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April 15, 2018 | Range-Trading ‘Water-Torture’ Ahead?

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

Traders demolished the shares of three of America’s biggest banks — JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo — on Friday after the companies reported very impressive Q1 earnings.  A classic example of ‘buy the rumor, sell the news”?  So it would seem, although it remains to be determined whether Wall Street will punish other economic sectors in the weeks ahead for similar sins of success. Will the shares of companies involved in energy, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing get pummeled no matter how strong their earnings? It will come down to whether investors think their performance has peaked. Earnings reports due out over the next several weeks are expected to be the best since 2010. However, interest rates have been rising for two years, and this is already creating headwinds in the minds of investors, if not yet in the statistical economy. Add in a dollop of trade-war paranoia and it’s difficult to see stocks moving significantly higher in the months ahead. On the other hand, the long-term charts do not suggest a collapse is imminent.  Range-trading for the next six to nine months would be like Chinese water-torture, but we should be prepared for it nonetheless as a possible second-best case for stocks in 2018.

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April 15th, 2018

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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