The S&P 500 bought a one-way ticket south. After setting a new all-time high, it quickly reversed, plunging through the 50-day and 200-day moving averages. A quick 9.8% loss over 18 trading sessions:
But wait. That was not last week. That was less than a year ago, in October 2014. The index of large-cap U.S. equities quickly rebounded, rising almost 14% over the next month:
Here is current picture:
The S&P 500 has staged a nearly identical drop over the past 24 sessions, but it has pulled back only 6.3%.
The October 9.8% drop just about met the definition of a ‘correction' (a 10% to 20% drop).
The current pullback doesn't even meet the definition of a correction, yet a large number of financial articles and analyst have appeared with very provocative headlines, suggesting financial Armageddon, or at least a bear market, is upon us.
True, this could be only the start of a bear market. While we may have temporary rebounds as bargain-seekers jump in, the markets could be just warming up on the downside, ala early-2008.
Normally, at this time of year, I take the other side. Around the first of September I usually write an article to counteract the inevitable articles about how bad Septembers and/or Octobers have historically been for investors (their way of analysis doesn't apply to my approach to short-term trading).
For example, look at this track record of the S&P 500 from around September 1st through the end of the month. I'm using a 5-week track record that this year starts one day before September 1st and ends a few days after September 30th.
Everyone points out that September is the poorest performing month. But a look above shows that the index has averaged only a 0.3% loss over the five week span encompassing the month of September. What's more, there was only one more losing year than gaining year over the past 35 years. So in general, it is not a month to fear. Instead, active traders might want to adopt a more conservative approach, or be more balanced on both sides of the field (longs and shorts), but one needn't sit out the market.
Time for the ‘but'. But, this year the markets could have a problem. In my article What Might September Bring?, I point out an approximately 7 year cycle where the markets seem to have a major September selloff, and the last one was 7 years ago. Many well-known cycle theorists document various other cycle periods. But you should note that many of those other longer and shorter term cycles happen to be lining up to bottom in the next couple of months.
How does one trade that? Smaller positions and some short stock/bearish ETF and option positions should balance long stock/bullish ETF and option positions.
There is no guarantee there will be any further selloff. But it won't hurt to sleep with one eye open. After that, as we get into the end of October, strong seasonal patterns will probably produce good gains in most stocks. However, Q1 earnings season has to produce notable improvement in corporate earnings for the likely fall gains in stocks to hold.
Of course, there's much more you need to know and many more stocks you can capitalize upon each and every day. To find out more, please click on the following link: www.markettamer.com/seasonal
Copyright (C) 2015 Stock & Options Training LLC
Unless indicated otherwise, at the time of this writing, the author has no positions in any of the above-mentioned securities.
Gregg Harris is the Chief Technical Strategist at MarketTamer.com.
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