Monday, November 15, 2010

Volume Slides, but Late Day Sellers Push the Market to the Day’s Low

Merger Monday fails to spark buyers

Late day weakness left a sour taste in traders’ mouths as late day sellers closed out the market near session lows. Mixed economic data got the day started with a better than expected Advance Retail Sales figures surprised the market. However, a very disappointing Empire Manufacturing report did not help ease traders’ minds about the economic recovery. Volume ran light throughout the day with the exception of the early morning gap where the NASDAQ experienced volume running higher than Friday levels. At the end of the day we were able to hold Friday’s lows, but the late day selling suggests we have further to go on the downside.

Friday’s sell off did some damage, but left the S&P 500 with 3 days of distribution and the NASDAQ with only 2. Given the bullishness from AAII investors last week it is no surprise this pull back has gone as far as it has. The market is, at the moment digesting more than 10 week’s worth of gains and to expect the market to continue to rise is foolish. Remember, markets do not move in straight lines and history shows us little intermediate corrections will occur in market rallies. While we certainly could be seeing a top form we have yet to see the signs of a “top.” Right now, we are simply in an intermediate correction.

One indicator I have neglected is the McClellan Oscillator. Price and volume reign supreme, but the McClellan oscillator has been a decent indicator regarding oversold and overbought conditions. Keep in mind the oscillators including the McClellan shouldn’t be used in absolute terms but as a guide. Right now the Oscillator, depending on how you calculate it is in oversold territory. Oversold conditions can last much longer than you expect and May/June certainly proved this, but the current pull back certainly seems to be nearing an end. Whether or not a bounce will produce much remains to be seen, but for now we must be prudent investors.

We did see a few big cap technology stocks take a bit of a hit as sellers really took to these stocks as they have been leading the market higher. Even with heavy volume selling these stocks have held key long term moving averages. Intermediate pullbacks like we are seeing right now highlight the importance of buying right and not chasing including these big cap technology stocks. If you had chased these stocks you would be sitting on hefty losses and being forced to cut loose your positions. Staying disciplined is the best course of action.

Be defensive right now; keep any new positions on the lighter side until this market can prove its worth by pushing higher on volume. As always cut your losses!

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