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The Market Bid Is Weak Ahead of the Election and the Safety Net Is Gone

Posted by Pete Stolcers on October 26

Posted 9:30 AM ET – This morning the S&P 500 will test the lows from last week and I believe the 50-day moving average is in play. The macro backdrop remains uncertain and Asset Managers will reduce risk into the election.

Last Monday’s market decline was a warning sign. The potential for a pre-election stimulus bill was keeping investors engaged and it was keeping profit takers at bay. The negotiations for the stimulus bill were not yielding results and an agreement is not likely before the election.

The Senate will confirm Amy Coney Barrett today and Democrats will not be in a negotiating mood.

The election results could be delayed because of mail-in ballots so the outcome might not be known for weeks. That could further delay the stimulus bill and there are also many Senate/House seats at stake. I hope I am wrong, but we could see civil unrest while this is sorted out.

Mega cap tech giants will report earnings this week and they have their own dark cloud to deal with (antitrust hearings). At a current P/E of23, stocks are rich. Profits are expected to decline 20% year-over-year in Q3.

New Coronavirus cases are hitting record levels in the US and Europe. Major metropolitan areas are shutting down and this will weigh on economic activity. The good news is that treatment has improved and the mortality rate is declining. Vaccines could be distributed as early as Christmas (AstraZeneca).

Swing traders should be on the sidelines. A stimulus bill is unlikely before the election and that safety net was keeping a bid to the market. In its absence, I believe that buyers will be very passive and that Asset Managers are going to reduce risk into the election. I was reading a statistic that on average the market rallies 6% after the results are known. One recent exception was in 2000 when the results were not known for weeks (Bush/Gore). The election is a binary event and there is no reason for us to take swing positions until the dust settles.

Day traders can expect wide intraday ranges and choppy price action. As always we will look for relative strength, heavy volume and breakouts through technical resistance. Option Stalker searches like Heavy Buying, Relative Strength 30, Bull Run and PopBull will find these stocks. Earnings season will kick into high gear this week and we will also have post announcement opportunities. After Earnings Bull and Strong After Earnings are two of my favorite searches. I am reducing my size and my trade count in this “noisy” environment.

Support is at the 50-day moving average and resistance is at SPY $349.
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