We’ve had an extremely long run up in the market over the past month and a half.
The S&P 500 is up 8.8% since October 8. The market has barely had much of a pullback since this rally started. It feels like the market won’t pullback at any point soon. But it will happen.
There are a lot of questions to think about though when it comes to timing a pullback in prices:
- How much long will markets run higher before the market pulls back?
- What will the depth of the pullback be when it does happen?
- What is the likely magnitude of the pullback?
These are all impossible to know, but are at least worth considering.
My prediction is that we experience a pullback sometime after December 20, 2019. Why that date? It’s the infamous quad witching date. What’s that?
What Is Quadruple Witching?
Quadruple witching refers to a date on which stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures expire simultaneously. While stock options contracts and index options expire on the third Friday of every month, all four asset classes expire simultaneously on the third Friday of March, June, September, and December.
There is large gamma exposure coming off the books on this date. To the order of $2.7 billion. Source
There are the potential risks that could be a tipping point as well. If any catalysts materialize, a pullback is likely.
Possible risks include:
- No trade deal with China, or worse, a more tense U.S.-China relationship.
- Issues in the short-term funding market where the Fed can no longer control short-term interest rates
- Bad guidance on future earnings
- Declining GDP becoming more known
I believe a pullback could see much of gains up to this point being wiped out. $2900 isn’t out of the question of being tested at some point in mid-December to mid-January. That’d be down 7.7% from where we are currently at.
A deeper decline is possible, but would need to be closer before any thoughts about it happening.
I think a pullback could be very quick, 3-4 days like August and May pullbacks. Some even say it could be like February 2018 pullback, but I’m not so sure that the magnitude would reach that level.
With that being said, my predictions are usually wrong. Follow Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. So make sure you hedge your bets and spread them out intelligently over some specified time frame.