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

One-Step Back

 Intraday Analysis  Comments Off on One-Step Back
Nov 122015
 
S&P500 daily

S&P500 daily

End of Day Update:

The S&P500 sliced through the 200dma as it slumped 1.4% Wednesday. This move leaves us just above 2,040 support that comes from earlier in the year. Volume was barely average, telling us there wasn’t a lot of reactive and emotional selling today.

Nothing like a little selloff to revive bears’ hopes and dreams. Whether you were watching TV or reading online streams, plenty of people believe this is the “BIG ONE”. But here is the thing, dig back in your memory and recall a time when all the pundits successfully predicted a big selloff before it happened. If you are struggling, don’t worry, it’s not your memory that’s failing you, it’s the pundits. Now don’t get me wrong, most of these people are exceptionally intelligent and insightful. There is also a lot of truth to what their ideas. But what trips them up is the basic laws of supply and demand. When the crowd is convinced we are headed lower, how do you think they are positioned? Once a pessimist sells, they lose their vote and are merely cheerleaders. And right now it feels like we have a lot of people rooting for the market to go lower. The reason people are so quick to jump on the “this is it” bandwagon is because memories of September’s fear and regret are so fresh in their mind.

The biggest headline these days is December’s looming rate hike. In a WSJ survey, 92% of economists predicted the Fed will boost interest rates next month. For all practical purposes it appears like there is universal belief the Fed will finally act. Monetary tightening for the first time in nearly a decade has people predicting doom and gloom for our economy. Of course many of these same people also called for runaway inflation and $10k gold because of the Fed’s “reckless” money printing. If they got the first call wrong, there is little reason to believe they will get it right this time. Further, the conversation shifted to rate hikes as soon as Quantitative Easing wrapped up last Fall. If anything, Janet Yellen has been dragging this out, so it should not be a surprise or shock to the systems when it finally happens. People don’t get hit by the bus they see coming, so this rate hike will be a non-issue.

While people are scared by this selloff, this is just another buyable dip on our way higher. In my November 5th post, I warned people that we should be preparing for a very typical pullback following a large rebound. Sixty points later, that is exactly where we find ourselves. Two-steps forward, one-step back. Technicians frequently find Fibonacci patterns in directional moves. This would be a retracement of 24%, 38%, 50%, or 62%. Following a 225-point rebound, these are pullbacks of 55, 85, 112, or 140-points. We’ve already passed the 55-point mark and 85 isn’t very far away. While we don’t want to catch a falling knife, an interesting entry would follow the market slicing through support and recovering those losses on huge volume. This would be the capitulation day that chased of the last of the sellers. Traders who miss a big run always hope for a pullback that will let them get in, but all too often they lose their nerve when the market gives them what they were asking for. Embrace discounts, don’t fear them.

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 8:00 pm on November 12, 2015

The “No Hike” Selloff Continues

 Intraday Analysis  Comments Off on The “No Hike” Selloff Continues
Sep 222015
 
S&P500 daily

S&P500 daily

End of Day Update:

Stocks continued the “no hike” selloff as the S&P500 lost another 1.25% and closed fractionally above 1,940 support. Volume was restrained, not even reaching average levels.

Investors were hoping the Fed would keep rates near zero and in order to avoid further spooking fragile markets, the Fed acquiesced when they decided not to hike last week. But rather than cheer, waves of traders have been selling the news ever since. We are still well within the heart of the 1,900 to 2,000 trading range, so stock owners are not panicked yet, but you can feel the uneasiness growing with each leg lower.

There was no real headline driver for Tuesday’s global selloff, but overseas markets were hit hard and that selling spilled over to U.S. shores. And as I write this, it looks like we will have more of the same Wednesday because Asian and S&P500 futures are sharply lower. While we are still well within the trading range, it won’t take much to push us down to recent lows where the uneasiness will give way to fear and panic.

When the herd is panicked and we see our screens filled with red, it is hard avoid being infected with the same feelings of dread and despair. But a further selloff is actually the most bullish thing that can happen. The two most common reversals are the v-bottom and the double-bottom. V-bottoms are sharp and fast. We’re nearly a month into this correction, well past the window of opportunity for a v-bottom to save us, so we can eliminate that as a trade setup. The next best savior is the double-bottom. For those that are not familiar, a key attribute of the double-bottom is having the second dip undercut the first dip’s lows. That means the most bullish thing that could happen to us involves us falling under 1,860. This is something we should be bracing ourselves for, but rather than fear this capitulation bottom, we should welcome it and even trade it to our advantage.

Of course we might not go straight to 1,850, or even get there at all. The next likely level to bounce off of is the 1,900-1,910 region. We could easily see an intermediate support at these levels. Where we go from there largely depends on how traders respond. If we see full panic and volume is off the chart, that could be our capitulation bottom. But if the bounce is feeble and fails to recover 1,950, the new lows under 1,850 are likely. While it will be uncomfortable, if we know what is coming, then we will be better prepared to trade it well.

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 while there is still time to trade it. Start your free trial today!

 Posted by at 11:07 pm on September 22, 2015

How to Respond to a Crisis

 Intraday Analysis  Comments Off on How to Respond to a Crisis
Aug 312015
 

End of Day Update:

I’m changing things up a little tonight. Normally I write about the daily fluctuations in the stock market, but given the dramatic and emotional moves in recent days, a bigger picture analysis is warranted. This blog post is for all the nervous owners out there that are not sure how to respond to these uncertain times.

As I write this, overnight stock futures are plunging nearly two-percent because of continued Asian weakness. No doubt this will carryover to our shores Tuesday morning and compel many owners to sell their stocks at even greater discounts. Their rationale is to sell now before things get worse.

But as investors and traders, the first questions we should ask ourselves is if we want to buy stocks when they are cheap or expensive? The natural follow-up is if we want to sell when they are cheap or expensive? While the answers are obvious, this isn’t consistent with the way most people trade.

Many owners are desperately selling their stock right now because they want to get out before things get worse. “What if this is another 2008?” they are asking themselves. Surely we all want to avoid that type of disaster again. Not so fast, some of the best buys I made over the last 20-years were in 2008. Not as a trader, but as an investor.

I rarely write about the buy-and-hold portion of my portfolio because there really isn’t much to talk about. Every month I add to my long-term investments and then forget about them. Through thick and thin, they just sit there. Sometimes they go up in value, other times they go down. But every month I keep adding to them because I believe in the US economy and that our stock market is the best place to grow my money until I need it 20 or 40 years from now.

While we only recently climbed out of the “lost decade” where our market was flat from 2000 to 2013, those were actually fantastic years for the long-term investor who dollar-cost-averaged into the market over that entire period. When everyone was selling and reducing their 401k contributions because of the dotcom bubble and financial crisis, I kept buying more. Those buys in 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2009 have more than doubled. All my buys in 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2011 are up in the high double digits. While the stock market had a “lost decade”, my buy-and-hold account had a phenomenal decade because I continued buying when other people were selling.

Think about that tomorrow as you contemplate selling your stock or decreasing your 401k contributions because of this Asian uncertainty. Personally I’d love to see another 2008 because that would be another fantastic buying opportunity for the buy-and-hold portion of my portfolio.

Jani

If you enjoyed this post and found its content valuable, share it and retweet it. If you want to to be notified when new content is published, sign up for free alerts.

 Posted by at 10:19 pm on August 31, 2015