A lower-than-expected CPI number lets us breathe a little easier, but for how long? It won't take long for market players to focus on the next event: Alan Greenspan's speech on Thursday. And if that's benign, then all eyes will be on the Fed meeting on June 29. And if the Fed does not act on June 29, then investors will begin to worry about the next meeting.
It appears we're still caught in a correction phase. During a correction phase, we wait for news and look for signs because the market picture is not as clear as it once was. The good news is taken cautiously, and the bad news nudges the market lower. I use the word "nudges" because this market has not been whacked good and hard. Instead, it has done a slow dribble down.
Just look at
. It made a new high in mid-April at just over 60. It took a good hit all the way down to 47, followed by a rally back about halfway. Then it came down again, looked like it wanted to hold 47 and bounced from there. Then the pattern continued -- lower highs and marginally lower lows -- until we find Schering at 43 now. What's most intriguing is how Schering appeared to want to hold late last week. The market tumbled, and Schering held at a higher low. Now the market is rallying, and Schering is dropping to lower lows. That's the type of slow leak that's taken this market down. It says we still can't trust this market yet.
This action is most evident in the number of stocks at new lows. A few weeks ago, the
dipped just below 1280 with a peak reading of 63 new lows. Following an oversold rally from that level, we came down again, holding (so far) well above that level. Only this time we've got over 170 stocks making new lows. That is not the sign of a bottom.
Nor are we at a maximum oversold condition here. It should be noted that there was very little selling pressure in the overbought/oversold oscillator during last week's tumble. However, the oscillator has not yet reached a maximum oversold level, so we remain vulnerable on the downside.
Finally, the sentiment is still too bullish for my taste. It is moving in the right direction, but certainly has room to move further. The
percentage of bullish advisers has trickled down to 58.3% from the latest reading of 61.6%. That's still higher than the 56% we had just one month ago. And the bears haven't even reached 30% yet! (At the March low, the bulls were at 49% and the bears were at 32.5%.)
As for individual stocks, the oils and oil-service stocks are the best actors by far.
are the most solid in the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
. Also in the DJIA,
has experienced very little selling pressure and appears to be groping for a bottom.
is a good chart but should be bought into a dip, as it is overextended here.
are good charts. Baker Hughes is nearing some resistance, so be patient and do not chase it.
is also still on my positive list.
In tech land
continues to show off a huge base. It's got a target of around 125.
keeps holding at higher lows, which is positive.
A word about the banks here. They have been showing sloppy action for sometime now, but in the past few trading days have offered the first glimmer that they will hold. With interest rates backing up late last week, I've noted
did not make lower lows. I believe it's too early to tell if they've seen their lows, but they certainly bear some closer watching for signs of it.
On the negative side,
has rallied enough for now.
Procter & Gamble's
volume on yesterday's rally was pathetic.
may take more time but will eventually work its way lower.
Outside the DJIA,
continues to act poorly. So does the above-mentioned Schering, although it does have some support in the low 40s. The retailers are struggling again as well.
can't seem to rally, nor can
rallied but still looks like it ought to be sold. Add
Toys R Us
to this list, too.
With the market not yet at maximum oversold and the number of new lows still expanding, it's difficult to call an end to the correction just yet. Even with a bullish CPI report, stocks do not appear ready to stage a decent rally at this point. I prefer to be patient and wait for signs of a better bottom.
Helene Meisler, based in Singapore, writes a technical analysis column on the U.S. equity markets on Tuesdays and Fridays, and updates her charts daily on TheStreet.com. Meisler trained at several Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and 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 at