Thursday, 23 September 2010

21:16 BST - SPX End of Day Update

On the 3 bullish to bearish Options set out in Friday's end of day update, I'm still awaiting confirmation whether or not we've seen the completion of 5 waves or a diagonal up from the August low at yesterday's high of 1148.59  (the diagonal would be an ending or leading diagonal, depending on which of the Options you're looking at). 

Please refer to the 60 min charts in Friday's end of day update for context (the following charts are based on the bearish count shown in Option 1 in that update).

I said in last night's end of day update that one of the levels I was watching was 1131.47. Well, we did take out that high so excluded the possibility that from the high at 1148.59 we were in wave (4) of [5] up - see chart 2 in yesterday's end of day update. However, we didn't take out the next level I was watching at 1119.77 and instead rallied quite steeply. This suggested a different count might be in play which had us in wave [4] of v, with wave [5] up still to come, as shown in my update at 15:32 BST (see here).

So, we remain pretty much where we were yesterday, despite today' late decline, with the choice being either that a top for the rally from 1039.70 is in at 1148.59, or we have one more high to come.

Chart 1: SPX 1 min - top is in at 1148.59 - impulse (on Options 1 and 2)/correction (on Option 3) down has started:

The labelling relates to the bearish count shown in Option 1 in last Friday's end of day update. Although I've labelled it as if we've only completed wave (i) of [c], given how far we've come, I'm more inclined to think that the rally since August is the whole of [c], so the end of minor wave 2.

This count assumes that the rally from the August low has topped and that we are now going to see at least a reasonable decline. You can see a wider view of this count on the third chart in the end of day update from 21 September - click here.

On the bearish counts (Options 1 and 2 in last Friday's end of day update) this move down would be the early stages of wave [1] down. We should eventually be headed down below the August low (on Option 1 I'm assuming that the high at 1148.59 is the end of wave [c], not just part of it, as mentioned above).

On the bullish count (Option 3 in that update) this move down would be wave (a) or (w) of [ii] down and we're only going to retrace a portion of the rally. Wave (a) may take the form of 5 waves, or it may just form 3 waves. Wave (w) would be 3 waves. 

Since we have 3 waves down from 1148.59 to 1131.58, its possible that that low marks the end of wave (w) of [ii] as a zig zag. What followed would be wave (x) as an expanded flat correction. So we'd now be in wave (y) which could form as another zig zag, but it could take any other corrective form, so we'll just have to wait and see (you can see what I mean for this (w)-(x)-(y) wave on chart 2 below). Alternatively, we may still be in the early stages of a 5 wave move for wave (a) of [ii] which would be labelled as shown on the above chart (except that the degrees would be different of course).

For the bearish count, or if we're forming 5 waves for (a) of [ii] on the bullish count, I'll stick with the labelling on chart 1 for the moment. 

Bearing in mind my comments in relation to the bullish count below, I think that the level to watch now on this count is 1110.27 - if that level is taken out then the bullish count is invalidated. 

This (1)-(2)-1-2 will be invalidated if we take out 1144.38, but I think that taking out 1136.77 at this stage would create concern that this count isn't playing out.

Chart 2: SPX 1 min - final leg of the rally still to come: 

You can see the wider view of this count on the chart posted at 15:32 BST (click here). Although the intraday labelling that had us starting wave [5] up has been invalidated, the possibility that we're in wave [4] with wave [5] up to come remains until we take out the high of wave [1] at 1110.27.

Although I've labelled it as if we're still in wave (Y) of [4], it may well be complete at the late afternoon low, in which case, we'd expect a rally starting tomorrow.

As long as we stay above 1110.27, this count suggests a new high above 1148.59. 

So, after today's action, the main levels I'm watching are 1110.27, 1136.77 and 1144.38. Taking out the first one will invalidate the bullish count. Takking out the second one will make the bearish count less likely. Taking out the third will render the bearish count invalid.

19:59 BST - SPX Update on the bullish and bearish counts

On the bullish count I'm inclined to think that we completed wave (1) of [5] at today's high since the move down from there has become rather out of proportion to be wave 4 of (1). If we decline below 1127.66 (see the previous posts) now, that would exclude the wave 4 of (1) count anyway, but even if we don't, I think I prefer this count for the time being:

SPX 1 min - one more high to come:

Taking out today's low will invalidate this one.

On the bearish count, I'm going with this for the moment:
SPX 1 min - top in at 1148.59:

We have to take out today's low for this to be a possibility. If we're still actually in wave 2, we may well end up taking out today's high - that's fine. It will invalidate this labelling but as long as we don't get above 1144.38, the (1)-(2)-1-2 possibility will still remain.

17:35 BST - SPX Update: 60 min time and price chart

Just looking at the 60 min time and price chart, it doesn't seem to be over for the immediately bearish case - well, not just yet. Although the rally from today's low has appeared pretty strong, we're still in the lower half of the channel drawn through the time and price lines and below the last Gann price level that price broke down from yesterday (its at about 1138):

SPX 60 min time and price chart:

Now, on the bullish count, it doesn't mean that we won't just continue to crawl up the underside of the midline of the channel to make wave [5], but if it does that, it would probably be a clue that such a rally is likely terminal.

So far, the indicators don't seem overly impressed with the move from the low. The RSI and CCI look like they're just retesting the 50 and +100 lines from which they broke down. The MACD may be turning up, but if so, its doing it very slowly. The histogram is making higher lows within the current trough but is yet to turn positive. The stochastic has moved up from oversold, but hasn't, so far, been able to reach the 50 line.

Of course, all of this can change and the indicators can start behaving more bullishly if we just continue to rally. So, we can only watch the price levels that the move so far suggests should be important to the bullish or bearish counts and wait for price action to confirm which of the two is playing out. On my counts (see the last post) I'm watching 1127.66 and, of course, taking out the high at 1144.38 will void my bearish count.

17:09 BST - SPX update on the bullish an bearish counts

On this bullish count, it looks like we need another leg up to complete wave (1) of [5]. If the labelling is correct, and we're in 4 of (1), we have to stay above the high of 1 of (1) at 1127.66 in an assumed wave 4 correction:

SPX 1 min - one more high to come:

The same count for the move up from today's low could be applied to the bearish count, so one more high needed to complete wave c of 2 (see the second chart in the last post). However, its possible that wave 2 is a w-x-y not an a-b-c and that y of 2 is complete with the move up from today's low being a complete zig zag:

SPX 1 min - top in at 1148.59:

If we take out the high at 1127.66 mentioned above under the bullish count, before making a hig habove 1136.77, then this count will become the most likely.

15:56 BST - SPX Update: Close ups of the bullish and bearish counts

Here's a close up of the chart shown in the previous post:

SPX 1 min - one more high to come close up:

But this is how I'd count it for the more bearish case which assumes a high was put in at 1148.59:

SPX 1 min - (1)-(2)-1-2 down with 2 as an expanded flat:

On this count, if c of 2 fails to take out the a of 2 high, it would be a running flat rather than an expanded flat. 

I can see 5 waves up from today's low, but it may be a (1)-(2)-1-2-3. If we drop below 1131.04 before making another high, the latter will be eliminated so we'll be left with 5 waves up. We'd then need to see today's low taken out if this bearish count is in play. Until then, the buliish count would seem more likely.

15:32 BST - SPX Update - one more high to come in the absence of impulsive downward action?

We've taken out one of the downside levels I was watching yesterday, 1131.47, but not the next level at 1119.77 and with price action not behaving overly impulsive to the downside at present, here's the count I think we need to watch for further upside:

SPX 1 min - 5 waves from 1039.70 still in progress:

On this count, if we're in wave [4] of v, all we have to do is stay above 1110.27 and make a new high and put in 5 waves up from the wave [4] low to complete 5 waves up from 1039.70.

13:48 BST FTSE and Dax breakdown from time and price channels

The FTSE and Dax have broken down out of their 60 min time and price channels:

FTSE 60 min time and price chart:

Dax 60 min time and price chart:

Hopefully we're not just going to get an immediate recovery back into the channels. Assuming its a genuine breakdown, let's see if the SPX can follow suit today.

12:06 BST - SPX Update: Equity Put/Call Ratio, Percent of Stocks above the 50ma and the 60 min time and price chart - lining up for sell signals

The CBOE Equity Put/Call ratio is once again, on the verge of giving a sell signal by the 5ma moving above the 10ma. There hasn't yet been a cross of the 5ma above the 10ma - they closed yesterday at the same level - exactly as they did on 10 September (see my post of 12 September). Then, no signal came as the 5ma dropped below the 10ma and they both stayed below the blue dotted line. Here's the updated chart:

CBOE Equity Put/Call ratio:

As I've mentioned before and reiterated in the 12 September post, we may get the cross of the 5ma above the 10ma and that can be taken as a sell signal, but while these moving averges are below the blue dotted line, there is always a higher risk of false signals, so trade management must take that into account.

There are however, features that might provide some support for a sell signal here. 

First, while the market has risen, the moving averages have stayed within the pink channel, which is presently a smaller downward channel (bullish for the market) within a larger upward channel (bearish for the market). The pink channel looks like a bull flag which should break to the upside (which is bearish for the market). The black channel was broken, but that may just need to be re-drawn. Importantly, so far, the red channel remains intact.

Second, the 5ma has formed a double bottom - you'll see that the 5ma made a triple bottom in early August (see the last vertical red dotted line marking the 9 August market high) and we then saw quite a substantial decline in the market.

Third, there is good divergence in the McLellan Oscillator which made a lower high while the market moved to a higher high. We didn't have this on 10 September (you'll see that we did have such divergence coupled with a cross of the 5ma above the 10ma at the 9 August market high).

If the market has topped, we should see the 5ma cross above 10ma and both should move emphatically above the pink channel and the blue dotted line and, preferably above the mid-line of the red channel. If one or other of these does not happen, it should be considered as a warning that any down move may not be sustainable.

The S&P 500 percent of stocks above their 50ma was in an area where it could have signalled a market top when I last posted it on 12 September, but, as mentioned in that post, there was no sell signal at that time and the risk remained to the upside. 

Since then, it moved up further along with the 13ma (and the market). Its now close to giving a sell signal, but hasn't yet done so. Its reached the overbought area where market tops have occurred previously and has truned down, but hasn't yet crossed down through the 13ma:

S&P 500 Percent of Stocks above the 50ma:

Whereas on 12 September this was telling me to be on the lookout for a potential market top, I think it may now be saying to be on high alert. 

Of course, there's nothing wrong taking trades in anticipation of a sell signal being given here, based on other analysis (eg elliott wave counts or other technical indicators), as long as risk is managed appropriately - its feasible that this indicator could move up again and make a lower high, while the market moves up to a higher high - that has certainly happened at previous market tops. 

If you were only trading off this indicator however, you'd wait for the cross and,  in general, once it falls below the 13ma in this area, its been a fairly reliable sell signal. So, something to keep a close eye on.

The 60 min time and price chart that I last posted on 21 September is aligning well with the potential sell signals referred to above:

SPX 60 min time and price chart:

You can see we're right at one of the time cycle lines so, while not guaranteed, there should be a good chance of a turn around the area of this line. Certainly, the longer term time cycle posted on 15 September would be consistent with a turn here and what we're seeing in the internals and indicators suggests that the turn should be down. 

However, none of these cycles can be precise turning points on every occasion, so more upside remains feasible and a turn down right now shouldn't be considered as guaranteed. Price action needs to be watched closely because sometimes, all you get is a brief pause in the prior trend and the market then continues in its original direction  (currently up) into the next cycle line.

So, looking at price action, it does seem to be behaving like it may now be struggling to make further upside to the next price level at about 1156. Once it fell below the current price level yesterday, it wasn't able to get back above it. 

It also fell below the midline of the channel (the construction of which is explained in the earlier post). Its the first time its done that since the big rally that got it into the upper part of the channel on 1 September. Obviously, this may be a false breakdown, so a quick recovery back into the upper half of the channel would potentially be bullish and we'd have to be thinking that the next price level up may be on the cards. 

However, if it fails to recover the upper half of the channel, that's going to look bearish and will suggest that the lower line of the channel may be reached and that will then open up the possibility of a breakdown out of the channel altogether.

You'll see that I've added some red dotted horizontal lines to the chart. These are Gann based price levels assuming a top at 1148.59. The first one has already been reached (it coincided with prior peaks in the market so was bound to provide support).  The lower ones may be the initial targets to watch for if we have topped and areas where price may pause. If we're only correcting an overall uptrend these levels may mark potential turning points for such a correction. If we're now entering a larger downtrend, these levels should only provide temporary support.

As for the technical indicators, while the bearish divergences did manifest themselves in lower prices yesterday, I really want to see more bearish moves in these indicators to have confidence that we will be seeing at least a reasonable pullback in the market.

The RSI needs to break the 50 level and get to oversold with price declining. The CCI needs to get to below zero and towards the -100 level with price declining. The MACD needs to fall below zero with price declining. The stochastic has reached oversold, but without too much of a sell-off in the market. If we see a market decline today, I'd like to see this indicator fall further into oversold without recovering above the oversold line.

So, the way things are lining up suggests that a top for the rally from the August low may be very near, if not already in at 1148.56. This is consistent with the wave counts, even on the overall bullish case (see yesterday's end of day update). Now we just need price to confirm with follow through to the last two day's bearish candles with a significant deline that takes out some meaningful price levels  to the downside (the ones I'm watching for the moment are set out in that end of day update).