Regular readers of this space know that we often turn to technicals to provide some indication to market direction. And during these trying times they are often the best way for investors to figure out when to get in or out of a stock, though you could get an argument about that from our own
bashed technical analysis in an earlier piece.
So what are market technicians saying these days? Plenty.
One of our favorite technicians, Robert Dickey, director of technical research at
Dain Rauscher Wessels
would be the first to tell you he doesn't always get it right. But in his morning commentary before the open yesterday, he said to look for more sharp volatility, and that the first move would be down, then up later in the day -- right on as to what did happen.
But as for individual stocks, Dickey wrote that traders need to look for reversal days. This is where a stock opens strongly to a new recent high, only to close lower on heavy volume. "Very often this marks a top of a run as it did with many of the techs two months ago," he wrote. "For some, the bounce may be over. For the rest, the going appears to be getting more difficult already. The
may still rally to 4200, but this will not be a market of easy gains from here."
In today's commentary, Dickey wrote that the bounce appeared to be over and the correction was back again. "The bounce for most stocks and the market was minor, and failed to retrace 50% of the previous declines whether you are talking indices or stocks," he wrote. "Of course, the tech stocks are still the ones being hit with the most selling, as those issues that do not have a solid fundamental foundation of numbers have no way to tell how far down a bottom truly may be. The final lows will likely be followed by a longer period of sideways basing action before the next significant uptrend will begin with the techs and the Nasdaq. It's just not so easy this time."
Dickey goes on to say that support in the Nasdaq Composite Index will be at the 3250 to 3300 levels, where there was a bounce a few weeks ago. Longer term and stronger support, he wrote, was at 2900, though that was still 20% below today's levels.
"The next few months promise to be challenging for investors," he concludes. "Quick gains will be followed by quick declines, and a buy and hold strategy in the tech stocks especially could prove to be quite frustrating. You see it's different this time."
OK, enough of this crap, what about the fundamentals? Well, what could be more fundamental than tomorrow's
employment report. If you believe all of the hype that's surrounding this one, then get ready for a huge day tomorrow. The history of the world as we know it could be determined by how many jobs were created in April, how much more people got paid and the rate of employment in the US of A. As often is the case when such a big deal is made about a big report like this there is invariably a letdown.
And as is often the case with a big number, the market has a tendency to worry too much, setting up for a relief rally when things don't come in as bad as feared. Focus apparently will be on hourly earnings, with expectations for a 0.4% gain.
OK, let's assume we get a really strong number tomorrow. Initial reaction undoubtedly will be down. But be prepared for a rebound as has been seen countless times in the past couple months. The Nasdaq dropped 116 points early on April 27 before closing up more than 140 points. As the above-mentioned Mr. Dickey has written on more than one occasion, the first move is often not how things end up, and the last hour of trading is the most important.
In addition, as was
pointed out earlier this week, what can this employment report possibly tell us that we don't know. That the labor market is tight? That earnings are going up? And the market already sees the Fed raising rates by 50 basis points on the 16th. About the worst that could happen is that people would think they are going to do 50 later in the month and more in the coming months. But the market does not usually look that far ahead, increasing the chances of a post-report rally.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index closed up 20.35, or 2.3%, at 889.57. The
ended up 13.43, or 0.4%, at 3720.74.
Among today's stock movers,
closed up 3 1/2, or 7%, at 50 3/4 amid ongoing rumors it could be subject of a buyout.
closed down 11 7/8, or 6%, at 183;
closed up 5 1/8, or 5.6%, at 97; and
closed up 6 7/8, or 14.5%, at 54 1/4.
Check Point Software
closed up 13 3/16, or 7.5%, at 188 5/8 and
ended up 5 3/4, or 26%, at 28 as they benefited from the spreading of the "I Love You" computer virus.