Should Investors Become Traders?

The economic calendar is packed with important reports. In normal times we would all be very interested, but the times are far from normal. Several of the reports emphasize April data, the first full impacts of the pandemic and shutdowns. Personal income and spending, ISM manufacturing, and consumer confidence will get special attention for that reason. Corporate earnings will provide an inside look at the shutdown effects and expected impact.

Most important will be the first steps at reopening the economy.

The background makes it a challenge for investors. They have more free time and many voices telling them what is “working.” No one is really helping much with the key question:

Should investors become traders?

Last Week Recap

In my last installment of WTWA, recognized the more upbeat sentiment shown by Mr. Market and suggested that investors might need to curb their enthusiasm. This was a popular theme for the week, usually stated as questions about why the market had rallied so much and what people could possibly be thinking.

The Story in One Chart

I always start my personal review of the week by looking at a great chart. This week I am featuring Jill Mislinski’s version, an excellent combination of the most important information.

As has been the case for several weeks, there are frequent opening gaps. This has been accompanied by much more active trading in the overnight futures markets (WSJ).

The market lost 1.3% on the week. The trading range was 5.2%, a continued reduction from a few weeks ago. You can monitor these along with historical comparisons in my weekly Indicator Snapshot (below).