In a wild session Thursday with a late swing of almost 100 points in several minutes, the Dow ended more than 150 points higher than Wednesday’s close, while the S&P 500 closed about 20 points higher than on Monday.
The day started on a sour note with a downgrade of Spain’s debt and a higher-than-expected increase in jobless claims. Uncertainty ruled the day. And so when the European Central Bank was rumored to have agreed to back the banking system regardless of the outcome of the elections in Greece, and talk of a new stimulus plan from the Fed surfaced, the shorts ran to cover.
At the close, the DJIA was up 155 points at 12,651, the S&P 500 rose 14 to close at 1,329, and the Nasdaq gained 18 points, at 2,836. The NYSE traded 778 million shares and the Nasdaq crossed 447 million. Advancers were ahead of decliners by about 2.3-to-1 on both exchanges.
The most significant technical event of the last several days is the S&P’s gradual advance, holding above its 20-day moving average at 1,311. By establishing a higher closing high yesterday at 1,329, above the 20-day MA, it could be argued that a short-term uptrend has been established. But to fully confirm the new trend, the index must hold above the immediate resistance at 1,336.
Yesterday, most of the wild volatility was in the Dow Industrials. But the result is similar to the S&P 500’s technical condition: The index has managed to close above its 20-day moving average (green line) and has made a higher closing high, thus achieving a tentative short-term uptrend. For the Dow to confirm the trend, it must close above the major resistance line at 12,716 and the 50-day MA at 12,759. Note the overbought condition of the stochastic.
Conclusion: The short-term trend of the market might be up while the intermediate is neutral and the long-term trend is up. But the overall technical strength is up against some of the most overwhelming uncertainties in recent memory.
Today is quadruple witching day for options. The newest Greek elections occur this weekend, which could determine the viability of the eurozone, and the Fed is expected to issue a policy directive sometime next week. Couple these with a decision any day now from the Supreme Court on “Obamacare” and a presidential election season that is just getting under way with all of its twists and turns, it is no wonder that the market is stuck in a narrow but uncertain trading band.
Whatever the outcomes, I tilt toward a range-bound market until early in the fall — in other words, look forward to Halloween, not summer.
Today’s Trading Landscape
To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here.
For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here.