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September Swoon Targets: Where to Buy the Dip

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The stock market hasn't had a 10% correction since... last September. And given the frothy foam of valuations in the technology wing, which now comprises 30% of the S&P 500, we seem a bit due.

And while timing the pullbacks may be a full-time job for some investors and traders, actually benefiting from them by predicting the depth and duration is another story.

Short and Shallow Bear Traps

In the video that accompanies this article, I look at the last four very short, shallow pullbacks of 2-4% that all occurred in the middle of May, June, July, and August.

I also praise the strength of this bull market, built on solid economic momentum, a still-friendly Fed, and money managers who still have no better place to put their clients' cash.

In Praise of Good Breadth

Even the breadth charts speak well of the indexes, so that the giant, institutional hiding places (FANGMAN stocks) aren't the only leaders.

In the video, I show four charts on that theme including the Russell 2000, the S&P Equal Weight, and my new favorite index of junior Nasdaq stocks that includes companies like Zscaler (ZS - Free Report) , Datadog (DDOG - Free Report) , MongoDB (MDB - Free Report) , Coupa Software (COUP - Free Report) , and The Trade Desk (TTD - Free Report) .

But corrections can come out of nowhere, even when the broad charts look great. It will just take a catalyst that most weren't looking at.

And it will seem surprising the market could go down so fast, as if we've forgotten how this movie goes.

Why didn't we have more warning signs, fundamental or technical?

SPX 5,000 Before 4,000

Fear not. Whatever dip comes will be a great one to buy. Just be sure to have some ready cash for the market because dips to SPX 4,300 and below should be bought, as I think the SPX finishes the year at new highs on the back of a very strong consumer and jobs market.

In the video, I show the SPX chart with 4 major support levels, all the way down to a 10% correction near the 200-day moving average and the May double-bottom around 4,060.

But I don't think we go down that far and I explain why, as well as talk about a simple way to view the VIX in the 16-20 area.

I also show the Nasdaq 100 chart with levels for a 5-7% pullback (around 14,600 and near the July lows) and where the 10% level comes in. Keep in mind, if these indexes drop 5-8%, your favorite stocks could be bleeding 20-30% real quick.

Keeping Speculators Honest

This is how markets work. They aren't rational. They run to extremes of optimism where everybody is buying and growing complacent, almost believing their winners can't go down.

In the video, I show one view of the happily bullish that may be a contrarian indicator: the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) Exposure Index. The index, a weekly survey of small active managers with less than $50 million AUM, has been strongly bullish in August.

But that sentiment can turn on a dime as the "flash pullback" of August displayed when the index dropped from 97% bullish exposure (the index average weighting) to 70%. Now, it's back to 94% as of the 9/1 survey (we should expect new data any day).

While optimism and complacency build and solidify after a big run, and some valuation "hot pockets" in Tech start making investors look around at who's going to flinch first, all it takes is a slightly negative catalyst.

And September is as likely a month as any, often more so. Just trigger enough selling to get the water slide going and suddenly everyone is in panic mode. Then the pessimism creeps in.

Boy is that a perfect time to be buying!

Watch the video to plan and mentally prepare for your buy windows. And get your shopping lists ready!

Kevin Cook is a Senior Stock Strategist for Zacks Investment Research where he runs the TAZR Trader portfolio.