Jun 142016
 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.20.28 PMEnd of Day Update:

Tuesday morning the S&P 500 extended its selloff, crashing through 2,080 support and the 50dma on its way to the mid-2,060s. But by late morning we exhausted the supply of sellers and closed 10-points off the intraday lows. Justifications for this week-old selloff come from two sources, oil pulling back from its highs and growing fear of a Brexit.

Last Tuesday evening I warned readers to be wary of a near-term pullback in oil and equities and that is exactly what happened. We don’t need be psychic to know what the market will do next, all we have to do follow the swings of sentiment and supply and demand. Last week traders were giddy as oil broke through $50, leading many to predict $60 oil wasn’t far away. Instead of surging higher, oil prices peaked and stumbled back into the $40s. So much for the wisdom of consensus. Stocks followed the same flight plan when it looked like we were headed to all-time highs, yet found ourselves stumbling under the 50dma instead. But that’s the way this works. One week’s giddiness gives way to the next week’s pessimism.

This week oil prices have been bumped off the front pages as the financial press fixates on next week’s Brexit vote. This was supposed to be a slam dunk for the “stay” vote, but the Brexit camp has surged in recent polls. That uncertainty is unnerving markets as traders start to fear the unknown. While this will be a hugely disruptive event if Britain votes to leave the EU, the economic consequences will be less bad than most fear. This is a referendum on refugee immigration, not trade. British citizens want to close their borders to Middle East refugees and given EU laws, the only way they can do that is by pulling out of the union. This isn’t a dispute over trade and no one wants to start a trade war since both sides are so dependent on the other. This means we should expect British and EU politicians to quickly sign into law comparable trade agreements to replace the previous EU ones. This will take place within weeks if not days because both sides want to minimize the economic disruptions. But politicians are not promoting “Plan B” because they are trying to use fear of economic calamity to persuade people to vote “stay”.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.22.36 PMA Brexit vote would send the S&P 500 down a few percent because it is not currently priced in. But this will be a buyable dip for those who have the courage to be greedy when others are fearful. A week or two after the Brexit vote, many of the unknowns will have been ironed out and we will move forward with a plan. Norway and Switzerland survive quite successfully without EU membership and instead are part of a European Free Trade Association. Britain will do the same thing and life moves on. Since Britain never adopted the euro and still used the pound, there won’t be any of the financial entanglements that drove concern over a Grexit a couple of years ago. All the Brexit is doing is shifting from standardized EU trade agreements to ones made separately. Six one-way, half-a-dozen another. For all intents and purposes it will do the same thing no matter what the document is called.

As for how to trade this, Tuesday’s dip undercut popular technical stop-losses, purging a good bit of that supply from the market. The relentless slide under 2,070 also combined with the Brexit headlines to convinced emotional traders to get out “before things get worse”. Unfortunately for them reacting emotionally doesn’t pay very well. While the Brexit story isn’t done, we are closer to a buy-point than a prudent place to sell defensively. The best profit opportunities come from trading against an emotional crowd and the anxiety is ramping up as the VIX surges above 20 for the first time since February. Those with cash, get your shopping lists ready. Those with buy-and-hold stocks, don’t let the fear-mongering convince you to sell at a discount.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:24 pm on June 14, 2016

Should we be worried?

 Intraday Analysis  Comments Off on Should we be worried?
Apr 282016
 

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.58.53 PMEnd of Day Update:

Japanese turmoil infected global markets Thursday after the Bank of Japan declined to enact additional stimulus to combat that country’s deflation. European markets tanked and the S&P 500 gapped half-a-percent lower at the open. But the panic was short-lived as we rebounded into the green by lunchtime. Japan hasn’t been on the market’s radar with most traders fixated on China and oil prices over the last six-month. Initially it seemed like that trend was continuing until a late selloff clipped 20-points from the S&P 500 in less than an hour, easily shoving us under the morning’s lows. Early relief quickly degraded into fear of owning stocks overnight and a stampede for the exits.

Fear of this market is well founded since events in Japan will likely get worse before they get better. Very rarely are 3.6% selloffs an isolated incident and most likely there is more pain in store for Japanese markets. The question is if U.S. investors will continue ignoring Japan’s problems, or if Thursday’s price-action shined a light on the next big thing for traders to fret over.

As I’ve been discussing on these pages for a few weeks now, we’ve come a long way from February’s lows and it is normal and natural for the market to cool off following such a hot run. This vulnerability means we need to be especially careful here. One false step could kick off a larger wave of selling that pushes us back to 2,000 support.

I don’t expect Japan to be any more of a problem than Chinese slowing or plunging energy prices, meaning this shall pass too. But between now and then we could experience a fairly dramatic dip. While it will feel terrifying, this is just the market’s normal two-steps forward, one-step back. Just when everyone is predicting the end of the world, we will bounce and resume our march to all-time highs.

The most nimble traders can move to cash or even short the market Friday if we continue trading weak. Most likely this won’t be a major selloff, but dipping another 70-points to support creates a great swing-trading opportunity. If prices stabilize and we finish strong Friday, then this is little more than indigestion and we should cover our shorts and position ourselves for a run to all-time highs above 2,130. For those with a longer-term horizon, ignore this noise. We will stumble and everyone will claim the sky is falling, but this is a great opportunity to buy your favorite stocks at a discount.

Jani

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 Posted by at 9:48 pm on April 28, 2016

Jumping on thin ice.

 Intraday Analysis  Comments Off on Jumping on thin ice.
Apr 122016
 

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 9.33.12 PMEnd of Day Update:

On Tuesday the S&P500 rebounded decisively from Monday’s selloff and is again challenging 2,060 resistance. This was a welcome relief since five of the last seven-trading sessions ended near the bottom of the day’s trading range.

While the popular market truism is “it’s not how you start, but how you finish”, Tuesday’s rebound went against this popular convention. While it would be easy to feel bearish about the recent price-action, when taken in context, it is highly noteworthy that these five-attempted breakdowns failed to build momentum. It’s like jumping on a frozen pond. Never a good idea, but the risk of falling through the ice drops dramatically after the first few jumps. If you haven’t fallen in by the fifth jump, then chances are pretty good the ice beneath your feet is solid and more than enough to hold your weight. The same can be said about the stock market holding up after probing 2,040 support the last several days. If we were going to crash, it would have happened by now.

Even though I’ve been cautious the last couple of weeks because of how far we’ve come since the February lows, the market is proving incredibly resilient. This choppiness has chased off many of the weak owners and the remaining ownership base is stronger as a result. Since we haven’t fallen through the ice yet, that means the higher probability trade is sticking with the uptrend for the near-term.

While the next move is most likely higher, it is still open for debate how we get there. 2,060 has been acting as clear resistance the last couple of weeks. We could simply break through this level Wednesday and not look back. The other possibility is Wednesday we retreat back into the 2,040/2,060 trading range and retest the lower end of the range. The ideal buy-point is falling under 2,040 support but rebounding when confident owners keep supply tight.

Jani

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 Posted by at 9:38 pm on April 12, 2016

As Expected

 Intraday Analysis  Comments Off on As Expected
Mar 082016
 

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 10.27.40 PMEnd of Day Update:

The S&P500 slipped 1% Tuesday, ending a streak of five-consecutive up days. Volume was average, but less than the elevated levels seen during the breakout above the 50dma. Oil gave up a big chunk of its Monday gains and was an excuse for equity traders to take profits following this nearly 200-point rebound from February’s lows.

It comes as no surprise the market’s gains slowed down after such a strong run. Big money managers hate chasing large jumps in price. Experience taught them these things inevitably cool off and they can get in at better prices if they are patient. In a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, big money’s reluctance to buy leads to a vacuum of demand and causes the very pull-back they are waiting for. Just like big money, we should also resist the temptation to chase. This is a far better place to be taking profits than adding new positions. If someone missed the move, chalk it up to a learning experience and wait patiently for the next trading opportunity. Better to miss the bus than get hit by it.

Last Thursday I told readers to watch for a rally that breaks 2,000 and then fizzles. So far that’s been exactly what happened. Friday’s strong employment pushed us through 2,000 resistance, but not long after demand dried up and we slipped from those midday highs. When the market fails to rally on good news, look out below. And if we needed confirmation, we got it Monday when oil popped 5% yet the S&P500 finished the day flat. Only a few weeks ago a move in oil like that would have lit a fire under equities. The lack of movement Monday tells us bulls are tapped out.

While one day of weakness doesn’t automatically make this the start of a bigger pullback, we will know real soon if it is. Selloffs develop quickly and if we are consolidating recent gains, expect a dip to at least the 50dma to develop over coming days. On the other hand, if prices firm up instead, expect the rebound to continue to at least the 200dma. If someone shorted a break of 2,000, the trade is working and you should continue holding until at least 1,950. But now that the weakness started, move your trailing stop down to 2,000 because if this is the real deal we shouldn’t retest that level.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:28 pm on March 8, 2016
Feb 162016
 
S&P500 Daily

S&P500 Daily

End of Day Update:

Tuesday the S&P500 continued its rebound from last Thursday’s lows and is now just shy of 1,900 resistance. Not a bad turn of events given how awful things looked last week. This strength came on the coattails of a bounce in oil prices due to a rumored OPEC meeting and prospective supply cuts. The meeting happened, but they only agreed to cap production levels, not cut supply as hoped. Failing to live up to expectations sent oil prices tumbling Tuesday, but amazingly enough, the S&P500 closed at the day’s highs despite oil’s reversal. This is highly noteworthy because it was one of the few days this year where oil finished at the lows but stocks managed to close at the highs. Are stocks finally breaking this unhealthy correlation to oil prices? One datapoint doesn’t create a trend, but it is certainly a good start.

In last Thursday’s free blog post I caught flack from hecklers for suggesting that was the wrong time to sell defensively. Luckily for me hecklers are the most bold just before a reversal. While I am in no way suggesting we are out of the woods, a person who resisted the urge to bail out last week was rewarded with a nearly 100-point rebound from the lows. If a person wanted to sell defensively, today was a far better opportunity to do it than at any point last week. Everyone knows markets move in waves, unfortunately most forget that in the heat of the moment.

While I wrote about a rebound to 1,900 last week, I sure didn’t expect it to happen over two-days. But that is the way the market works. Either it takes so long to make a move that it convinces us we are wrong before proving us right. Or it does it so quickly we barely have time to register what happened. Clearly this bounce off of Thursday’s lows falls into the latter camp.

It is nice to talk about what happened, but what everyone wants to know is what comes next. For those that cannot handle this volatility, selling proactively near 1,900 makes a lot more sense than reactively selling near 1,800 and isn’t a bad decision for anyone needing a timeout from this chaos. A few weeks ago I wrote about us falling into an 1,800 to 1,940 trading range and I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest this has changed. Even though we might continue higher in the near-term, this rebound will likely fizzle and almost without a doubt there will be another opportunity to get in near 1,900 in the future. Sideways markets are the worst for longer-term owners because they hold the risk of a larger decline but are not getting paid for it with an appreciating stock price. This isn’t a problem for the resolute buy-and-hold owner, but those with less conviction are at a greater risk of reacting poorly to the choppiness inside a trading range.

Those of us that have a little larger appetite for risk, Tuesday’s price action was encouraging. As I already mentioned, it was a significant development when oil finished at the day’s lows and equities at the highs. Historically oil prices and the broad equity market have a very weak correlation and at some point this unhealthy relationship will end. Could this be the start of that? While OPEC didn’t give us what many were hoping for, production caps are a good start. Much of the fear fueling this plunge in oil prices was producers ramping up volumes to offset their declining incomes. A break from this runaway ramp in supply is a good start. If oil stabilizes around $30, while not a healthy number, at least equities can price it in and move on. As I shared in a previous post, we have fallen far enough that we shouldn’t plan for a v-bottom and instead expect this sideways choppiness to persist through at least the end of the quarter. But for the nimble swing-trader this presents a trading opportunity. Buy weakness and sell strength until something new comes along.

Jani

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 Posted by at 10:46 pm on February 16, 2016