the StockCharts​.com Newsletter

June 6, 2010
  Chip Anderson | Arthur Hill | Carl Swenlin | Tom Bowley  
by Chip Anderson | ChartWatchers

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Back down below 10,000 we go.  This is the fifth time in the past month that the Dow has dipped below that magic number.  The past four times resulted in quick rallies back above 10K - will that happen again on Monday?   Or have the bulls run out of ammunition?  Our experts below debate that very point in this edition of our newsletter.  Be sure to read their articles and then draw your own conclusions.

Here's a hint however:

NYSE Bullish Percent vs. Dow Industrials

The NYSE Bullish Percent is still up above 40 right which indicates that the Bulls are still hanging on.  If it falls below 30, then things could get ugly fast just like in mid-2008.  Next week should be very interesting.


In case you haven't heard, I've been traveling throughout the western part of the US giving presentations to various investment clubs about StockCharts and Technical Analysis.  I started in Portland, then Phoenix, then Dallas and most recently Calgary.  I'm off again next week to talk to the good folks at the Houston Investors Association.

So far, the feedback from my talks has been very positive.  I'd love to keep the ball rolling and I need your help to make that happen.  If you are a member of a large (50+ person) investment club that's based near the east coast of the US and your club is interested in having me come out and talk, please let me know via email -

Right now, I'm looking to schedule trips out there starting in August.  I hope to see you soon!

by Arthur Hill | Art's Charts
The Relative Strength Index remains below 50 and bearish for the S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Bounded momentum oscillators trade within a defined range. RSI trades between zero and one hundred with fifty as the centerline. Think of this level as the 50 yard line in a football game. The bulls (offense) have the edge when RSI is above 50. The bears (defense) have the edge as long as RSI is below 50. The yellow areas show prior periods with RSI below 50, which correspond with declines. RSI met resistance near 50 during each decline (red arrows). In fact, RSI met resistance near 50 twice during the current decline. Momentum remains bearish as long as RSI is below 50. Look for a break above 50 to turn RSI bullish again.

100605spycww Click this image for details

RSI is based on closing prices so I am showing a close-only line chart for SPY. While the most recent decline is obviously the deepest of the three, SPY has yet to close below its February closing low. SPY did, however, close below its late May closing low and this opens the door to a test of the February low. SPY also established a clear resistance level with two closing highs around 110.76. The bears clearly have an edge as long as SPY remains below these resistance levels. A break above these closing highs is needed to reverse the downtrend in SPY.
by Carl Swenlin |

A question from a subscriber yesterday prompted me to make a quick review of global markets. I rarely look at global markets because (1) my overriding focus is on the U.S. market and (2) it is my observation that international markets and the U.S. market tend to run in the same direction. There are always exceptions to this rule, but broadly speaking global fundamentals affect nearly all markets and their charts reflect this.

As I review the 20 world market charts on the DecisionPoint website, I see that (with one exception) the 20-EMA is below the 50-EMA, which for the most part has these indexes in a medium-term neutral market posture. There are, however, a few whose 50-EMA has dropped below the 200-EMA, which puts them in a bear market by our rules.  Here's an example:


Three other charts are very similar to this one - they are the French CAC, the FSTE Milan Index, and the Shanghai Composite.  In addition, the 50/200-EMA crossover has not taken place with the Nikkei yet, but it is virtually guaranteed that it will happen soon.


While most of the charts may agree in directionality with the U.S. market and are showing weakness, it is interesting to note that five of the charts (25%) are showing considerably more weakness than the U.S. market. Unless we believe that the U.S. market will power upward with enough force to drag lagging global markets along, perhaps we should temper any optimism we may have regarding the market's recovery in light of global weakness.

- Carl
by Tom Bowley | InvestEd Central

Technically, this hasn't been brain surgery.  Our major indices broke down in early May on very heavy volume and, as technicians, we can never ignore that lethal price/volume combination.  The weakness also came on the heels of some of the most extreme complacency that I've seen.  When markets get complacent, the risks escalate.  It doesn't mean that markets crash and burn.  While the breakdown of equity only put call data wasn't provided in 1999 by the CBOE, we can still look at the total put call ratio and see that the market was extremely complacent in 1999 and the market traded higher for months on the heels of it.  So clearly, a market doesn't have to fall at the first signs of extreme complacency.  But the lessons learned should be obvious.  The risks of trading on the long side grow disproportionately to the returns desired.  Those risks were realized with the 2000-2002 bear market.

Traders like to trade.  That's what they do.  But everyone should step back and look at the big picture.  We are going through market turmoil unlike anything I've ever seen.  We are living through an inherently risky market.  Every day.  There is much debate, both fundamentally and technically, as to whether the market is heading higher or heading lower.  And that debate relates to both the near-term and long-term.  This is what makes a market.

Friday's carnage was felt on every index and every sector.  Few stocks were spared.  But just two days earlier, we had a robust advance that saw the exact opposite - the overwhelming majority of stocks carried the market higher.  There are two primary differences between the two "routs".  The biggest, in my view, was the accompanying volume.  Friday's selling saw 5.3 billion shares trade on the S&P 500.  Let's keep in mind it was a FRIDAY, when volume tends to slow down a bit from previous days.  Wednesday's selling saw just a little more than 4.0 billion shares.  Panic selling generally sees heavier volume.  The problem I have with Friday though is that there should have been little panic.  We traded within the same range that we've been trading in for the last couple weeks.  We didn't break down on Friday.  So why the panic?  Well, to me it's a sign that institutions are preparing for a further meltdown in equities.

Let's recap what's transpired in the market to get a better grasp of the overall technical picture.  In my mid-April article, I discussed the deteriorating condition of financials on a relative basis and how that was a sign of potential weakness in the major indices.  In my early-May article, I noted that both the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 confirmed the bearish action of the financials from a couple weeks earlier.  I discussed the relative complacency with Invested Central's members ad nauseum.  We saw massive volume accompany the breakdown across all of the major indices.  We've seen retests of that breakdown from underneath on lighter volume.  We are now in very bearish head & shoulders formations on many indices, sectors and individual stocks.  It's all set up for the bears.  Now they must deliver.  By "delivering", they must execute a breakdown of the current head & shoulders patterns on heavy volume.  That's the only ingredient missing.  This pattern is not confirmed until the breakdown occurs.  So the bulls do have hope, but it seems to me it's dwindling.

Let's look at the pattern on the S&P 500:

SPX 6.5.10
Different technicians may view this pattern differently.  I consider the first "computer-glitch"-aided selloff to have marked the right side of the neckline and the subsequent bounce to have formed a classic right shoulder test of the 50 day SMA.  Friday's move lower on big volume has simply set the table for the bears.  The bulls somehow need to defend this neckline support and they must do it NOW.  Monday will be interesting both in terms of where we open and then how we react to that open.  A tale will likely be told.

Based on all of this, the big question do you trade this market?  As I've been saying for several weeks, I'd do it with much less frequency, with fewer shares, and my holding period would be very short.  I normally favor swing trading, holding onto stocks anywhere from one week to as much as a few months, capturing more reliable moves in a trending market.  This market's volatility and inherent risk simply doesn't allow for that strategy, period.    Understanding the market environment is the first step in successful trading.  I'd be tempted to trade (short) only off of breakdowns occurring on heavy volume or light volume retracements to key resistance areas.  On the long side, you have to wait for reversing candles to occur at key support and then be sure to keep a tight stop in place and take profits quickly.  Here's an example of a recent long trade that we highlighted for members on Flowserve (FLS):

FLS 6.5.10
For Monday, we're highlighting our daily Chart of the Day, focusing on another reversing candlestick.  Hopefully, we'll have the opportunity for a quick gain as well.  This chart can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

Happy trading!