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Well, if it helps any, even
getting tired of fighting the tape. At least that's how I felt as I watched the last hour of trading Tuesday. The advance/decline number looked good and so did the upside-downside volume. Then I sat down to post my daily charts.
I noted that stocks like
had rallied this past week on lower volume than it's seen in some time. It's hard to show on a chart because it's not as dramatic.
But as I posted the chart by hand, I noticed the price going to a higher high and then checked out the volume. Two weeks ago, Microsoft had a 54 million-share day, and each day since has seen volume drift off (Tuesday was around 30 million) despite a nearly $6 rise in the stock. It's as though you can draw a megaphone with price rising and volume falling.
Microsoft's Slowing Volume
Can that go on for a while? Sure. But is it healthy? No.
I noticed that
good news, too, and the stock was down. Oh, not all that much, and it did stop right at resistance, where it should have. What concerns me most is that the volume on this chart is higher than the stock has seen in five weeks.
I'd really like to find some tech stocks that are buyable, but are we really going to chase
up here? The stock has basically doubled lately from $7 to $14. But take a look at its chart and see all that resistance at $15.
Looking for Sun's Strength
Why did Sun made a high last Thursday at $14, when the
was at 1888 intraday, yet when the average soared to higher highs Tuesday, Sun only managed to get to $13 and change? And shouldn't we make a fuss that volume on last Thursday's reversal for Sun was nearly 120 million shares? Compare that with Tuesday's volume of about 50 million.
Of course, that's evident in the failure of the number of stocks making new highs to expand during Tuesday's big up day. I guess we could credit the Nasdaq a bit for matching the peak post-Sept. 11 reading of 62 new highs. However, that would ignore the fact that we're now above the average's pre-Sept. 11 levels and well below the reading of new highs from pre-Sept. 11.
So how long can this continue? With folks ignoring bad news (anyone make a fuss over
news?), it can continue for as long as it likes. I still don't believe in chasing stocks when rallies are so stretched and exhausted.
For more explanation of these indicators, check out The Chartist's
Helene Meisler, based in Shanghai, writes a technical analysis column on the U.S. equity markets and updates her charts daily on TheStreet.com. 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