Editor's Note: Helene Meisler's column runs exclusively on RealMoney.com; this is a special free look at her column. For a free trial subscription to RealMoney.com, click here. This article was published Feb. 25 on RealMoney.
For the past several days, I've tried my hardest to say something nice about this market. I've given it credit for not going down when it could have. But while it didn't want to go down last week, it also doesn't want to rally well, either. Despite its rally in the last hour or so of trading, the Nasdaq can't seem to manage much in the way of positive statistics on rallies. Although some of the statistics during the midweek decline showed signs of not wanting to go any lower, they disappoint when they have the chance to rally. Just look at the relationship between upside and downside volume Friday: It's basically flat. Just as I want to see this relationship act better on down days (as it did Thursday vs. Tuesday), I want it to act better on up days. Friday is only one day, but I would've liked to see a better relationship in the volume statistics. If this rally can't give us better statistics on the upside, it will fail. Perhaps it all goes back to sentiment: If the persistent bullishness in the Investor's Intelligence numbers doesn't change, the market will simply not rally well and is destined to do something to convert those bulls to bears. In the meantime, let's take a closer look at Cisco's ( CSCO) chart. For three months, the stock traded between $18 and $22. In early February, it broke $18, which had been support for those three months. The calculated target price became $14. (Subtract 18 from 22 to get 4, and then subtract 4 from 18 to get 14.) On Friday, Cisco traded to $14.
Now send your eyes over to the left side of the chart, where you'll see the spring low from last year. That low was just below $14. So isn't it possible that Cisco's move down to $14 right now has given us the left shoulder of a head-and-shoulders bottom? Of course, if Cisco can manage to hold in here and rally, it will have plenty of trouble getting back through all that resistance it left behind between $18 and $22. But I'm surely going to watch this chart because if Cisco can manage to hold in this $14 area, then for the first time in almost two years, this chart will look OK. However, right now, without sentiment in the right place, rallies seem to lack bullish statistics and thus have no staying power.
For more explanation of these indicators, check out The Chartist's primer.