Credit markets are showing glimmers of improvement. Note the following quotes from MarketWatch.com:
The cost of short-term dollar loans dropped more than expected Monday, a signal that money markets are slowly returning to normal after threatening to derail the global financial system earlier this month, economists said.
The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, for three-month dollar loans fell to 4.05875%, down sharply from 4.41875% on Friday. The one-month rate fell to 3.75125% from 4.18125% on Friday.
Later Monday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony prepared for delivery at a hearing before the House Budget Committee, said he was encouraged by signs a severe credit blockage was easing after massive efforts by governments around the world to recapitalize major banks and guarantee short-term bank debts.
On Friday, three-month Libor posted its first weekly decline since July. The rate had pushed as high as 4.81875% on Oct. 10.
In yesterday's Weekly Review post, I described how the Alert HQ stock market statistics showed an improvement after last week's rise in stock prices. The important indicator showing how many stocks have their 20-day moving average above their 50-day moving average held steady and looks like it could be forming a low.
I know that one data point does not make a trend; however, combining the technical situation with the credit market data as described above has me thinking that it is time to start moving to a slightly more bullish stance.
To complete my turnaround from worried bear to cautious bull, I opened a modest position in the ProShares Ultra S&P 500 ETF (SSO).
These actions were carried out mid-morning so I managed to avoid some of the losses eventually realized by QID and MZZ by the end of the day as well as pick up some profit from the run-up in SSO.
Am I convinced we are in for a booming bull market and that the worst is behind us? I am not so bold as to assume that to be the case. I merely feel that the market seems to want to move upward now and, since I have a small trading account, it behooves me to listen to Mr. Market and act accordingly.
In a triumph of possibly misplaced reason over trading instinct, I held on to the ProShares Ultra Short Consumer Services ETF (SCC) and was punished for the effort. All recent evidence (bad retail reports and rising unemployment, for example) points to the fact that consumer spending has been falling and that we can expect it to continue falling, resulting in a very week holiday shopping season. This should tend to drive this double short ETF up. Monday, though, investors were having none of this idea. In a rising market, all news is good. We'll have to see how earnings season impacts this ETF.
Disclosure: long SCC and SSO