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July 10, 2022 | Another 3%, Then Kiss the Rally Goodbye

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.

How high is the bear rally begun in mid-June likely to go before buyers run out of gas? The 4029.75 target shown in the chart is a logical answer, even if the hubris of billboarding it here could queer its voodoo magic. A run-up to 4029 would represent a 3.1% gain over Friday’s close and a 10.7% move off the June 17 low. Since January, when the bear first showed its fangs after hibernating since 2009, rallies have been relatively subdued, implying shorts have yet to be spooked into covering. Perhaps it’s because the outlook for the U.S. and global economies is so dark that there are few good reasons to be discovered for buying shares. Not that buyers have ever needed reasons, let alone good ones. But even bad ones lack persuasiveness these days, what with the ‘experts’ debating how much recession we’re likely to get.

Triggering off short-covering stampedes will always be a primary concern of the stock market’s institutional sponsors. That’s because short-covering is the only source of buying powerful enough to push the broad average past previous peaks. It also has the miraculous ability to make investors temporarily forget about the wall of worry no matter how mountainous. The effect can produce spams of mass insanity so irresistible that even now, with the U.S. economy about to tank, a stock market rally to new all-time highs is still not inconceivable.

Post-Blowoff Behavior

It seems extremely unlikely, however, given that residential real estate has completed a blowoff top; the auto sector is being suffocated by high prices and material shortages; and consumer credit growth has turned down as interest rates rise across the yield curve. Under the circumstances, even if a punitive bear squeeze is overdue, investors shouldn’t get their hopes too high that it’ll come before stocks take another epic leg down.  [How bad could it get as the U.S. recession deepens? Click here for Rick’s insightful interview on Friday with Howe Street’s Jim Goddard.]

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July 10th, 2022

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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