On Wednesday, the Fast Money pros were trying to get a handle on the stock market's bounce – one day after its worst sell-off in three months.
Although the S&P advanced, the gains were just a fraction of the previous session's declines.
The action led traders to ask is there more sell-off coming? Or was the decline earlier in the week simply a bullish pull back?
“The bounce was nice, but I think it’s merely a brief reprieve,” says top technical analyst Abigail Doolittle. Patterns in the charts suggest to her that the market is about to make a sizable move lower – in fits and starts.
Doolittle points to the action in the Russell as a key tell. While other indexes marched higher in February the Russell moved sideways. “The Russell didn’t have the tailwind from Apple,” she explains. (In other words, Doolittlebelieves enthusiasm about Apple may have caused the S&P to overshoot to the upside. If her analysis is correct, it suggests markets are overbought.)
Looking at the current weakness in the Russell and extrapolating that the S&P, Doolittle says, “we're probably looking at a drop of 5-10%.”
Trader Steve Cortes agrees entirely. “It’s unsettling that in February the Russell lagged and key sectors lagged while the other indexes advanced,” he says.
Also, Cortes believes it’s significant that Beijing’s admitted to slower growth in China . “That was meaningful,” he says. He believes the admission will drag down stocks that are tied to China; names such as Freeport McMoRan and Potash. (In turn, that weakness would drag down the S&P.)
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Trader Joe Terranova doesn’t buy it. He thinks the sell-off was simply a healthy pull back amid a broad move higher. “Oil is back on the boil,” he says. Although it's bad for the consumer, typically strong oil is good for stocks because it drives the energy sector higher. “Play it long Occidental. “And financials are strong,” he says, “I’m adding to Goldman on the strength.”
Trader Brian Kelly is somewhere in the middle; he disagrees with Doolittle about small caps. “I’m a buyer of Russell – my view is that the US economy is the best economy in the whole world."
Also Kelly is a buyer of the SMH. “It was one of the only green spots on Tuesday in a very negative tape.”
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Trader disclosure: On March 7, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Terranova is short GOOG; Terranova is short April gold futures; Terranova is short May silver futures; Terranova is long VRTUS; Terranova is long NXPI; Terranova is long IBM; Terranova is long MCD; Terranova is long LQD; Terranova is long EMC; Terranova is long MSFT; Terranova is long GS; Terranova is long JOY; Terranova is long OXY; Cortes is long SO; Cortes is short Aussie dollar; Cortes is short XHB vs. S&P long; Cortes is short SOXX; Cortes is short FXI; Kelly is long IWM; Kelly is long KRE; Kelly is long SMH; Kelly is long SPY; Kelly is long TLT; Kelly is long USG; Kelly is long QQQ calls; Kelly is long FTSE 100; Kelly is long Eurostoxx50; Kelly is short Yen; Kelly is short EWA; Kelly is short EWC ; Kelly is short EWY; Doolittle is long TYP; Doolittle is long GLL; Doolittle is long ZSL; Doolittle is long FAZ; Grasso is long LVS
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