Apr 212016
 

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 10.56.26 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 slipped back under 2,100 resistance two-days after closing above this level for the first time in six-months. This tepid response to the breakout tells us few are excited to buy these 2016 highs. We rallied nearly 300-points from February’s lows with nothing but modest dips along the way. While it’s been a great ride, at some point this rebound will exhaust the supply of available buyers and we will slip into a very normal and health pullback.

There is nothing to fear from a routine stepback following such a large price move. In fact we should embrace a cooling off period because the higher we go without one, the larger and more violent the inevitable pullback. Sentiment has recovered to more normal levels after reaching nearly historically bearish levels only a handful of weeks ago. StockTwits $SPY sentiment reclaimed 50% bullishness for the first time in recent memory and AAII bearish sentiment is well under historic averages. Nothing like a 300-point rebound to calm previously frayed nerves.

Not so long ago traders couldn’t make a move without first seeing what happened overnight in China. Then oil became the obsession. Three-months later and the global economy is still standing as most of these fears faded into the distance. While things could have been ugly, most often the market fears the worst and reality turns out far less bad. Nearly four-months after January’s sell off started, things don’t look so bad.

Even though the world looks less bad than many predicted, we shouldn’t rush off and buy stocks with reckless abandon. Risk is a function of height. The higher we are, the more vulnerable we are to a pullback. While we feel better about the market, this is actually the riskiest it’s been since the start of the year. The time to dive in was back when everyone was fearfully selling stocks at steep discounts and we were 200 and 300 points lower. Now that stocks are selling at full price, they are far less attractive from a risk/reward perspective. Given how far we’ve come, this is a far better place to be taking profits than adding new positions.

While every dip over the last three-months has bounced, we are not far from the one that keeps falling. It concern me that few buyers showed up after we broke through 2,100 resistance. Without new money it will be hard to keep the momentum going. Typically these things rollover fairly quickly, so if it’s going to happen, it should happen over the next couple of days. A little profit taking soon turns devolves into waves of anxious selling. If on the other hand we continue hanging out near 2,100 resistance for several days, that tells us few owners are taking profits because they are waiting for higher prices. No matter what the experts think should happen, when confident owners refuse to sell, supply gets tight and prices rally.

I’m concerned about Thursday’s inability to hold the 2,100 breakout. For those that have profits, this is a good time start thinking about locking them in. The most aggressive can look at shorting this weakness with a profit target of at least 2,060 support. Fail to bounce there and the 50/200dma and 2,000 support are in play. But if bears cannot get the ball rolling, look for the rebound to continue up to all-time highs near 2,130.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:58 pm on April 21, 2016
Apr 192016
 

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.03.26 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 climbed above 2,100 for the first time in nearly six-months as oil prices rebounded and fear of a global slowdown fade into the distance. We came a long way from the fear driven selling that dominated the first couple months of the year, but like what happens all too often, following the crowd’s lead turned out to be a terrible trading strategy.

While I’ve been cautious following such a strong rebound, last week when the S&P500 failed to break down multiple times, I told readers to expect a near-term continuation of the uptrend. When the market refuses to do what it is “supposed” to do, braces yourselves for a move in the other direction. And that’s exactly what happened as we find ourselves 40-points higher.

But that was then and this is now. While we can pat ourselves on the back for riding this move up to 2,100, this morning’s price-action concerns me. We smashed through 2,100 resistance in early trade, but rather than cheer the news, traders started taking profits. This quick reversal tells us there is not a lot of demand above 2,100 and we are quickly running out of chasers.

If anyone is lucky enough to have profits, failing to hold 2,100 is a good signal to start locking-in those gains. If we cannot hold 2,100 Wednesday, this presents an interesting short entry. Weak demand and tons of air underneath us creates an attractive risk/reward that favors a countertrend trade. It’s not that I expect the market to breakdown, just recognition that we take a step-back for every two-steps forward. If we open under 2,100, use that level as a stop-loss and the 200dma and 2,000 support are interesting targets. But stay nimble since counter-trend trades are always more risky.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:04 pm on April 19, 2016
Apr 052016
 

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 8.50.47 PMEnd of Day Update:

Tuesday the S&P500 stumbled into its biggest losses in nearly a month. Overseas weakness spread to our shores and this time dip-buyers were helpless to stem the tide of selling. While we are only a few points from recent highs, this dip felt different.

As we discussed last week, the move to a new quarter often brings a change in investor strategy. In March big money was caught off guard by the swift rebound from February’s lows and these managers were forced to buy back the stocks they sold earlier in the year. Their insatiable need to rebuild their portfolio pushed us higher all month. But now that the calendar’s rolled over and managers are given three-months of breathing room, there is less pressure to buy every dip. This vacuum of demand was fully evident Tuesday. We slipped and there was no one to catch us. This is why we finished at the lows.

While one data point doesn’t establish a new trend, it should be enough to give us pause. We rallied 15% in two-months. That’s a huge number by any measure and it would be foolish to expect this rate of gains to continue. Now that we moved into the second-quarter, will money managers continue buying with reckless abandon? Tuesday’s price-action suggests otherwise and we should prepare for a bumpier road ahead.

If we truly exhausted the supply of willing buyers, prices should continue slipping over coming days. The most obvious support level is 2,000. Fail that and the 50dma and 1,940 are the next logical levels to bounce at. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not predicting a crash and return to February’s lows. But a cooling off period is warranted given how far we’ve come. Two-steps forward, one-step back.

That said, if we bounce Wednesday and recover Monday’s close, dip-buying is alive and well. That means there is no vacuum of demand and the good times are still rolling. Selloffs are swift and if Tuesday’s weakness doesn’t spread, then this was just another dip on our way higher.

Jani

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 Posted by at 8:52 pm on April 5, 2016

Wait for it…….

 End of Day Analysis  Comments Off on Wait for it…….
Mar 292016
 

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.16.23 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 had a good day, setting another 2016 closing high and putting us back in the green for the year. Quite a reversal of fortune from what most people expected in January. This is yet another example of why we should be skeptical of what most people know. That’s not to say the crowd is stupid, just that its opinion is already priced in and something else is more likely to happen, either better or worse. This time we were saved by less-bad than feared.

Things didn’t look so great this morning when we opened and the market slipped on Asian weakness and falling oil prices. But Janet Yellen came to the rescue by promising slower than previously forecast rate-hikes. That was enough to send stocks surging and the dollar tumbling. This brings up the other certainty of 2016: Euro/Dollar parity. So far that’s been a painful ride for all the hedge funds that thought this trade was easy money.

But this only tells us where we are, something everyone already knows. What we really want to know is where we are going next. Without a doubt this is far better time to be a bull than a bear. We are more than 200-points higher than February’s lows. Anyone who sold defensively and missed this rebound is left wondering what to do next. While I’d love to say we will surge another 200-points between now and June, markets don’t work that way. The easy money has been made and now the gains will be slower and harder. Given how far we’ve come, this is a far better place to be taking profits than adding new positions. While the temptation to chase is strong, even if we continue higher in the near-term, without a doubt we will retest these levels in coming weeks and months. Never forget markets move in waves and we are far closer to the top of this wave than the start of it. There is no need to chase because we will get another shot at these levels in the future and longer-viewed investors should hold off and wait for better prices. Shorter-horizon traders probably want to stick with the near-term momentum. Typically we sell off fairly quickly from overbought levels and now that we’ve been above the 200dma for two-weeks, the next few points are more likely to be higher than lower.

A big portion of the fuel propelling this strength comes from desperate money managers chasing this rebound into quarter’s end. Anyone who reactively sold January’s weakness is in a world of hurt now that the market turned green for the year. Smart money definitely isn’t looking so smart right now. They want to show their investors they didn’t miss the rebound and are buying stocks by the dump truck load. But all of this changes when the calendar rolls over on Friday. The artificial demand caused by quarterly window-dressing will evaporate and we will see if anyone is left to sustain this march higher.

The real tell will come early next week. Hold up after the artificial window-dressing demand fades, then there is real support under this market. Stumble and all of a sudden weeks of chasing turns into weeks of selling as the market takes a well deserved break. While I’d love to be able to tell you what will happen, recent price moves are too erratic and unreliable to be predictive. One day’s breakdown turns into the next day’s breakout. Anyone trading this market with a bias is getting chewed up by these head fakes. But rest assured, the next move is coming and the market will reveal its hand once Q2 gets underway. Trade well and all-time highs are next. Stumble and we won’t catch ourselves until 1,950 support.

Jani

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 Posted by at 9:18 pm on March 29, 2016
Mar 172016
 

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 10.07.17 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 set another 2016 closing high Thursday as it continues to leave the January doldrums further and further in the rearview mirror. Oil broke through $40 for the first time in a while and the world feels a lot better than it did a few weeks ago. But to a contrarian, these good times are just as unnerving as the obscene pessimism we saw in mid-February. I trade against the crowd, not with it and right now this feels like too much of a good thing. It bears repeating that markets move in waves and just like January’s one-way selloff stalled and rebounded after it exhausted supply, this one-way rally will run out of demand any day now.

Wednesday the Fed told us to expect fewer rate-hikes this year than previously indicated. That reassurance was enough to fuel this two-day pop that pushed us through the 200dma and moved us to these 2016 highs. But the thing to remember is a big chunk of this buying came from bears covering their shorts and technical traders buying the breakout. Now that we’ve crossed virtually every technical level that people would use, we no longer have this autopilot buying to keep this move going. Instead we will have to convince thoughtful traders to start putting their money into the market. Given traders’ natural fear of heights, this 200+point run from February’s lows has a lot of nervous people sitting on their hands.

Last October we bounced more than 200-points from the lows in a massive relief rally, but we climaxed and stumbled into a nearly 100-point pullback right around the levels we currently find ourselves. While it is hard to sit out a of rally like this when fear of losses is replaced by fear of being left behind, resist the urge to chase. Risk is a function of height and currently these are the riskiest levels of the year. Even if stocks continue going higher, don’t worry about it too much since the inevitable pullback will at the very least retest 2,000 support, and more likely push us back into the mid-1,900s. This is a far better time to be taking profits than adding new positions, so be patient and wait for a better entry point. The more aggressive among us can look for this rally to climax and short a dip back under the 200dma as we transition from this half-full sentiment back to our half-empty obsession.

A notice for regular readers of this blog, I’m taking my family to Hawaii next week for Spring Break and will not be posting to the free blog while I am on vacation. I will continue following the market and premium subscribers will still receive their daily market analysis.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:43 pm on March 17, 2016