Top Line: Stocks are moving ahead but the pace of the advance is labored at best. There are so many reasons for the market to stall and turn down, at least for a small correction.
The trading over the past few days has included the effects of options' expiration coming up Friday, the 18th. As we move into next week, a more normal trading pattern should emerge. That's not to say that the market will be easier to figure out, just that the multiple personality of the market will be reduced by one.
Let's take a look at the usual suspects, starting with GDX. Trading in GDX has become wild with huge volume and big moves, up, that is. We have seen this stock jump over the past couple of weeks from 38 to 48, a pretty healthy move. The move in GDX is not surprising because the broad market has gone up and GDX has been leading it for about a year now. The move in GDX gives you some idea how this stock can move if it wants to. We still expect a modest pullback in gold itself and GDX. Depending on how deep these corrections are, we will be buyers.
The volatility indexes have not done much of anything for the last week and have only modestly moved even as the indexes have run up 10% over the last couple of weeks. We don't believe the options' players are reading this correctly because the VXX has been dropping with the advance in the stock market. VXX is basically a volatility futures proxy while the volatility indexes we follow, VIX and VXO, are based on the options values.
Our constant companion, TLT, has stayed strong over the past several weeks, too, even though the market has gone straight up. Some have suggested that, at least on the front end of the curve, you know, the one to three month rates, with the expiration of some of the Fed programs, investors want to stay in the safety of Treasuries.
We see the dollar has also dropped to a significant low amid much dollar bashing in the media. This is indicative of a near term low being put into place.
The higher prices go, the more dangerous it becomes to be long stocks. We can't say that we have played this right at all over the past couple of months but the market is starting to become very overbought. The prices in some of these stocks have moved plenty far. Confidence is briming and very little fear remains. This fact alone is enough to drive a market in the other direction.
Confidence and the stock market should not be present in the same sentence. Every trade is a way to lose money and fear is a very good thing to have when your hard earned cash is on the table so to speak. Of course, we like to take advantage of good prices both on the entry point and the exit point but patience has never been a strong suite for us.
We are "confident" that we will be wrong in the future but we also think the market will have some struggles as we move into 2010 and beyond, with a possible low sometime in late 2011 or 2012. So, even though we think that the market will pull back here, we are much more likely to see it go down hard during the next two years. The market is doing much as we have said it would do...and didn't pay attention to our own words. Now, we think prices are just Too High to own them.
On Thursday the market did manage to reverse lower after a little bit of a run early on, which took the market to new highs for the move. The final couple of hours did manage to cut those losses but the market closed off its highs for the day, something new for a change.