Jan 312013
 

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.

 Posted by at 10:28 pm on January 31, 2013
Jan 312013
 
S&P500 daily at 12:22 EST

S&P500 daily at 12:22 EST

AM Update

The S&P500 tests support at 1500 and AAPL struggles with resistance at $460.  One is headed higher and the other lower and it is the opposite of what most think.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

The S&P500 dipped under 1500 in early trade following yesterday’s 0.4% decline.

MARKET SENTIMENT

Red days are normal and expected, especially after the long string of up-days we saw over the last few weeks.  The bigger question is if this is the near-term pullback everyone’s been waiting for, or just a modest dip before resuming higher?

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
Modest dip or pullback to support, either way this will be limited selling and present a buy-the-dip opportunity.  I don’t know if we’ll find support at 1500, 1490, or 1475.  Heck, we could even head all the way back down to 1450 and I wouldn’t be concerned.  Rallies pullback, that’s what they do and there is no reason to over analyze a situation.

For the swing-trader with some profits, we are getting pretty far along and any point over the last few weeks would have been a good time to lock in profits and wait for the next high probability trade.  Swing-trading the indexes with a little bit of leverage to spice things up can be quite profitable.  2x leverage means a 2.5% move in the indexes yields a 5% return.  Do that 12x over the course of a year and it compounds to 80% ROI.  Not bad.  The key is getting those 5% gains, locking them in, and then waiting for the next high-probability trade.  You don’t need big moves to make money in the markets, taking a little here and there add up over the year.

For the longer-term trader, the economy is still looking up in spite of any near-term weakness.  Recoveries take time and the most patient often win in the end.  Just expect some near-term volatility and don’t let it shake your resolve.

Alternate Outcome:
Bear markets start when people least expect them.  This rally is turning 4 in two months and that is pretty old for a bull.  But that is under normal conditions and the 2008 bear market was anything but normal, so we should also expect the subsequent rally to be abnormal too.  The lack of widespread complacency is what keeps me positive on this market.  When looking for a major top, we need to look at a bigger audience to judge complacency.  Too many normal people are still afraid of equities for this to be a major top.  When you need to be worried are when you mother-in-law is giving you hot stock tips and we are a long way from that level.

AAPL daily at 12:23 EST

AAPL daily at 12:23 EST

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL was turned back by $460 again and that level is providing a lot of near-term resistance.  Failing to close above $465 this afternoon tells me the chances for a quick recovery are dead.  Further, if the stock cannot break $460, soon, I think lower prices are in store and this would be a good time for people to cut their losses and wait for the breakout above $460 before buying back in.  Everyone bought AAPL for a reason and if that reason is no longer valid, they should get out.

Stay safe

 Posted by at 10:25 am on January 31, 2013
Jan 302013
 
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

Trivial decline in the face of negative GDP, how can that be?  AAPL struggles with $460, while AMZN is near record highs, what gives?

MARKET BEHAVIOR

Stocks started strong, but finished at the day’s lows and just a hair above 1,500.  What began as surprising strength in the face of a negative GDP headline faded into the close.  Volume was above average, but lower than yesterday.  This shows sellers were not rushing for the exits and it was more a lack of buying that let the market drift lower.  The other noteworthy thing is today’s 0.4% loss was the largest decline of the year.

MARKET SENTIMENT

Just a few months ago, a negative GDP would have crashed the market, yet today we set a new intra-day high shortly after the headlines hit the market.  What gives?  Journalists and fundamentalists are coming up with various excuses, but the truth is holders didn’t care about the headline and chose to keep holding, expecting higher prices ahead.  It doesn’t matter if these traders are right or wrong, the fact remains they want to keep holding and they are not going to let some silly headlines flush them out of the market.

We find ourselves in a market with limited supply because no one wants to sell, and not only  that, the steadily rising prices are converting former pessimists into buyers.  The real takeaway from today’s trade is this market is not afraid of headlines.   Risk of unexpected bad news is something traders normally live with, but the market is demonstrating a carefree attitude toward fundamentals and that is giving investors a free pass to be long.  Markets decline for various reasons, but it looks like this one won’t top until we run out of buyers because headlines cannot dent this rally.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
While the day finished in the red, the market’s resilience in the face of unexpected negative headlines is quite bullish.  0.4% is trivial if we talking about unexpected negative GDP.  This doesn’t mean the coast is clear and this move is near the end, but it doesn’t look like it is done yet.  Look for a bounce off of 1500 tomorrow to confirm a continuation.

Alternate Outcome:
The end is near and we could be in the early stages of the top.  Failing to hold 1500 would be a change in character and we could see further weakness.  At this time I don’t expect a selloff to be anything more than testing recent support.   Holders have shown a lot of resilience in the face of some highly negative headlines and if they haven’t cracked yet, I don’t expect a modest pullback will send them running for cover.

AAPL daily at end of day

AAPL daily at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

APPL failed to hold $460 for a second day.  I’ll give the stock one more shot to surge higher Thursday, but if we don’t see strong rebound from these oversold conditions, this is going to become AAPL’s new home for a while.

A lot of people are dumbfounded by how AAPL can have record profits and be down by 35% while a company like AMZN misses and is holding near record highs.  It all comes down to supply and demand.  Everyone loves AAPL and anyone who wants some already has as much as they can fit in their portfolio.  AMZN is the scariest stock on the street and investors are afraid to own it.  Contrarian investing works because while AAPL is extremely popular, there is no one left to buy it.  On the other hand investors avoid AMZN, meaning there are tons of new buyers available to keep pushing the price higher.  Supply and demand; understand how it works and the market starts making a lot more sense.

Stay safe

 Posted by at 10:11 pm on January 30, 2013
Jan 302013
 
S&P500 daily at 1:14 EST

S&P500 daily at 1:14 EST

AM Update

Teflon rally shakes off economic contraction.  AAPL struggles with $460 and chances of a quick rebound are fading fast.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

Stocks traded modestly weaker on unexpected news of economic contraction in the 4th quarter, but given the magnitude of the headline, the market’s reaction is surprisingly subdued.

MARKET SENTIMENT

People can trade technicals, fundamentals, or the market.  Technicals say we are overbought.  Fundamentals say we are two-months away from a new recession.  Yet the market could care less and is holding near 5-year highs.  Markets are a collection of traders buying and selling their opinions and expectations.  Fundamentals and technicals are secondary because they only influence trader’s opinions and expectations, they don’t actually move markets.  More importantly, we only care about changing opinions and expectations.

Buying and selling is what makes markets move.  Traders with existing opinions have already placed those trades and are waiting.  It is traders who are changing their minds that provide the buying and selling that moves prices.

Today’s economic contraction report did little to change anyone’s mind, so prices stayed the same.  Bears remained bearish and bulls stayed bullish.  The bad news for bears is that headline was about as spooky as it gets and if any bulls were hanging on by their fingertips, that would have pushed them over the edge.  This proves bulls are confident and holding on for higher prices regardless of what the fundamentals or technicals show.

Journalists will point out the half-full parts of the report to explain this resilience,  but their job is to find reasons to explain the market’s move, or in this case the lack of a move.  The truth is bulls are getting greedy and bears are impotent (already out of the market).  When a headline like this cannot change a bull’s mind, the only one left to change is bears buying into the market and that is why we should expect higher prices over the near-term.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
If headlines of economic contraction can’t spook bulls out of their positions, not much else will.  If this market cannot be brought down by negative news, then the only other thing is running out of buyers.  As long as cynics remain, the market will have fuel to continue rallying.  Eventually bears will develop a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude and buy this market   Those that jump on the bandwagon sooner will profit more than those that wait until the very end and buy the top.  It is okay to be wrong, it is fatal to stay wrong.  The sooner we recognize and fix our mistakes, the more successful we will be.

Alternate Outcome:
Markets can go down for any number of reasons, but this market is demonstrating an immunity to negative news and that greatly mitigates unexpected downside risks.  This rally will eventually turn over, but only after everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.  With today’s resilience, and if it holds through the close, we should expect the pace of bears turning into bulls to accelerate, but this is the last push toward the end of this rally and those that get in too late will be left holding the bag.

AAPL daily at 1:14 EST

AAPL daily at 1:14 EST

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL finally broke above $460 this morning, but is struggling to hold this level midday.  Moving into last week’s gap will be a significant technical milestone.  There are a lot of new buyers and regretful holders at the $460 level, but once we get through their selling pressure, the clear air of the gap will give less resistance up to $490 because there will be fewer people trying to get their money back.  But we have to break above $465 first.

We are in the fifth-day of the post-earnings selloff and the longer we trade at these levels, the less likely a V-bottom becomes.  If we fail to break into the gap this afternoon, chances of a quick rebound are practically nil.  The two remaining options are a grind higher and more selling.  Since so many people are still bullish on AAPL at this valuation, I see a much larger pool of available sellers (current holders) than new buyers.  If someone does not already own APPL at these levels, they probably are not going to buy it no matter how cheap it gets.  That lack of demand from new investors will be a real headwind turning this stock around.

Stay safe

 Posted by at 11:17 am on January 30, 2013
Jan 292013
 
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

PM Update

The S&P500 set another new high and is poised to continue.  AAPL flirted with $460, but was unable to break above.  Another couple of days of sideways trade will make a sharp rebound unlikely.

MARKET BEHAVIOR

The S&P500 set another new high in above average volume.  The more people wait for the pullback, the higher this thing goes.  Every market tops, but they usually go further and longer than most expect and that is clearly the case here.

MARKET SENTIMENT

Virtually everyone holding a diversified basket of stocks is showing a profit with the market at 5-year highs.  When things are going this well, there is very little selling pressure as holders keep holding on for more.  Eventually this ride will come to an end, but we are not there yet.  As long as there are regretful investors watching this market rally without them, there will be fuel to keep pushing us higher.

The market held 1500 for a couple of days and today’s break above 1504 confirmed the continuation.  The breakout was a modest 0.5% and relatively contained.  We need to watch for an unsustainable surge higher, but that will be a move well in excess of 1% and far higher volume than today’s 17% above average.

TRADING OPPORTUNITIES

Expected Outcome:
Yesterday’s dip was all the market needed to refresh itself and while we are getting further and further extended, this market still has legs.  We might only see another 20 or 40 points of upside, so jumping in here is clearly late to the party, but there is enough upside left that shorting this market is not advisable.

Alternate Outcome:
Today’s pop could be the false breakout that dragged in the last of the buyers, but it sure didn’t have a capitulation feel.  As always, the market can get spooked by its own shadow and nose over without warning, but the market is in a rallying mood and ignoring negative headlines.

AAPL daily at end of day

AAPL daily at end of day

INDIVIDUAL STOCKS

AAPL rallied modestly on light volume.  It tried to recover $460, but it could not break thought this level.  The encouraging thing for AAPL is the light volume shows sellers are taking a break for the time being.  Maybe hopeful holders are holding a little longer as the expected rebound is about to take place.  V-bottoms happen over a couple of days and if AAPL continues trading sideways at these levels, that greatly diminishes the probability of a sharp rebound.  If AAPL doesn’t trade sharply higher tomorrow, look for either a rounded base or more selling.

Apple released an upgraded iPad without much fanfare.  The one takeaway is they would not have done this if a completely redesigned iPad release was imminent, so one potential catalyst can be eliminated.  The interesting thing about Apple dropping the numbering convention on the iPad means future upgrades will most likely revolve around memory and processor upgrades.  Design-wise it is really hard to do much with a thin, rectangular piece of glass.  The headwind AAPL will continue facing is the existing iPad and iPhone products are so good that few people see the value in upgrading for fairly incremental improvements in newer models.

Stay safe

 Posted by at 9:51 pm on January 29, 2013