Bad economic data, but the market is going up!?

Frustration among traders is very common when they go short on anticipation of bad economic data (or long on good economic data). This is due to the fact that in many cases the market does not always come down on bad economic data, or vice versa does not always rise on good economic data. Bad is good sometimes, and good is bad. Traders are frustrated because the market is not doing what they think it is 'supposed to do'.

They are expecting the logical and 'justified' result of the market that should go with the fresh economic data: good is up, bad is down. Anything else means that some dark mysterious force is at work (the FED, the PPT, Goldman, politicians, CNBC, you name it...)

In many chat rooms and internet forums, you can 'enjoy' comments like "This unemployment figure is so bad, the market has to come down, it simply has to!". Some minutes later when the market goes up, there's the usual outcry "Who is buying stocks on this bad news?! What are these %$&^*#^$ buyers thinking? Are they going nuts, they must be so stupid!" and they get angry with the markets. Getting angry with the markets is a very, very strong signal to stop trading right at that moment, but that's another article.

Many of these traders consider themselves smarter than the rest of the market, thinking they see things deeper, more clearly than those who are buying on bad news (or selling on good news). One day, the rest of the world will see that they were right all along....

This is all a big mistake. What all these traders are missing is the simple fact that in most cases buyers are simply buying because others are buying, or start selling when others start selling, no matter what the news is. Technical analysts would call the buying activity 'support' and the selling 'resistance'.  Also, these traders should ask themselves this: if you are expecting bad economic data to come out, could it be that your neighbor is thinking the same thing? And your neighbor's neighbor? And what do you think, that he thinks you are going to do? That too is the subject of another article, but you get the idea.