Today’s drama was whether or not the Dow would close in “official” bear-market territory of 20% below the high set on October 9, 2007 of 14,164. The magic number was 11,331, and though the Dow dipped under that number, it was able to close above at 11,346.
This is important because the big mutual funds were desperate to prevent the giant “BEAR MARKET” headlines in the media over the weekend. There will still be headlines, but they won’t be as big and as highly-placed. So, the funds won a tiny moral victory after taking a brutal beating during a period when they are usually able to paint happy faces on the charts.
So far, it doesn’t look like the public has begun to pull its money out of mutual funds in a panic yet. They poured money into the market during the March-May bear-market rally, and will surely pull it out soon.
Over the weekend, we will probably hear stories about how a bear market was narrowly averted, and that the S&P 500 successfully tested its March low. That, of course, is BS, but it may be enough to hold back the tsunami for a few more days.
While it is illegal for funds to run their stocks up at the end of a quarter, they are allowed to bid underneath, at that is what they did today. When the market did not crack, some late-to-the-party shorts got nervous and bailed out. So, if you look at the charts, especially the QQQQ chart, you will see what looks like a nascent reversal pattern.
A good deal of traders will look at the charts over the weekend and conclude that a short-term bottom is forming. And with the big funds bidding underneath again on Monday, the last day of the month, we could get a short-squeeze rally.
The market burned off a good deal of its over-sold condition by going more-or-less sideways today, but it is still over-sold. In this state, the market looks for an excuse to rally. Late-to-the-party shorts with some gains are easily spooked, and when they buy-to-cover they push prices up frightening more shorts, and that’s how a short squeeze is ignited.
The big funds cannot push stocks up on Monday, but their support could spark a rally. Or we could have another sideways day like today. Of course, if the public decides to panic, then the market could dive on Monday as redemptions flood the mutual funds and force them to dump stock.
The SPY calls that I bought this morning (see previous post) are under water, but don’t worry about me. My large SDS and SKF postions kept me flat on the day. If the market is able to rally early next week, I will sell my SPY calls and use the cash, plus all my remaining cash to go fully short. The economy, outside of the tax-rebate checks, continues to decelerate and I don’t think it is possible for the S&P 500 to hold the March lows.