Simpler Sentiment – Weekly Wrap-Up 12/9/16

The S&P 500 (SPX) and the Russell 2000 (RUT) continue to push to new highs with an incredible week of gains. The SPX is on pace to close out the week right around 2260, while the RUT is right around 1390 with a few minutes left to trade. The latter has run up 20 percent over the last month since the election.

One oddity to this market over this week has been volatility. The VIX is down below 12 today, but it was higher both Wednesday and Thursday, which is extremely unusual with the SPX climbing to new highs. The VXST, the 9 day Volatility Index, was even above the VIX this morning, which I can’t ever remember seeing at a market high. That suggests that some big players in the market are paying up for short term protection even with this market run.

Our traders were bullish coming into the week, but despite the new highs, they are now largely cautious on this market.

Henry: Bulls have really had their way with the market this week despite Thursday’s pop in volatility. To some degree this makes me think about the inverse of the pit bull low. Let everyone feel left out, run things higher only to see them pull back a bit into monthly expiration. There again, I am not calling a top, just something to think about in regards to monthly expiration.

Chris: I think the market looks tired, as some of the leaders are starting to “roll over”. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move back down to the 2200 level next week.

Doc: The uptrend rolls along higher but even the Trump Train has to pause occasionally to take a deep breath and think things over. The indices are severely overbought so a healthy pullback is certainly not out of the question. Be careful chasing this one – no trend goes on forever in the same direction. Keep your powder dry and catch the next pullback however slight it may be. Year-end evening up could be the stimulus.

Carolyn: I find it very hard to say that I’m bullish up at current levels….I’m actually a cautious bull prepared to get the heck out of the way if bullish symmetry is violated. In the bigger picture, I’m bullish, but I would hate for traders to get long at these highs and then suffer if the market provides a healthy pullback.

David: Today marks the fifth Friday in a row that I’ve written bullishly about the S&P 500 and during that time the index has only continued to climb. Long term patterns suggest that the move up from February is incomplete. Short-term patterns are equivocal and warn that some sort of a pullback could come at any time to retrace a portion of the rise since November 4th. Pullbacks are expected to be only corrective and eventually head higher. But betting on those pullbacks in a strong uptrend is a tough game. It is better to wait for them to come (if they come) and buy them when they turn back up.

Tucker: All of the major indexes have broken their highs. Go with the trend. This is not a good time to fight the trend.

It looks like it again may be a good time to look at some inexpensive downside hedges and/or some stock replacement strategies.

Chris McKhann

Chris McKhann

Chris McKhann has been involved professionally with the stock market for more than 15 years and specifically with derivatives for 12 of those. He started as a stock broker, but quickly moved on to options and futures trading. He spent some time as the Derivatives Product Manager for TD Ameritrade. He was the chief analyst and hedging strategist for OptionMonster. He has been an options trading educator and content provider for many years. His writing and analysis has been featured on Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, TheStreet, CNBC and internationally. He has also designed and traded option and futures strategies for prop trading firms and hedge funds as well as managed accounts.