Don't Fight It

 | Jan 20, 2012 | 4:32 PM EST
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It was a deceptive day of trading, especially if you just looked at the DJIA, which rose nearly 100 points. The gain was entirely due to strong action in Microsoft (MSFT) , IBM (IBM) and Intel (INTC). Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were flat, but that was mainly due to big buy programs that hit in the final 15 minutes of trading.

Google (GOOG) was mostly ignored, but there was some weakness in key names such as Apple (AAPL), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and American Express (AXP). Small-caps lagged with oil and gas plays being the worst of the bunch.

Perhaps the "sell the news" play was too obvious, especially with GOOG such a clear disappointment, but it sure looked like there was a concerted rotation into the slow-growth technology names. Perhaps that was driven by option expiration to some degree, but when market players are dumping the more speculative names and loading up on MSFT instead, you have to be at least a little concerned.

The biggest negative is that we are still overbought on mediocre volume. A rest and consolidation would have been healthy, but instead all we have is even greater stretched entry points. This is the sort of market action that has occurred often in the last few years, so we probably should be used to it. They key is that you have to stick with the trend as long as you possibly can. Anticipating weakness just hasn't worked.

There are a number of things I didn't like about today's action, such as the leadership by slow-growth technology, the underperformance of speculative stocks and the highly manipulated close, but fighting the price action isn't the way to make money.
Have a good evening. I'll see you on Monday.

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