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TheStreet Open House

Charting With the CEOs

This column was originally published on RealMoney on April 2 at 8:53 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please click here .

We know the market can't go up well because it had no follow-through after the Fed rally nearly two weeks ago. We also know the market can't go down well because the Iranian situation coupled with the Chinese sanctions on Friday couldn't get it down, either. Chop, chop remains the theme.

As I went through the chart book this weekend and noticed all the awful-looking financial stocks, I couldn't help but think of Countrywide Financial (CFC) CEO Angelo Mozilo.

CNBC seems to parade him out every time we have a subprime scare, citing his non-negative comments as testimony to the fact that the subprime mess has not spread.

Didn't it do the same thing a year and a half ago with Bob Toll of Toll Brothers (TOL) when the homebuilders were down, but the news had yet to turn so negative?

On the chart below, I've circled the period when I can remember Toll being an almost-weekly fixture on TV.



The stock was already down quite far then, but the news wasn't yet as horrific as it has since become. Now we see him on TV only rarely, and the news is now so bad that even his fellow homebuilding CEOs are afraid to give earnings estimates for the current year.

You can also see that what looked like a potential bottom 18 months ago turned out to be a resting point in a longer-term decline.

And didn't CNBC do the same thing to Bill Zollars of YRC Worldwide (YRCW) with his commentary on the economy? As long as he told us the economy was cruising along, then the folks at CNBC were happy. On the chart below, I've circled the time when his TV appearances were frequent.

Can you even remember the last time you saw Zollars on television? I know I can't. Needless to say, YRC Worldwide has had its share of problems since he was a constant fixture.

So with that in mind, let's have a look at the chart of Countrywide. Sure, the stock is down and out already. Sure, the stock is sitting at a ton of support. And so what if it's broken that uptrend line? It hasn't collapsed since breaking it, so it can easily recapture it.

But I see a pattern here. When the media gloms on to a CEO like they did with Bob Toll and Bill Zollars and that CEO has yet to see problems develop in his industry or his area within that industry, I'd say there is plenty to worry about.

It might not be manifested immediately. After all, it took many months after Toll's and Zollars' fame for their stocks to collapse and their faces to disappear from the TV screens. However, I don't find it comforting that Mozilo doesn't see the same problems in his business as the subprime business does now. History tells us otherwise.

For the stock market as a whole, we didn't get the down days Thursday and Friday that I hoped for, but a few down days early this week could still set us up for an Easter rally. It just won't last very long.

Overbought/Oversold Oscillators

For more explanation of these indicators, check out The Chartist's primer .

At the time of publication, Meisler had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.

Helene Meisler writes a daily technical analysis column and TheStreet.com Top Stocks. For more information, click here. Meisler trained at several Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and SG Cowen, and has worked with the equity trading department at Cargill. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. She appreciates your feedback; click here to send her an email.

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