Jani

Feb 112016
 

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 10.49.12 PMEnd of Day Update:

Thursday was another rough day for the S&P500 as we were taken down by overnight weakness in Asia, Europe, and the oil market. There wasn’t anything new driving this global selloff and it seemed to be more of the same global growth fears that have been hanging over us since the start of the year.

Two-weeks ago everyone felt better when oil surged above $33 and stocks reclaimed 1,940. As relief spread across the market, it felt like the worst was behind us. Unfortunately that was nothing more than the calm before the next wave lower hit us. Here’s the thing, everyone knows market move in waves. Rationally we understand we should buy stocks when they are cheap and sell when they are expensive. But if we know better, why do most people buy when we go up and sell when we go down? That makes as much sense as telling your neighbor that you refuse to buy gas at $1.75 and will take public transit until prices return to $3.00. How stupid is that? Well that is exactly what most people do in the stock market. They greedily buy stocks when they are expensive and fearfully sell them when they are cheap. No wonder most people have a hard time making money in the market.

Looking at equity and oil prices on Thursday, are we at the upper end of a wave, or the lower end? Sure looks like the lower end to me. Armed with this knowledge and using the rational side of our brain, should we be selling or buying stocks on days like these? Of course some people will justify selling because they are getting out “before things get worse”. Well unfortunately I’m afraid I have some bad news for you, if you are down 15% things are already worse. That’s because we are closer to the end of this move than the start. Over the last 65-years we have only fallen 30% from the highs five-times. And it’s actually better than it seems because two of those times we only exceeded 30% losses for a handful of days before rebounding sharply. For all practical purposes only three-times in 65-years has a 15% loss been closer to the beginning than the end. That averages out to one time every 21.7 years. Not exactly a high probability event.

Sure we might fall another 5% from here, but if someone is already down 15% and we only have another 5% to fall, should they be selling defensively now, or just riding it out since they already came this far? The time to sell defensively is before these things get away from us, not after the damage has been done. January 4th when we were still above 2,000 I told my subscribers to get out because things didn’t look right. That is the proper way to sell defensively. Waiting until the pain gets too great is nothing more than trading emotionally and the best way to give away money.

Three-weeks ago I told readers of this free blog that it was the wrong time to sell because we were getting close to bouncing and a couple of days later that is exactly what happened. Then I warned readers that the rebound was bound to stall near 1,940 as we carved out a trading range that would take us into the second quarter. If a person wanted to sell defensively, that rebound was their best chance to get out. Now that we find ourselves at the lower end of the range, this is where we should be looking to buy the dip, not sell it. While we could fall a little further and undercut recent lows, there is nothing new to these global slowdown headlines and no reason for them to take us dramatically lower. Expect the market to bounce over the next few days and return to 1,900 over the next few weeks. If someone wants to get out, selling at the higher end of the trading range is a better time to do it.

Jani

What’s a good trade worth to you? How about avoiding a loss?
For less than the cost of a daily coffee, have analysis like this delivered to your inbox every day during market hours. As an added bonus, I share personal trades with subscribers in real-time.
Start your free trial today!

 Posted by at 10:50 pm on February 11, 2016
Feb 092016
 

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.39.43 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 ended a turbulent day exactly where it started. But given the headlines and early losses, a flat close is actually a win. Japanese stocks were gutted 6%, oil plunged 5%, and Europe was down nearly 2%. In the face of these tremendous headwinds, our market held up amazingly well by not succumbing to the global panic. Unfortunately flat might not be good enough.

Typically oversold markets rebound with explosive force. While that bounce might arrive Wednesday, if it doesn’t, that means we have a little more downside remaining. Two-weeks ago I suggested we are on the verge of entering an 1,800ish-1,950ish trading range and so far that is exactly what has happened. We rebounded off the January lows when we ran out of fearful sellers and existing owners were no longer willing to discount their stocks any further. That put a floor under the market and helped stocks rebound to 1,940, but beyond that point those with cash were no longer willing to chase prices higher in the face of this looming uncertainty. The resulting lack of demand pushed us back to the lower end of the trading range. At least to this point, stock owners are once again showing a reluctance to sell at lower prices and is why we found support the last two days. This confidence is keeping a lid on supply and propping up prices. No matter what the global headlines say, when few are willing to sell, prices remain resilient.

While it is easy to say this is little more than a normal and routine trading range, it sure doesn’t that way. But the thing to remember is nothing ever feels routine in the market. By rule every move has to be dramatic. If it didn’t, no one would sell. And when no one sells, we don’t go down. Therefore every time we go down, it must feel real. This is circular logic, but it happens every, single, time. The only time a market looks easy is when we are reviewing a chart months after the fact. And to this point, I have little doubt that two-months from now it will seem painfully obvious what we should do. But without the benefit of hindsight, making a trading decision today is anything but easy.

If we don’t bounce Wednesday, that tells us we haven’t found the capitulation bottom. As I stated earlier, rebounds from oversold levels are decisive and meandering around this level for three-days is anything but decisive. The ideal capitulation bottom is a relentless intraday selloff that slices through January’s lows and breaches 1,800. But just when it looks like we are going over the waterfall, we run out of sellers and bounce. That will be our buy signal to buy and hold a return to the upper end of this trading range. But in this instance it is better to be a little late than a lot early. Wait for the bounce to ensure we are not in fact plunging off a gigantic waterfall.

Jani

Free blog posts Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Weekend video recaps coming soon!

If you want more check, out my premium subscription that delivers this analysis every day during market hours.

What’s a good trade worth to you? How about avoiding a loss?
For less than the cost of a daily coffee, have analysis like this delivered to your inbox every day during market hours. As an added bonus, I share personal trades with subscribers in real-time.
Start your free trial today!

 Posted by at 9:41 pm on February 9, 2016
Feb 022016
 

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.56.26 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 failed to hold Friday’s gains and we challenged 1,900 support Tuesday. But regular readers of this blog expected last week’s rebound and this week’s retrenchment. A week ago I told them to prepare for a 1,820ish to 1,940ish trading range to develop and to this point the market is acting like it should. January’s 10%+ pullback did a little too much damage to put in a v-bottom, meaning we should expect a sideways consolidation and trading range to develop in the near-term. While most of us come to the market with a bullish or bearish bias, we need to resist the temptation to overreact these swings. Instead of buying the breakout or selling the breakdown, anticipate these reversals and trade against them. Take profits when the crowd is rushing in and buy when they are giving away stocks at steep discounts.

Trading ranges develop when both sides are entrenched and unwilling to yield. If a stock owner didn’t sell last August’s China meltdown and this year’s oil collapse, what are the chances they will bailout due to a recycling of these same headlines? The is also true on the other side. Recent sellers abandoned the market because they are convinced things are only going to get worse. A modest bounce is unlikely to convince them to buy stocks with reckless abandon anytime soon. With such strong and opposing viewpoints, we settle into a trading range until something new shakes up the status quo.

Jani

 Posted by at 9:57 pm on February 2, 2016
Jan 262016
 

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.11.15 PMEnd of Day Update:

Choppiness in the S&P 500 continued Tuesday when we recovered most of Monday’s selloff, the day that erased most of Friday’s gains. Three-days of nearly equal and opposite moves, but the one constant through all of this has been the driver: oil.

Equity traders cannot make a move until they first see what oil did overnight. Then, and only then, can they decide if they should buy or sell stocks. This trading mentality lead to a nearly perfect 98% correlation between oil and equities since the start of the year. This is the tightest link in more than 25-years, far eclipsing previous periods of elevated correlation that only approached 80%. Clearly this an abnormal link that cannot last, but as long as equity traders think the only thing that matters is the price of oil, that is the card we have to play.

The most impressive thing about today’s 1.4% pop is it came on the heels of a Chinese stock market meltdown. Shanghai fell more than 6% Tuesday and their bear market rout is carving out new lows. Chinese weakness triggered our January meltdown, but it seems traders have moved on to obsessing over oil prices and are increasingly indifferent to Chinese stocks. But this divergence might be short-lived since China, oil, and S&P 500 futures are tanking in overnight trade. If this weakness persists, the fourth whipsaw will unwind the bulk of Tuesday’s gains.

But as I warned in my last few blog posts, we should expect and be prepared for this type of volatility. Corrections larger than 10% rarely result in v-bottoms that rebounds to recent highs. Instead we see choppy trade as dip-buyers, regretful owners, and over-confident bears fight for control. One day we are saved, the next day the world is ending. And so the cycle continues until the market has battered, bruised, and humiliated bears, bulls, and everyone in between.

In normal, trending markets buy-triggers and stop-losses work well, but these are clearly are not normal times. Trading predetermined levels is the quickest way to give away money in choppy basing patterns like this. If you set a stop-loss 20-points under the market, you pretty much guaranteed yourself a 20-point loss. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, so how do you trade this market?

The simple answer is you don’t. The safest approach is to wait for normalcy to return where traditional risk management techniques protect you instead of guarantee losses. The other approach requires an iron stomach as you buy the dip, watch the market move against you, and rather than get scared out, buy even more. Every dip in the history has bounced and this one will be no different. Buy when other people are fearful is easy to say, but far harder to do.

That being said, the market is most likely forming a trading range between 1,940 and 1,820. Baring brief excursions we should expect to trade inside this range through the remainder of the quarter. Earnings were the one thing that could have saved us, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way. On the other side, runaway selloffs happen over days, not weeks. It’s been a week since we bounced off 1,810 and at this point the panicked rush for the exits abated. While we will almost certainly retest those lows, the second time we approach a level is less scary than the first. The initial dip triggered a surge of automatic stop-losses and flushed out the weak, but all of that selling already behind us and second retracement will have a harder time building critical mass.

For the ambitious, trading against this range is a third possibility. But since we are near the middle of this range, the prudent move is to wait until we approach one extreme or the other before trading against it.

Jani

Free blog posts Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Weekend video recaps coming soon!

If you want more check, out my premium subscription that delivers this analysis every day during market hours.

What’s a good trade worth to you? How about avoiding a loss?
For less than the cost of a daily coffee, have analysis like this delivered to your inbox every day during market hours. As an added bonus, I share personal trades with subscribers in real-time.
Start your free trial today!

 Posted by at 9:21 pm on January 26, 2016
Jan 212016
 

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 8.18.17 PMEnd of Day Update:

It’s been a dramatic couple of days. Wednesday the S&P500 cratered over 3.5% in midday trade. But just when things looked their worst, we bottomed and recovered a majority of those losses with a powerful, 50-point rebound into the close. Volume was staggering and the second highest level in several years. The only day when more shares traded hands was August’s 5% bloodbath, a day also noteworthy for forming the bottom of the Fall selloff.

Thursday morning we slipped into the red but the situation changed decisively when the ECB hinted more stimulus is on its way in March. Then a less bad than feared U.S. oil inventory report sent crude spiking 5%. Between the apparent capitulation volume on Wednesday, more easy money from Europe, and rebound in oil, have we put in a bottom?

While Wednesday’s massive selloff did a lot of damage, it also purged most of the weak supply between here and 1,810. If anyone had a stop-loss, it was triggered when we plunged well beyond August’s lows. If an owner could have been spooked out, they were spooked out. But for every person who went running for cover, their was a bold buyer willing to take advantage of these emotional discounts. Removing weak owners and replacing them with confident dip-buyers is a very constructive development. Since we cleared most of the stop-losses under 1,850, it will be far harder for another dip under this level to trigger a runaway selloff.

But before we get too excited and start buying with reckless abandon, this correction fell well past the point where a V-rebound to previous highs can save us. This 10% selloff pushed us back into correction territory for the second-time in six-months and nerves are frayed. That means we should expect this erratic trade to continue as we carve out a base. Similar whipsaws occurred during the September bottoming and we should plan for the same choppiness here. In the near-term that means selling strength and buying weakness as we settle into a multi-month trading range. Be prepared for a retest of Wednesday’s lows at some point and expect regretful owners to flood the market with supply everytime we try to rally above 1,900. While it is tempting to trade our bullish or bearish bias every time the market feigns a breakout or breakdown, the best money over the next couple of months will come from trading against these moves.

Jani

Free blog posts Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Weekend video recaps coming soon!

If you want more check, out my premium subscription that delivers this analysis every day during market hours.

What’s a good trade worth to you? How about avoiding a loss?
For less than the cost of a daily coffee, have analysis like this delivered to your inbox every day during market hours. As an added bonus, I share personal trades with subscribers in real-time.
Start your free trial today!

 Posted by at 8:22 pm on January 21, 2016