Now and Then

By -

I was thinking of making this post a video, but I recognize that the problem with videos is that you actually have to watch the damned thing. Text and pictures are more accessible. So, here we are.

October has, in the five trading days we’ve experienced so far, been a big disappointment for me. I guess I should have assumed it would be, coming on the heels of a fantastic Q3 (both for my portfolio and for Slope in general). Everything goes in cycles. I’m just too much of a brat to be able to tolerate this kind of thing.

After all, during the summer, we were enjoying this kind of market:

1007-plunge

But lately, it has become this, which it dawned on me just now could be called The Shrug pattern. In other words, no one really knows what the hell to do next.

1007-shrug

But I’m going to reign in any complaining on my part. I haven’t enjoyed the thousand Dow points in just four trading sessions we’ve witnessed, but I’ll take this market any day of the week before I’d take what was persisting for years……..

1007-spx

Because herein lies the difference: the always-going-up, always-making-new-highs market we were living through is near-impossible for someone bearishly-inclined to trade (profitably, at least). You never know when it’s going to end. The only basis for selling short is Gee Whiz Things Sure Are Expensive. But, ummm, that doesn’t work very well until the market on its own decides to start breaking down (which takes time).

The reason I am remaining short, in spite of this brutal, recent upswing, can be expressed with one simple image:

1007-indu

The massive green behemoth looming over present price levels is, to my mind, the best friend of the bears. Every single index and ETF I am watching presents this monstrous overhang in some form or fashion, and the closer we get to it, the more trouble the market is going to have making any more headway. This (the “now”) is in dramatically sharp contrast to the when-will-it-ever-stop ascent (the “then”).

We aren’t hard-pressed up against any iron wall at this point, and the S&P 500 could probably squeeze another 50 points out of this rally. All the same, I remain short a wide variety of equities. I do not hold a single ETF right now (I prefer to trade those when I’m more confident of the market as a whole), but, on a stock by stock basis, I am continuing to update stops, enter new positions, and hope to the great ursine god in the sky that we’re going to enjoy some of that sweet, sweet weakness again some day very soon.