Market Anthropology: Low Tide

Friday, January 6, 2012

Low Tide

They’ve chased em’ – and they’ve chased them hard. 

I tend to shy away from reading too much into the weekly sentiment numbers because for the most part they are relatively noise. The data series back and fill like the tidal wash on a shoreline.

Of course every once and a while you get a new or full moon – or something a bit more ominous like the tidal pull of an approaching tsunami. 
Who’s to say which phenomenon is behind the regressive tide – but considering the view across the Atlantic that has been for the most part papered over in the last two weeks, it would be wise to seek higher ground – if just for perspective.

What is noteworthy about the arbitrary threshold of a new year is the goldfish phenomenon that can take place from time to time during market environments under pressure. It comes as no surprise that traders and money managers alike tend to walk into the new year with a sense of anything is possible this year. Of course it would behoove them to think of the phrase in the context framed by our famously observant 26th President:

With self-discipline – most anything is possible. – Theodore Roosevelt

Self discipline, when it comes to risk management in the face of the European crisis appears to be in short supply. Decoupling, I believe is the colloquial used by the kids these days. 

With that said, below are two markets that present a relative range of similar price structures and emotional backdrops coming into January after a sudden December reversal. As I mentioned in my previous note, I would guesstimate the bulls most favorable outcome to be a scenario similar to 2003 where the Fall lows were defended. If those lows are broken, I suspect the market will find initial support between 975 and 1050.