26Dec1:09 pmEST

Never an Easy Battle in This Arena

B5uhdshIYAAH-nM.jpg-large The current bull market is likely to be remembered for how routinely it has shrugged off negative technical divergences to immediately catapult to fresh highs. In addition, classic warnings of extreme confidence, if not outright complacency, have also been eschewed by this bull. To be fair, however, we have not exactly seen taxi drivers giving out stock tips such as we would have at the height of the 1929 and 2000 bubbles. Still, it does raise an eyebrow or two to see an article published yesterday on CNBC.com, probing: "Buying stocks now: The world’s easiest trade?" To add context to the article, it is referring to this coming home stretch of the calendar year.
It appears to be the world's easiest trade: Taking a bullish position on stocks for the year's last five trading sessions. Over the entire history of the S&P 500, not only has the index tended to rise over the last days of a year, but it has tended to do so with greater consistency. Going back to 1928, the S&P 500 has returned 0.14 percent in the average five-day period. But in the last five days of the year, the S&P has enjoyed an average return of 1.19 percent, according to Carter Worth, Sterne Agee's chief market technician.
(Read the full article here) Of course, the contrarian view on this type of article is that the market is rarely "easy," if ever. And therefore the easy trade may be too obvious. We know, though, that this bull has not rewarded the contrarian bear thesis yet, but has also seen a decent amount of technical damage in leading stocks and sectors, which is why I continue to advocate an opportunistic approach in lieu of loading up the portfolio with any and all longs. Despite the resilience, it is worth remembering that there is never an easy battle in the market--Gains are hard-fought and complacency is, ultimately, as big an enemy as you will face as a trader.

These Two Are Trying to Keep... You Can't Hack This


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