This isn’t one of those Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon Carnac the Magnificent skits where Ed reads the answers and Johnny surmises the question. But “market top, range bound, and calendar” are probably the most significant dynamics effecting equity prices over the next week or so. Longer term market participants are waiting for some central banker to make some proclamation that all the world’s problems will be fixed with more money. Been there done that, and as stated previously, I am not so sure that this widely held belief (i.e., the Bernanke put) will play out exactly the way investors want. But for the next 10 days here is the plan.
This is a market top. I have been saying this is a market top since the end of March, and there is nothing in the data that sways me from this position. Essentially, the absence of meaningful sell offs leading to extremes in bearish sentiment is a sign of a market top. Even the 10% drop in the SP500 over 2 weeks didn’t really produce extremes in bearish sentiment, which would be a buy signal. Once again, investors believe in the Bernanke put, and after much clamoring to do something, the Fed jumped in to extend Operation Twist. Investors got their wish, but it doesn’t appear to be enough. In any case, a market top generally means range bound trading and that is what I expect.
So what range are we talking about? To keep it simple, let’s say you buy at the 200 day moving and sell at the 50 day moving average. Prices on the S&P Depository Receipts (symbol: SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust Series (symbol: QQQ) are sandwiched between these two widely followed metrics.
What does the calendar have to do with it? The end of the month and end of the quarter mark ups (or shenanigans) will support prices, and the July 4th Holiday is smack in the middle of next week. I can’t imagine trading volumes being huge. Nor can I imagine traders pushing the major indices below the much watched 200 day moving. At best, there should be an upside bias, which is likely being front run as I type, and the downside should be capped by support at the 200 day moving average.
Speaking of the 200 day moving average, how un-American would it be for this level to give way on July 4th? It would be very un-American. Don’t worry….it isn’t happening.
Figure 1. Carnac the Magnificent