A Problem of Complacency

 | Jan 30, 2012 | 4:40 PM EST
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It looked as if the European sovereign debt issues were going to trigger selling at the open, but the market held up reasonably well given the few positives in the air. The dip-buyers managed two good bounces and breadth managed to improve quite a bit from nearly 4-to-1 negative in the early going. 

Although we did manage to close near the highs of the day, there wasn't much aggressive accumulation to be found. Apple (AAPL) helped the bulls, but every major sector was in the red and Facebook mania calmed down. 

The big question is whether a couple days of soft action is a sufficient correction to help set the stage for more upside. I'd really like to answer with a yes, but there have been very few signs of any real pessimism. We pretty much shrugged off Europe, and the attitude is complacency, even though there are good reasons to believe the selling has not run its course. 

If I were seeing pockets of buying action, I'd feel more optimistic that it would resume trending upward. But what we have is dip-buying with little chasing. The bargain hunters want in but the real bulls aren't following through. We end with just mild losses but no real strength. 

My fear is that the dip-buyers have used up a lot of juice recently and don't have much to show for it, which may cause them to be less aggressive on subsequent pullbacks.  Dip-buying always sounds great in theory when we are trending up, but it loses its appeal quickly when the bounces don't hold. 

The bulls look sloppy, but they still have the advantage. They need more energy soon or they may lose the dip-buyers.

Have a good evening. I'll see you tomorrow.

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