Apr 302015
 
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

End of Day Update:

Stocks sliced through 2,100 support and didn’t stop until they fell well under the 50dma. The only positive is a late bounce kept us from closing at the lows. Volume was well above average and the highest in over a month.

Thursday’s move looks intriguingly similar to April 17th’s dip under the 50dma. That’s good news for bulls because we bounced back above the 50dma the next day. Will history repeat itself? We’ll know the answer by Friday’s close.

It’s funny how pundits and gurus claimed a strengthening dollar and falling oil prices were threatening S&P500 earnings. Today the dollar tanked and oil surged. Following their logic, stock prices should have jumped higher today. Shows what the “experts” know.

The problem with this market isn’t technical or fundamental, like always, it comes down to supply and demand. Or more specifically today, the lack of demand. Few are willing to buy stocks above 2,120 and we’ve stalled at that level three times in recent months. When no one is in the mood to buy, it doesn’t matter what the fundamentals and technicals are.

Where do we go from here? While a lack of demand keeps us from breaking 2,120 resistance, we’re seeing a similar but opposite dynamic happen every time the market dips. Confident owners are completely uninterested in selling regardless of headlines or price volatility. When no one sells, prices bounce on tight supply. That is what saved us April 20th and we’ll see if owners are just as stubbornly confident Friday.

As for how to trade this, we slipped back into the middle of the 2,050/2,120 trading range. That leaves us with a fairly balanced risk/reward. But we’re not looking to trade a coin-flip, we want the odds in our favor. That means waiting to see what happens next. Strength on Friday tells us stubborn owners are winning and their refusal to sell will keep a floor under this market. However, nothing shatters confidence like a plunging prices. Another ugly day could easily push us down to 2,050 support. My gut tells me it won’t be as easy this time and we will probably see another leg lower before the selling exhausts itself.

Jani

 Posted by at 10:22 pm on April 30, 2015
Apr 292015
 
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

End of Day Update:

Stocks failed to hold yesterday’s gains following disappointing GDP that revealed first quarter growth was practically nonexistent. Volatility was compounded by the Fed’s afternoon policy statement. Despite these headlines and a surge in volume, we traded inside yesterday’s intraday range as the market continues searching for direction.

If anyone was surprised by this lack of a reaction to the Fed’s policy statement, they should read last night’s post explaining why it wasn’t a big deal. While there was a plethora of headlines to digest today, most bulls and bears stubbornly held their prior outlook. When no one changes their mind, prices stay where they are and is why we ended pretty much where we started.

So where do we go from here? We’re near the upper end of 2015’s trading range. Either we bump our head on the ceiling again, or finally break through and start the next rally leg. The dig against the uptrend’s continuation is while we recently set new highs, they failed to trigger wave of breakout buying and short-covering. If we were poised to explode higher, it would have happened by now. Eliminating “up” leaves us with down or sideways. Either way, expect near-term weakness as we slip back into the trading range. The difference will come later when we test support and either bounce, or not. Aggressive traders can lay on a near-term short, but collect profits early and often because this choppy market takes profits back as quickly as it gives them.

Jani

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 Posted by at 9:24 pm on April 29, 2015
Apr 282015
 
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

End of Day Update:

The difference a day makes. Monday we opened strong, yet crumbled into the close. Tuesday we fell sharply in the first hour of trade, but bounced decisively into the green by the end of the day. This is the definition of erratic and indecisive.

Bulls are pleased we bounced off of the 50dma and found support at 2,100. The morning’s 15-point plunge got everyone’s attention, but it wasn’t enough to rattle owners’ confidence and they continued holding despite the volatility. No matter what is going on, when owners don’t want to sell, we run out of supply and bounce. Clearly that’s what happened today.

The challenge for the speculator is figuring out what comes next. Monday’s implosion from all-time highs was ominously bearish. Yet today’s decisive rebound off of support is reassuringly bullish.

The reason this market isn’t going anywhere is because no one is changing their mind. We rally when bears warm up to the market and buy it. We selloff when bulls get nervous and dump stock. When both sides are equally stubborn, we don’t go anywhere.

The trade of the year is betting against these moves. Earlier we’d string together several up or down days before reversing, but lately these have been one-day moves. While mostly tongue-in-cheek, the best trading advice is “If you have profits, take them. If you have losses, wait a day and then sell for a profit.”

While there is a lot of noise this week regarding the Fed’s monthly meeting, using recent history as a guild, it seems highly unlikely bulls will sell the headline or bears will buy the news. This is a stubborn bunch and most likely it will take something new and unexpected to break this logjam. When and which direction is anyone’s guess, but until then keep buying weakness and selling strength.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:18 pm on April 28, 2015
Apr 272015
 
S&P500 daily at end of day

S&P500 daily at end of day

End of Day Update:

Stocks notched record highs in early trade, but few bought the breakout and we slipped into the red by lunchtime. This is the third day in a row we struggled with 2,120 resistance. The problem for bulls is if the market was poised to explode higher, it would have happened by now.

If the market is not a coiled spring to the upside, that leaves us with two alternatives. Either it is a coiled spring waiting to launch us lower. Or the market is unsprung and not particularly inclined to go in either direction.

Just over a week ago we had a steep selloff that sliced through the 50dma. If the market was vulnerable to a selloff, that would have been more than enough to trigger a multi-day decline. But it didn’t. That means we find ourselves in a situation where few want to buy the breakout, but just as few are interested in selling the dip. It seems our spring is unsprung. And that makes sense. We’ve been trading sideways since the start of the year. We run out of buyers above 2,100 and selling dries up when we dip under 2,050. Given today’s weak price-action after testing upside resistance, it looks like the pattern is continuing.

The more interesting test will come when we retreat to 2,100 and the 50dma. Can we find support at the upper end of the trading range? If so, that suggests we inch higher from here. While not as exciting as exploding higher, it pads the trading account just the same. But if we cannot hold these technical levels, a dip to 2,050 seems inevitable. Given the risk/reward of inching higher versus a 50-point selloff, this could be a good place to try a quick short.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:01 pm on April 27, 2015
Apr 222015
 

End of Day Update:

Stocks rebounded following early weakness and are within a dozen points of all-time highs. Bears have a million reasons prices should collapse, but the market doesn’t care. That leaves us with only two possibilities, either bears are wrong, or the market is.

Since people love to argue with the market, I’ll start with reasons why it could be wrong. Independent markets are surprisingly efficient even if the participants are irrational. When traders arrive at their opinions independently, one irrational bull is canceled out by an equally irrational bear, leaving us with an astonishingly accurate mid-point. But the key is independent. The system breaks down when groupthink creeps in and skews the results one way or the other. Bubbles are perfect examples of self-reinforcing groupthink on one end of the spectrum. This is the classic, “Their logic seems suspicious, but they’re making money so I’ll follow them anyway.” When enough people suspend their disbelief, we lose independence and the validity of the underlying price.

On the other side, how could bears be wrong? What if instead of evil “market manipulation”, a poor understanding of how markets work is causing bears to lose money? What if the market already fully factored in all of their criticisms and this is the price it arrived at because of, not in spite of, these flaws. Maybe we would be higher without these looming structural problems. Many of these criticisms are recycled headlines that have been around for months, if not years. As a general rule of thumb, if average traders are talking about it, then we can safely ignore it.

So which side is right? Why not both? In the market, being right isn’t good enough. In fact, the only thing that matters is timing. Having done this for long enough, I’d gladly take good timing over being right every day of the week. And so back to the question, most likely both sides are right, but over different timeframes. Bulls will continue being right in the near-term since prices are defying the skeptics. But over the longer-term, nervous traders will forget their fear as they see everyone on the other side making money. Once groupthink is the norm instead of the exception, then we will be ready for the next material correction.

Jani

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 Posted by at 9:26 pm on April 22, 2015