After languishing in “neutral” mode since late September, our proprietary market timing system triggered a fresh “sell” signal to equity swing traders on October 10.
Accordingly, we immediately closed out existing long positions and are no longer to stalking the buy side of the stock market for new trade entries.
Moreover, last week’s rule-based shift to “sell” mode, the first in more than six months, means we are now free to begin looking for potential short selling opportunities as well (here is a basic primer on short selling).
While the long-term “buy and hold” investors thrive on strong uptrends in the market, a huge benefit of momentum trend trading when the going gets rough is the ability to profit on both sides of the market (long and short).
Keep on reading to understand why the long side of the market has now become quite risky, as well as to learn a specific chart pattern that will help you find the best stocks to sell short in a weak market (I will even show you a stock that may be actionable for short entry in the coming weeks).
No Support In Times Of Need
In our daily live trading room (included with The Wagner Daily service), we have recently been explaining to subscribers how quickly key technical support levels can become useless when broad market conditions turn ugly.
When a clear market uptrend is in place and market volatility is smooth and steady, a pullback to the 50-day or 200-day moving averages typically presents a low-risk buy entry point in a strong stock.
However, that play goes out the window when the market cracks and volatility picks up.
A great example of just how ineffective major moving averages when the bulls rush to the exit door can be seen on the daily chart of Charles Schwab ($SCHW) below.
Notice how the price crashed through the 200-day moving average, which is typically a “line in the sand” as a long-term indicator of trend:
Since roughly 80% of stocks follow the dominant trend of the main stock market indexes, it is a foolish move to search for a diamond in the rough (that’s why our timing model exists).
Now that the market has convincingly cracked, US equities could be in trouble for quite some time (but remember that anything can happen in a free market environment).
Consolidation – Why It Can Be Bullish OR Bearish
In uptrending markets, the Morpheus trading system focuses on buying stocks as they break out above bases of consolidation near the highs.
The longer and tighter the price action of a bullish base, the more powerful the upside breakout tends to be.
But even on the short side of the market, we also seek chart patterns that exhibit tight periods of consolidation, albeit only those that form near the lows of a recent decline.
One such bearish pattern forms when a stock suffers a nasty plunge from all-time highs, such as a quick drop of 30%-50% on heavy volume, then consolidates near those lows for 4 to 6 weeks.
When a stock undergoes this type of price action in a weak market, particularly if the stock was a former leader, it often presents a rather profitable opportunity for our subscribers who are prepared to bring home the dosh in both uptrending and downtrending markets.
A great example of the type of breakdown we look for is shown on the weekly chart below:
On the chart above, notice the pattern we are looking for is an ugly selloff, followed by at least a few weeks of price consolidation that stalls at or just above the 40-week moving average (similar to the 200-day moving average on the daily chart).
Not every short selling setup will be as explosive to the downside as $CROX was on the initial drop, but the idea is that the stock should have clearly and convincingly sliced through both its 10-week and 40-week moving averages before finding support.
In the process of doing so, the 40-week moving average subsequently transforms from a paramount support level to a major area of overhead resistance that is tough to push through (especially when the 10-week moving average begins to roll over as well).
Drive This Short Home
Avis Budget Group ($CAR) is an excellent, current example of a stock that has recently suffered a massive breakdown on high volume, and may be in play for potential short entry sometime next month:
After enjoying a 600% run-up since the lows of 2012, $CAR has recently nosedived more than 30% off its highs, while slicing through its 10-week and 40-week moving averages as well.
This stock may be a slower mover than $CROX, but the spirit of the chart pattern is still there.
Although it is still very early in the pattern, $CAR will be in a major jam if it can’t get back above 40-week moving average after several weeks of chop.
If that scenario plays out, we will be looking at a possible short sale entry into $CAR, with the expectation of an eventual move back down to the $30-$34 area.
Cash – Still King
If you are nervous about the short side of the market because you are new to trading, that’s completely understandable.
But even if you avoid the short side of the market for whatever reason right now, don’t forget that cash is always a valid position that enables you to cling to your hard-earned profits when conditions deteriorate.
Now that leading stocks have begun breaking down en masse and our timing model has officially shifted to a “sell” signal, there is simply no reason to be long right now; the risk of being long clearly outweighs any potential reward.
What do you think? Do you agree?
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