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If the technology sector doesn't get another day in the sun, investors might not move to a bullish extreme -- but that's what we need to see happen if the market is going to get out of its current range.
The way the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index held up in the face of the
news was terrific. Investors scoffed at the company citing SARS as one of the reasons orders and business were suffering, but the stock didn't collapse. Some analysts implied that something worse was underfoot, but still the stock didn't break.
Maybe this is the way to get sentiment to change. By this point in our three previous rallies off lows, people were trying to convince me to be bullish.
Not this time around. This time people are saying they're not going to get sucked in the way they did in previous rallies. That's why I think we need this market to cross those downtrend lines.
I've been using the 900 level on the
as the line I want to see surpassed in order for bears to throw in the towel. But the downtrend line actually comes in somewhat higher, more in the 910-920 area, depending on how thick your pencil is.
, the key area is something over roughly 1430.
As long as the averages stay below these trendlines rather than breaking through them, investors will have an excuse to stay bearish, rather than piling in. That's not the way rallies end. I do think we are getting late in the rally phase, but we still need to see another push higher, not a market that stays in the same range. If we don't break through to either a higher high, or through the downtrend line, then we can expect the averages to remain in the range they've been in for more than a month.
Maybe today's the day to do it. If that happens, perhaps the put/call ratio will fall to a level that suggests investors believe in this rally, something we haven't yet seen.
Another thing to focus on is that we're beginning to see the unraveling of the lock-step moves of the dollar, gold, oil, bond and stock markets. The S&P has now rallied 20 points in two days, while none of these other markets have moved very much.
I still don't like gold here. I've never been much of a fan of oil either, but I do have a view on bonds. Prior to the high in the bond market, I compared Treasuries with
and its final fling during the Internet bubble.
I'll point out that this 4% level has become quite a magnet for the 10-year note. If the bonds don't break through a yield of around 4.10% soon, then they'll look as though they want to come back down (up in price and down in yield). That would likely coincide with the stock market's late rally phase.
For more explanation of these indicators, check out The Chartist's
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Helene Meisler, based in Shanghai, writes a technical analysis column on the U.S. equity markets and updates her charts daily. Meisler trained at several Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and SG Cowen, and has worked with the equity trading department at Cargill. At time of publication, she held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. She appreciates your feedback and invites you to send it to