ended the previous week, deep in the red. That said, Tuesday’s lows were about as bad as it got. The market attempted a rebound Wednesday. Thursday it gave back those gains. And Friday finished flat.

It’s hard to call this week good, but six days into a selloff and it definitely feels like the tidal wave of selling lost a lot of its early momentum.

While the market remains 7% under last week’s highs and bears are the most confident they’ve been in months, their inability to extend the selloff on Friday is definitely noteworthy. We undercut the weekly lows and instead of triggering another avalanche of defensive selling, supply dried up and prices bounce back to breakeven. If this market really was fragile and vulnerable, these little cracks spiral into gaping holes, they don’t bounce back within hours.

If we focus on the last few days, it seems like the market is settling into a stalemate. While this could still break either way, I give the edge to the bulls. Everyone knows market crashes are breathtakingly quick. Sell first and ask questions later is the name of the game. On the other hand, holding steady for three days gives nervous owners time to regain their composure and it suggests fearful supply is drying up. If we hold current levels into next week, bulls will even start getting their confidence back.

It all comes down to Monday. A strong open is buyable with a stop near 3,310. If that strength fizzles and prices retreat, no big deal, we pull the plug and wait for the next bounce. But most likely, that strength will stick and even accelerate. Wait too long and there is a good chance you will miss the move.

The only thing to be wary of is a crash under 3,300. Few things shatter confidence like screens filled with red and if we crash under recent lows, all bets are off and the most aggressive can try shorting. But as long as we remain above 3,310, this is a buyable dip. Remember, start small, get in early, keep a nearby stop, and only add to what is working. If prices crash next week, no big deal, it just gives us more profit potential when the market finally bounces.

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Jun 19

Weekly analysis: Bad day, good week, and what it means

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free Weekly Review and Lookahead: 

Friday’s price action was disappointing as a 40-point opening gain dissolved into a 20-point loss. But if you zoomed out to the weekly view, it was actually a good week and the market reclaimed 60-points that were lost the previous week.

Headlines continue obsessing over a “second wave” and Friday’s tumble was exacerbated Apple re-closing 11 of its stores in four states.

Hopes of a quick recovery could be thwarted by another government-imposed shutdown, but so far most states continue reopening despite the recent uptick in infections. At this point, there might not be the political will to force people to stay indoors indefinitely.

But even if the government doesn’t force us to stay indoors, people might be reluctant to resume their normal lives if every news broadcast starts with a body count. Fear-mongering and human nature are just as important to this recovery as government policy.

But when it comes to stock prices, investor sentiment is far more important than reality. As long as investors remain optimistic about the future and refuse to sell their favorite stocks at a discount, expect stock prices to remain stubbornly firm despite what the headlines keep shouting at us.

It has been a scary few months and stock owners who fear the Coronavirus and subsequent shutdowns have been given plenty of time to bail out. And not only that, these nervous sellers were replaced by confident dip-buyers who were buying despite the dire headlines. If these confident owners didn’t sell the “first wave”, what are the chances they will sell this “second wave”? When confident owners refuse to sell, headlines stop mattering.

As long as this market remains above 3k support, the larger Covid rebound remains alive and well. Even a dip and test of this level isn’t a reason to abandon ship. But if prices fall under this level and the selling accelerates, as nimble traders, it is our responsibility to get out and reassess. Until then, continue giving this rebound the benefit of doubt.

Next week is an important make-or-break week for the market. If the breakdown doesn’t happen next week, it isn’t going to happen. Keep your stops near 3k and let the market tell us what it wants to do next. Until the price action tells us otherwise, ignore all the cynicism and second-guessing.

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May 29

How much life is left in this rebound?

By Jani Ziedins | Weekly Analysis

Free End of Week Analysis and Lookahead:

The S&P 500 extended its weekly win streak to three out of the last four and finally reclaimed the 200dma for the first time since early March. As much as it feels like the wheels are coming off the global economy, the S&P 500 is completely oblivious and 10% shy of all-time highs. (The Nasdaq is only 4% away.)

As much fun as it was watching the market rally 40% in two months, we need to keep our expectations in check. There is no way we will do another 40%. Even collecting another 10% to get back to all-time highs will be challenging. While this feels like an invincible market, someone always gets left holding the bag. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bear or anything close to that. But I have been doing this long enough to know that we need to be really careful when this feels too easy. By the time this resilience is obvious to everyone, it is getting really late in the game.

Without a doubt, momentum can keep carrying us a little higher, but this is definitely a better place to be locking-in swing-trading profits than chasing prices higher. If we are in this to make money, the only way to do that is by selling our favorite positions. Being proactive usually means selling too early, but if we assume it is impossible to consistently pick tops, that means we either sell too early or we sell too late. I like selling too early because that leaves me in the best position possible to take advantage of the next opportunity. When everyone else is debating whether they should bailout, I’m looking at a buyble the dip.

But that’s just me. You do what’s right for you. As nice as this ride has been, it is probably time to start planning our exit. Whether that means selling proactively on the way up or following the market with a trailing stop and getting out on the way down, it doesn’t matter as long as you pick something. And even better, do a little of both! Take some profits proactively and hold the rest with a trailing stop. But whatever you do, don’t be that guy left holding the bag.

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