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February 25, 2021 | Even with Bells Ringing, This Top Will Be Tough to Short

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.

They don’t ring a bell at the top of bull markets, as the saying goes, but perhaps this time it will be different.  Indeed, everysentient guru and talking head who is not shilling for Wall Street is properly bearish, and even the chimpanzees who make their living rotating Other People’s Money into flavor-of-the-month investment themes were beginning to doubt the stock market’s sanity. If a much-needed 10,000-point drop in the Dow is coming, consider it electroshock therapy.  Unfortunately, it’ll probably take a lot more than that to purge the markets of mental illness as serious as we’ve seen in recent years.

Speaking as a trader and a chartist, I’m looking forward to the violent price swings that likely lie ahead. The Hidden Pivot Method turns out to work best when things get really crazy, as occurred during the dot-com mania and the Great Financial Collapse of 2007-08.  It will be interesting to see whether the Reddit kids have scared off institutional heavies who might otherwise get short up the wazoo over the course of a bear market. My hunch is that they will still short like crazy but avoid doing so in individual stocks that could attract dangerous attention.

Keeping Suckers in the Game

Getting short will not be a piece of cake, since a bear market as long overdue as this one is going to attract many players who are all-too-eager to pick tops. We’ve tried it ourselves recently using Hidden Pivot targets that precisely nailed peaks in several indexes, although not in IWM, a small-cap vehicle that still has a major target outstanding 4% above, at 234.82. Like so many amateurs, we got spooked out of some DIA puts on Wednesday when the Dow rallied nearly 500 points. That’s the way it’s going to be the whole way down, although it could take an occasional 2000-point short squeeze to ward off bears and keep buy-the-dips mouth-breathers and hopeful suckers in the game. Check out the Rick’s Picks Facebook page for a short list of 2x and 3X bear bets you should avoid. You’ll have better odds of growing your nest egg buying scratch-off lotto tickets and betting on 70-to-1 horses.

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February 25th, 2021

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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