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Filling the Liquidity Gap is Not "Easy Money Stimulus"

"I was lucky that my core holdings were NFLX & AMZN...but I still think we have a leg down so I've gone to cash...I think there's going to be companies that need cash...and even if not in the public markets, if I'm wrong in the public markets, I think there's going to be companies that need capital in America 2.0 ...& having cash is going to give me the opportunity to invest in them"

- Mark Cuban - April 15, 2020 published podcast

So the SPY continues to go through the typical topping process. Remember, after an extended rebound, it usually takes several days of consolidation near the peak before we get a reversal. The SPY first hit $280 FOUR days ago. And here it is trading at the $278 area. That's typically what we see when we get a peak. The only thing I don't like about what I see on the SPY is yesterday when it shot well beyond the 50% retracement. Also we have an upside gap around the $291 area (yellow highlight):

That taken together with the sheer size of the rebound suggest that we could still be setting up for another push higher. Again, I'm still expecting a peak around this area. But we'll have to observe the quality of the push up relative to the push down. I still look @ the chart above & see 2 massive unresolved gaps that beg the ultimate question, is this rally / recovery real? To answer that question & instill a higher degree of confidence...the market will want to see those gaps get filled & true buying pressure come in, taking ask, taking ask, taking ask. We so those get filled & a price action firm will set up a healthier base of energy from which a stronger recovery can take place. IF that's what the market is setting up to do, to recover....then it will have a healthier launching pad if it firsts fills those gaps.

Remember, in 1987 and 2008, we had more moderate rebounds from the lows. And in both cases, the rebounds were shorter lived. It wasn't a 4-5 weeks rebound. The rebounds were a few days. That's it. Down the line we had longer rebounds. But that was well after the crash phase had ended. Multiple times the SPY staged rallies near the lows of the crisis in an effort to bottom out. But none were as robust as this rebound. So far, the SPY has rebounded over 30%. In 1987, the rebound went for 20%. In 2008, it peaked at 26%. So that is a bit concerning. A peak at $280 makes some sense. That's a small push beyond the 50% retracement by a few points. But a peak of $285 on the SPY sort of makes me question whether this is a larger recover specifically because it pushed way passed the 50% retracement level. The 62% retracement level sits around the $286 to $291 area. The SPY peaked only 5-6 points away from that level.

One thing is pretty clear to me here. And this is especially the case with Apple. I now believe it very unlikely that Apple falls under $200. The SPY is starting to point to the same end result. When we do get an inevitable second leg lower, it is unlikely that either the SPY or Apple will make new lows. It would take a sell-off almost as severe as the first to lead to new lows for Apple. In fact, Apple has almost fully retraced its loss. So it would take another crash almost the same size as the first to take Apple under $200. I'm not very sure what would drive that.

Not to mention, I'm aware of the 2.3 Trillion Gorilla in the room known as the FED PUT.

But the Fed stimulus is largely there to fill the void of liquidity for an entirely paused economy that isn't out spending functionally. Again, we were all in a state of consumption, buying this, that & the 3rd. Eagerly, playfully, etc. American's & much of the world @ large were addictive consumers. Again this is not just America, the entire world is now in a state of detoxing consumerism. When you do a detox, you don't just slam a pizza after a takes time to build up the momentum to go back to old habits, e.g excessive consumerism. Also consider all the 401k contributions that are now paused, furloughed or terminated from this economic pause. So this Fed stimulus is a noble attempt to largely fill that liquidity gap. It's not what I would refer to as "Easy Money" stimulus.

In short, the Fed filling the liquidity gap is not a form of easy money stimulus.

Back to the markets, normally when we get that 20% rebound, it happens in very close proximity to the high volatility environment. In both 2008 and 1987, those rebounds concluded in two-three days. Then we get a resumption of the sell-off on the same volatility scale. Normally on the fourth day we get another 10% sell-off. That's how we get to new lows. I was expecting this rebound to conceded within 3-5 days or something like that. But this has now lasted 3+ weeks. That means that in order for Apple and the market to make new lows, we would need a whole new sell-off.

And that's not to say it won't happen. As I mentioned yesterday, we saw that exact thing happen in 2008. We had a mini-crash in January-February 2008, we then got a big rebound, volatility collapsed, we saw a slow grind lower and then another huge crash in the fall of 2008. We could be setting up to see the same thing here. It would just mean a very long boring and drawn out process.

Here's how we would approach this. As I mentioned above, the SPY is still forming a rising wedge and it looks like it's going through the typical topping process. Once that concludes, we should see a spike in volatility. I think that volatility would likely take the SPY to near its lows. At that point, we would probably see a bottom. The SPY would probably double-bottom at that point. We would probably exit our position near the lows and then consider a long position. It will just depend on how things play out. We don't know at this exact moment.

Originally our plan was to go into long-term Apple leaps. But I just don't see Apple declining $80 points on the next leg lower. Not with the blind fantasy land momentum we're seeing now in the stock. So we may be shifting our investment focus to the SPY where things are trading a bit more normally than Apple. AAPL is not off the table by any stretch but need to digest more data

Apple never really sustained the type of correction it should have in this crash. The stock should have been down -60%. Apple outperformed the S&P 500 on the way up on this rebound. Compared to last year Apple fell -40% when the S&P 500 fell -20%. Apple should have underperformed on a measure of almost 2-1. Apple is a consumer discretionary company. The last thing people are going to do when money is tight is upgrade their perfectly operational iPhones. Given the uncertainty at the peak of this crash, Apple should have been trading at $160-$170 at the lows and up to $220 at the rebound peak. That's what should have occurred given Apple's exposure to the Coronavirus. That's why we never touched it during this downturn. It made no sense. Apple didn't even get extremely oversold on RSI. The RSI dropped to 30 for like 2-days when it was at $260 on the way down.

But getting back to the SPY. Our plan right now is to continue to hold our position. Again, we've had 5-days of a topping process. Even the hourly chart is starting to show clear signs of weakness. I'm fairly confident at this point that we should see another hard sell-off sometime in the next 2-weeks. As we head into earnings, we're probably going to see a very sharp sell-off in the market. We'll see how that impacts Apple & consider a long position near the lows. I'm currently modeling long leap call spreads on AAPL, TSLA, SPCE, & some others if we can get the right setup. We'll be giving the longer term bull market thesis the benefit of the doubt if we can get those downside gaps filled. But up here in this current's entirely too uncertain to position heavily long.


Some of the greatest pearls shared by Jesse Livermore:

“Money is made by sitting, not trading.”

“The desire for constant action irrespective of underlying conditions is responsible for many losses in Wall Street even among the professionals, who feel that they must take home some money everyday, as though they were working for regular wages.”

“Buy right, sit tight.”

“Nobody can catch all the fluctuations.”

“There is a time for all things, but I didn’t know it. And that is precisely what beats so many men in Wall Street who are very far from being in the main sucker class. There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time. Not many can always have adequate reasons for buying and selling stocks daily – or sufficient knowledge to make his play an intelligent play.”

“It takes time to make money.”

“Don’t give me timing, give me time.”

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