A bearish reaction to the latest, highly anticipated economic stimulus/bank rescue plan sparked a sharp sell-off that caused the major indices to plunge more than 4% yesterday. Though the stimulus plan was largely as expected, a lack of details surrounding a few key points did not sit well with traders. The Nasdaq Composite lost 4.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 4.6%, and the S&P 500 4.9%. The small-cap Russell 2000 and S&P Midcap 400 indices tumbled 4.7% and 4.75% respectively. All the main stock market indexes closed near their worst levels of the day.
Total volume in the NYSE raced 40% above the previous day’s level, while volume in the Nasdaq ticked 31% higher. Trading was also well above average levels, as NYSE volume surged to its highest level this year. The stock market’s damaging losses on substantially higher turnover caused both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite to suffer a bearish “distribution day.” Ugly market internals also accompanied yesterday’s nosedive. In the NYSE, declining volume destroyed advancing volume by a margin of more than 30 to 1. The Nasdaq adv/dec volume ratio was negative by approximately 14 to 1. This tells us the selling was extremely broad-based, not just focused on the financial sector. Despite last week’s encouraging sessions of higher volume gains, yesterday’s fast-paced selling and overly bearish internals calls the current rally into doubt.
Yesterday’s stumble caused the Nasdaq Composite to dip back below its 50-day moving average, while causing the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average to revert back to the area of its January lows. The good news, however, is that the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are still holding support of their multi-month uptrend lines, and the Dow is still (barely) holding its recent lows. Below is an annotated snapshot of each of index:
When the market makes a big one-day move, it’s easy for emotions to take over, causing one to lose perspective of the prevailing technical patterns. Yesterday’s action indeed put a dagger in the short-term bullishness that was developing; yet, the charts above illustrate that the intermediate-term patterns have not changed. Until the support levels shown above are broken, the broad market remains in a choppy, sideways range.
On common “Fed days,” when the Federal Reserve Board announces changes to economic policy and interest rates at 2:15 pm ET, a strong stock market reaction, in either direction, usually follows in the final ninety minutes of trading. However, this initial “knee-jerk” reaction is often contrary to the real reaction that follows one to three days later. Because of this, we typically avoid basing major trading decisions on the stock market’s immediate reaction to Fed days, preferring instead to see the true trend that subsequently develops a few days later.
Though it wasn’t a typical “Fed day,” the anticipation leading up to yesterday’s announcement means could easily find the initial “knee-jerk” reaction to the stimulus plan to be a false indicator as to the market’s real reaction that will follow in the days to come. There’s also the strong possibility additional news and details surrounding the plan will come to light. Obviously, there is no guarantee stocks will rally in the near-term, but prudent traders should consider taking a “wait and see” approach, rather than immediately closing all long positions and jumping back on the short side of the market. Considering the S&P and Nasdaq are still holding support of their intermediate-term uptrend lines, and the Dow is still clinging to its January lows, the intermediate-term trends of the broad market technically remain “up.” If those trendlines are violated, we will start looking at the short side of the market again. Patience pays.
There are no new setups in the pre-market today. We’ll just focus on managing our five open positions for maximum profitability, waiting to see the market’s “real” reaction to yesterday’s news.
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. Please review the Wagner Daily Subscriber Guide for important, automatic rules on trigger and stop prices.
Open positions (coming into today):
- No changes to open positions at this time.
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DGP long (450 shares total — 350 from Jan. 15 entry, 100 from Jan. 23 entry) –
bought 16.20 (avg.), stop 16.45, target 21.70, unrealized points = + 3.55, unrealized P/L = + $1,598
GDX long (150 shares from Dec. 26 entry) –
bought 31.40, stop 29.28, no target (will trail stop), unrealized points = + 2.60, unrealized P/L = + $390
IBB long (150 shares from Feb. 3 entry) –
bought 72.12, stop 68.52, target 78.80, unrealized points = + 0.14, unrealized P/L = + $21
UGA long (200 shares total — 100 from Jan. 29 entry, 100 from Jan. 30 entry) –
bought 23.42 (avg.), stop 21.48, target 30.45, unrealized points = (0.20), unrealized P/L = ($40)
INP long (200 shares from Feb. 9 entry) –
bought 31.30, stop 28.18, no target (will trail stop), unrealized points = (1.30), unrealized P/L = ($260)
Closed positions (since last report):
Current equity exposure ($100,000 max. buying power):
Edited by Deron Wagner,
MTG Founder and