Anyone who bought technology stocks on the dip last Friday and Monday is feeling unhappy today. And that spells a worried market. Especially since key stocks in the sector such as Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) are showing signs of breaking through important support.
The NASDAQ Composite Index is off 0.93% today as of 12:30 p.m. New York time. The NASDAQ 100 with its even heavier weighting toward the biggest technology stocks is down 0.97%. In contrast the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has lost 0.49%.
The big tech stocks that led this rally have been off the most today. For example, Amazon is down 2.07%; Apple is off 1.25%, and Facebook (FB) is lower by 1.14%.
What’s particularly worrying today for those investors (all of us?) trying to figure out whether this is a consolidation of recent gains with modest selling or something worse (like a correction in the sector and maybe the markets as a whole) is that major indexes and individual stocks are getting close to breaching important support levels. The computerized trading algorithms that rule Wall Street right now have certainly noticed and there’s a strong possibility that a drop below this support could trigger computerized sell signals. There’s no way to tell if or when that might happen, but the possibility of it happening (with the resultant big draft to the downside) is worth considering.
For example, the NASDAQ 100 at 5675 is not all that far above the 50-day moving average at 5631. At 6144 the NASDAQ Composite index is getting close to the 50-day moving average at 6079.
For some important individual stocks, the charts are even more worrisome. Apple at $143.39 has already today breached 50-day support at $148.59. Amazon at $957 is close to 50-day support at $948.39. Facebook at $150 is looking at support at $148.09.
I’m actually more concerned by today’s retreat than I was at the bigger decline at the end of last week. The failure of the buy on the dip rally to take hold is a negative sign for the tech sector. The conclusion is that, currently, more investors are interested in taking profits after the parabolic move in the big tech stocks than in bargain hunting. At the moment.
It makes sense to me at this point to check cash balances to make sure that you have money to buy if this drop gets more serious. Some profit taking is in order if it won’t kill you on taxes. A put or two on one of the group of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft (MSFT), Nvidia (NVDA) or Alphabet (GOOG) looks like a prudent insurance policy against a bigger decline. I’m still not looking for a correction but, as I said, I am more worried than I was last week.
The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) is up 6.86% to 11.37 today. The November 15 call option at 13 on the VIX that I mentioned over the weekend on my paid JubakAm.com site (you can still sigh up for a free 30 days, you know, through Friday) as a possible hedge (the October 15 call is another choice) has climbed to $3.50 bid/$3.70 ask today. You could have bought that call for $3.40 on Monday.
Full disclosure: I own call options on the VIX for October and November, and for Facebook for January 2018 in my personal portfolio.