Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The S&P 500 has lost more than 3% this week, but what's most troubling to many traders isn't the point loss but the weak bounce attempts. The news flow has been rotten, and perhaps expectations of a year-end rally are too hopeful. But there should be more interest in dip-buying -- especially when we are down as much as we are and the year's end quickly approaches.

Unfortunately, the buyers are barely trying, and when they do manage to produce upticks, they fizzle in minutes. There just isn't much love for this market, and the negativity increased today as gold and commodity names were slammed. We couldn't even manage any upside in the final hour. Of course, today is Wednesday, and it's options expiration week, so that means (usually) a down day. From a contrarian standpoint, this gloomy action is a positive as it means many folks have dumped stocks and aren't well-positioned for a rally.

For contrarian thinking to work, however, we need upside action that causes folks leaning bearish to reassess their positions. If we gain upside traction, then all those underinvested bulls and overly aggressive bears will suddenly find themselves out of position and they will rush to buy. If enough of them are caught by surprise, or if they are worried they will miss out, we can see a pretty strong contrary move.

If we ever make the turn, there is a very good chance we can run a bit, according to the technical folks.