Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Whipsaw Market

If you just look at the close, it doesn't look like much happened today, but we suffered some major mood swings and did a great job of whipsawing traders. We started the day with a very strong open, following upbeat action overseas, but the sellers hit it hard, and we went from about four-to-one positive breadth to two-to-one negative in a matter of a few hours.

Just when it looked like we were ready to really panic, we found some support and went straight back up until we were slightly positive. That, of course, set us up for another flurry of selling to end the day.

We ended well off the lows, but had some fairly small losses for the third day in a row. Technically, that doesn't look bad on the daily charts, but the aggressive selling of the gap up and weakness in technology and semiconductors are a bit of a concern. This is a market that can be easily spooked on the one hand, but where there is enough complacency that the dip buyers can be quite aggressive on the other. That makes for some choppy action, like we had today.

We have plenty more earnings reports hitting tonight, which is giving us some big moves in individual stocks, but this is a difficult market to trade. It is easy to have stops hit if they are too tight, and we continue to have plenty of selling of good news. I'm seeing some big dips on earnings after the close from the likes of THOR, CSTR, CAVM, WYNN and APKT. If the tendency of earnings season holds, some of these will come back, but it has been a very tricky earnings season this quarter, which has added to the challenges we already faced.

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