The Pressure Remains on Stocks

11/15/2011 8:30 am EST

Focus: MARKETS

What was once Greece troubles have now crossed the Adriatic and become Italian woes, but either way, it's not helping stocks here or abroad unless you're a quick trader, notes Jason Cimpl of TradeMaster Daily Stock Alerts.

The market tanked last Wednesday morning and continued to decline in the afternoon. The decline was a little heavier than I would have anticipated, and volume was higher than normal too.

The large decline was the result of only one thing: the higher interest rate on Italian debt.

Rates on Italian yields have steadily risen over the past month, but now, investors believe rates will jump exponentially. The Italian debt situation is somewhat speculative, but once a certain threshold is crossed (7.01%) the chances of interest rates dropping back to normal amounts are slim.

After Greece, Portugal, and Ireland lost that same interest rate threshold, their yields continued to rise dramatically. And the rise in yield forced each of those countries to seek aid from the EU.

Since Italy is larger than each of those three nations, investors fear that bailout costs will rise to a point that rescue won't be an option. And maybe the EU will be forced to break up.

Last month, the EU formed the EFSF to help avoid a situation like Wednesday. And for the month of October, the strategy worked. Investors came back into bonds and stocks, and life was good again.

During that time, when the market wasn't so frantic, my trading service also had a nice stretch of trades: wins of 13%, 9%, 13%, 20%, 13%, and later 47%.

Sadly, the EU stabilization plan fell apart on Wednesday. Investors fled the bond market and new lenders required higher rates. The yields on Italian debt crossed the must-hold threshold, which is exactly what the EU had wanted to avoid. And investors panicked just like they did when Greece, Portugal, and Ireland had their rates pop.

While the decline on Wednesday could be the first stage of the major decline that bears are hoping for, I am still temporarily inclined to favor the bulls. Buyers have proven themselves remarkably resilient over the past few months. And it's been tough to bet against them.

Additionally—and this is also the reason I went long Wednesday—crude oil prices have stayed strong. The price per barrel of crude oil still trades above $90, and rebounded to $98. Investors are not pricing in slow growth. If investors were anticipating slow growth, crude oil would be below $90, probably below $80 too.

I am concerned that SPX 1,250 was lost, but 1,220 should be strong support. And then there is 1,197 in case that 1,220 support for SPX is lost.

In total, a move to 1,197 would only be another 3% from here, which is less than Wednesday's 3.7% one-day drop. After a relief rally, if the bears are as strong as many think they are, 1,250 would be unbreakable.

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Related Reading:

Too Many Bulls, Too Many Risks
The Next Six Months Have Promise
2 Stocks Even Bears Can Love

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