Thursday, January 24, 2008

Buyers range established

The last two days have seen tweezer bottoms in large cap indices, a bullish piercing pattern in the Nasdaq 100, and a (somewhat) bullish engulfing pattern in the Nasdaq. But my favorite, the semicondutor index, refused to buckle in the face of broad market selling over the last week - although it would be hard pushed to shed more than it has already. Wednesday's bullish hammer is the icing on the cake. Watch for a fresh MACD trigger 'buy' (but well below the bullish zero line, a weak signal) as other technicals improve:

The Semiconductor index has a Point-n-Figure chart target of 260 (which would amount to a 50%+ decline from its 2007 highs!). To negate this target the index would need to muster an upside breakout, with 364 likely to define such a threshold.

The technology sector is one of the first to push higher from a recessionary environment. Chips should lead other technology based sectors. For the purpose of disclosure I am long some deep-in-the-money calls on the Semiconductor HOLDRs (SMH) with the intention of taking some money off the table on a test of the 50-day MA.

As for other indices, use the 2-day range and apply Fibonacci retracements. If looking to buy then split orders to cover fills on the 38%, 50% and 62% retracement, adding on a break of the 2-day high when further retracements appear unlikely. Stops go on a 1% break of 2-day lows.