Monday, March 7, 2011

Market Tops are a Process...

Trying to call a top to this steroid full market has been a fool's game for months on end, so I am not going to begin that game here.  Indeed, I never really play that game - generally if one catches the middle 60-70% of a move, repeatedly, you can leave the glory of catching the bottom or top to others.  As I review the S&P 500 chart (amongst others) I remain in a cautious stance until I see a new high.  After non stop gains since Thanksgiving-ish, the market has stalled for the first time.  This need not mean the end of the move is here, but one need not press the issue either.  If the S&P 500 (or your favorite index) breaks out to a new high - one should be able to buy more there with impunity as once this market breaks out, it tends not to look back anymore.

On the other hand, the saying goes 'market tops are a process' - as opposed to an event.  So it is plausible this hiccup could be an intermediate top and the long awaited correction finally hits.  What is clear is we have become range bound for now, and breaking out of this range from the top (more gains) or the bottom (correction time) should give us the roadmap for the following few weeks.  But until then it is a time for chopping and flopping around.  What is clear is the 50 day moving average is fast approaching the bottom of the recent range, so we are receiving a very nice 'danger Will Robinson' line in the sand if and when.

Of course, we seem of late to be more a hostage to oil, which finally is reaching a price where the speculator class no longer considers its advance a sign of health, and now considers it a potential threat.  Every lead news story on national news was about gas prices so congratulations to Bernanke - inflation expectations have been ratcheted up.  And there goes much of the 2% instant pay hike every worker received Jan 1 via the payroll tax cut. 

Crude (and silver... and gold) - unlike the general U.S. market indexes - is definitely in breakout mode.  While most likely overbought in the near(er) term, when news events matter as much as fundamentals, technical strategies take a bit of a back seat.

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