Ready for the Charts to Resolve Themselves …

It looks to me like the market is not sure what to do next …. earnings are expected to be great for the remainder of the year, in part because of the tax reform pushed through by the Trump administration.  The next corporate earnings reporting season begins in a couple of weeks, and with the first quarter’s OpEx getting behind us with the conclusion of this week’s action, I think that the market is going to resolve the mixture of signs that it is currently presenting us.

Here is what I mean by that …

S&P 500 Index ETF (SPY) – Daily Chart

The S&P 500 daily chart has clearly pushed higher of off the early Feb correction lows … while price has pushed up into resistance, the trend strength histogram has pulled back in a corrective/consolidation move.  That indicator is now in the Contraction Zone and after a contraction phase, traders should expect an expansion phase to follow.

Will price expand higher or lower … I think the market wants to go higher, but earnings and the marginal buyer of equities is going to have to help things out going forward.  Typically I like to see how the other parts of the market are doing to get a sense of which way the S&P 500 wants to go.  Before I do that, let’s take a look at the 195-min SPY chart.

S&P 500 Index ETF (SPY) – 195 Minute Chart

You can see more clearly that price has really only pushed up into the SLOT resistance zone, and has not really finished resolving itself yet.  The indicators included on this chart clearly indicate that bulls need to be a little careful here getting too big too quickly with their position sizes.  There will be a time to make bets for the next expansion phase, but right now is not the time, or at least that is how it looks to me.

NASDQ 100 Index ETF (QQQ) – Daily Chart

Tech stocks have without a doubt been the market darlings for quite some time now.  I won’t show them here in this post, but the FANG stocks don’t look like they are going to be able to lead the market here for the next little while.  Another sector of the market may need to step-up to the plate here for the next break higher if that indeed is what is going to happen.  The Tech Sector represents about 26% of the total market now so Tech is undoubtedly an important driver going forward.

Russell 2000 Index ETF (IWM) – Daily Chart

The IWM ETF has bounced up to the prior high … the next couple of weeks into earnings season will be an important catalyst for the small-cap index if price is going to break out sustainably into new-high price territory.

Cheers … Leaf_West

The Bull/Bear Scenario …

Yesterday’s high of the day was $270.00 for the SPY … that took price officially into the SLOT resistance zone that I like to monitor for counter-trend rallies.  Due to the strength of the move off of the prior highs into Friday’s low, I think that it is highly likely that we need at least one more leg to the price structure we are currently in when looking at the 195-min chart.

Whether that next move to a new lower low is the last leg of a corrective price structure that precedes a push up to new higher highs is yet to be seen.  I suspect that due to the strength/melt-up of the market into the January highs, we are going to need a bigger more complex price structure move lower … that is why I believe traders will see a 3-wave structure to this correction before it is all said and done.

Here is what I think traders should be preparing for …

Bullish Scenario – SPY 195 Minute Chart #1

The typical turning point for a corrective bounce is that 61.8% resistance level – $273.72.  The “C” wave of an ABC zigzag will typically terminate at around that 1.272x extension target, which would see the SPY get down to the $243.76 level.

Bearish Scenario – SPY 195 Minute Chart #2

So the near-term resistance zone for a bigger 3-wave corrective move in price is still at that 61.8% resistance level … Wave-2’s typically will terminate at the 1.618x extension target zone at around $232.12.  The final Wave-3 target zone would be down at the $220.99 level.

Bullish/Bearish Scenario – SPY 195 Minute Chart #3

In either of the bullish/bearish scenarios I depict above, price will need to find an interim resistance level here soon … the intra-day high so far today for the SPY is at $271.79, which is pretty close to the last pivot high of $272.36 and that 61.8% resistance level of $273.72.  Maybe we grind into that final resistance high on Friday which will then set up the next leg lower to begin next week.

Bottom Line – I believe the strength of the melt-up into the January highs, and the strength of the push lower last week will lead to at least a 2-wave structure lower into support.  Personally, I think a 3-wave structure is what is going to happen but I will be giving the more bullish scenario respect as we push into that $1.272x / $243.76 zone as well.

Cheers … Leaf_West

S&P 500 Painting Extreme Trend Strength Warning on the Weekly Chart …

The weekly SPX chart is painting a dark blue candle this week that signifies that the trend strength histogram has pushed above the 100 level and is therefore now in the “extreme” trend strength warning zone …

This is a big deal on a weekly chart – the last time the weekly SPX did this was in July 1995, which was about 6 months into the multi-year internet/tech craze.  There are lots of extreme trend strength warnings on moves lower, primarily because declines are more emotional than grinds higher in the market.

S&P 500 Index – Weekly Chart

So what does all this mean?  Has the S&P 500 just broken out higher out of a trading range and about to go on a 5-year rocket ship ride higher like the craze we saw back during the 1995 – 2000 time period?  Maybe, but I would argue that we are not just breaking out of a trading range here in late 2017.

I heard on CNBC this morning that the DJIA is on the way to finishing the current calendar quarter and register the largest quarterly gain ever in % terms as well as in the total points added.  I think also that I recently heard or read that 2017 is going to be the lowest volatility year on record.  All is good right?  Bitcoin is dominating the news, Trump is making American great again, and the new Saudi leaders are bringing back movie theaters to their country.

What could possibly go wrong in 2018?  It has to be a replication of the prior 12 months right?  ……. Right??  This mornings inflation numbers reconfirms that there is no inflation in the US (cough cough … except in financial assets) and therefore, there is a chance that the FOMC’s decision this afternoon is to stay pat, but to warn the markets, that they are data dependent and stand on guard against inflation if it were ever to raise its ugly head again.

My recommendation is for traders to not assume anything and to just stand on guard and watch price action even more closely this coming year.

Cheers … Leaf_West