Bull vs. Bear. The Line In The Sand?

On Tuesday, February 5 and again on Wednesday, February 6, the S&P 500 bumped into its 200-day moving average. While I'm not exactly sure why this particular indicator captures the attention of so many (there are a myriad of more effective trend-following tools readily available), the crossing of the 200-day is viewed as a big deal. Some go so far as to say the moving average represents a line in the sand between the bulls and the bears. As in, if the current price of a security or index resides above its 200-day, it is considered a bull market and if below, a bear market.

Personally, I don't subscribe to such a view. However, it is worth noting that a great many investors, including throngs that get paid to invest other people's money, do see the 200-day as a critical line of demarcation. Thus, how the market acts when it approaches its 200-day is viewed as important.

So, what was the market's reaction when the S&P 500 "tested" its 200-day for the first time in 42 days? See for yourself...

S&P 500 - Daily

View Large Chart

While I wouldn't call it an abject failure, the index did pull back a bit after flirting with the all-important line in the sand for a couple days. So, the question, of course is what, if any message should we take from the initial "bonk" at the 200-day?

The Bull's View

Always optimistic, those wearing their bull caps last week viewed the action as positive. The words "a pause that refreshes" were bandied about quite a bit in the bull camp. After all, even the most ardent bull will admit that stocks have run a long way in a short period of time, that the indices are overbought ...

Read More
Comments

Herd Behavior

"Herd behavior, or the tendency of individuals in a group to 'follow the trend,' has frequently been observed in equity markets. Herd behavior in investors leads to a convergence of action." [Yan, Zhao, Sun (2012)]


"Theoretical models on herd behavior ...

Read More
Comments

Where Do Things Stand Now?

To be sure, it is rare to see the mood of the market swing from the depths of despair seen on Christmas Eve to the "happy days are here again" feeling of last week in such a short period of ...

Read More
Comments

All Clear?

The bad news is that after a rather rambunctious rally, the S&P 500 remains -8.9% from its all-time high. The good news is that after the -19.8% shellacking that ended on Christmas Eve, the stock market now starts ...

Read More
Comments

Is Enough Baked In?

After a very scary decline and then an impressive rally, the question most investors are probably asking themselves is, where are we now?

In order to get our bearings, let's review where we've been. Recall that as of ...

Read More
Comments

The Daily Decision for 1.7.19 - The Magic Words


The State of the Markets:

Well that was fun. Don't look now fans, but after Friday's joyride to the upside, the S&P 500 is up nearly 8% from its Christmas Eve low and is now down only -13 ...

Read More
Comments

The Magic Words

Well that was fun. Don't look now fans, but after Friday's joyride to the upside, the S&P 500 is up nearly 8% from its Christmas Eve low and is now down only -13.3% from the most recent ...

Read More
Comments

Is It Over? And What To Expect Next

I ended last week's pre-holiday missive with the following: "It is easy to say the bulls are due. Really due." And as if right on cue, stocks proceeded to bounce hard the following session with the Dow Jones Industrial ...

Read More
Comments

More Than Meets The Eye Happening Here

I attended a holiday gathering for one of my advisor clients on Friday evening. While everyone appeared to be in the spirit of the season, when the conversation eventually turned to the market action, the mood quickly changed.

In talking ...

Read More
Comments

Are Investors Now Fighting The Fed And The Tape?

I'm not sure whether it was the late Marty Zweig or his buddy Ned Davis who originally coined the phrase, but it appears that after yesterday, anyone long the stock market may now officially be fighting both the Fed ...

Read More
Comments

Here's Hoping Santa Makes The Trip

It was a very busy weekend in St. Louis, visiting our grandson, daughter and son-in-law, so I'm going to keep the subjective side of this report short and let the models and indicators do most of the talking. But ...

Read More
Comments

Window "Undressing" May Be At Work

The headlines blared that stocks soared Wednesday in response to improvements in the trade war. Apparently, China was making noise about a new policy designed to increase access to the country's economy for foreign companies. Diving into the story ...

Read More
Comments