Thursday, May 14, 2020

Morning Note: What It's Not Okay Not Knowing

While Tuesday checked every bear market session box save for volume, yesterday was a clean sweep: The major averages sold off notably, with S&P 500 total volume 17% above the 20-day average and NYSE up/down volume finishing the day at 728/6477. The S&P 500 saw 52 of its members rise in price, while 451 declined. The Nasdaq’s advance/decline mix was 479/2164. The rest of the internals we track told the same story.

So, are we exiting the hope phase and settling into the real-economy phase of the current bear market? Well, I honestly don’t know. And, frankly, I’m totally okay with not knowing.

What I’m not okay with not knowing, however, is the risk/reward setup. You see, anything’s possible -- especially in the short-term -- with markets. That should be abundantly clear to anyone with an economic sense, as the stock market -- as we enter the worst recession in nearly a century -- retraced, so far, 62% of its speedy 35% decline off of recent all time highs. That said, if, again, the current bear market is to follow history’s script -- if indeed we’re to soon test those March lows (??) -- the “retracement rally” (that may or may not have yet run its course) should have come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone who’s lived through (and embraced) and/or studied past bear markets.

Stocks are attempting a threepeat daily selloff, although they're coming off the lows a bit as I type. Make no mistake, even if we are now embarking on the next leg lower, along the way the market will be met with some aggressive buying, and, therefore, impressive intraday (and all-day/week/month/months) rallies as (along with occasional spike on the market-pumping headline) technically-inclined bullish traders rush in to battle the bears at previously-established support/resistance lines. Those market "internal" statistics I often reference give us a sense as to which side has the most conviction.

All the while we’ll be looking way beyond the noisiness of stock prices as we maintain laser-sharp focus on the risk/reward setup.

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