The S&P experienced a small loss on lighter volume. After a long series of gains, today's loss was welcome, and doesn't change the larger bullish picture. Technicals remain bullish, and with the 20-day and 50-day MAs converging, the chance for a retreat and bounce at these MAs remains compelling.
The S&P banked another gain while the Dow touched resistance. Percentage gains in the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq were greater than the Dow and S&P, but the outlook for the latter indices looks better.
The Dow is nicely positioned to break upside, perhaps by the end of the week. Tuesday registered as an accumulation day, marking good demand from buyers. Bears may try to push their luck tomorrow, but the close proximity of 20-day and 50-day MAs makes any selloff unlikely to hold.
It was never going to look pretty, with indices effectively back inside prior trading ranges, with some wedged between 50-day and 200-day MAs too. Narrow range days, with a net bullish bias, is likely to be the order of the day, at least until 50-day MAs are recovered. The two indices best positioned to take advantage of bullish strength are the Dow Industrials and S&P.
The Dow has morphed into a market leader, with strength in Transports lending weight to a long term bullish setup as per Dow Theory, although neither has cracked new highs - yet. The Dow does look like it will, and possibly soon. Technicals are all net bullish, and Monday's narrow range day suggests few sellers willing to cash out. A break of 16,600 is looking good.
Markets kept with the theme of Tuesday's bullish reversal, adding another percentage point in gains as shorts found themselves on the wrong side of the trade. However, the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 now find themselves nestled against channel resistance - although given the steepness of this resistance, it's unlikely to hold for very long. Aside from further gains, a small loss here could be seen as a victory for bulls, which would set up a challenge of highs from last week's large one-day reversal. Volume wasn't fantastic, but given the Easter weekend, not unexpected.
Today's action was much better news for bulls after a wide reversal swing. The S&P managed to inch a 'bear trap', although it will be vulnerable to mild selling tomorrow. On-Balance-Volume ticked to a 'buy' signal, volume climbed in accumulation, but the index finished just shy of its 50-day MA. The upside target is 1,897, risk measured on a loss of 1,814.
It was a wide range day, but bulls were able to regain some of the mid-afternoon weakness by the close. Intraday weakness for the Russell 2000 found support at the 200-day MA, although the finishing close did not necessarily end bullish.
The Russell 2000 also lost relative ground against the Nasdaq after a sustained period of outperformance. It's an opportunity for bulls, although not as bullish as I would like to see.
Thursday's sell off got some continuation on Friday, but volume dropped as the number of bailing sellers dropped. All indices now sit inside No-Man's Land of between 50-day and 200-day MAs - where it becomes harder for either side to gain an advantage. The Russell 2000 will be the first index to test veracity of demand at the 200-day MA as it sits just a few points above this important support level.
For the Russell 2000, a push below the 200-day MA would quickly set up for a test of the February swing low. My expectation is for a trading-range style bounce from the February swing low, with the 200-day MA only to provide a brief respite from the selling. Technicals are oversold, which will help bulls, and the Russell 2000 is attempting a stronger recovery relative to the Nasdaq (but not yet to the S&P), which suggests money is prepared to come in at these levels.
In relative terms, the S&P has been well ahead of the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq for bullishness, but yesterday was an important victory for bears. The break above the 20-day MA from Wednesday failed to hold, and the resulting move lower was enough to undercut converged ranged support and 50-day MA. To add to the troubles, volume climbed in confirmed distribution. Finally, supporting technicals all turned net bearish. If there is a ray of light for bulls, it's that a 2% loss is likely to be followed by some value buying; value buying which may yet lead to a 'bear trap'.