The market opened the new week up within reach of a bullish start, but as the day wore on, doubts grew. By the time Monday’s closing bell rang, the S&P 500 had fallen 1.22%, breaking under a key support level in the process.
Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) gets more blame for the marketwide weakness than any other name. The tech stock fell more than 5% as profit-takers locked in unrealized gains stemming from last week’s big advance. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) proved problematic too, slumping 2.6% to extend what has become a sizeable selloff rooted mostly in fear about the future of healthcare.
Other blue chips like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) were also uncomfortably deep in the red, with BofA down 2.5% as worries about the impact of lower interest rates linger.
As for the best bets heading into Tuesday’s session though, it’s the stock charts of Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL), Centene (NYSE:CNC) and Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) that merit the closest looks. Here’s why.
The last time Centene was put under the trading microscope in early July, it had just bumped into a convergence of technical resistance to renew a long-standing downtrend. But, even within that longer-term selloff, the move looked like it was going to throw CNC into a high-velocity selloff that once again tested the lower boundary of a bearish trading range.
That happened, though with little follow-through. A bounce a couple of weeks later unwound that selling effort before it got going in earnest. The whole pullback was renewed last week, however, at a familiar resistance level. Monday’s poor start to the week suggests another attempt to reach the lower edge of the range is in the works.
Click to EnlargeThe resistance level that rekindled the selling is a combination of the purple 50-day moving average line, the gray 100-day line and the straight-line resistance that marks all the peaks since late 2018 with a yellow line.
- Monday’s close of $47.98 was the lowest close in weeks, suggesting the market’s broad bearish tide is easily up-ending an already weakened Centene stock.
- The most plausible stopping point for any prolonged selloff is either the blue or red lines plotted on both stock charts, lining up the key lows made since late last year … one way or another.
Advance Auto Parts (AAP)
Just a couple of weeks ago, Advance Auto Parts shares were putting significant technical pressure on a horizontal floor at $149. It had been seen before, but not in this way. This time, AAP had clearly met resistance at a key moving average line, and a so-called death cross where the 50-day moving average line falls below the 200-day moving average has taken shape just a few days prior.
The floor did end up breaking down, letting Advance Auto Parts slide under that floor. The bulls tried to recover last week, but yesterday’s setback largely renews the selloff that has been developing for weeks.
Click to EnlargeThe horizontal floor is plotted as a yellow dashed line on both stock charts, linking all the key lows made since late last year.
- The bearish gap left behind two weeks ago almost kick-started a rebound move. But, as soon as the gap was filled in, the bears dug in again.
- Although the floor around $149 has snapped, there’s still a chance the 32.2% Fibonacci retracement line around $143.24 could be offering support. If it fails to hold as well, the 61.8% retracement level lines up nicely with a contentious line in the sand from early 2018.
Hormel Foods (HRL)
Hormel Foods stock took a hard shot in April, but the recovery effort since then has not only been effective, it has been well organized. That clear structure sets the stage for a breakout thrust if (and only if) HRL stock can blast past a major technical ceiling.
The good news is, the underpinnings for such a move have already been established. The momentum is technically already in place.
- The momentum is evidenced by the string of higher lows made since late April, with the one exception of May’s intraday crash that may have actually served as a capitulation.
- Bolstering the budding bullish effort is a healthy swell of buying volume. The volume surge behind the late-July gains has even prompted the Chaikin line back above the zero level.
- The make-or-break ceiling, of course, is the $42.20 area, where the white 200-day moving average line is, and where the stock has found a horizontal ceiling for the past few weeks, marked in yellow on both stock charts.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can learn more about James at his site, jamesbrumley.com, or follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley.