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Chart Advisor: Classifying SPY’s Lower Lows

Posted September 25, 2023 at 9:40 am
Aperture Investors , Investopedia

By David Rath, CFA, CMT

1/ S&P 500 in Technical Downtrend 

2/ Apple’s Tell?

3/ Semis Lose Their Way

4/ Industrials’ False Start

Investopedia is partnering with CMT Association on this newsletter.  The contents of this newsletter are for informational and educational purposes only, however, and do not constitute investing advice. The guest authors, which may sell research to investors, and may trade or hold positions in securities mentioned herein do not represent the views of CMT Association or Investopedia. Please consult a financial advisor for investment recommendations and services.

1/ S&P 500 in Technical Downtrend

Friday’s close in the S&P 500 confirmed a short-term downtrend in the index as defined by lower highs and lower lows. This represents roughly a 6% drawdown from the highs we saw at the end of July. It is interesting to note that the intraday high we saw on July 27 was a no-doubter bearish engulfing candle. I remember when it happened that many technicians talked about the need for confirmation of that price action. I think it’s safe to say we got it. We are now currently at August ‘22 highs with the 200 day moving average just over 100 points away. Do we continue this short-term pullback or does it turn into something worse?

Poor seasonal trends would lead us to believe that this pullback was due. Bulls would like to see buyers step back in soon to defend this level.

2/ Apple’s Tell?

Most understand that the broad index is dominated by the weights of a few names. The biggest of those is Apple (AAPL) which represents over 7% weight in the S&P 500. Those who want to see the index resume higher are cheering for Apple to hold this zone of support. Horizontal lines can help us identify levels of resistance on the way up and support on the way down. Many times you will see a level of resistance become a level of support once it is broken. This is the case with Apple at the moment, but where we go from here will be telling.

Also seen in the chart is Apple’s rate of change over the last three months. It is currently negative which is a headwind for bulls – both for the stock and the index.

3/ Semis Lose Their Way

Benefitting from the investing public’s interest in artificial intelligence, semiconductor stocks have been the stars of the show this year. Looking at VanEck’s Semicondutor ETF (SMH) on a weekly timeframe, we can see both a double top and a broken trendline. Now, I might be stretching the definition of a double top as defined in the link since the tops occurred over a year and a half apart. The fact remains that there simply was not enough buying power to break through to new highs. The optimist in me would say that this is just a brief respite given the remarkable advance so far this year.

The pessimist in me would say that the failure to break through resistance and subsequent loss of the positive trend portends further downside potential.

4/ Industrials’ False Start

At the end of July, investors were riding a wave of optimism as the sectors we would like to see outperforming during a bull market were. One of those sectors is Industrials as represented here by State Street’s (XLI). This sector is comprised of companies who build things and move things like Caterpillar (CAT), Union Pacific (UNP), and General Electric (GE).

Looking at the weekly chart for XLI, we can see where the price broke out to a new all-time high, a bullish development. This enthusiasm was quickly reversed as the bearish engulfing candle consumed the entire two bodies of the prior two weekly candles. The bearishness continued in the coming weeks and now the price sits well below those breakout levels. This is referred to as a false breakout. Like everything else we’ve talked about today, bulls are now on the clock to stem this tide.

Originally posted 25th of September

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