Unlike Christmas Eve a year ago, there is no drama today in the market. It is very low volume action with a slightly negative bias. Breadth is close to even and the number of new 12-month highs has contracted to 260.
With the indices hovering at all-time highs I expect to see more focus on preserving recent gains rather than pushing for more. Entry points are generally extended and it is very late in the game now to try to produce relative performance.
I'm doing some selling, not because stocks are acting poorly, but because I want to keep my accounts as close to all-time highs as possible into the end of the year. As I've discussed many times, the best way to outperform is to keep your accounts as close to highs as possible. This helps you avoid the very unproductive work of making up unrealized losses and also always for the compounding effect to take place. Many market players spent a big part of 2019 making up their losses from the fourth quarter of 2018 which hurt their longer-term performance.
I continue to like the action I'm seeing in gold miners. I mentioned Barrick Gold (GOLD) and SSR Mining (SSRM) recently and both are extending from consolidation. I suspect that 2020 might be the year that precious metals finally rewards the 'true believers' that have been predicting a run for so long.
A note this morning Bank of America mentioned that it is seeing more buying of individual stocks than ETFs for the first time since 2008. They feel this may suggest a potential slowdown in the 'passive' approach to investing. If that is the start of a theme then that bodes well for stock pickers like me. We have had some great stock picking in recent weeks and hopefully that is an emerging theme and not just a function of seasonality.
The market continues to hold up and the mood is quite complacent. This is typical holiday trading. Last Christmas Eve was an aberration.