Friday, March 6, 2009

We hit a nerve

Monday's Barron's Online column must have hit a nerve around the blogosphere as plenty of folks quoted it with a link back over the past two days. Thank you one and all. The idea of slow motion capitulation, or as some have called it "death by a thousand cuts" seems to fit the current market better than traditional selling panics or double bottoms.

Of course, the latter pattern was shattered when the market cracked support this week. But so what? How can we categorize an economic crisis market using "regular" market terms and indicators? As I have been asking, "The tools are not working so how can we take any action?"

Quick Takes Pro is comfortably in cash and a few precious metals ETFs. Yes, we missed a 9% drop this week but again, so what? We could have loaded up in Citigroup puts (do they have strikes at this at penny increments?) but at what risk? Wasn't C up something like 20% one day? You get the point. The risk of an explosive upside reaction in the stock market is pretty high and getting squeezed by the shorts is not our idea of a good time. Even if the market continues lower afterward!

But back to capitulation. I say it will be a process this time rather than an event. Some may accuse me of calling a bottom with a 2000 Dow point range but that is not true. I am not calling a bottom at any price. What I am doing is outlining what I think is happening in the market, not forecasting what will happen anytime soon. We have to start somewhere.

1 comment:

VC said...

Well said Michael and I agree with you about the "death by a thousand cuts." It's amusing that everyone is looking for that cataclysmic sell-off - ala the Monday last year when Bear Stearns disappeared - as an entry point. Well, if everyone's looking for it, odds are it won't happen in that manner.

Would you agree that we're heavily oversold, at least by traditional indicators? S&P's RSI doesn't stay under 30 for protracted periods without some sort of rebound or at minimum sideways movement.