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Technical Analysis: Are Stocks Headed For a Fall?

Posted by: Ben Levisohn on November 5, 2009

When the S&P 500 opened at 1047.30 on Nov. 5 and quickly rallied 1.65% to 1063, investors could be pardoned for feeling a sense of déjà. Just yesterday, the S&P 500 opened at 1047.14 and barreled its way up to 1061. But stocks gave back most of their gains after the FOMC meeting, and closed at 1046.50. Will today’s trading end on a happier note?

Technical analysts see some indications that it could. For starters, the market is pushing strongly against its near-term resistance, which is around the 1060 to 1066 level. Yesterday, it hit those levels and fell back. But short term sentiment, as measured by the percentage of stocks trading at 10-day lows, is bearish, says technical analysts at institutional brokerage Concept Capital. That indicates an oversold condition and could point the way higher for stocks.

Still, there are signs that the market is poised to roll over. On Nov. 4, more stocks moved down than up, a bad sign after the S&P 500 spent so much of the day in the green. And despite the oversold conditions, the market hasn’t been able to put together any positive momentum, Concept Capital says.

More worrisome is the 60-day average correlation of individual stocks to the S&P 500. Right now, that number is 62% — it would have to trade above 70% to be problematic. But if it keeps rising, it could be a sign of long-term weakness to come. Says Concept Capital: “A prolonged rise in correlation could indicate that a more significant period of market weakness is starting to develop.”

Reader Comments


November 5, 2009 2:05 PM

I dont have any money in but im waiting for a good time to start.

I have had the same feeling. The markets being driven by short returns - not the long run. naturally this artificial rally cannot last when 'real life' conditions aren't improving. People are working harder for less, and a great number are still unemployed. Both good indicators of the true, weak, market.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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