Monday, July 8, 2013

Market update: S&P 500 at key juncture

On June 27th, I wrote about the S&P 500 Index exhibiting a bullish inverse head-and-shoulders formation in the short-term, but that "the 1620-1625 range poses as significant resistance and it will be interesting to see if the [S&P 500] Index can successfully break through this price area (and mind you, not just poke through, but get well beyond 1625)."

Judging for the S&P 500 hourly chart, it appears as if the Index has successfully broken through that 1620-1625 resistance area.

It's also interesting (and encouraging) to see price successfully breach the neckline at 1600 and then undergo the very-common pullback to the neckline, traverse sideways for a few days and then gap up. Even the recent gap up shows a very-common pullback to "close the gap" at around 1610 before resuming its ascent.

The daily chart offers another perspective, showing the S&P 500 has rallied about 50 points off its low and now faces an inflection point.

I last discussed the 50-day MA as a key support/resistance point for the Index and not that while price did close at 1632, higher than 1626 for the 50-day MA, as depicted in the chart, the most recent candle is just about dead-on with this key MA. I would argue the S&P 500 needs to get clearly above the 50-day MA and not just poke through it. Also, note the developing declining trend line (in red) which traces just below 1640; it further serves as overhead resistance. Lastly, I would also point out that volume is exhibiting a bullish pattern in that it spiked with the late June sell-off, something that frequently occurs with a blow-off or capitulation low.

At this point in the summer, it's worth taking a look at the market's seasonality:

Source: Bloomberg

The chart above shows the average price gains/losses through the year for the S&P 500. The blue line is the 5-year average, the red line is the 10-year average and the green line is the 30-year average. The brown line is the S&P 500 performance YTD, which has been quite impressive to say the least. Directionally the market has more or less followed the historic seasonal pattern, rising until the end of April and then declining through June. In general, the seasonal tendency for the market at this point in the year is for flat-to-rising prices into mid-September followed by declines through October.

So again, the S&P 500 appears to be at a key juncture, needing to get meaningfully through the 50-day MA and the declining trend line. But as the seasonal chart suggests, the next several weeks do not inherently pose any significant headwinds that would serve to short-circuit the market's attempt at new highs. However, come September it becomes quite a different story....

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