Actionable insights straight to your inbox

Equities logo

Staying Nimble During Times of Market Volatility

The market took quite a spill last week, and by the looks of Monday's close, could be on pace to continue a move lower. With major economic releases scheduled this week--including key figures on

The market took quite a spill last week, and by the looks of Monday’s close, could be on pace to continue a move lower. With major economic releases scheduled this week–including key figures on GDP estimates and the Case-Shiller Home Prices Index–traders and investors will need to be on their toes if they don’t plan to be on the sidelines.

In this week’s interview, Toni Turner of TrendStar Trading Group discusses the impact of last week’s move lower and why investors may have finally run out of patience with the endless number of headwinds facing the economy.

EQ: The market fell hard last Thursday, and a lot of attention focused on an email to clients from Goldman Sachs (GS) to short the S&P 500. Is this a good lesson on how the big money can impact the markets or do you think it was just a coincidence?

Turner: Big money can definitely affect the market, especially in the short term. On top of that, I think this was just the last straw for the market. We’ve seen U.S. manufacturing numbers turn down for practically every report that comes out. We were getting bad economic news in the market last week, and we’re seeing all kinds of reports that Europe and China are slowing. Also, the market had gone up quite a bit, relatively speaking, for the near term, and I think it was just the market saying that it was enough. With all the negative news that was coming out, combined with the pending Moody’s downgrade at the time, I hate to say that it was the last nail in the coffin, but investors were basically ready to throw in the towel.

EQ: This week seems to be pretty big for economic data releases. Do you anticipate more volatility after what we saw on Thursday?

Turner: I do for a lot of reasons, and some of them aren’t negative. We have portfolio managers completing their window dressing, the European summit later this week, the Case-Shiller Index and other home sales reports coming out, and on Thursday we have the third estimate for the first quarter of GDP growth. That always garners a lot of attention, especially in this kind of market environment. So with it being the last week of the month and and the quarter, and with all of the other news coming out– as well as all of these other little surprises that we keep getting like Spain needing more money for their banks–if you add all that together, I suspect it will be an exciting week in the market.

EQ: Moody’s announced that it was downgrading 15 major banks last week. Yet Financials were trading higher when the market opened the next day. Were the cuts already priced in by traders based on the initial reaction in many of these financial stocks?

Turner: I think a lot of the cuts were already priced in, especially with the big down move the day before. However, another reason that the banks held up is because the cuts were not as dire as we thought. Morgan Stanley (MS) is an example of that. We could see a further pullback in Financials here, though, as I believe the European debt crises will get heavier.

EQ: What other areas in the market are you watching closely this week?

Turner: Right now, I am trying to find a place of peace and quiet in this market. I’m watching solar stocks because a lot of them have just been taken to the woodshed in the last year and some of these are starting to look interesting now. Of course, we could always keep an eye on First Solar (FSLR). We’ve seen some news out of Japan about offering subsidies again to solar companies. A lot of these little stocks are basing, and we can always look at the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN). I’m also looking at the PowerShares Water Resources ETF (PHO), and the iShares PHLX SOX Semiconductor Sector ETF (SOXX), but if the market cannot stay positive here, I doubt that these groups will do so, either. Again, it is a difficult market environment. Until the S&P 500 Index either breaks out above 1364, or breaks down below 1260, I believe that it will be easy for traders to get whip-sawed. This is a great time to remember that “cash is a position.”

Copper, base metals, and industrial commodities face bearish technical trends, but the fundamentals remain bullish.