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Monday, January 16, 2012

Stock Index Chart Patterns – S&P 500 and FTSE 100 – Jan 13, ‘12

S&P 500 Index Chart

SnP500_Jan1312

In analysing the chart pattern of the S&P 500 last week, it was mentioned that the bulls had a little more clean up work left before the bears could finally be sent into hibernation. That work has been successfully completed. The index has moved past its Oct ‘11 intra-day high of 1293, forming a bullish pattern of higher tops and higher bottoms; and, the 50 day EMA has convincingly crossed above the 200 day EMA (the ‘golden cross’) confirming a return to a bull market.

Is it time to crack open the champagne? May be not just yet. The index has been trading within a bearish ‘rising wedge’ pattern since touching its Nov ‘11 low. Volumes tapered off during the week’s trading. The slow stochastic is trying to correct the overbought condition. The RSI is already heading down from its overbought zone. The ROC is sliding towards the ‘0’ line. The MACD is positive and above its signal line, but has stopped rising. Expect some correction or consolidation in the current week. Use the likely dip to add, but don’t forget to use a tight stop-loss.

The US economy continues its painfully slow growth, taking half a step back for every step forward. The Reuters/Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index rose, but ECRI’s WLI index dropped (indicating a weaker economy 6 months down the road). Retail sales in Dec ‘11 rose a meagre 0.1% month-on-month, but a  more respectable 6.5% year-on-year. Weekly initial unemployment claims rose to 399,000. Rail traffic for the week ending Jan 7 ‘12 was down 3.7% compared to the same week in 2011. Not the kind of data that supports a full-fledged bull market.

FTSE 100 Index Chart

FTSE_Jan1312

The FTSE 100 index chart is trying to follow the S&P 500 into a bull market, but is facing some technical headwinds. The 20 day EMA has crossed above the 200 day EMA. The 50 day EMA is trying to do likewise. The index has not yet gone past its Oct ‘11 top. Instead, it is consolidating within a small rectangular ‘flag’ pattern from which it could break out in either direction. The spike in volumes on the last two days of the week is a concern, because the FTSE closed lower on those two days.

The technical indicators are hinting at a correction. The slow stochastic is turning down at the edge of its overbought zone. The MACD is positive and above its signal line, but has started falling. The RSI is moving sideways below its overbought zone. The ROC is positive, but falling sharply. The index has been trading within a bearish ‘rising wedge’ pattern since touching its Nov ‘11 low.

There was some good news for the UK economy. Inflation dropped to 4.8% in Nov ‘11 from 5% in Oct ‘11, and is expected to fall further. That may be a prelude to a dose of Quantitative Easing. But Eurozone problems are affecting exports and can push the economy into a recession. Unemployment remains quite high.

Bottomline? Chart patterns of the S&P 500 and FTSE 100 indices are climbing back into bull markets amid concerns of slow growth and recession. Bull markets are supposed to climb over a wall of worries. That doesn’t mean one has to be gung-ho bullish. Stay circumspect, and accumulate fundamentally strong stocks slowly.

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