From the Trading Desk

VIX Jumps 10% as Stocks Pullback in Light Trade

Small caps were able to close in the green, but the major indices were unable to hold their early morning gains. At the end of the day there were some fireworks with sellers showing up and pushing the Dow, S&P 500, and the NASDAQ to the lows of the session. Perhaps the lighter volume on the day allowed sellers to have their way. Overall, a pullback on lighter volume is a good thing for this current uptrend. We’d rather not see the Dow fall 100 points. If we were seeing heavy volume selling we’d be concerned with distribution piling up and additional small caps were relatively unharmed during the late day sell off. One thing to note was the more than 11% move in the VIX showing a bit of fear coming into the market. Today was not a terrible day for the markets as it continues to keep us on our toes.

The market simply cannot go higher in a straight line and pullbacks are to be expected. In our new world of forever QE it does give us pause when we can fall with relatively ease. We have moved quite a bit since last Friday and a pullback is to be expected. At the moment, it appears sellers did not bring volume to the table, but any further big price selling will concern us. It was nice to see the continued leadership from Small Cap stocks as well as the NASDAQ outperforming the S&P 500. We could have done without the end of day shenanigans.

The VIX has been relatively tame since the November turn around on 11/16. We have not seen the fear index above 20 since June of this year. We do have quadruple witching this Friday as well as GDP set to be reported tomorrow morning. Quadruple witching weeks tend to see a big jump in volume as well as volatility. Without distribution piling up it is tough at this point to say today was a turning point for this market rally. Some signs of concern like ISRG getting obliterated by a Citron report and HLF getting hit by Ackman, but overall action was “okay.” A few stocks like KORS ended well off their highs, but this is normal for our current environment. However, any further weakness in leadership will be concerning as for now we are cautiously long.

Tomorrow morning we’ll get our weekly jobless claims as well as 3rd quarter GDP expected to print 2.8% growth. Sadly, this is mostly due to government spending borrowed dollars. Again, price will be everything. Know your exits.

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