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Can the Bulls Pull Another Rabbit Out of the Hat?


The bulls are doing all the right things if they want to pull off another one of their signature V-shaped recoveries.

Once again, traders are finding themselves in a very familiar spot. After months of trying to navigate a market that kept marching relentlessly higher, when even the most ardent of bulls were pleading for some sort of pullback into which they could deploy more capital, the market suddenly collapsed. Social unrest in the Middle East threatened oil supplies, a tragic natural disaster gave rise to a nuclear crisis, and worries about global demand intensified. If that weren't enough, we've also had constant reminders about how terrible both the housing and jobs markets really are.

One day we were dealing with a market that seemed like it would never go down again, and the next, we had a market littered with broken charts. With signs of heavy distribution at highs, no one could say that the market gods didn't give us at least a little bit of a heads-up. However, I don't know if I'll ever get used to seeing months of hard won gains evaporate in just a matter of hours.

What's even harder to get used to, however, is the sort of action that we've seen over the past week or so. They haven't completed it yet, but the troops have been taking all the steps necessary to pull off another one of those all-too-familiar V-shaped recoveries that completely ignore logical resistance levels and seem to occur on extremely light volume.

What makes this sort of action so remarkable is that when the market breaks down like it did over the previous several weeks, there's a supply of trapped bulls looking to make more graceful exits and bears who are licking their chops in anticipation of some quick downside gains. Those trapped longs are prone to reduce exposure into strength, but that simply hasn't happened in this market for quite some time now.

There are still plenty of overhead resistance levels yet to be dealt with, seven days of (nearly) straight up action has left the indices stretched to the upside, and a few groups (particularly financials and tech) remain in precarious shape. Nonetheless, the troops have fought back and are again in a position where they can pull another rabbit out of the hat.

It might not be logical, but if there's one thing that everyone seems to agree on, it's that the action hasn't made a whole lot of sense for quite some time now. We're at a point where it would seem that this market would need to take a rest as it digests recent gains before making a better push at the remaining resistance levels, but that's been the case countless times over the past two years.

My plan, then, is to simply try to play what's in front of me. That doesn't mean, though, that I'll be throwing caution to the wind. I became more defensive as the market broke down earlier this month, which means that I've been woefully under-invested during this bounce. As long as this market keeps holding up, however, I'll continue to look for charts that are set up, but will be keeping my stops tight and making sure that I'm taking any gains I might have.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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