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Sunday, February 19, 2012

BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 index chart patterns – Feb 17 ‘12

Before getting into detailed analysis of the BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 index chart patterns, I have a confession to make. One of the reasons technical analysis is looked down upon by many well-known investors is because it can not ‘predict’ what will happen next – so why even bother to look through charts?

Well, the fault doesn’t lie in the charts but with the analyst who is interpreting the charts. The sudden rally that started on the Sensex and Nifty charts from the Dec ‘11 lows appeared to come as a bolt from the blue and was attributed to a rush of FII buying. That is only part of the story. On a closer inspection of both short-term and long-term charts over the weekend, it became quite clear that both indices clearly formed symmetrical triangle reversal patterns for about 4 weeks.

Why did I miss these reversal patterns earlier? A combination of hubris and a bid to second-guess the market. Symmetrical triangles are usually continuation patterns. Since the indices were in bear markets, it was expected that the break out from the triangles will be downwards. But triangles are notorious for being unreliable and can break out in either direction. Not often do triangles turn out to be reversal patterns. Also, the reversal pattern lasted only 4 weeks – much shorter duration than expected after a year-long down trend.

BSE Sensex index chart

SENSEX_FEB1712

Is this still a bear market rally or the first phase of a new bull market? Two patterns on the 6 months daily bar chart of the Sensex suggests that the trend has indeed changed. First, the small rectangular ‘flag’ pattern that formed after the index convincingly crossed above its 200 day EMA. Such patterns usually form at the mid-point of a strong up (or down) move. That gives an upward target above the 20,000 level. The ‘golden cross’ of the 50 day EMA above the 200 day EMA will confirm a bull market.

The break out above the ‘flag’ happened with a ‘gap’ – which makes the break out a strong and valid one. So, the rally is likely to continue despite the overbought condition. The MACD is positive and above its signal line, but the histogram has reduced in height - correcting the overbought situation a little. The ROC is showing negative divergence by failing to reach a new high and slipping below its 10 day MA. Both the RSI and the slow stochastic are well inside their overbought zones, and can stay there a while longer.

If you are holding from lower levels, don’t sell off in a hurry. Maintain trailing stop-losses and ride the bull. If you have missed the rally, don’t jump in now. At some point, there should be a decent 5-10% correction. Enter then.

NSE Nifty 50 index chart

Nifty_Feb1712

The 4 weeks long consolidation within a symmetrical triangle on the 1 year weekly bar chart pattern of the Nifty was followed by an upward break out on increased volumes. The volumes kept rising even further as the index climbed past the 50 week EMA and the blue down trend line. Strong volume support validates upward break outs.

The technical indicators have turned bullish. The MACD is rising above its signal line and has entered the positive zone. The ROC is also positive and above its 10 week MA. The RSI has moved above its 50% level. The slow stochastic has entered its overbought zone. Any pullback to the blue down trend line – if it happens – will provide a buying opportunity. The ‘golden cross’ of the 20 week EMA above the 50 week EMA will be the final confirmation of a return to a bull market.

The fundamentals remain a matter of concern. Q3 results have shown continued downward pressure on margins of India Inc. The fiscal deficit will end up much higher than announced in the previous budget. Big ticket reforms are pending for a long time. Interest rates remain high.  A Greek sovereign default hasn’t been ruled out. War drums are being beaten - an Israeli attack on Iran can change bullish equations.

Bottomline? The chart patterns of the BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 indices have entered bull markets – thanks to strong buying support from the FIIs. It is unusual to see mid-cap and small-cap stocks making smart moves at the early stage of a bull market. Stock markets move on their own logic – there is no point in trying to second-guess the market. As Steve Winwood sang not too long ago: “Just roll with it, baby” – but remember to maintain trailing stop-losses.

2 comments:

Jasi said...

A couple of points.
1. Pls pardon my limited knowledge but any sort of analysis usually works better in hindsight. :) So you may not apologise after all.
2. That fact that you choose to raise up your hand and say "mea cupla" makes you so different from others in the business. Exactly why Sachin is revered so much. Humility :)
Great job as always.
Being your regular reader has been a lot better on my nerves and heart :)

Subhankar said...

Appreciate your comments, Jasi.

You are quite right. It is easier to identify patterns after they have completed their formation. But as the old saying goes: Better late than never.

Even a late identification of a reversal pattern gives some confidence that the trend may have changed.

But one thing I've learned the hard way (i.e. by losing money) is that one can never be certain about market movements - specially Indian markets, where a couple of billion dollars of FII outflow or inflow can change trends.