Now that the Fed meeting is over, and they didn't raise rates (as we have been predicting), what do we really know? Stocks rallied strongly heading into the announcement, and then there was heavy buying right after the announcement. But the party on Thursday didn't end well, with sell programs emerging that knocked $SPX back down and held $VIX up.
Stocks continue to remain in bearish trends. There have been some sharp rallies, but none of them has even reached the now-swiftly-declining 20-day moving average. There is heavy resistance at 1990, with support at 1900 and 1860. Below that, the next target would be 1820.
Put-call ratios have reached extremely high (oversold) levels. The standard equity-only ratio has given a buy signal (Figure 2) But the weighted ratio has not (Figure 3).
Some of the intermediate-term indicators seem ready to capitulate and issue buys, but the overall picture is far from "all clear" at this point. Despite recurring volatility, $SPX has traded in a new range in the last couple of weeks -- 1870 to 1990.
One of the great things about trading is also one of the worst things – the market can spring things on you that you never saw coming. Even if you were bearish, you certainly didn’t expect this kind of reaction (or if you did, I submit you’ve been bearish for a long time). In volatility trading, surprises can occur as well – and they have done so this time, as well.
The relative calm of the stock market trading in a range for six months was shattered in recent days. As recently as August 18th, all was calm. But beginning with a sharp 17-point drop in $SPX on the 19th, the rout was on. The support area at 1980-2000 was blown away, but it may offer some resistance on the way back up. There should also be major resistance at the 2040 level. Meanwhile, Monday's lows at 1870 represents support. If that is violated, last October's lows at 1820 are the next support area.
The market took a beating yesterday, as $SPX finally got in line with the indicators, most of which had turned bearish in the last week or so. $SPX closed just below 2040, which technically is a violation of the previous trading range (2040-2135). However, as you can see from the chart in Figure 1, it's still in the general area of the low of the range. If prices should rally from here, we would certainly say that the trading range has held.
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The stock market continues to hover in its trading range. Despite some promising buy signals from sentiment extremes in put-call ratios and $VIX, there was no follow-through by the Standard & Poors 500 Index ($SPX). We have often said -- and still maintain -- that price is the most important indicator. Regardless, as long as $SPX remains in the broad 2040-2135 trading range, the chart is neutral.