Thursday, January 12, 2012

The two strategies that have worked so far this year are to sell opening strength and to buy the early dip. We were able to do both today. Higher-than-expected unemployment and weak retail sales numbers gave the bears a little ammunition, but it didn't last long against tenacious dip-buyers that jumped in as soon as we tested the prior-day lows. We were able to work steadily higher the rest of the day and even managed to close around where we started.

Once again, there was impressive dip-buying, but it didn't result in any big point gains. The action tends to feel better than it really is when we have moves like this because the intraday recovery to breakeven is substantial.

Even with relatively minor point gains, breadth was solid with about 3350 gainers to 2100 decliners. Unlike yesterday, we didn't have clear pockets of momentum. The movement was much more random, but there was plenty of good trading. Individual stock-picking mattered, and that is always refreshing.

Next week the focus turns to earnings. High expectations are dangerous here, but if you consider that the indices are at multi-month highs, that seems to be exactly what we have.