Sunday, November 22, 2009

SP500 Bumps Resistance

- Quiet expiration Friday, quiet expiration week as SP500 bumps resistance.
- Dollar's gain pushes stocks modestly lower on the week.
- SP500 works at resistance while NASDAQ, SP600 struggle to hold on.
- Dell earnings not a worry for the consumer, but what about businesses many are relying on to lead us out of recession?
- If more stimulus is to come, at least make it stimulus that works.
- Whether a correction or more weakness on a stronger dollar, liquidity keeps an underlying bid in the market.

Expiration is a sleeper.

It was a quiet expiration Friday for a relatively quiet expiration week. There were a few fireworks, however. SP500 and the NASDAQ broke above resistance on Monday, but by the end of the week (on Thursday in particular), they broke back below that level and gave it up. The break higher was not that strong and neither was the break back down. The indices are sparring a bit and feeling out the key resistance. That resistance is the 2007 downtrend line and the 2004 lateral consolidation on SP500, with the NASDAQ bumping up against the 2008 lows. You would expect that the indices would need to feel their way along and try to get over that level (SP500 in particular), especially when you consider how far they have run off the March lows. When a market slams or bumps into key resistance levels, it takes time either to get through them or to turn back down; markets rarely turn on a day or two. An extraordinary event can cause that, but usually it is more like the seasonal changes in weather. There is steady movement in the heart of the season, and then things get more volatile on the fringes of the season. The indices may be at a seasonal change given the bump up against key resistance.

The leading factor driving the market is the dollar. If the dollar is weaker, the stock market is up, and vice versa. The dollar ended the week stronger (1.4861 Euros versus 1.4920 Thursday).
It was at 1.4839 Euros earlier in the day, so it did lose strength as the day went on. The indices came back late in the session and finished down, but with modest losses. The losses were well below 1%, and much less than the levels on Thursday when there was sharper selling. The dollar is driving and there is an overlaying theme of liquidity. The word's central banks still have a lot of money circulating, and this past week they said that would not change. On Friday, Mr. Trichet of the ECB said that when the central banks pulled back the easy money, it would have to be done gradually. That was not an earth-shattering statement, but the fact that he even mentioned pulling back the stimulus rattled the market and led to some strengthening in the dollar. The dollar finished stronger and the market finished weaker, but there was not much change at the end of the session.

NASDAQ and SP500 are bumping up against the resistance and working their way along, waiting for the next bout of liquidity to push them higher. Alternately, if the dollar rebound continues to the upside, they may pull back some more and correct, and then move higher with the next liquidity bout. This is not going to be a serious pullback (if there is one at all). The liquidity is still putting a bid under the market. It will keep driving it up until the liquidity is pulled or until something so horrendous happens that it overwhelms the fact that money has been made cheap and available.

The other markets were impacted by the dollar being stronger for yet another day, trying to make the oversold bounce off the double bottom. Oil was down as a result ($76.72, -0.74). It was over $80 during the week, so it did fall back. Gold finished positively ($1,150.60, + 8.7 0), and it is not paying attention to the dollar right now. Gold is concerned with inflation, and there is hoarding with worry about what may happen in 2010. Many people are starting to see this as a liquidity-related financial rally. When the liquidity is over, I wonder where it will be left. Someone on the Fed said they might have to leave rates low until 2012. The dollar will be worth nothing at that point, but we will see what happens. We are feeling our way along in managing economic crisis, just as the market is feeling its way along at resistance.



The market showed the same action it did on Thursday, just not as severe. There was a gap lower, an early selloff, the lateral move, and then a rebound back to the close. It was a very sleepy day on the market overall.


The internals were very modest and flat (NASDAQ -1.2:1, NYSE -1.4:1). There are still laggards in the SP600, and when they lag the breadth lags in NYSE overall. The volume was mixed, but it remained well below average. The volume rose on SP500 and gained about 4%. It was at 1.1B - up, but still quite low.

Volume was lower on NASDAQ, and that is more interesting. When it gapped lower off the island reversal on Thursday, it was up near average. The prior Thursday when it struggled and was down, it was above-average. NASDAQ is showing distribution, but only a little bit. If you look back over the week, there was the breakout in NASDAQ and it was on no shakes on good volume. Then there was the breakdown. It was higher, and that may mean something, but it was no big move and there was no follow through on Friday.

It was the same situation on SP500. It broke out, but the volume was no great shakes and not approaching average at all. It was a bit higher when it broke back down on Thursday, but it was still nothing. There was below-average "blah" which is not showing much. That is interesting in itself because SP500 is hitting a new rally high, but is not going to break through the downtrend or the 2004 resistance level with that low volume. On the other hand, it is not batting it back down like a fly either. It is hanging in there.


There was a modest pullback on Friday, and it tapped the 18 day EMA on the low. That keeps SP500 below its 2007 downtrend line, below the March uptrend line, and below the 2004 trading range. It was no major break down, only sag back. It broke higher on low volume; it tried the water a bit and did not like it. It broke back down on low volume and it is sitting there. It will either make a pullback and trade down into this range following NASDAQ and SP600, or it will hold and make a breakout if the liquidity decides to come back in.

The dollar will play a factor. If the dollar continues to rally, then the dollar-sensitive stocks that make up the SP500 will have to come back and take some gain off the table while the dollar does its thing. It could stand for a consolidation - all the stocks in energy, steel, and industrials could use the breather to set up some better buy positions. I will not complain about that if it happens.

The SP500 has not tipped its hand at all, but we do know it has the liquidity underneath it that has helped keep a bid in that market. NASDAQ was a little more interesting with the gap higher on slightly higher volume, and then it tested the water as well. It then gapped lower on higher volume on Thursday - that was the island reversal, but there was no follow through on Friday (that does not mean there will not be one). Near term, this is a bearish signal, but it is not a bearish breakdown. We are just taking about a trade down to 2100 or to the bottom of the range. That is what I anticipate will happen if the liquidity does not take over and surge things back up. That would mean the dollar would stay stronger, which would help NASDAQ make the test. That certainly would not upset us. We have calls out on AAPL that we could ride down and then buy back when they go down and NASDAQ tests this level and holds. Then we can prepare for upside positions. I have no issues with what is going on so far; nothing has changed and nothing is too scary at this point.

The SP600 is the one that is a little bit scarier because it made the lower low, came back up, made a higher low, and then broke higher. It looked positive and got up to the resistance range, and then it fell back somewhat sharply on Thursday. It held the line on Friday and is going to try to hold up at the late-August peak. I am worried about the small caps. There is a head and shoulders that can be trouble. You can look at buying into the IWM. The problem with these patterns is that they set up but rarely consummate. We all saw that happen in June and July, and it got some people's feet slammed in the door. If the small caps break down, that is not a good portent for the economy moving into 2010 - but that is another story. We are worried about what will happen right now, toward the end of the year.

The SOX is similarly ugly. It has a double top. It broke down, made new lows, and rallied back, but then it gapped down. It gapped up, then gapped down, and made an island reversal. That could bring it back down to this 300 range (even to 290), and that is not that far. There is too much liquidity for a major correction, selloff, or rollover. There will be corrections, but they will be viewed as a buying opportunity as long as the central banks have the money out there. The central banks will not take the bid out of the market right now when talking about withdrawing liquidity in 2012.

The dollar-sensitive indices (SP500, Dow) are holding up the best because the dollar has been slammed. They have been performing well and leading the market. Now that the dollar is picking up steam, they are fading back, but it is not a massive selloff. The DXY0 has moved up off its low and it is trying to break up toward the 50 day EMA, but it has slammed the door shut on it in early November. That is the big test coming up next week. The dollar-sensitive indices have been leading. They are pulling back a bit now, but so are the other indices that have been lagging. It always works out that way: Leaders pull back some, laggards pull back more. That is why NASDAQ and SP600 are struggling more.

The dollar may bounce up to 76.50, perhaps to 77. That is good resistance. If it does that, we will get the pullback that we want and can then cash out of our downside plays and buy some more upside. You can add to what you have if you road some of these out and they held up during the downturn. Then you can buy some new positions to catch them as they move up.


Leadership is still extended and showing some trouble, but there are some that have already pulled back and are try trying to regroup. It does not look pretty, but it is interesting. There was the trend higher, and it has broken lower. This is not an ABCD pattern because it is not a strong move, but there is an interesting feature of a gap, a consolidation, a gap, and then another consolidation. It looks like AKS may try to break higher. If it does, it is a nice trade up to 22-23. That is not 100% gain on a stocks position, but when the market is working through these issues with resistance, that is not too bad. STLD has a nice pattern as well; something of a double bottom with handle has formed. I can live with that. If it pulls back to the rising 10 day EMA and pops higher, we could make nice scratch on that as well.

Retail had some tough earnings this week that were not exactly pleasing, but the stocks held up well. PLCE has a nice ascending triangle. It traded in a wild range on the day it reported earnings, but it held its pattern. When a stock can do that in the face of less-than-great news, it shows it has sold out and is ready to break higher. ANN does not have a great pattern. I was looking at it as a downside play, but then it started to move laterally and hold its position, so I lost interest in that. It showed today that earnings were not as great as hoped. It was light on revenues and said its Q4 sales could be less than Q3, yet the selloff and the gap down to oblivion did not happen. As with PLCE, ANN may be sold out at this point, and that may be the case with other retailers as well. Why would BBY be moving up when California may ban flat screens? It must not be that bad (and that liquidity sure helps).

In energy, APA is holding the 50 day EMA and has come back to test it. It is down but not out. Others are having bigger pullbacks, such as HAL. It needs some work, but a pullback would not hurt it at all. RIG was selling off, and broke through its trendline on volume. That was not good, but if the market pulls back, maybe it will set a base, a double bottom, or an ABCD pattern. We have to remember that we cannot turn completely negative on the market just because it is in a correction. We have to look for the opportunities setting up and not forgot that these patterns formed during a lot of this market chop that gets everyone running scared.

DE looks great. It had a gap up, a nice test, and there could be a new entry point there. There are also some question marks. CAT is hanging in there, but we will see how many lives it has left on this move. TEX is trying to set up, but we will see. It is holding some support. The industrials have been the leaders and are now struggling as the dollar moves up a bit, but they are not giving up completely.

AAPL gapped higher and made somewhat of a double top. MACD sold off hard on Thursday on higher volume, and it could easily come down to the 190 level. You can still sell calls on this if it bounces up to the 10 day EMA on Monday and stalls. Buy them back when it hits 190 and holds.

Leadership could use more of a pullback, but some are already getting there. Steel is looking interesting again, and others will look interesting with more of a pullback. There are different waves of leadership, so different groups will move up. I have been looking for healthcare to make a move, and some stocks are, but they do not look great as a group. You have to pick and choose right now. When the dollar finishes making its rally, then the dollar-sensitive stocks should be coming back. We can then load up the boat in that direction once again.'


DELL results a worry for a business led recovery?

There was no economic report out on Friday, but there were interesting economic developments. DELL announced its earnings on Thursday night, and they were terrible. That was a major drag on the NASDAQ because Dell has so many outstanding shares. It is heavily weighted, and it gapped lower and dragged NASDAQ down with it. It closed down 0.5%, down just over 10 points.

A lot of pundits said that HPQ is the consumer-related PC company, so we cannot worry about DELL having poor earnings. That is fine if we are only looking to the consumer to pull us out of this. HPQ's earnings were not that bad. As you recall from the 2000-2001 recession, the businesses play a huge role in whether or not the economy prospers. Consumers continued to buy houses and that sort of thing all through that recession, but businesses collapsed and their inventories killed them. The economy suffered greatly, and we are still feeling the repercussions for that because we gave away our technological advantage over that period. That is another story, but an important one because it ties into our problems today. We gave away a lead there and are paying the price today when we struggle even more with massive debt.

DELL is not doing well consumer-wise, and it was not doing well in business because most of its business IS with businesses, and its earnings were very weak. That does not bode well for the pundits who say that the business side is going to carry us out of the recession - you have to have consumers with you. I will agree that the business aspect is very important in getting any country out of a recession. They have to invest and create more jobs, and that helps pull it out. Unfortunately, we are not investing in the kind of businesses that pull us out of recessions. In the past, we have had nice booms that turn the economy around and produce the kind of growth that pays our deficits down and gets them to manageable levels (or, dare I say, even surpluses). Those are the kind of booms where small businesses create new technologies and create millions of jobs as they grow. MSFT, DELL, CSCO all started to dorm rooms, garages, and motel rooms, but went on to become huge companies that created millions of jobs. Once they get to a certain size however, they are no longer growing. AAPL is not creating the same kind of jobs it did in the past, and neither is MSFT or DELL. They are not growing the way they were, and they cannot. It is incumbent upon the next round of small businesses that start in garages and dorm rooms to become the next growth companies that produce the job machine.

We have a real problem. DELL's numbers give a look into what is happening with small business: They are not buying anything. We have seen in other pieces of economic data that there are no new orders coming out even though production is up. Regional manufacturing is improving, but there are no new orders are coming. It is all going to curtail unless something triggers some buying among the nuts and bolts of the US economy - that is small business. Something has to spark the entrepreneurial spirit to get the new businesses started so we can create new technologies and thus the new jobs that drive our economy and our standard of living higher.

New stimulus talk, but same old results? Tax credits for jobs or for businesses?

There is talk about there being another round of stimulus. The Democrats in charge say that is not going to be necessary because of all the jobs that have been "saved," but those jobs are bogus (and they cost $303K per job). Those jobs are not going to produce what we need in the US to make us a strong economic power once more. They are creating teacher, police, and firefighter jobs - they are all in the public sector. I have nothing against any of those jobs, but they do not produce new technologies and they are not going to bring us to the level where we need to be. The problem is jobs, so there is talk that we need to pass incentives to get small businesses to hire people. That always sounds great and it is something we have tried for many in years. If the economy is going well and you want to bring on some people, it is great to give an incentive, but right now, the economy is slack. It is not expanding, the numbers are not as strong as in other recoveries, and the data is showing that there is not a lot of momentum building to the upside.

Small businesses are struggling, and if there is a tax credit for hiring, it is usually a one-time credit. It offsets the cost of training a new hire, and that is expensive. When you hire someone, you have to train them in many things. They may have a certain level of experience, and they may not, but you have to tailor it to your job and it costs a lot of money to do that. It is nice to have that cost offset by a credit. Then next month, you have the salary - and the month after that, and the month after that. A one-time credit is not going to help. You have to have enough business to keep that person employed to pay their salary and to make a profit on your own. With the new healthcare bill, you will have to be able to either pay extra for the healthcare or pay a tax or penalty. On the other hand, there are one-off tax credit incentives that work. They are the "use it or lose it" type, where if you buy equipment for your business or engage in R&D, you get a credit that comes right off the bottom of your taxes. If you owe $5K in taxes, and you get a $5K credit, you owe no taxes. Then you take the $5K that you would have paid in taxes and you spend it on whatever you need to help grow your business. That is an order coming in. If enough businesses do that, that creates a snowball effect. It creates more demand and you are investing in your business and trying to grow. You are unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit, and that is what always takes us out of these recessions. It is a one-time credit, but you use it because if you do not, it becomes money sent to the government while you get nothing. It is a no-brainer. It worked and set off a boom in the 1960's. It set off a boom in the 1980's. It also set off booms in Russia and other Eastern Bloc countries. Ireland was the same. It is proven to work, but we are unfortunately not going that route.

When you invest in one-offs that people will take advantage of, then they invest in their business and you will generate new technology and businesses that create new jobs. If you just say "hire someone," and throw some money in that direction, that is not creating anything. Many people in Washington have never run a business. They have never had to figure out what works and what does not, how to make a payroll, and how to keep a business running. That is a big disconnect, and it is why you have ideas like a credit to hire. Unless that person comes on board and generates revenue in excess of their salary, they are not going to be worth it. That is especially the case with the healthcare bill that is going to be passed this weekend. There are all those expenses saddled on the small businesses, and then there is cap and trade in early 2010 that will add more expenses - and they do not even know what they are yet. Small business is not going to invest in anything or spend any money when the economy is this bad and they see more taxes and costs eating away at their business down the road. They are going to hoard their money versus spending it. The government the fighting very serious headwinds of its own creation in trying to get the economy back on its feet.

We have some problems and the solutions we hear are not up to the task, but we will muddle through it. It will be painful, but we may have liquidity in the market until 2012. That could keep things rolling despite the fact that we would lose the middle class and the small business base in the US.



VIX: 22.19; -0.44
VXN: 22.49; -0.81
VXO: 21.12; -1.29

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 0.92; -0.08

Bulls versus Bears:

This is a reading of the number of bullish investment advisors versus bearish advisors. The reason you look at this is that it gives you an idea of how bullish investors are. If they are too bullish then everyone is in the market and it is heading for a top: if everyone wants to be in the market then all the money is in and there is no more new cash to drive it higher. On the other side of the spectrum if there are a lot of bears then there is a lot of cash on the sideline, and as the market rallies it drags that cash in as the bears give in. That cash provides the market the fuel to move higher. If bears are low it is the same as a lot of bulls: everyone is in and the market doesn't have the cash to drive it higher.

Bulls: 44.4%. Finally cracking some from the recent spike (48.3% last week, 49.5% prior). Of course this is just in time for SP500 to break key resistance. Believers may have waned but the liquidity did not. Still well over the 35% level that is the threshold for what is considered a bullish climate. It does not mean things are necessarily bearish; that takes a reading in the 60% range. Hit a high of 47.7% mid-June on the run from the March lows. Again, to be seriously bearish it needs to get up to the 60% to 65% level. Dramatic rise from 21.3% in November 2008, the bottom on this leg. This last leg down showed us the largest single week drop we have ever seen, falling from 33.7% to 25.3%. Hit 40.7% on the high during the rally off the July 2008 lows. 30.9% was the March low. In March the indicator did its job with the dive below 35% and the crossover with the bears. A move into the lower 40's is a decline of significance. A move to 35% is a bullish indicator.

Bears: 26.7%. Bounced up on the selling in conjunction with the decline in bulls. Up from 24.7% and 22.5% before that. Rebounding from the big drop 31.1% and 35.6%. For reference, cracking above the 35% threshold considered bullish. Hit a high on this run at 47.2%. For reference, bearishness hit a 5 year high at 54.4% the last week of October 2008. The move over 50 took bearish sentiment to its highest level since 1995. Extreme negative sentiment. Prior levels for comparison: Bearishness peaked at 37.4% in September 2007. It topped the June 2006 peak (36%) on that run. That June peak eclipsed the March 2006 high (33%) and well above the 2005 highs that spawned new rallies (30% in May 2005, 29.2% in October 2005). That was a huge turn, unlike any seen in recent history.


Stats: -10.78 points (-0.5%) to close at 2146.04
Volume: 1.98B (-7.29%)

Up Volume: 621.67M (+331.592M)
Down Volume: 1.355B (-549.203M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 1.17 to 1
Previous Session: Decliners led 3.78 to 1

New Highs: 47 (+14)
New Lows: 31 (+1)





Stats: -3.52 points (-0.32%) to close at 1091.38
NYSE Volume: 1.128B (+4.1%)

Up Volume: 405.464M (+285.65M)
Down Volume: 685.156M (-269.385M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Decliners led 1.42 to 1
Previous Session: Decliners led 4.05 to 1

New Highs: 83 (+7)
New Lows: 37 (-4)




Stats: -14.28 points (-0.14%) to close at 10318.16
Volume DJ30: 230M shares Friday versus 196M shares Thursday.



SP500 is bumping up against key resistance, and the big question is whether (and how much) it will consolidate. Will it move laterally for a few days with the liquidity shoving it higher, or will the dollar go higher while SPP500 kicks back a bit and corrects more? There are plays setting up both ways, and we have seen some already pulling back. The steel stocks have pulled back ahead of others, and energy is pulling back. After a bit more consolidation, it may be ready to move upside again. There are also downside plays that continue to set up. We have to ride the fence while the market goes through this. We do not want to get too involved in any case because the market is in the process of working through serious resistance. With the liquidity out there, the presumption is that it will ultimately break higher off this. When you start assuming that, the problem is that there could be a deeper correction than anticipated.

NASDAQ had the island reversal. It did not do anything on Friday, but that does not mean it is not going to do anything with it on Monday. We took positions with respect to that pattern on Friday, and we have been taking others here and there and setting ourselves up for the moves. We will have to play the dollar factor and the liquidity factor against one another and mind our positions. As long as the upside is holding support, we can let them ride out because they are relying on liquidity coming back in. On the other hand, if there is a correction near term, many of the other stocks that have rallied up are going to come back. It does not mean they will break down and crash, it just means they will come back and test the moves they made. We can take advantage of that and make some money to the downside; indeed, we have some downside positions accordingly.

Support and Resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 2146.04
2155 is the March 2008 intraday low
2167 from the July 2008 intraday low
2168 is the September 2009, intraday peak
2169 is the March 2008 closing low (double bottom)
2177 is a low from March 2008
2191 is the October 2009 peak
2210 (from September 2008) to 2212 (the July 2009 closing low)
2275 - 2278 from the February 2008 and April 2008 lows

The 18 day EMA at 2147
2143 is the October 2009 range low
The 50 day EMA at 2110
2099 is the mid-September 2008 closing low
2070 is the September 2008 intraday low
2060 is the August peak
2048 is the early October 2009 closing low
2016 is the early August peak
1984 from late September
1962 is the bottom of the August 2009 range.
1947 is the October gap down point
1897 is the October post gap intraday high.
1880 is the June peak
1862 is the July peak
The 200 day SM A at 1835

S&P 500: Closed at 1091.38
1100 is the 2007 down trendline
1101 is the October high
The March/July up trendline at 1104
1106 is the September 2008 low
1133 from a September 2008 intraday low
1185 from late September 2008
1200 from the July 2008 low

The 18 day EMA at 1086
1080 is the September 2009 peak
1078 is the October range low
1070 is the late September 2009 peak
The 50 day EMA at 1065
1044 is the October 2008 intraday high
The August peak at 1040
The early October 2009 closing low at 1025
The early August intraday peak at 1018
The November 2008 peak at 1006 closing 1007.53 intraday
992 is the August 2009 consolidation low
956 is the June intraday peak
944 is the January 2009 high
The 200 day SMA at 937
935 is the January closing high

Dow: Closed at 10,318.16
10,365 is the late September 2008 low
10,609 from the Mid-September 2008 interim low
10,963 is the July 2008 low

The 18 day EMA at 10,183
10,120 is the October 2009 peak
9918 is the September 2008 peak
The 50 day EMA at 9916
9855 is the early September peak in its lateral range
9835 is the late September 2009 peak
9654 is the November 2008 high
9625 is the October 2008 closing high
9620 is the August 2009 peak
9430 is the early October low
9387 is the mid-October peak
9116 is the August low
9088 is the January 2009 peak
8985 is the closing low in the mid-2003 consolidation
8934 is the December closing high
8878 is the June peak
8829 is the late November 2008 peak
The 200 day SMA at 8747

Economic Calendar

These are consensus expectations. Our expectations will vary and are discussed in the 'Economy' section.

December 01 - Tuesday
Construction Spending, October (10:00): 0.8% prior
ISM Index, November (10:00): 55.7 prior
Pending Home Sales, October (10:00): 19.8% prior
Auto Sales, November (14:00)
Truck Sales, November (14:00)

December 02 - Wednesday
Challenger Job Cuts, November (07:30)
ADP Employment Report, November (08:15): -203K prior
Crude Inventories, 11/27 (10:30)
Fed Beige Book, (2:00)

December 03 - Thursday
Initial Claims, 11/28 (08:30)
Continuing Claims, 11/21 (08:30)
Productivity-Rev., Q3 (08:30): 9.5% prior
Employment Cost Index, Q4 (08:30)
ISM Services, November (10:00): 50.6 prior

December 04 - Friday
Nonfarm Payrolls, November (08:30): -190K prior
Unemployment Rate, November (08:30): 10.2% prior
Average Workweek, November (08:30): 33.0 prior
Hourly Earnings, November (08:30): 0.3% prior
Factory Orders, October (10:00): 0.9% prior

By: Jon Johnson, Editor
Copyright 2009 | All Rights Reserved

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

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