March definitely went out like a lion in the markets, as records are being challenged daily...but although MoneyShow's Tom Aspray has recommended the occasional bargain to pick up, he warns that a correction could come very quickly, and that investors should take profits while the sun still shines.
Stocks finished the holiday-shortened week on a firm note, as the S&P 500 reached an all-time closing high on both a daily and weekly basis.
Although the intraday high from October 11, 2007 at 1,576.09 has not yet been exceeded, it was a good week for investors. The market internals were also strong Thursday, which supports another push to the upside this week.
There were still several bouts of selling over the Cyprus situation, but the market was very resilient. The very weak early trading on Wednesday was used as buying opportunity for many, because the Spyder Trust (SPY) closed unchanged.
The tech sector is still lagging, but there was some technical improvement in the outlook for Apple (AAPL). April is a typically a strong month for some technology industry groups. If this sector starts to catch up, it would give the major averages a big boost.
As I discussed last week, the increased bullishness of some of the big Wall Street strategists has me concerned about what kind of correction we may see in the coming months.
As the weekly chart of the S&P 500 reveals, we have had spring corrections for the past three years. So what about this year?
In 2010, the S&P 500 peaked at the end of April, and then dropped 17.1% over the next nine weeks to hit a low in July. By September, it had started a new rally. The S&P 500 was able to make new highs for the year in November.
The decline in the spring of 2011 was much worse. The S&P peaked the week of May 6, and the correction lasted twenty-three weeks, with the S&P 500 losing 21.6%. The market finally made its low in early October, but the S&P 500 was not able to exceed the 2011 high until March 2012.
Last year’s correction started the week of April 6, and the S&P lost 11% in just eight weeks. Still, the decline was severe enough, coincident with the fear of the Euro debt crisis, to turn the sentiment quite negative. This helped the market bottom out in early June.
If you look at these three corrections, they all had a sharply lower weekly close near the highs (red candle), which was an early warning sign. I do expect we will see a correction by June, but at this point I think it will be briefer and shallower, more like 2012 than 2011.
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