December 21, 2016
By Mish Schneider
In 1996, Elmo starred in a 60-minute television special called Elmo Saves Christmas. Known for his references to himself in the 3rd person, Elmo wants Christmas every day.
However, Elmo discovers that his wish for Christmas to happen every day brings consequences. Sesame Street is all messed up with too much snow and leftover gift wrapping. The carolers are hoarse from too much singing and pine trees make the endangered species list.
Investors have wished for the Dow to trade at 20,000 for nearly every day now since the election.
But like Elmo, are investors missing any unforeseen consequences that would make them regret that wish?
No surprise volume would continue to look anemic given the time of year. No doubt that the lackluster volume also yields tiny trading ranges.
That begs the question, with the Dow and the rest of the indices so close to making new highs, do we load up even more knowing we must wait until January 3rd for volume and price confirmation to return?
Let’s go back one year ago. In November 2015, the buzz about the Dow clearing 18,000 before yearend resonated similarly to the buzz over 20,000.
Once December 2015 hit, the Fed raised rates by ¼%. The Dow exactly one year ago from today, recovered some initial losses on that news and then rallied until December 29th.
This year, the Fed did the December raise-by-1/4%-thing again. The Dow barely budged. A big difference though between 2015 and 2016? Risk.
In 2015, early warning signs told savvy investors not to load up long. Why? Although the SPY, QQQs and DIA were in bullish phases, the Russell 2000 remained stubbornly in a warning phase.
Therefore, had investors seen the Grand Poopah Russell 2000 struggling, they would have chosen to wait until January before committing. That actually made risk transparent.
This year, risk is not so easily defined. The Russell 2000 sits near all-time highs. So back to my question, do you buy here considering the remote chance a repeat of 2015-2016 happens? If so, what is the risk?
If you like buying against inflection points, that’s the conundrum. Support levels at inflection points (moving averages, reversal lows, significant chart patterns) are far, far away. That makes risk obscene.
When IWM traded up to 138.82 on December 9th, it touched the top of an ascending channel. That should be considered major resistance until that point clears.
So, a disproportionate risk/reward while most investors are done trading for the year makes Wall Street seem more like Sesame Street. Sure, a great idea to wish for Christmas every day, but in the end, unforeseen consequences might make us regret that wish.
At the finale, Elmo realizes that although Christmas cannot be every day, it’s always good to keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart.
Keep the faith investors. January and hopefully much clearer risk/reward parameters, are just around the corner.
S&P 500 (SPY) Under 224.50 trouble and over 227 better
Russell 2000 (IWM) Inside day. 134-134.50 pivotal support to watch. Back over 138 better
Dow (DIA) Inside day 200 to clear 198 to hold.
Nasdaq (QQQ) 119.65 pivotal area
KRE (Regional Banks) Has to hold over 56.00 or expect lower levels with 54 then 52 support.
SMH (Semiconductors) 71.50 support to hold if this is good. Over 72.50 better
IYT (Transportation) A huge correction would bring this down to 154. If recaptures/closes 168 never mind.
IBB (Biotechnology) Unless this clears 275, could see move to 240
XRT (Retail) A break of 45.50 would be where the real fun begins. Over 47 better
IYR (Real Estate) Broke 75.80-not such a good sign
GLD (Gold Trust) Probably going lower
SLV (Silver) Now this had an interesting reversal pattern. After nearly matching April’s low, it rallied on better than average volume and closed on the highs. Today, though it could not confirm into anything. Must hold 14.85
USO (US Oil Fund) 11.73 to clear and 11.40 to hold
TLT (iShares 20+ Year Treasuries) 116.35 very big support on a monthly chart. 118.50 resistance
UUP (Dollar Bull) Runaway gap if holds over 26.50