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“Losing a Super Bowl destroys all the good things that happened to get you there.” – Don Shula
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Just like one bad trade can ruin a trader’s year, one loss can ruin an entire season. Don’t take our word for it, just ask any of the players on the rosters or the fans of the 56 prior teams who have come up on the losing end. The 2007 Patriots are considered one of the best teams in NFL history, but given how that season ended, you’d have a hard time finding anyone on that roster who would call the season a success. Whatever you do, don’t ask Rodney Harrison.
On what has been the quietest week in terms of economic data all year, it’s been a disappointing one for equities. Futures are indicated to open moderately lower, putting the S&P 500 on pace to trade down on four of five days this week. Weakness today coincided with the European open as stocks on the continent have been trending lower all morning. The Nasdaq has been even weaker. Over the last five trading days, the Nasdaq has been down over 0.99% (not quite 1%) four times, and today, it’s on pace for another 1% decline.
Through Thursday, there have only been 27 trading days this year, and yet 16 have been moves of 1% or more. Since 1972, this is the tenth year where there have been 15 or more 1% daily moves, and last year there were actually 17 at this point. What’s unique about this year, though, is how strong stocks have been during this period of heightened volatility.
Volatility is usually a characteristic of a weak stock market rather than a strong one. Of the nine prior years where the Nasdaq had at least fifteen 1% daily moves in the first 27 trading days of the year, it was down YTD six times, and the largest YTD rally was 7.2% in 2000 (21 1% daily moves). This year, the Nasdaq is up over 12%! The other years were 1999 (19) and 2001 (16), and in those years it was up 5.3% and 3.7% YTD, respectively.
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