After seven straight sessions of gains, profit-taking took its toll Wednesday, and nine of the S&P 500′s sectors booked losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell too, but traded in a very narrow range of just 62 points over the session.
The Labor Department reported that the number of new jobless claims was lower last week, but the sharp decline reported was due to technical problems in claims processing with two states underreporting.
House Speaker John Boehner expressed doubts over Syria’s plan to put chemical weapons under international control. “And so the euphoria around the Syria situation is fading” noted one trader in The Wall Street Journal.
At Wednesday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 26 points to 15,301, the S&P 500 fell 6 points to 1,683, and the Nasdaq was off 9 points at 3,716. The NYSE traded 640 million shares and the Nasdaq crossed 364 million. Decliners exceeded advancers on both exchanges by about 2-to-1.
The recent advance in stocks has put the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) back into a slumber. It has fallen 20% since its August high, despite rumors of war and all of the other fear-producing headlines.
After hitting a new 12-year high, the Nasdaq has held onto the gains rather than retreating back to support. Note the MACD buy signal.
Conclusion: It appears that the August pullback is now over — such as it was. It amounted to a little less than 5% on the S&P 500, which fails to qualify as a correction (10% decline or more) by a wide margin.
And now it seems that despite the world’s woes, the small-cap and mid-cap stocks are taking the lead again. This always makes me nervous since the traditionally accepted mark of a strong market is leadership by the heavyweights. In fact, traditional analysis says that when the lightweights lead, the last phase of the bull market has begun.
Whether you agree with that reasoning or not, the tape tells the tale. And the story is that stocks are breaking to new high ground with only those who own stocks making money.
Some may not like the volume (too low), and others criticize the breadth (too narrow). But in truth, the naysayers have been talking down this bull market for over two years.
Perhaps we should be pleased by their response, since when the public finally gives in, buying everything in sight, we will see a final top. Meanwhile, be happy, buy stocks.
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.