Friday, December 2, 2011

Despite the way the media is celebrating a nearly 7.5% jump in the S&P 500, it wasn't as easy as it looked. Long-term buy-and-holders are back to where they were two weeks ago, which is a relief after major ugliness, but traders had major obstacles as they tried to keep pace this week.

This is the first time in a long time, maybe ever, we experienced a market with three big overnight gaps in one week, each of which followed by flat to down action all day. The entire upside move came outside market hours. If you are a strict daytrader who carried nothing overnight, you missed the entire move and had virtually no chance of keeping pace with the indices.

The most bullish thing about this action is that it creates a huge amount of underperformance anxiety. So many folks missed out on this move and so many are looking for some relative performance into the end of the year that there is likely to be a high level of dip-buying interest.

The biggest negative is that there is still plenty of headline risk. All the news flow out of Europe is just hopes and dreams. Nothing has actually been implemented yet. The risk that things may not go as smoothly as hoped is very high. On the other hand, any time we have a glitch, we have a slew of new solutions to bring in buyers. While you'd have to be VERY gullible to believe that things have really improved in Europe, it was just plain dumb to fight the positive reaction to the news.