Moderna, S&P: Vaccine hopes

A look at vaccine developments and its impact on the stock market


FBSSource: Bloomberg

Yes, we’ve heard it already – both statements. Of course, from a humane point of view, it’s good to hear there is progress with the vaccine development. But it increasingly looks like by the time it is ready, most people indeed will already have immunity to the virus. In the meantime, Moderna is enjoying spikes of investor attention.

The latest update is that it got one step closer to the vaccine pushed its stock from the rage of $60 to $75. Needless to say, if the reports informed us tomorrow that another testing stage is cleared, we would see this stock already somewhere at its recently made all-time high above $85. Trajectory zone 2 would be the channel of movement in this case.

In fact, Moderna’s stock may well get to those highs anyways: fundamentally, the interest for anti-virus business will keep its momentum months or even years ahead, even if tomorrow is no virus at all. So Moderna will see its rise, just it will be a slow case scenario – the one that corresponds to trajectory zone 1.

S&P 500

For the stock market, the vaccine hope seems to be the only “joy” that keeps the optimism on the stage. With the S&P, currently, we are almost exactly at the previous high of 3 320, and in an obvious consolidation. Meaning, the market is not really sure what to look at more: still spreading infections in the US of the vaccine hopes. Today, it seems the latter is taking the upper hand. What the next step is going to be?

An optimistic scenario suggests we will see Trajectory 1 giving the green light to bulls and repeating the pattern of the previous upward wave the S&P followed in May. How probable is that? Quite probable, given that the reports about vaccine developments keep coming more often.

A pessimistic scenario as per Trajectory 3 suggests that we are actually at the tip of another “inside wave” which will bounce down from the resistance of 3 230. How probable is that one? Also very probable: clearing testing processes is good, but we don’t have the vaccine yet. It may take months before we finally see it.

A moderate scenario presumes that the market will overlook the absence of the vaccine and take on a more positive mood. That will be Trajectory 2.

The thing is that, indeed, it may be not until the very end of 2020 when the vaccine eventually gets done. Everyone knows that. If the S&P was only waiting for the vaccine to finally get developed, then it would be going sideways between 2 980 and 3 230 for months from now. Is that likely? No. Regardless of the vaccine process, the more we move into the future, the more the market becomes insensitive to the reality of infections and, therefore, independent from the vaccine hopes. Why? Because with the vaccine or without it, life goes on. And even the virus is now on the rise in the US – again – it will slow down pretty soon. So the question is not “if” but “when”. And the market is bored waiting.


This post is written and submitted by FBS Markets for informational purposes only. In no way shall it be interpreted or construed to create any warranties of any kind, including an offer to buy or sell any currencies or other instruments. 

The views and ideas shared in this article are deemed reliable and based on the most up-to-date and trustworthy sources. However, the company does not take any responsibility for accuracy and completeness of the information, and the views expressed in the article may be subject to change without prior notice.

Building a Winning Momentum

History has recorded many great winning streaks.

Whether they were made in business, team sports, individual sports or other areas, they all had some common characteristics. They had a strong foundation, a belief in what they were doing and they took it one step at a time.

In trading, we can develop a winning streak if we decide to not always categorize winning with profits.

Success brings about more success, however if we decide we are a failure, then failure can also bring about more failure.

A Question You Need to Ask

Taking a pre-defined loss is part of the business. Exiting a winning trade and watching it continue to work without you is part of the business. Missing an opportunity is part of the business. Many traders cannot accept these realities of the trading business because they have a need for perfection and a need to be right.

Consider the following: You aren’t sure if you should scale your last unit at your target because you notice that momentum has increased and it looks like it could keep going beyond your target – do you hold it? Flatten at your target?

To know what to do, you need to answer the following questions for yourself. First, which is more painful to you…..exiting at your target and watching it run further? Or not exiting at your target and watching it come back in? You also need to know what your default action is when you experience different types of discomfort. Is that typical response of yours adaptive or is it emotionally reactive? Only you know the answer to this question; and it behooves you to know.


4 Stages ..

Stan Weinstein’s concept of stage analysis as outlined in his excellent book entitled Secrets For Profiting In Bull and Bear Markets.  I decided to read Mr Weinstein’s book and find out what these stages are.  Here is what I discovered:

STAGE 1:  This is the basing area where a stock is losing downside momentum.  Buyers and sellers are starting to move in equilibrium and although the stock is not taking off it is not selling off either.  The buyers are not asking for a discount of the price but are buying what the holders no longer want.  This stage could last weeks to months so there is no need to jump in just yet. 

STAGE 2:  The advancing stage begins when the stock in question starts to break higher from the basing area.  This stage usually has a retest to the break-out area before the real move starts.  There begins here a pattern of higher lows best described as two steps forward and one step back.  These pullbacks provide a good risk/reward opportunity for the astute trader.

STAGE 3:  The top area is stage 3 where the good trending stock finds its eventual end.  The upward advance loses momentum and consolidation sets in.  The mirror image of stage 1 starts to take shape once again.  There are sharp moves and high volume in this stage and it is best to refrain from trading here as the reward/risk ratio is stacked against you.

STAGE 4:  The declining phase is the fourth and final phase as the factor’s that maintained the stock’s previous momentum are no longer present and the sellers step in.  The trader is advised to never go long in this stage or hold on to any winning positions.  It is time to exit. If a downtend begins then you can start to look at shorting the stock for the same reasons you went long: trend and momentum.

The market is really very simple in its design and structure; it is the trader who makes it difficult.  Although not all markets and stocks are text book examples of the four stages, the disciplined trader would be wise to consider whether or not the stages may be playing out in a current position or one being considered.  There may just be a very good reason why both Shannon and Weinstein have best selling books on the same subject.

Rules for Shorting

Basic Rules for Shorting Stocks

1. Shorting Momentum names is dangerous: Unless you are Superman, never step in front of a speeding locomotive

2. Valuation alone is insufficient reason to get short a stock — History teaches us that cheap stocks can get cheaper, dear stocks can get more expensive

3. ALWAYS work with a pre-determined loss – either a physical or mental stop loss — Never leave yourself open to infinite losses

4. Fundamentals tell you WHY to short something, not WHEN to short it. ALWAYS have some technical confirmation before shorting. Make a short selling wish list, then WAIT for technical confirmation. (We use Money Flow, Short Term Trend lines, Institutional Ownership, Analyst Ratings).

5. It is tough to be a contrarian: During Bull and Bear cycles, the Crowd IS the market.

You have to figure out two things:
…a) When the crowd is wrong — Doug Kass calls it “Variant Perception”
…b) When the crowd starts to get an inkling they are wrong

At the turns — not the major trends — is where contrarians clean up.

6. Look for Over-owned, Over-loved stocks: 95% Institutional ownership, All buys or Strong Buys (no sells), and 700% gains over the past few years are reasons to put names on your short selling wish list.  (That is how my partner Kevin Lane found and shorted Enron and Tyco back in the 1990s).

7. Beware the “Crowded Short“– they tend to become targets of the squeeze!

8. You can use Options to either juice your short returns, or pre-define your risk capital (options)

4 Pillars of Trading

4 Pillars

I “see” the market through the lens of four primary metrics: fundamentals, technical, structural and psychology.

When viewed in isolation, each of those approaches has inherent flaws.

1. Fundamentals are best at the top and worst near a low.

2. Technical indicators often trigger buy signals higher, on breakouts, and sell signals lower, after a stock has broken down.

3. Structural factors — debt, derivatives and currency effects — can self-sustain in a cumulative manner until such time they overwhelm the system.

4. Psychology, such social mood and risk appetites, can gain momentum until they snap under the weight of the herd mentality.

Trading Your Personality

It’s been said too many times to count – that you must trade according to your personality. In the movies they might call it “being true to yourself” or something cheesy, but it’s a necessity in this job.

Recently I was asked which chart patterns I prefer to trade, continuation chart patterns or reversal chart patterns. My answer was that while I will actually trade either, I suppose the continuation and breakout type of patterns are the ones I trade more often than reversals or buying on support levels.

I don’t think one setup is superior to the other, they both have their pros and cons, and you have to go with what fits your style best.

Buying on support is an anticipatory play, which may take a few extra days to get moving. It can give you a lower cost basis than another trading strategy, but will require greater patience on your part while you wait for the stock to find traction.

Buying a stock which is breaking out puts you (by definition) in a stock that’s already on the move. This is a confirmation play. You get instant feedback on how your trade is developing and how much momentum the stock has.

The setups you select for your trades need to incorporate your personality tendencies on managing those trades once you are in them. For me, I tend to be a bit impatient and I want to know as soon as possible whether or not I’m right or wrong on a trade. Other traders don’t live in the left lane, and they’re willing to give a stock some time to get moving one way or another. They place their protective stop and turn their attention to something else in the meantime while waiting for their trade to make a move. Personally, I prefer to have my money at risk for the shortest timeframe possible. I really prefer the times when the market conditions are producing breakout plays and continuation patterns like the bull flag or ascending triangle patterns.

So, when you’re doing your homework and looking for quality setups to trade, be sure to consider the ones which fit your personality and your style of trading. Those will be the trades which you ultimately will manage the best.

Advantages of Technical Analysis

  • Technical analysis is a bit of a misnomer since it is really not that technical. A better name for the use of charts to make investment decisions might be risk/reward analysis or even market psychology. Sure, there are some complex mathematical concepts involved with some of its more esoteric indicators. But at its core, technical analysis is simply a method of determining if a stock or the market as a whole is worth buying or selling. Once we identify this we are way ahead of the game with regard to assembling a winning portfolio.
  • Simply stated, technical analysis is the study of data generated from the market and from the actions of people in the market. Such data includes price levels that have served as turning points in the past, the amounts of stock being bought and sold each day (volume), and the rate of change of price movements (momentum) over a given span of time. (more…)

13 Trading Rules

  • Let winners run. While momentum is in phase, the market can run much further than might be expected.
  • Corollary to that rule: Do not exit winners without reason!
  • Be quick to admit when wrong and get flat.
  • Sometimes a time stop is the right solution. If a position is entered, but the anticipated scenario does not develop then get out.
  • Remember: if one thing isn’t happening the other thing probably is. Historically, this has never been good for me…
  • Be careful of correlations. Several positions can often equal one large position bearing unacceptable risk. Please think.
  • I am responsible for risk management, money management, trade management, doing the analytical work and putting on every trade that comes.
  • I am not responsible for the outcome of any one trade. Markets are highly random. I do not have a crystal ball. I am not as smart as I think I am.
  • Risk management is the first and last responsibility. I can make almost any mistake and be ok as long as I do not violate my risk management parameters.
  • Opportunity comes every day. Do not neglect the work. Must do analysis every day.
  • Opportunity comes every day. Get out of poor positions. Move on.
  • I am a better countertrend trader than a trend trader. Sometimes the crowd is right, and they will run me over at those times if I’m not quick to admit I’m wrong.
  • If you’re going to do something stupid, at least do it on smaller size.

Have a Goal

There is no reward without risk, and there should be no risk without reward.  Knowing this, there’s absolutely no reason why each trade shouldn’t have some favorable objective associated with it, so set a goal for each trade.  A realistic one that could quite feasibly be reached during the course of the trade.

Perhaps you’ll set a hard target and book profits once that level is reached regardless of how strong the momentum seems at the time.  Or perhaps you’ll plan to book partial profits at intervals along the way.

At the very least, having some idea of a level where your stock could move to is still going to help you formulate a game plan, even if you don’t choose to leave a resting order in that zone to book profits.

If you know your stop and you have some kind of upside expectation, then you’ll have a far better grasp of just what your risk is on a given trade and whether or not it should be taken.

Go to top