Have Stocks And ETFs Capitulated Yet? | ETF Trends

Stocks and ETFs rallied strongly today on the success of Joe Biden in the race for president, as fears of the coronavirus are put on the back-burner for a moment. But analysts and investors alike are wondering how much this market is likely to decline before truly bouncing back, given that we’ve entered correction territory and volatility is still extremely high.

The Dow closed up 4.53% at 27,090.86, the S&P 500 closed up 4.22% at 3,130.12 and Nasdaq closed up 3.85% at 9,018.09.

One sign of a true market bottom is what is known as capitulation. In essence, capitulation refers to when investors relinquish any prior gains in any security or market by selling their positions during periods of declines. This can also include investors who are at a loss finally exiting their positions when they can no longer take the pain financially and emotionally. Many market professionals consider it to be a sign of a bottom in prices and consequently an optimal time to buy securities.

Despite ETFs like the Fidelity MSCI Health Care Index ETF (FHLC) closed up 5.62% today, according to some analysts, capitulation has yet to come.

“The S&P 500′s late-February drop was not accompanied by true capitulation by equity investors,” said Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. “We haven’t yet seen signs of extreme bearishness among institutional investors or retail investors.”

Less than two weeks ago markets were at all-time highs, with the S&P 500 nearly reaching 3400, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average  on the path to 30,000. But then stocks suddenly plummeted, losing well over 10% in less than a week, panicking over the coronavirus, as they recoiled from a massive run up.

Since that time, stocks have tried to recover from the sell-off, as the S&P 500 on Monday captured its biggest one-day gain since August 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also posted its biggest one-day point gain ever that day. However, strategists at RBC Capital Markets and Credit Suisse still feel that some sentiment, technical and policy signals have to occur before a genuine bottom begin to form.

In an investor note, Calvasina said sentiment among asset managers is still in “euphoric territory,” as measured by positioning in U.S. equity futures that permit investors to buy and sell at specified targets.

While the coronavirus has become more and more insidious, with over 90,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths globally, Andrew Garthwaite, head of global equity strategy at Credit Suisse, feels the number of new coronavirus cases needs to peak globally before the market can bottom.

“While lessons from the SARS outbreak of 2003 are becoming perhaps less relevant as this outbreak becomes very much more global, one key observation we think remains valid, that markets troughed when the rate of new infections peaked,” Garthwaite said in a note.

While markets are chartering uncertain territory right now, in the event that volatility does start to compress, investing in stocks once again using time-tested ETFs like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), and the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) is one simple way to play the long side.

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