Daily Commentary: February 20, 2024

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3 Market Scenarios – Wait and Watch

Posted by Pete Stolcers on February 20

One of these scenarios is going to play out. They are all bullish, but in varying degrees. They will tell us how to game plan for March.

PRE-OPEN MARKET COMMENTS TUESDAY – The market needs time to digest recent gains and this is a good time to keep swing trades to a minimum. One of three scenarios is likely to play out in the next two weeks and the outcome will determine our game plan.

Scenario 1 – The market compresses above SPY $490 for another week and we breakout to a new all-time high. This is a sign that buyers are still aggressive and that the market still has plenty of upside. On that breakout we can prepare for another leg higher.

Scenario 2 – The market falls below $490 briefly and it rebounds forming a bullish flag. This would be a brief and shallow dip and it would also indicate strong buying pressure. It is bullish, but not to the extent of Scenario 1. We have to confirm support and that could come in the form of a number of touches at $490 and a grind higher, or a long green engulfing candle.

Scenario 3 – The SPY pulls back to $480 during the next few weeks. This would suggest that the market will need time to digest these gains and we could be trapped in a horizontal trading range between $480 and the all-time high for a month or more. This would be a sign that profit taking is fairly strong and that buyers are not nearly as aggressive as they have been. We would shift to a more neutral stance if we see this.

The news is light this week. NVDA earnings (Wed) and the FOMC Minutes (Wed) are the highlights.

Domestic economic growth is solid, but inflation is running hot. The Fed will not ease until July at earliest. We want economic growth to stay strong. Any market dip due to strong economic growth will be temporary (“good news is bad news”). Any market rally due to weak economic growth will be temporary (“bad news is good news”). Elevated interest rates with strong economic growth and moderate inflation is “market friendly”. If economic growth falters, investors will worry that a recession is coming and that the Fed waited too long to cut.

Global economic growth is weak. In short, China’s growth is slowing rapidly and the PBOC cut rates. EU growth is flat and Japan is in a recession. These are the largest economies in the world.

Stock valuations are high from a historical perspective. The US market rally has been highly concentrated and that is not healthy.

The headwinds are strong and it is prudent for us to see which scenario plays out. We don’t pick market tops, we wait for price confirmation and then we act accordingly. Any market top would features stacked long red candles. A bounce that fails to get back to the all-time high would indicate strong selling pressure and a double top lower high would form. That would be a bearish pattern and we have not seen anything close to it. Red candles have been immediately erased and the dips have been shallow. If you swing short based off of negative headlines or your “gut feeling” you are going to lose money.        

Down opens are our best scenario. Wait patiently for support and buy. This gives us a chance to identify relative strength and we are joining the up trend at a great price. If you followed this advice Friday, you did well. You had a nice opportunity early in the day. As I mentioned in the video I recorded last night, there were warning signs an you needed to take gains. There was selling pressure late in the day Friday and we are seeing follow thru this morning.  

Support is at the low from Friday and SPY $495. Resistance is at the all-time high.

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