There have been several signs that we may have been settling into support and ready to bounce since the big intraday dip on January 20th. Today's price action appeared to be the follow through we were expecting. But remember that markets tend to come back and test the lows before truly heading higher, so be cautious. SPX had a huge 47 point day, closing at $1940. RUT followed the lead with a gain of $32 to close at $1035. Volatility contracted with the VIX losing over two points to 20.1%. There was probably a lot of short covering and trading volume bounced higher with 3.8 billion shares of the S&P 500 stocks trading today. Trading on the NYSE increased 16% and trading on NASDAQ rose 13%.
The first estimate of fourth quarter GDP was reported this morning at +0.7%, resulting in a full year gain of 1.7% - tepid, but far from a recessionary value. Analysts pointed to the Bank of Japan's negative interest rates for starting this rally, but the market action was somewhat muted this morning and accelerated as the day wore on. About half of today's increase came after noon.
I took the opportunity to add to my March put spreads on SPX, but I would still recommend caution. The price action of the past few days has pushed SPX above the middle of the Bollinger bands. You wouldn't know it from all of the negative commentary, but the markets have recovered quite a bit.