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As we noted last Thursday, the March S&P 500 future was going to be critical if and when it pushed up into 1,474.50. Of course, that was the September 15th lead contract (September 2012 at the time) rally high from the QE-phoria ECB and Fed driven surge. All of the broad technical factors which make that area such a major technical trend decision confluence were reviewed at length in last Thursday’s post Might the US Equities Attempt a Jailbreak?
And they remain much the same, as those major indications actually do not change much week to week. What also does not change much week to week is the relatively soft economic data out of Asia and Europe that has been countered by stronger readings in the US. We saw more of that this morning in the East and Europe, yet now have a day in the US with almost no economic data. And the weak economic data in Europe might not be so troubling in the wake of the ‘lack of crisis’ guidance from President Draghi at last week’s ECB press conference.
As we have covered quite a bit of the fundamental positives and negatives of late, it is more important to focus on the end of weak technical activity today. What is most important is the manner in which the March S&P 500 future fell back from a push to a 1,480 high yesterday to park itself right near 1,475 on the Close. That leaves the decision either way with the activity later in the session into the weekly Close.
And each camp has its challenges. Before we explore those it is important to note that the market might decide not to decide: we could have another quiet Friday drift that has actually been the tendency over the past several weeks. However if either the bulls or bears are going to gain a clear advantage, each as to prove their case beyond a specific technical threshold.
On present form, the bulls have a bit easier in the context of the obvious upward momentum. While any gap higher that fails to get through next resistance (especially if it is particularly critical resistance) might also be exhaustion, remaining well above yesterday’s 1470.70 low early in the session creates additional support around 1,474.50 today. That said, the bulls still need to achieve a close at least several dollars above that level in order to have the jailbreak continue on the upward run. That is now reinforced by the top of the overall channel from the major November low (CH2) extending to up around 1,478 today.
And based upon that same psychology of whether a gap higher fails, the bears really have their work cut out for them. Given that the rally up until yesterday had stalled at no better than a pre-existing interim congestion and 1,465-67, it is of note that Wednesday’s daily Close was 1,465.60 (i.e. right in the low end of that range.) That makes it very clear technically that the bears need to get the market to close back below 1,465-67 to turn the latest upside Acceleration attempt into Exhaustion instead.
However, what is clear technically does not necessarily mean it is easy to accomplish in the real world market activity. The market also gapped up last Thursday above the previous congestion and rally high the 1,460-62 area. Even though it stalled at what was then the top of the same channel, the lack of ability to close back below 1,460 left the aggressive New Year up trend intact.
The difference this time is that any lack of ability to put the market back below the current gap will create the escape above 1,475 that points to the low 1,500 area at a minimum. We will revisit the reasons for that elevated interim objective below. However there is a much more critical near-term psychology which will likely affect the market later today…
…and that has to do with the current general global regional influence psychology.