S&P 500: Why Smart Traders Are Not Trading This Chop

The shed 0.2% on Monday as this sideways snooze-fest continues.S&P 500 Index-Daily Chart

The index rallied in the second half of last week, meaning it was time for the pendulum to swing in the other direction. This simple reversal explains most of Monday’s trivial losses: One day’s ups become the next day’s downs.

Nothing meaningful is changing in the financial headlines, which is why the price action is so benign. Bulls are staying bullish, and Bears are staying bearish. This will inevitably change at some point, but we need a big and unexpected headline to shake things up and get the market moving. Until then, expect this slow, choppy grind with a slight upward bias to continue. Better trading opportunities are coming, but they are not here yet.

I will let the day traders fight over these nickels and dimes while I wait for better profit opportunities. Maybe that will happen later this week, or maybe it will take a week or two. But the next trade is coming because it always does, and it will be here when we least expect it. Until then, my goal is to avoid losing money overtrading this meaningless chop and that means sitting on my hands.

Remember, long-term success in the markets doesn’t come from our winning trades but from not giving those profits back in our follow-up trades. Often, the best trade is not trading.

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