Trading volume can be used as an indicator of changes in the market. Volume can tell you if a trend is likely to continue… or if it has run its course.

During the week of October 6-10, we saw several things we had never seen before. For one thing, the volume on the New York Stock Exchange reached 11 billion shares in a single day. A new record. Plus, the Spyders – the ETF that tracks the S&P 500 – saw over 800 million shares trade in a single day, and the weekly volume for the Spyders reached an incredible three billion shares. Those were both records.

You might also note that the week of October 6-10 saw the worst drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. That huge drop, coupled with the record volume, could indicate a capitulation point for the market – when everyone gives up and sells their stock. The second week of October could have been just that, the surrender of the bulls.

I would not recommend diving headfirst back into the market. There are going to be numerous layers of resistance to cut through. This market is best played cautiously. Lower your allocations and keep some cash on the sidelines. If, indeed, this turns out to be a bottom and a new bull market starts from here, there will be plenty of time to get back in.

[Ed. Note: With the market’s crazy fluctuations, it’s more important than ever to keep your investing strategies simple. Market analyst Rick Pendergraft has put together an educational program that lays out the simple steps you need to take to make money in any market condition. Not only do you get three months of Rick’s best recommendations, you also learn how to make good investment choices yourself.]

Inspired by his high school economics teacher, Rick Pendergraft fell in love with the markets at an early age. He entered his first investing competition at 17, and opened his first brokerage account before he finished college. At the age of 23, on the third options trade he had ever placed, Rick turned $1,800 into $22,000 in less than a week, when the company he bought became the target of a takeover. He admits it was a stroke of luck, but it was a memorable education as to the leverage that options can provide. After a ten year career in banking, Rick decided to pursue trading full-time. To get his foot in the door, he started out in the sales department at Schaeffer's Investment Research. It was not long before his talent was recognized and he was invited to apprentice under Bernie Schaeffer, one of the top options traders in the world. Rick thrived in his new position and twice received the award for "Top Trader."Rick has developed a loyal following of readers who are grateful for his timely warnings and profitable advice. He is widely recognized as a market expert and has been frequently quoted by Reuters, BusinessWeek, Forbes, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Rick's primary focus is on identifying short and intermediate term rising and falling trends in the major market sectors. His analysis is based on technical factors along with indicators of market sentimentRick lives near Delray Beach, FL with his wife and three children.

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