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Four Rules For
Spotting And Exploiting News Reversals

By Daniel P. Delaney

Just turn on
the TV
or walk up to a magazine rack, and it becomes clear that
the business of reporting financial and business news has changed
dramatically over the last decade. We are bombarded by CNBC, the Nightly
Business Report, Bloomberg, and CNN Financial, minute by minute, about every
late-breaking piece of financial and economic news.

It’s no surprise, then, that all
of this media influence and attention can move the markets. The amazing part
of this whole process, however, is how often what should happen, doesn’t
happen, and what shouldn’t happen, does happen. Often, when the financial
media dramatically report a piece of news that should send a stock or index
soaring, the exact opposite effect occurs, and the stock or index gaps up,
only to sell off sharply on news that you would think would have had the
opposite effect. This process allows an astute trader to trade these “news
reversals,” by taking advantage of the “herd mentality” that the financial
media continually stirs up.

amazing part… is how often what should happen, doesn’t happen…
(allowing) the astute trader to… (take) advantage of the ‘herd
mentality’ that the financial media continually stirs up.”

This trading method requires a
major news event to trigger a buy or sell signal. By trading news reversals,
you can learn to take advantage of the fact that the majority of people are
rational, and that they tend to react logically in the same way to the same
outside stimuli. Because human beings are basically rational, the collective
result of all of their actions can tend to cause an
in the market.

It’s not that the market itself is
irrational, but rather it is just reflecting the sum total of a massive
group of people all thinking the same way, at the same time. This effect is
only compounded by a financial news media that is more than happy to rev-up
the crowd’s emotions.

For example, if a stock market is
nervous about inflationary pressures, and a piece of key economic data is
released showing a big spike in unemployment, the equity market will take it
as a very bullish signal and will likely gap higher. The media will fuel the
bullish sentiment, analysts and experts will make positive statements, and
traders and investors may launch into a buying panic. This obviously will
cause the market to gap higher at the open, creating a short-term overbought

Instead of moving higher, prices
begin moving lower, and selling leads to more selling. Speculators who
thought prices could only go higher begin to panic, and suddenly, what
should have been a bullish day for stocks turns into a large selloff, as
prices head lower.

In order to implement a proper
news-reversal trading strategy, I have included some rules that
TradingMarkets CEO and founder Larry Connors wrote about in Investment
Secrets of a Hedge Fund Manager
Gordon Publishing)

The Rules

Rule #1:
Wait for an extremely bullish or bearish event to occur after the market has
closed. Equity traders can look at analyst actions, earnings reports, or
takeover rumors. Futures traders can look for crop reports, weather reports,
economic reports, or livestock reports.

Rule #2:
Watch for the market to gap open above or below the previous day’s high or
low for a signal to occur.

Rule #3:
On openings that gap higher, place a sell stop one tick below the previous
day’s high. On openings that gap lower, place a buy stop one tick below the
previous day’s low.

Note: Equities cannot be purchased via buy stops. They must be done

Rule #4:
After you are filled, stops should be placed at the morning’s opening price.
As prices move in your favor, stops should be adjusted to lock in profits.

One example of how the
news-reversal strategy can work is Oracle (ORCL).
After the bell on June 20, 2000, it announced better-than-expected earnings.
Despite the fact that Oracle beat analyst expectations of 25 cents a share
by 6 cents, worries about future revenue growth and a downgrade from a major
wire house sent the stock sharply lower in after-hours trading.

As you can see, Oracle gapped
lower at the open on June 21, but the reaction to the downside turned out to
be a classic over-reaction that was fueled overnight and pre-market by a
overly zealous media. By the close on the 21st, Oracle was in positive
territory. Your buy would have been at 84 1/2 and would have been good for a
couple of points.

In talking to Larry Connors about
news-reversal strategy, he said he has certainly found that it works even
better on futures than on stocks, due to the fact that futures have less
intraday noise and trade much cleaner than stocks.

A good example of a futures
news-reversal setup took place in July Coffee (KCN0)
futures on May 31, 2000 as is indicated on the chart below. Coffee gapped
open on news that exporters were reducing production by 20%.

Coffee gapped open to 101.25. The
sell stop would have been placed at the previous day’s high of 100.90 and
would have executed in early trading on the 31st. Prices then collapsed down
to 93.00, leaving traders with a winning trade of $3000 per contract trade
for the day. (The red line above indicates the previous day’s high, and the
green line shows where the entry trade would have occurred on the 31st).

Points To

The main thing to remember about
trading news reversals is that it can be a psychologically difficult
strategy. When the financial media and all the “experts” reinforce the
logical reaction to a news event, it’s tough to trade against that reaction.
You really can’t use logic to trade this strategy. For example, it is hard
to put in a buy stop in bonds when the so-called experts are saying bonds
are going to go down.

The key to trading news reversals
is to remember that you must toss out all of your preconceived notions in
order to truly listen to the market when it is acting like a contrarian.
After all, the market seldom seems to do what it is logically supposed to
do, so developing the ability to trade by using this reverse logic can give
traders an edge, when “the herd” is thinking logically.

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