Mish's Market Minute

A Market is Only as Good as its Lowest Common Denominator


In the spirit of objectivity, we looked at the weekly chart of IWM as either a bear flag forming or, alternatively, consolidation before another rally. Then, we examined two potential cases:

  • Case 1: A bear flag forming where IWM breaks down under the bear flag pennant or around 105.
  • Case 2: Consolidation before a breakout, where we get a weekly close over 116.00-117.60.

Today, IWM cleared 117.60, closing at 118.07. Clearly, that is encouraging activity.

Nonetheless, the expression that " you are only as good as your lowest common denominator" still suggests the need for another expression, "Not so fast!"

The least (or lowest) common denominator is a mathematical concept. With fractions, you find the common multiple that each of the denominators can be divided into, then convert all the fractions into that denominator. For example, 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/3 has the lowest common denominator of 12. Hence it becomes, 6/12 + 3/12 + 4/12 =13/12, or 1 and 1/12.

Simple math we learned in elementary school.

Looking at the weekly charts of the Economic Modern Family, what would you say is the lowest common denominator, or the number all of them can easily be divided by?

If you thought to yourself Regional Banks KRE, give yourself a gold star! KRE was the first to fall into a caution phase in January. A while ago, we fathomed that it stands to reason it should also be the first to show a true bottom. At this point, KRE is the lowest common denominator.

When does that change?

It starts with a weekly close over 35.00. Does that mean the bear market is over? Depends on your timeframe. To us, it means a move to 40-43 more likely. Then we reassess.

If KRE cannot clear 35 and fails 30? The other members will quickly convert to the lowest common denominator!

Please watch today's interview with TraderTV Live!

  • S&P 500 (SPY): 264.50 pivotal and a move near 290; if gets there, then a short (retrace to the MA breakdown)
  • Russell 2000 (IWM): 118-120 resistance. 115 pivotal and 110 critical
  • Dow (DIA): Inside day 236. 80 huge resistance and 220.50 support
  • Nasdaq (QQQ): Inside day. If cannot clear 202, looking for a possible short
  • KRE (Regional Banks): 35.00 resistance, 32 support
  • SMH (Semiconductors): Inside day. 127.80 resistance and could be a short if fails 122.80
  • IYT (Transportation): Inside day. 147.21 resistance, 140.39 support
  • IBB (Biotechnology): Inside day. 114.10 resistance, 109.31 support
  • XRT (Retail): Over 32.74 has a gap to fill. If cannot clear that number, 31.60 must hold
  • Volatility Index (VXX): Inside week - 59.01-39.50 range to watch; over 45 suggests more upside
  • Junk Bonds (JNK): Inside week. 95.98 resistance, 83.18 support
  • LQD (iShs iBoxx High yield Bonds): 126 is the must clear number and, if fails, 123 trouble

Mish Schneider


Director of Trading Research and Education

Mish Schneider
About the author: serves as Director of Trading Education at MarketGauge.com. For nearly 20 years, MarketGauge.com has provided financial information and education to thousands of individuals, as well as to large financial institutions and publications such as Barron’s, Fidelity, ILX Systems, Thomson Reuters and Bank of America. In 2017, MarketWatch, owned by Dow Jones, named Mish one of the top 50 financial people to follow on Twitter. In 2018, Mish was the winner of the Top Stock Pick of the year for RealVision. Learn More
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