European stocks fell hard on Cyprus fears and continued economic slump the Southern Europe states are in. Cyprus, Italy, Spain, and now Slovenia are in the midst of falling stock markets and higher cost to insure debt. Pending home sales were slightly disappointing, but the market rallied off the disappointing figure and continued for the rest of the afternoon. The NASDAQ was able to close in positive territory while the Dow failed to notch another all-time high. Volume rose on the day, but remained well below average. The past two trading days has seen NASDAQ volume the lowest for this year. Volume continues to be non-existent despite this market continuing its uptrend.
Institutions are either continuing to stay on the sidelines with cash or they are all-in. We can make all sorts of guesses, but we do know activity in the stock market continues to slide lower. Short-interest ratio continues to be high because volume is low. Actual short exposure measured by total shares outstanding is at a five year low. Things are not as they appear and we can certainly blame Quantitative Easing for the state of the markets. However, if you employ a trend following system based on price these matters simply fade away. It is important to stick to price and ignore the noise.
The prevailing theme from market pundits is QE will continue to push stocks higher. While this may be true do we know this to be fact? Can we say QE is a tail wind or a wind at all? We do know the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is highly correlated to the S&P 500 and why would this change? What if it does change? Do you have a plan of attack? Do you know when to head for the exits? Often times assumptions are made, but a plan of attack is never hatched. We do not know the future, but we can identify potential trend using price as our guide.
Tomorrow we’ll get another read on GDP and the market is looking for .5% just like last month. To add some flavor to the day it is also the last day of trading for the month of March. Enjoy the last trading of the month! Cut those losses.