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NEW YORK (
) --With the slow crawl looking more like a fast sprint, and with this week packed full of data and events, are you thinking about buying or selling? I can tell you what I'm planning -- and, for the most part, it's not buying. Before looking at a couple of names and examples of what I'm selling and why, let me first quickly survey the technical landscape of the broad markets via the
SPDR S&P 500
. Look at the daily chart above.
The S&P 500 has come off the double-bottom formation with a vengeance, traveling more than 200 points in the span of a single month. The headlines are filled with accolades about the feat and how it is the strongest move in equities for decades. In fact, if you look closely you'll see that the last time it was this good was 1974. Wait a minute -- did I say 1974? I don't remember that period of history all that fondly, and if you are old enough to have experienced it, you probably don't, either.
But if you look back at 1974, October of that year marked the lows for the year and the sprint higher from there never really stopped. That period marked the market lows for remainder of the 70's and we all know how the 80's turned out. Could this be the same?
But double-bottoms can be powerful spring boards, and after two months of consolidating losses this was one indeed. This spike higher has been mostly uninterrupted, save the small five-day rest about a week ago. Now the chart exhibits an AB=CD pattern that projects almost back to the 2011 highs. Will the index make it? I'm not sure, but at this time I'm not willing to bet heavily against it either -- at least not yet.
If you remember, back near the lows in August I showed the chart above and proposed the slow-crawl theory. As part of that theory I postulated that, before the crawl was done, we would see the S&P 500 push back into the 1249-to-1262 area and eventually on to the 1280-to-1290 resistance zone. The chart above is the same chart I highlighted back then:
Although the journey higher hasn't played out exactly as anticipated, the S&P 500 is nevertheless at those price points now. With this new AB=CD pattern threatening to take the market higher than originally expected, I would caution that the index is likely closer to the top again than it is to the bottom.
I will cushion this bearish talk slightly to suggest that, at this juncture, I am still leaning toward the expectation that the push higher can continue into the end of year. Indeed, it still looks quite possible. The question will be: From where will it commence? Will this market mark time again soon, or will it actually give up some ground? I am expecting the latter, and I expect that selling to start sometime this week. For that reason, I am planning to sell off the few positions I have that I don't consider to be part of my core holdings -- names such as
Stanley Black & Decker
. Let's quickly take a look at these stock charts to see why.
I'll start with Yahoo!, which I began buying based on the volume buildup that began to show up back in early September. Why am I selling it now? The answer is pretty simple: "Because it was a speculative trade that has most like ran its course." The Yahoo! chart shows that the anchored resistance is thick and strong in the current price area.
As far as the other name goes, I bought Stanley Black & Decker on earnings that resulted in a nice spike higher in mid-October and a 10% run higher since that announcement. As with Yahoo!, though, it is starting to reach anchored resistance. Given that I do not consider it a core holding, I'm happy to take my gains and concentrate the cash elsewhere.
As I indicated Friday, there is a time to buy and a time to sell. I'm not interested in selling off my core positions yet and, in fact, I will look to add to them on a pullback. However, I do believe you have to seriously consider selling off some portion of your non-core holdings that have ran too far, too fast once more. That -- and continuing to hedge your core positions -- is the way to go here, in my opinion.
I am doing that by selling short some Nasdaq 100 positions using the
ProShares UltraShort QQQ ETF
. If I'm wrong, I'll simply have to pay the price for the protection. But, given what I see, I do expect that I'll be able to get some traction out of these short positions soon, and some better prices to expand the long side of the book again for the expected end-of-year run.
Thanks for listening and, until next time, just keep trading the charts.
At the time of publication, L.A. Little was long YHOO, SWK, QID.
L.A. Little, author, professional trader and money manager, writes daily on www.tatoday.com, a free educational site for traders and investors. He has been featured in numerous publications and is the author of Trade Like the Little Guy. His new book, Trend Qualification and Trading, details the principles and techniques he writes about on TheStreet. Little�s background includes degrees in philosophy, computer science, computer information systems and telecommunications. With a trading philosophy centered on capital protection first and the accumulation of consistent gains over time, Little espouses a simple technical approach to trading the markets that is a throwback to the days of past. With a focus on swing points and trend qualification, he provides a breath of fresh air to an otherwise crowded room of derivative indicators with an emphasis on technical minutiae.