Feb 07

It was inevitable

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

The S&P 500 stumbled Thursday in one of the few misses since the Christmas rebound kicked off. Over the last few days, the index struggled to break through 200dma resistance and has slipped back to the psychologically significant 2,700 level.

While today’s tumble felt abrupt given how calm and steady the climb has been from December’s lows, a down day shouldn’t surprise anyone. As I wrote late last week:

“Everyone knows markets don’t move in straight lines and anyone who expects the market to keep racing higher clearly doesn’t understand how market work. While anything could happen, more often than not, hot markets cool off and pullbacks from overbought levels are a normal and healthy way of consolidating gains.”

We knew this was going to happen, we just didn’t know the when or the why.

Sign up for FREE Email Alerts to get profitable insights like these delivered to your inbox.

Thursday’s weakness started before the open when European economic data failed to meet expectations. That brought last year’s global growth fears back to the front. The only question is if this is just a single bout of indigestion, or if this will trigger another wave of second-guessing and defensive selling.

The nice thing about today’s dip is we found a bottom before lunchtime and closed well off the early lows. That is the opposite of last year’s dreadful price-action when early weakness triggered runaway selloffs. At least for the time being, investors appear more inclined to buy the dips than pile on the selling. But it takes more than one day to consolidate nearly 400-points of gains, so we have a long way to go before we can waive the all-clear flag.

I want to make one thing clear, I am most definitely not bearish and think the setup over the medium- and long-term looks good. But I am far less optimistic over the near-term. Markets move in waves and the Christmas rebound priced in a lot of good news. Hope that things will be less bad than feared. Unfortunately, the problem with hope is it leaves the door open to disappointment.

The crowd is always filled with emotions that swing between extremes. Last month’s collapse was built on fear of an economic collapse. This rebound started with hope that things were not as bad as feared and quickly morphed into fear of being left behind. And no doubt recent gains leave us vulnerable to another near-term reversal. Two steps forward, one step back. That’s the way the market always worked and there is no reason to expect something different to happen here.

I’m not predicting a crash or anything dramatic like that. Just a cooling off. Maybe that means some sideways trade. Maybe that means a dip back to support. Either way, it is very predictable and shouldn’t catch anyone off guard. But it will. Because it always does.

Everyone knows markets move in waves, but they always forget that fact in the moment. Every dip is seen as the start of something bigger. By rule, it has to. If it didn’t scare people out, then no one would sell and we wouldn’t dip. Even if this is the start of a very normal and routine pullback to support, expect to hear all kinds of people shouting doom-and-gloom and how we better get out now before it is too late.

Smart money buys discounts and sells premiums. It is definitely premature to call a one day dip a discount and we should be prepared for more. But as long as we know it’s coming, then it is a lot easier to maintain our composure and resist the urge to join the hysterical crowd. The market is acting well and there is nothing to do with our favorite long-term investments. But for our short-term swing-trades. This is a good time to get defensive and start taking profits if you haven’t already.

What’s a good trade worth to you?
How about avoiding a loss?
For less than $1/day, have profitable analysis like this delivered to your inbox every day during market hours

Follow Jani on Twitter

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

Jan 31

Should we buying up here?

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Free After-Hours Analysis:

The S&P 500 closed January with a bang, finishing at the highest levels in nearly two months. These gains erased almost all of December’s losses. It’s been a wild ride, but one that wasn’t all that hard to predict.

Back in mid-December, I wrote the following about the market swoon and where prices were headed:

While I like these discounts, the looming Christmas and New Years holidays complicate the situation. What would normally be an attractive buying opportunity might struggle to get off the ground since big money is leaving for vacation. That puts impulsive retail investors in charge and that is rarely a good thing. Luckily, these little guys have small accounts and their emotional buying and selling doesn’t go very far. We saw the emotional selling from Thanksgiving week erased the following week when big money returned to work. And the same could happen here.

And that is exactly what happened. Big money left for vacation and fearful retail investors foolishly abandoned their stocks at steep discounts leading up to the Christmas holiday. But just when things seemed their most dire, retail investors ran out of things to sell and we’ve been bouncing higher ever since.

Sign up for FREE Email Alerts to get profitable insights like these delivered to your inbox.

But everyone knows it’s been a crazy ride. What readers really want to know is what comes next. And like almost everything in the market, the answer “depends”.

Timing is everything in the market. The only thing that determines whether we make money is when we buy and when we sell. This dependency means timeframe matters more than anything else.

The biggest paradox of the market is both bulls and bears can make money at the same time. A bull buys today while a bear shorts, and they both make money if they time their sales right. A bear with a short-term horizon can make money when prices dip next week, while the bull with a longer-term horizon rides the rebound higher over the next few months. They had opposite outlooks, but they both made money.

We currently find ourselves in that position. The market is acting really well and last month’s fears are quickly fading from memory. Anyone with a long-term investing horizon should have been buying this entire dip. The lower prices go, the better it is for them because they get more stocks for their money. What was true last month, is still true today. Unfortunately, too many investors foolishly listened to their gut and were selling the dip, not buying it.

But things get a little more complicated if we shorten our horizon and try to figure out what will happen next week. Everyone knows markets don’t move in straight lines and anyone who expects the market to keep racing higher clearly doesn’t understand how market work. While anything could happen, more often than not, hot markets cool off and pullbacks from overbought levels are a normal and healthy way of consolidating gains.

While momentum is still higher and we could keep drifting that way, there is a lot of air underneath us and each point higher takes away another point of upside. Increasing risks and decreasing rewards makes this is a better place to be taking short-term profits than adding new short-term money.

And while it sounds great that both bulls and bears can make money at the same time, there is no free lunch in the market and unfortunately, more often than not, both bulls and bears end up losing money because they trade impulsively and react to the market’s head fakes. If a person wants to give away money, follow the crowd by dumping stocks after they go down and buying them after they go up. And most people repeat that until they have nothing left. If you want to make money, don’t follow the crowd.

And just to be clearly, I’m most definitely not bearish here. I just think this rally will cool off and consolidate over the next few weeks and that will give us better prices to get in at.

What’s a good trade worth to you?

How about avoiding a loss?

For less than $1/day, have profitable analysis like this delivered to your inbox every day during market hours

Follow Jani on Twitter

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