I’ve spent most of the evening thinking about this tape. With today’s close we are back to the early July high, which means it’s time to open the hood and look at the engine to determine if what’s driving this market is sustainable or not.
What is so frustrating is there doesn’t seem to be a clear signal from what I’m seeing. I could go either way. On one hand we have the Aussie dollar, which mirrored the move we saw in the S&P 500.
We also have the S&P breaking above a falling trendline (blue) and it still has room to run until it hits the rising trendline (orange) around 1390-1400.
We also have the fewest number of bulls based on AAII Sentiment data since August ’10, which has historically been a fairly good bullish contrarian indicator.
While on the other hand neither copper (JJC), China (FXI), the financials (XLF), or Technology (XLK) participating in hitting their early July highs. These four are typically leading indicators of price movement in the major indices. When we don’t see cooperation in any of them, a warning sign goes up.
Also, if you look at the S&P 500 chart posted above, in the bottom panel we see the On Balance Volume indicator which I’ve talked about numerous times. OBV simply adds the number of shares traded on positive days and subtracts the number of shares traded on negative days to give an idea of whether buyers or sellers are controlling the tape. During the recent rally we have not seen buyers step up in force while the S&P got back over 1370.
Finally, small caps (IWM) were also not present on the list of those hitting their short-term high. Typically, I like to see large caps be accompanied by the small caps during critical market junctures as a sign of traders adding beta to their portfolios. We saw a similar divergence where small caps were nowhere to be found when the S&P hit a new high back in April, with IWM putting in a lower high.
So now you can understand my frustration. We have cooperation from some and a lack there of from others. Although it will take more market action to play out before we may know if this rally can continue or if the intermediate downtrend is still intact, it seems there may be a slight bias to the upside for the time being.
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