To be or not to be that is the question.
Less poetically, the question on traders’ minds right now is:
Was that the bottom back in June or not?
It’s hard to know. This is why trading stocks is hard. One finds out more by hindsight than predictive brilliance.
If you’d left on a long vacation mid-June with an upset stomach over your portfolio, you’d be a bit happier if you returned this week.
On Wednesday, August 3rd, Bespoke Investment Group tweeted out some surprising numbers:
“It’s a bull market (almost)
The Nasdaq is up 19% from its closing low on 6/16 and 20% from its intraday low on the same day.”1
The Nasdaq is not alone. The S&P 500, as the above chart indicates, has had a nice bounce back too. It’s up 13% from where it was about 8 weeks ago.
Some of the biggest companies have rallied hard off the lows. Again, here’s Bespoke:
“Some jaw-dropping rallies in the MEGA Cap stocks recently:
AAPL up 28% since 6/16
AMZN up 37% since 6/14
GOOGL up 13% since 7/26
MSFT ‘only’ up 17% since 6/13”2
Admittedly, we are nowhere near where we were around the beginning of the year.
So, is the bottom in? If so, bottoms up!
This could also be a good old-fashioned bear market rally where stocks have a short-lived upsurge and then continue down to lower lows. Some argue this.
Can’t we just know?!? Not really. This isn’t an exact science.
Just because stocks are high doesn’t mean they won’t go higher and just because they are low doesn’t mean they won’t stop going lower. One financial writer put it this way,
“Well, overvaluation never stops a bull market, nor does undervaluation stop a bear market…These truths are absolutely the only certain thing in finance. Everything else about finance is variable and contingent. The only permanent truth in finance is that people will get bullish at the top and get bearish at the bottom.”3
Was it bearish enough the last few months?
Time will tell.
For now, let’s paraphrase the Beatles:
Hey June, don’t make it bad.
Take a bad month and make it better.
Remember to let her under your skin,
Then you’ll begin to make it
Better better better better better better, oh.
If you are still trying to consistently invest to the tune of your feelings or the voices on the telly, you may be doing this wrong.
Need some help? We’re here.
We can’t promise to pick bottoms and tops, but we can do our best to make your experience with portfolio construction, financial planning, and risk management—to quote Paul McCartney—better.