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Monday, February 13, 2012

Stock Index Chart Patterns – S&P 500 and FTSE 100 – Feb 10, ‘12

S&P 500 Index Chart

SnP500_Feb1012

The following observations were made in last week’s analysis of the S&P 500 index chart pattern: “The technical indicators are looking overbought and showing negative divergences. The index can remain overbought for long periods, but the negative divergences in all four indicators hint at a correction.” The index kept inching up through most of last week, till some selling on Fri. Feb 10 ‘12 caused a slightly lower weekly close.

The technical indicators are bullish, but showing signs of weakness. The slow stochastic is inside its overbought zone, but has slipped down a bit. The MACD is positive and just above its signal line. The RSI has dropped from its overbought zone, and is moving down. The ROC is positive but not really going anywhere. All three EMAs are rising with the index trading above them – so there is no threat to the bull market. A correction down to the rising 20 day EMA may be just the impetus that the bulls need to take the index past the May ‘11 top of 1371.

The US economy continues on its slow path to recovery. Initial weekly jobless claims fell to 358,000. ISM manufacturing index rose to 54.1 in Jan ‘12 from 53.1 in Dec ‘11 (a reading above 50 means expansion). Bullish sentiment rose to 51.6% (from 43.8%) while bearish sentiment fell to 20.2% (from 25.1%) in AAII’s sentiment survey. However, the Reuters/Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index slipped a little to 72.5 (from 75 in Jan ‘12).

FTSE 100 Index Chart

FTSE_Feb1012

The FTSE 100 index chart closed lower for the week due to profit booking on Fri. Feb 10 ‘12, after spending most of the week trading sideways. All three EMAs are rising with the index trading above them – a sign of a bull market.

The technical indicators are indicating bullishness, but not as much as a week ago. The slow stochastic is in its overbought zone, but moving down. The MACD has slipped a bit, but remains above the signal line in positive zone. The RSI is above the 50% level, but falling. The ROC is positive but drifting sideways.

UK’s manufacturing output rose by 1%, somewhat easing recession fears. But unemployment is rising and more job cuts are planned, as per this article. Inflation dropped to 4.1% in Jan ‘12 from 4.8% in Dec ‘11. Worries about a flagging economy forced the Bank of England to inject another 50 Billion sterling in its QE programme.

Bottomline? Chart patterns of the S&P 500 and FTSE 100 indices are back in bull markets – thanks more to easy availability of liquidity rather than any real strength in the respective economies. But as Tennyson wrote in a completely different context: “…Theirs not to reason why…”. Use dips to add, but maintain a trailing stop-loss to ensure that you don’t ride into the valley of death.

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