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Monday, December 12, 2011

Stock Index Chart Patterns – S&P 500 and FTSE 100 – Dec 9, ‘11

S&P 500 Index Chart

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In last week’s technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart pattern, I had commented: “Expect a bit of consolidation before the index makes up its mind about the next move.” That was exactly what the index did during the past week - closing above the 1250 level on four out of the five trading sessions – but making very little upward progress.

The good news for the bulls is that index is trading above all three EMAs, with the 20 day EMA about to cross above the 200 day EMA. The bad news is that the index has made a small rounding-top pattern, which may be signalling an end to the brief rally. Also, the slow stochastic and the RSI are showing negative divergences by touching lower bottoms in Nov ‘11 while the S&P 500 touched a higher bottom.

The technical indicators are looking bullish. The slow stochastic has re-entered its overbought zone. The MACD is positive, and above its rising signal line. The RSI is above its 50% level, but appears reluctant to move higher. No such hesitation with the ROC, which is rising in positive territory. Some more consolidation or even a minor correction can be expected this week.

The US economic indicators are improving ever so slowly. Initial jobless claims at 381,000 were at the lowest level since Feb ‘11. The Reuters/Univ of Michigan Consumer sentiment index at 67.7 was at a 6 month high, but remains below its long-term average. Even the ECRI’s Weekly Leading index rose, though the institute is standing by its earlier prediction of a recession.

FTSE 100 Index Chart

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The technical indicators of the FTSE 100 chart were looking bullish last week, which pointed to a continuation of the rally. But after a brief foray above the 200 day EMA, the index formed a small rounding-top pattern and slipped below long-term moving average by the end of the week.

The slow stochastic is at the edge of its overbought zone. The MACD is above its signal line in positive territory. The RSI is above its 50% level. The ROC is rising in the positive zone. These are all bullish signs. But the negative divergences in the slow stochastic and the RSI may put an end to bullish hopes. Note that both touched lower bottoms in Nov ‘11 while the index touched a higher bottom.

UK’s opting out of the European Union agreement to protect its financial interests may have far-reaching negative consequences. There is a good possibility that its manufacturing exports to the Eurozone will suffer. Already, there is a slow down with manufacturing output declining by 0.7%. The good news is that the Eurozone isn’t going to break-up and the euro may not disintegrate.

Bottomline? Chart patterns of the S&P 500 and FTSE 100 indices are showing some signs of weakness, but as long as the Nov ‘11 lows hold there should be no cause of worry. The Oct ‘11 highs are barriers on the upside that need to be crossed for bulls to regain control. Expect some more consolidation or correction. Wait for a clear trend to emerge.

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