On Wednesday, I felt really stupid. I don’t believe in this rally. I still think we’re due for the bear to come roaring back. And I think the bottom in this market is still somewhere ahead.
But on Wednesday April 29, I felt completely WRONG. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 2.6%. Technology stocks like Cirrus Logic (CRUS) and Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), both of which I had sold in preparation for a bear market, were up 6.33% and 5.51% on the day. Disney, which I’ve shorted via a Put Option with a strike price of $100 gained 5.69% to $112.25. SolarEdge (SEDG), which I also sold was up 11.5%. First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF), which I’ve held off buying as I wait for that bottom, gained 8.23%.
And then came Friday, May 1, and–at least was of 3 p.m. New York time today–I felt smart again. The S&P 500 was down 2.82%. Cirrus Logic gave back 6.9% and Skyworks 4.77%. Disney slid 2.86% to $105.05. SolarEdge dropped 5.28%. First Quantum Minerals lost 3.68%.
I’m neither as stupid as Wednesday made me feel nor as smart as Friday suggested.
This is what a volatile market–unsure of its own direction and driven by rumors (and occasionally news)–feels like. If you want to attribute volition to the stock market, then you’d have to conclude that like a bucking bull it is determined to shake you off with a twist and a turn and a plunge and then step on your hopes.
I think approaching the current market with a dose of humility is a good idea. If you’re bearish, admit that your call is based on imperfect information and that, consequently, you shouldn’t bet your last dollar on a downturn.
If you’re bullish, admit that the market direction depends on uncertain economic and public health data and don’t chase your enthusiasm.
Personally, I think the trend will turn down sometime in late May to mid-June as the current enthusiasm for re-opening the economy starts to produce another spike in coronavirus infections. But I’m not certain of this. I’ve got my Put options on but I’m also willing to buy when I see an opportunity, as with yesterday’s purchase of Coca-Cola (KO) for the Dividend Portfolio.
Most of all, though, I’m trying not to let my emotions get me into trouble. Remember that there’s nothing wrong in the short term with doing nothing. As Wednesday and Friday’s gains and losses indicate, in this market the net gain or loss on daily big moves is quite likely to be nothing at all.
The rest of today’s numbers as of 3 p.m. New York time.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 2.49%. The NASDAQ Composite was lower by 3.08%. And the Russell 2000 small cap index was down 4.55%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (ETF) was off 3.64%. The iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) was lower by 4.01%.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Crude was higher by 5.1% while international benchmark Brent crude was off 0.72%.
Gold had climbed 0.71% to $1706.20 an ounce. Silver was higher by 0.15% to $15.00 an ounce.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury was down 1 basis point to 0.63%. The yield on the 2-year Treasury was just 0.20%.
The U.S. dollar had gained on a modest flight to safety. The Dollar Spot Index (DXY) was ahead 0.03%.
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) was up 13.09% to 38.62.