August is the month when many senior portfolio managers are away from the office on vacation. So big decisions on portfolio structure tend not to be made.
Friday is the day of the week when short-term traders’ thoughts turn to flattening their books so they won’t carry risk over the weekend.
It’s raining, which sparks thoughts in traders of sleeping in or leaving work early.
Add all that up, and the heavy betting should be that US stocks will likely move sideways in the morning and fade off toward the close.
That means this is a good day to stand on the sidelines and size up the tone of the market.
In pre-market trading, tech is up and bricks-and-mortar retailing (on the earnings miss by Foot Locker) is down. …nothing new about this. At some point there will doubtless be a fierce counter-trend rally. But the negative earnings surprises are still provoking severe selloffs. So I don’t think today is the day.
Pundits are speculating about the damaging effects on his political agenda of Mr. Trump’s apparent defense of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. …but the Trump trade has been MIA since January, with the US a laggard among world stock markets during Mr. Trump’s time in office so far. Yes, there may be residual hope for corporate tax reform from the administration, which this latest demonstration of the president’s ineptness as a executive could arguably undermine. My guess is, however, that he is already well understood.
Two questions for today:
–will the market perform more strongly than the season and the weather are suggesting? This would be evidence that there’s still an untapped reservoir of bullishness waiting for somewhat better prices to express itself.
–should we be buying in the afternoon if it’s weaker than I expect? My answer is No. I think there is a lot of untapped bullishness, but we’re in a slowly rising channel whose present ceiling is less than 2500 on the S&P 500. That’s not enough upside for me. I’m also content to wait for any incipient bearishness to play itself out further.
It will be interesting to see how today plays out.