The market rallied strongly today, with the Dow Industrials up 305.45 (3.28%), the S&P 500 up 39.45 (4.08%) and the NASDAQ Composite up 53.79 (3.12%). Market breadth was solidly positive, indicating the upward move was widespread, not limited to large-cap issues. Precious metals & miners, energy & extractors and foreign currencies rallied strongly and the US dollar lost value to commodities and to other currencies.
One of the many truisms about the market that are actually true is that the market hates uncertainty. While the downturn since fall ’07 and the more recent intense downturn are certainly not solely due to uncertainty involving this year’s election, the uncertainty about the election is definitely contributing to the downturn.
Now that the election is finally here, it makes sense that a “relief” rally would occur. The real question is whether this rally represents the death of the bear and the birth of a new bull market or is simply a bear market rally. The duration and intensity of this rally will be indicative, but not conclusive, of which is true. The sharper and more violent the rally is, the more indicative it is of a bear market rally. A series of smaller rallies with sharp corrective downturns would be indicative of the birth of a new bull.
Generally, it’s not indicative of a true bear market bottom that pundits and others are all trying to be the first to predict the bottom. Some of the greatest Dow Theorists going back over 100 years, such as Charles Dow, William Peter Hamilton, Robert Rhea, George Schaeffer and Richard Russell, agree that the bottom of a “great” bear market such as this will generally end with seller exhaustion, an extended “U” bottom, and black investor psychology, where people don’t even want to talk about the stock market, much less invest in it. We are definitely not there yet.
Still, the market can do anything. History indicates there may be some short-term trading opportunities now, but new intermediate- and long-term investing at this time would appear to be risky at best.