Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dips Aren't Being Bought (Yet?)

IBM's strength helped cover up a fair amount of the weakness but, beneath the surface, there was plenty of poor, low-volume action, particularly in oil, chips and technology. Though retailers and banks managed a little upside, there weren't any notable pockets of momentum to attract aggressive traders.

Without better leadership, stocks will just flop around. There's also a risk that stocks could quickly pull back due to disinterest rather than aggressive selling. The problem for the bears is that any quick dip in oil prices has the potential to bring in buyers. This would send the shorts scurrying for cover. (And who can forget the endless short squeezes we had for so long?)

The fact that the pullback today in the USO did little to bring in buyers is troubling for the bulls. The losses in the indices were mild overall, but the buyers are not showing the sort of interest you'd expect to see if they really thought oil was ready to top out. In addition, we definitely are not seeing the sort of dip-buying that propelled the market for so long. The shorts are still a bit skittish, but there is growing concern that the character of the market is undergoing a substantial change.

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