After opening slightly higher, the major indices drifted in a narrow, sideways range throughout the session. The S&P 500 advanced 0.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite 0.4%. The small-cap Russell 2000 and S&P Midcap 400 indices gained 0.4% and 0.7% respectively. Intraday volatility was quite low for a change, as traders and investors remained largely on the sidelines ahead of today’s Fed decision on interest rates. The main stock market indexes closed in the upper twenty percent of their tight trading ranges.
Total volume in the NYSE crept 4% higher, while volume in the Nasdaq increased 6% above the previous day’s level. Technically, both the NYSE and Nasdaq scored “accumulation days,” but price action was not very indicative of institutional accumulation. Further, trading in both exchanges was barely on par with 50-day average levels. Advancing volume in the NYSE exceeded declining volume by 2 to 1. The Nasdaq ratio was positive by just 3 to 2.
Going into today, most of the major indices are poised to test resistance of last week’s highs. This is the scenario we expected to occur after last Friday’s pullback shook out some of the bulls. With “higher lows” now established in the near-term trends of the S&P, Nasdaq, and Dow, the real test will be whether or not “higher highs” will also be formed. This is annotated on the daily chart of the Dow below:
One probable scenario is that stocks at least break out above last week’s highs, drawing in bulls who might anticipate the worst is over, but savvy institutional players may sell into strength of the move. Resistance of the 20-day exponential moving averages on the main stock market indexes should also be rather difficult to overcome as well. As such, the major indices are now at the levels where we’ll begin considering re-entries on the short side on the first sign of real weakness. The caveat, however, is that stocks could whip violently in either direction as a reaction to today’s Fed decision on interest rates.
As with all meetings of the Federal Reserve Board, we would normally warn you to expect wild volatility after the 2:15 pm announcement. But then again, we’ve become rather accustomed to monstrous trading ranges anyway, without the help of Fed meetings. Remember that the actual economic policy announced by the Fed today does not matter. Rather, the only thing we care about is the stock market’s reaction to the news. The initial knee-jerk reaction to the announcement rarely sticks, as the real reaction is generally not seen until several days later. We suggest avoiding new trade entries today, instead giving the market a chance to reel around and digest whatever Ben and the boys have to say.
There are no new setups in the pre-market today. We plan to avoid new trade entries ahead of today’s FOMC announcement on interest rates.
Daily Performance Report:
Below is an overview of all open positions, as well as a performance report on all positions that were closed only since the previous day’s newsletter. Net P/L figures are based on the $50,000 Wagner Daily model account size. Changes to open positions since the previous report are listed in red text below:
Open positions (coming into today):
XHB long (350 shares from January 28 entry) – bought 19.08, stop 20.31, target 25.60, unrealized points = + 2.42, unrealized P/L = + $847
Closed positions (since last report):
Current equity exposure ($100,000 max. buying power):
We raised the stop on XHB to just below yesterday’s low. In case the market’s reaction to the Fed action is negative, we want to at least lock in a decent gain on this position. Conservative traders may want to use an even tighter stop.
Edited by Deron Wagner,
MTG Founder and