Monday, April 25, 2011

Stocks Continue Their Rally


- Stocks continue their rally, giving us the moves we want but still below the February peaks.
- Strong earnings and guidance offset another week of 400K jobless claims and a tumbling Philly Fed manufacturing report.
- Leadership is across the board but financials are holding SP500 back at a critical point.
- Can earnings and a decent technical pattern push stocks through to the other side?


Good earnings overcome so-so economic data and rally stocks as per the plan.

Stocks did what we wanted them to do to close out the week ahead of the three-day weekend. We were looking for a move up toward the February peak, and they more or less did that. SP500 gapped higher and rallied to the March peak. It could not go beyond that. NASDAQ gapped just past its March peak and into the gap zone from the downfall off of its February peak. We hoped to get this high and cannot complain. It got close enough. We were taking some profits on the day because we got what we wanted. It would have been the height of foolishness not to after we got what we wanted and said we would take profits.

The interesting thing is that the market did not take profits overall. There were a couple of points were it looked like it might sell off. It gapped open and then sold off a bit. Then it tried to sell a couple of times in the afternoon session. The sellers simply were not strong enough. Volume was a bit lighter, but not pathetically light. Stocks managed to rally in the last half hour to close right at session highs whether it was on the SP500, NASDAQ or what have you. It was a good two-day rally to end the week. NASDAQ, +0.6%; SP500, +0.5%; Dow, +0.4%; SP600, +0.7%; SOX fell 0.05%; NASDAQ 100, +0.8%. NASDAQ 100 was leading the way higher with AAPL's earnings and many other big-name techs performing well on their earnings results.

It may have seemed fairly easy with some of the big-name large caps leading the way. AAPL gapped higher on its earnings. We took some gain off of our more recent position in it. BIDU did not move up. It has been moving higher, and we decided to bank some gain there. We had a big option trade and we took a little off the table. BWLD was not necessarily racing to the upside, and we took nice gain there. We just were picking and choosing throughout the market. We took gain on LULU as well in one of our late positions. PLXS was up big on its earnings results. SCSS bolted to the upside with a huge 30% gain on the session. Now we have something like 90% gain built into our stock position on that play. Cannot complain there.

We even took some gain on TITN because it had a great week. Then it did the old gap-higher-and-reverse routine. Did not quite hit our target, but it was ripe. We took some 18% stock gain and 90%+ option gain on that. Even though it did not hit our target, it showed indications that it might try to pull back near term. We banked a little gain and took some interim gain on other positions as well. It was that kind of day for us, although the market overall held onto its gains rather well.

It was not a given that it would do that. Before the bell opened, we had initial jobless claims come in at 403K, cracking over 400K for the second straight week when only 390K was expected. Moreover, the prior week was revised higher to 416K from the original 412K reported. We see a tick higher in jobless claims, and it is worrisome when you see two weeks back to back. We will see what the rubber match does next week, but you have to be a little concerned, particularly when some companies are taking about trouble.

Other companies are talking in glowing reports. GE and DD beat estimates and boosted their guidance. That has been commonplace. Remember, coming into this earnings season I was talking about the very few warnings or upside warnings, for that matter. That meant I felt that either stocks would be in line or they would be beaten. For the most part, they have been beating the lights out of their expectations, such as AAPL, SCSS, PLXS, QCOM, DD and GE. GE actual grew. It is ironic that the CNBC people are no longer there, always talking about the mother ship. As soon as GE dumps them, earnings start really coming in. Makes you think. I hope I did not give CNBC a complex.

Even though the jobless claims were worse than expected, they did not hamper the move at all. The Philadelphia Fed came out at 10:00 o'clock. It tumbled after an 18-year high at 43 in March. I think that is an appropriate use of the word. It tumbled to 18.5 when 33 were expected. That is almost half of expectations. What is going on in Philly? What kind of slowdown is this? This flies in the face of what we are hearing everywhere else. Could it be one reason the bond market is a little worried? I doubt it. There are probably other things worrying the bond market other than what is going on in the Philly region in manufacturing. If it is endemic to other manufacturing areas, it could be a problem. As we all know, manufacturing is what led the economy out of the black hole following the financial mess.

Leading Economic Indicators are better than expected, doubling up to 0.4% gain, although that was much less than the 1% recorded in February. That was revised higher from 0.8%. We had some decent data outside of a tumble down in the Philly Fed and a second consecutive week of 400K jobless claims. What is the focus right now? Is it Libya? No. Is it the budget deficit? It should be, but it is not. Is it the dollar diving lower? It does not seem to be. Is it the bonds mysteriously holding gains when they should be selling? No. It is earnings, baby. And earnings have been quite good. We have done better hanging onto stocks through earnings than we have selling before them.

Look at IBM. Its earnings were perhaps considered a disappointment on the initial run through, but look what happened on Thursday. It is up 2%, breaking out of its little inverted head and shoulders pattern. Stocks are reporting good results. Companies are doing well, and they are saying things look good. Most of them are big companies instead of smaller ones. That could be a problem, but there is also the small cap index that does not look like chopped liver right now. Overall, that is a positive for the market.


Dollar: 1.4554 versus 1.4516 Euro. The dollar was down again. The dollar is below any recent support level, and it is having fun with the November 2010 lows. It is right below that level. That puts it in jeopardy of coming all the way back down to the 2008 lows. That is a long way to go, but it could make it there without too much trouble. That is disconcerting to say the least.

The dollar continues to get slammed because the Federal Reserve has no interest in raising interest rates and our government feels that the best way to get out of this mess is to inflate our dollar. That devalues it. That is not a great thing for all of us hard-working citizens who own dollars and have to buy gasoline every day to power our vehicles. Not a good situation for us little pawns in this game of Life. Maybe you know what movie I took that from.

Bonds: 3.40% versus 3.40% 10 year US Treasury. Bonds were flat. From a longer-term perspective, there is this big selloff from August into February. Now you have a recovery. We had the Egypt and Tunisia issues, and those seem to be quelled. We had Japan. It bounced up, but then fell off after Japan. Now it is back up again. It is trying to put in a higher over the 50 day EMA, other prior peaks, and a gap point. There is a lot of support here. It could move higher.

Gold: $1,504.00, +4.50. Gold managed a bit of a gain, and it is in a steady run higher. It is a little toppy right now. It is a bit extended in the near term, but there is nothing to indicate that gold will not continue higher. It is over $1,500. That is what I said it would get to. It took a little longer than anticipated, but it is there. I do not think it will not take too long to get to $1,700.

Oil: $112.29, +0.89. There looked to be a little selloff that would give us an opportunity to get some cheaper gas prices, but it is not working. Looks like oil is right back near its high. This will be an important move for oil. Can it break through that prior peak, or will it act as a double top and come back down? The Gulf CEO said that oil will trade below $100 by July. We will have to see. I am not 100% sure that will happen when looking at the charts. Then again, there is a lot of oil out there.

As Ben Stein said, we have not one teacup less than we had last year at this time, and we had lower gasoline prices. Perhaps we will get to lower prices. Then again, if we do not have a teacup less and gasoline prices are still higher, than something else is causing the problems. Probably those darn speculators. All of you speculators out there who are just trying to make a little extra money in your life because the government is devaluing the dollar as fast as it can. You are somehow a terrible person because you are using your wits to make some extra money in addition to the 9-5. The government thinks that is a bad thing. I guess you are supposed to stand there and take it while the government chops off 20% of the dollar over the last 6-9 months. Thank you very much, Federal Government and Ben Bernanke.



Volume. Volume was down. We expected it to be down heading into a three-day weekend. It fell to 1.8B shares on the NASDAQ and down to 811M shares on the NYSE.

Breadth. Breadth was decent on the NYSE at 2:1. It was so-so at 1.5:1 on the NASDAQ. I guess the small caps helped out the NYSE and its performance. We had so-so internals, but we did not expect more on the day. We got our move to the upside, so we did not have much to complain about.


SP500. SP500 gapped up to its March peaks. It could not go beyond that. It closed at the session high, but it is also right at those peaks and below the February high at 1344. You have just under seven points for SP500 to get there. It could do that on the open next Monday if the market is so inclined.

At this point, what do you watch for? You have an inverted head and shoulders trying to break out. That could be gravy for the SP500. It will need help from the financials, which it has not been getting. The energy stocks are recovering and are helping out along with the industrials. It could make the break higher even without the financials, although it would not be a very powerful move. We have to watch out for a possible bounce down and inability to make the break. It has already rallied up to the February peak. It failed, came back down, and made a higher low. Now it has to make the break through. If it does not at this point, it morphs the pattern into slightly more bearish than the somewhat bullish inverted head and shoulders it has shown.

Remember, stocks pulled back nicely ahead of earnings, and they have a nice catalyst with some better-than-expected results in guidance. That has bounced them right back up. Now they have to make the move through that prior resistance; otherwise, it is just a bounce to the prior high. It is one that we were looking to play and have played. All we are doing is looking at the technical picture. Down the road, it will have to do something with that February peak if the SP500 will make further progress to the upside.

NASDAQ. NASDAQ is the same picture. It gapped up above its March peaks, showing a doji. It was unable to move through the February peak. It is in this gap zone where it gapped lower after that high. Very similar to SP500. It needs to do something with this move now. There is the pullback into earnings. You have the catalyst we wanted to. TXN, AAPL you name it are blasting the index higher. Now it has to do something with it. It has given us the move we wanted short term, and we have profited from that. Now it has to do something other than sit and stare at those prior highs with its thumb in its ear or other parts of its anatomy that I will not mention.

SP600. The small caps had a nice 0.7% move. Gapped to the upside. Not a whole lot of action. They moved through the old high, holding up at that level. Still could make a move higher. The small caps have been performing well. We will see if their earnings can be as stellar as the large caps and thus move to a new high as well. You have a nice rally here. There is a double bottom, a rally, and a nice Fibonacci double bottom at the 50% retracement level and the 50 day EMA. It broke higher off of that. I would like to see it take out the prior peak. That will be the important move, not only for the small caps but for the market as well since the small caps represent such a large part of the US domestic economy.

SOX. Semiconductors had their big day on Wednesday. They gapped higher, but they were not able to hold the move. They were tired. A huge gap on Wednesday, but it could not take out the early-April peak. Technically nothing has changed. It had a big day on Wednesday, and that is all it has had. It did not break any resistance or alter the pattern. It helped, but it did not turn it into a near-term positive necessarily. The semiconductors and the SOX are still something to watch as the market proceeds into next week.


I will just run through some names and ask whether any particular group stands out or if it was just a broad move. Judging from a lot of the stocks, it was a rather broad move. XTX is independent energy. Look at this nice bolt higher, 4% to the upside. TZOO, after a two-and-a-half week lateral move, I thought it may form an ABCD pattern. It did not even want to wait. Maybe it only knows ABC. It blasted off for a 27% move on Friday. Did we take anymore gain? No. With that kind of move, I want to let it run. Who knows what is driving this thing. Earnings are growing, China is growing. We will just let it run as far as it will.

PLXS had big earnings and blasted higher. SCSS surged to the upside. AAPL blasted off. MTZ had a strong 5.5% move. HAL posted a 1.6% move. It is looking pretty broad, wouldn't you say? SSYS was not a huge mover up almost 3% but it has had great volume as it took off to the upside. A lot of stocks were moving quite well.

Financial. I mentioned they would have to help the SP500, but they are not. JPM put in something of a bear flag. It sold off, gapped lower. It tried to bounce off of this March low and put in a bear flag. It may roll over. WFC had a disastrous two weeks. It gapped lower on Wednesday and then fell below the 200 day EMA on Thursday. It is not feeling the love. SP500 has been able to move up without them. The question is whether it can continue to do so and move through that February peak if the financials continue their refusal to play along with the rest of the market.

Industrial. CAT gapped to the upside for its second gap in a row. JOYG also gapped to the upside for its second gap in a row. In short, industrials were performing quite well.

Retail. Retailers have also been performing well. BWLD has been moving well, although maybe it did not have its best day on Thursday. LULU put in a nice 2.5% move on Thursday as it continued to climb.

There continues to be a lot of leadership in the market. The question for this coming week is whether that leadership is overextended near term. Many stocks have had a great week to the upside as earnings bolted them higher, but a lot of leaders were already high to begin with, and may be near-term extended. With the market looking at those February highs on NASDAQ and SP500, and with the financials being an anchor chain on the SP500, you have to take note that there may be a bit of profit taking once earnings run their course and the news is no longer big news.


VIX: 14.69; -0.38
VXN: 15.85; -0.64
VXO: 13.45; -0.82

Put/Call Ratio (CBOE): 0.93; -0.04

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 does not have the cash to drive it higher.

Bulls: 54.2% versus 55.4%. Still backsliding a bit but holding the 6 point surge three weeks back (57.3%). Lower again but still close to that 60+ level that indicates some trouble for a bull run. Hit 55.1% in January and 58.8% on the December high on this leg. It is matching those readings in a string of high readings but below the 5 year high at 62.0. Fading back from the level considered bearish, i.e. where so many are in the market and believe it is going up that the ammunition to send it higher runs low. This is where you start to be careful and watch for breakdowns, but there is also a lot of liquidity being pushed into the market and that can continue the move despite excess bullishness. The crossover level at 29% bulls is long gone, but it did its job. The high on the last leg was 56.0% after starting at 35.6% on the low in February, the lowest it has been since July 2009 . . . until this last leg. 35% is the threshold level suggesting bullishness. Again, to be seriously bearish it needs to get up to the 60% to 65% level.

Bears: 19.2% versus 16.3%. Bearish sentiment is growing despite the indices trading near highs. The pullback from the February peak unnerved some investors as likely did the surge in gasoline, oil, and gold. Down from 23.1% to start April, but making their way back. Fell like a stone on that decline, moving below the April 2010 low. 28.3% in September 2010. The 37.7% peak at the height of the crossover is well in the rearview mirror but bears remain well below the 35% level, above which is considered bullish for the market overall. Hit 18.7% on the low in April. Hit a high of 27.8% level on the prior leg in February. For reference, cracking above the 35% threshold considered bullish. Hit a high on the prior run at 47.2%. For more 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: +17.65 points (+0.63%) to close at 2820.16
Volume: 1.882B (-12%)

Up Volume: 1.24B (-550M)
Down Volume: 581.81M (+250.3M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 1.48 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 3.13 to 1

New Highs: 143 (+8)
New Lows: 25 (-11)





Stats: +7.02 points (+0.53%) to close at 1337.38
NYSE Volume: 811.29M (-16.01%)

Up Volume: 513.42M (-224.69M)
Down Volume: 286.16M (+65.23M)

A/D and Hi/Lo: Advancers led 2.15 to 1
Previous Session: Advancers led 4.54 to 1

New Highs: 394 (+84)
New Lows: 44 (+2)




Stats: +52.45 points (+0.42%) to close at 12505.99
Volume DJ30: 167M shares Thursday versus 204M shares Wednesday.



Next week is a big data week. There will be a lot of earnings still coming out. It is already the 25th on Monday, but earnings will run well into May.

New home sales will follow up on last week's existing home sales. There is Case/Shiller which will give us a backward-looking view, but it has not been doing well. It will be interesting whether it can perk up. Will Consumer Confidence perk back up as expected? There are durable goods orders as well as the FOMC rate decision. Mr. Bernanke will come out afterward with the first-ever Federal Reserve Press Conference. They are coming out after the Fed makes its decisions so the Fed head can talk to the world and calm them down if necessary.

It also gives Bernanke the first shot out of the box. It will dilute any dissent to nothing because Bernanke will get to answer all of the dissents before they have a chance to say anything. Instead of them sniping around Bernanke and him having to stoically take it, he will be able to come out on the offensive with the new transparency of the Federal Reserve.

Of course the Fed will not tell us who they loan the money to or where all the money is sitting. That would be too much transparency. After all, it is only our money as tax-paying citizens of the United States of America. That would be just too much for us to know in a government of, for, and by the people. In any event, it will be interesting to see how Bernanke handles it and how the market perceives it.

Q1 GDP is coming out. It is expected to drop, and I think it could go below 1%. Some of the recent data suggests it may not fall that far, but it could go below 1%. Initial claims will be interesting to see. Then we have personal spending and income to close out the week along with the Chicago PMI and Michigan Sentiment.

That is tons of data with the stock market sitting right at prior peaks after a nice earnings run. This was a great move to the upside. We saw a two-week pullback with a bit of concern with all that was going on in the market. The Congress could not agree on any kind of meaningful budget cuts. Then we had great earnings and that pushed everything to the back burner and investors embraced stocks. They bought and were loving life.

We were, too, because we had bought a lot of stocks along the way. All that enthusiasm pushed them right back up for us. We loved the gains. As noted, we were taking them on Thursday. Now we have to deal with that prior high. Earnings seasons tend to run the opposite direction after that set that initial course based on the news coming out. If there is good news and an earnings session starts off well with good response, then you get some profit taking at some point. The key is "at some point" we do not know when that will be.

We do know that we are at the prior peak yet again. We have to deal with that so soon. NASDAQ and SP500 do have a good inverted head and shoulders pattern. Perhaps they can continue to the upside. Earnings are great and guidance has been great. If that continues (and a lot of the SP and NASDAQ companies continue to say they expect results to be better than anticipated) why wouldn't they move higher? The market rallies in anticipation of good news and earnings. It is not necessarily on the news, although it tends to knee-jerk around near term.

We have something of a loggerhead. We have the old high. We have a rally up to that level on great news. Can the news continue in its good fashion? Will that be enough to push it through those prior peaks? As you know, I am not 100% certain about that, and that is why we were taking gains on Thursday. If we had good gains locked in or new positions where we had not taken any before, we were taking some of those profits off the table. Why not? We got the move we wanted.

We may get a move higher on Monday, and we have to watch out. If there is a gap at the open, we have to watch for a reversal. If it gaps up and SP500 taps at that February peak and it cannot hold, we will probably take some of our SPY options off the table as well. We will see how it plays out. We banked some nice gain. We still have more that we could bank, but we are letting the market take us out of a lot of these positions at this point (other than our option positions.) May is coming up, and we have quite a few stocks with May options. We will look at taking more of those off the table on any further rally at this point.

We have to be a cautious. We will look at plays to the upside because of the patterns that NASDAQ and SP500 are showing us and because of the good guidance that we are hearing from these companies. It is not just paltry guidance. They are almost ebullient about the future. In some cases they are not, so we want to have other plays in hand. The thing is, we will have to look for them, because a lot of stocks ran very well this week. Many of them are extended near term, and you do not want to play chase on these. You typically get another shot. With the resistance just overhead, we may get that pullback to start. If the good stocks pull back and hold position and near support, then everything is still fine and they can continue to rally. We would move in as they break back to the upside.

We will look for the best upside we can find the good stuff, not the scrubs. We may not be able to have as much as we normally do because of the good move into earnings. We will probably have to look at some downside in case these things fail. Like the Boy Scouts, we like to always be prepared. Have a joyous Easter weekend. Whatever your beliefs are, I hope you are with good friends and family. I will see you on Monday as we try to make more of the money we enjoy spending this weekend.

Support and Resistance

NASDAQ: Closed at 2820.16

2825 is the 2007 closing peak.
2841 is the February 2011 peak
2862 is the 2007 peak

2816 is the early April peak
2802 is the early March intraday peak
2796 is the February gap down point
2762 is the February low
The 50 day EMA at 2746
2729 is the 127% Fibonacci extension of the August 2010 run
2705 is the February 2011 and consolidation low
2686 is the recent January 2011 closing low
2676 is the January 2010 low
2645-2650ish from December 2010 consolidation
2603 is the March 2011 low
2580 is the November 2010 closing high
2569 is the November gap up point through the April 2010 peak
2550 from May and June 2008 peaks
2540 is the gap up point from early November
2535.28 is the April 2010 intraday peak
2530 is the April 2010 closing peak
The 200 day SMA at 2532

S&P 500: Closed at 1337.38
1340 is the early April 2011 peak
1344 is the February 2011 peak
1364 is the March 2007 low
1370 is the August 2007 low

1332 is the early March peak
1325-27 is the March 2008 closing low and the May 2006 peak.
1313 from the August 2008 interim peak
The 50 day EMA at 1310
1294 is the February 2011 and the consolidation low
1275 is the January 2010 low, early January 2011 peak
1255 is the late December 2010 consolidation range
1249 is the March 2011 low
1235 is the mid-December 2010 consolidation low
1227 is the November 2010 peak
1220 is the April 2010 peak
The 200 day SMA at 1213

Dow: Closed at 12,505.99
13,058 from the May 2008 peak on that bounce in the selling

12,391 is the February 2011 peak
12,283 is the March 2011 peak is bending
The 50 day EMA at 12,173
12,110 from the March 2007 closing low
11,893 from March 2008 closing low
11,867 from the August 2009 high and peak on that bounce in the selling.
11,734 from 11-98 peak
11,555 is the March low
11,452 is the November 2010 peak
The 200 day SMA at 11,329

Economic Calendar

April 21 - Thursday
Initial Claims, 04/16 (08:30): 403K actual versus 390K expected, 416K prior (revised from 412K)
Continuing Claims, 04/09 (08:30): 3695K actual versus 3650K expected, 3702K prior (revised from 3680K)
Philadelphia Fed, April (10:00): 18.5 actual versus 33.0 expected, 43.4 prior
Leading Indicators, March (10:00): 0.4% actual versus 0.2% expected, 1.0% prior (revised from 0.8%)
FHFA Housing Price I, February (10:00): -1.6% actual versus -1.0% prior (revised from -0.3%)

April 25 - Monday
New Home Sales, March (10:00): 280K expected, 250K prior

April 26 - Tuesday
Case-Shiller 20-city, February (09:00): -3.2% expected, -3.06% prior
Consumer Confidence, April (10:00): 64.4 expected, 63.4 prior

April 27 - Wednesday
MBA Mortgage Index, 04/22 (07:00): +5.3% prior
Durable Orders, March (08:30): 1.9% expected, -0.6% prior (revised from -0.7%)
Durable Orders -ex T, March (08:30): 1.6% expected, -0.3% prior
Crude Inventories, 04/23 (10:30): -2.322M prior
FOMC Rate Decision, April (12:30): 0.25% expected, 0.25% prior

April 28 - Thursday
GDP-Adv., Q1 (08:30): 1.7% expected, 3.1% prior
GDP Deflator, Q1 (08:30): 2.3% expected, 0.4% prior
Initial Claims, 04/23 (08:30): 390K expected, 403K prior
Continuing Claims, 04/16 (08:30): 3700K expected, 3695K prior
Pending Home Sales, March (10:00): 1.5% expected, 2.1% prior

April 29 - Friday
Personal Income, March (08:30): 0.4% expected, 0.3% prior
Personal Spending, March (08:30): 0.5% expected, 0.7% prior
PCE Prices - Core, March (08:30): 0.1% expected, 0.2% prior
Employment Cost Inde, Q1 (08:30): 0.5% expected, 0.4% prior
Chicago PMI, April (09:45): 67.1 expected, 70.6 prior
Michigan Sentiment -, April (09:55): 69.6 expected, 69.6 prior

By: Jon Johnson, Editor
Copyright 2011 | All Rights Reserved

Jon Johnson is the Editor of The Daily at

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