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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Chart Patterns: After the Buy
Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.
Trading Basics: Evolution of a Trader book.
Fundamental Analysis and Position Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Swing and Day Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Visual Guide to Chart Patterns book.
Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns 2nd Edition book.
Bulkowski's Blog: ThePatternSite.com
Class Elliott Wave Fundamentals Psychology Quiz Research Setups Software Tutorials More...
Busted
Patterns
Candles Chart
Patterns
Event
Patterns
Small Patterns
Market
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 04/28/2017
20,941 -40.82 -0.2%
9,098 -96.36 -1.0%
704 -3.23 -0.5%
6,048 -1.33 0.0%
2,384 -4.57 -0.2%
YTD
6.0%
0.6%
6.8%
12.3%
6.5%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 04/17/2017
20,100 or 21,150 by 05/01/2017
8,500 or 9,500 by 05/01/2017
725 or 685 by 05/01/2017
6,150 or 5,900 by 05/15/2017
2,275 or 2,425 by 05/01/2017
Mutt Winners: None YTD

Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.

October 2010 Headlines


Archives


Thursday 10/28/10. Easy Trading EZA

In my September 14, posting (which I wrote and posted on the 13th, but also added the ETF to my watch list on September 11), I suggested that it was time to go international, that I had spotted straight-line runs in several ETFs. I even disclosed that I had a buy order on EZA, an exchange traded fund covering South Africa. I closed out that trade yesterday. Here's the details.

I wrote in my blog, "EZA: South Africa Index. I have an order to buy when it breaks out upward from the ascending triangle (formed starting on 4/5/10. Ignore the May 6 spike)." I show a picture of the ETF in the chart below.

Picture of EZA fund on the daily scale.

The ascending triangle only had two touches on the top but more on the bottom if you don't mind the internal trendline (those are trendlines that cut through price). After looking at the other countries that were also making good runs and doing my research on the ETF, I decided to buy and did so with a conditional order. I'd buy the day after price closed at or above 62.57.

I'm not sure where that number comes from. Usually I place the buy price a penny above the pattern's high but that was 62.76 on April 5. I may have clicked on the wrong price bar for the quote.

The stop loss order was set for 59.74, which places it below the prior minor low at A. That matches the volatility stop setting, for a potential loss of 3.8%, assuming an entry at the closing price.

I expected overhead resistance at 65, 68, 73, site of old peaks on the weekly scale.

I scored the triangle and found it had a mildly bullish +1 score with an 80.53 price target. However, that number could be due to the height of the triangle including the May 6 downward spike. I discarded the spike in my analysis since it was a one-time event but didn't check my computer's math to see if that height was bogus. The price was also at the top of the Bollinger bands, suggesting a retrace was coming, or so my trading notes claim. I also had a note that said upside could be limited, so this was a swing trade, not a position trade or buy-and-hold. However, I didn't include that determination in my trading plan.

Anyway, the stock closed above the buy price and my order filled at the open the next day at 63.78, over a dollar higher than I wanted. Price gapped up, as the chart shows.

Price threw back to the triangle top as the chart shows, but that was expected. I hoped it would resume the rise, and it did.

I monitored the ETF daily as it climbed. When enough of an upward trend appeared, I drew a trendline underneath price, which I show in green.

When price gapped below the trendline, I became worried. That was an unexpected surprise, but all good things come to an end sometime. I looked at the fund and discovered that it makes sharp drops after peaking. I held off selling because I was hoping that this would just be a pause in the upward price trend, but when news came that overseas markets were heading lower, I decided to sell. I placed a limit order, day order, to sell at 68.49 but changed that to 67.75 since the market had other ideas. It filled at that price and I made 6% on the trade, well short of the average 35% that I've made on my winners (compared to losses averaging below 10%) this year.

The really good news is that I broke the speed record on my new bicycle. Yippee!

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 10/26/10. Tutorial Tuesday: Stock Upgrade Event Patterns.

Event patterns are ones that occur after a significant event, and price makes a repeatable pattern. My book, Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns (pictured on the right) discusses a variety of event patterns, including stock upgrades and downgrades. ThePatternSite.com also has a delicious review of event patterns for your viewing pleasure.

An ideal chart of a stock rating upgrade pattern.

The chart on the left shows how a typical broker rating upgrade unfolds in a stock.

A broker upgrades the stock and price moves up 65% of the time, to stage an upward breakout, which is a close above the announcement day’s high. That is the good news. In the majority of the cases I looked at, the upgrade is a premature sell signal. If you wait a few weeks, price will top out and then begin dropping, just as the figure shows.

A drop does not always happen, of course, but 43% of the stocks with upward breakouts will peak within 7 days of the upgrade. Within 2 weeks, 53% will have peaked and inside of 3 weeks, 65% will have topped out and started their decline.

If the breakout is downward, meaning price closes below the announcement day’s low, price drops, but bottoms 66% of the time within 2 weeks in a bear market. That might spell a buying opportunity if you think the general market is turning bullish. Otherwise, buying it would probably be a mistake.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 10/25/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

I took out my bike for a spin this Sunday and partway through my run, I passed through the bike stage of a triathlon. It was fun dropping riders like dead flies as I passed them. I would have done better, but my cables have stretched (meaning my gears are slipping) and it's time for them to be adjusted.

I haven't broken any land speed records yet because I'm still in the "break-in" phase. Once I get a day without wind and now that I broke down and bought a canister of Gatorade, I'll have the energy to push over the six mountains (hills, really) that line the course. And that Gatorade tastes like an expensive version of Tang ($1 per bottle, hence the powered variety) . If I need a massive sugar hit, I know what to drink...

Picture of GLD fund on the daily scale.

$ $ $

I show the GLD exchange traded fund on the daily scale. That fund tracks gold, as the symbol implies.

This picture uses the linear scale instead of the log price scale that I usually use. That means the three red lines should be equally distant. If they are not, wipe your glasses and look again. If they are still not equally spaced, then either lay off your medication or blame me.

The three red lines represent retrace values of the prior move up from the July low. Since GLD gapped lower during the past week, that suggests a stronger move down (I'm just guessing here because I've not tested that scenario). That means it will probably push through the first retrace line at 38%. Since the prior peaks (underlying support) are below 50%, I'd probably wait for GLD to turn up in the 50% to 62% region (leaning more toward 62% since that's where I've bought stocks with success). It might not, of course, but that's how I'd play it if I owned or were thinking of owning the fund.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower and bee from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Up 80.91 points. Industrial production and capacity utilization dropped more than expected.
Tuesday: Down 165.07 points. Housing starts climbed but permits dropped.
Wednesday: Up 129.35 points.
Thursday: Up 38.6 points. Initial jobless claims dropped more than expected.
Friday: Down 14.01 points.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 69.78 points or 0.6%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 10.62 points or 0.4%.
The S&P 500 index was up 6.89 points or 0.6%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     1.1% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     15.8% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     2.2% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     20.3% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     3.0% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     17.0% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Existing home sales10:00 MCCounts sales of used homes.
Consumer confidence10:00 TB-Surveys 5,000 households for trends.
Durable goods orders8:30 WBMeasures orders, shipments of goods with lifespans >3 years.
New home sales10:00 WC+Shows sales of single-family homes.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Gross domestic product8:30 FBMeasures economic activity; GDP deflator measures inflation.
Chicago purchasing managers index9:45 FBMonitors regional manufacturing activity.

Options Expiration

No options expire this week.

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 10/22/2010, the CPI had:

5 bearish patterns,
12 bullish patterns,
330 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 70.6%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  11,084  11,108  11,134  11,158  11,183 
Weekly  10,792  10,962  11,088  11,258  11,384 
Monthly  10,379  10,756  10,985  11,361  11,590 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,177  1,180  1,182  1,185  1,187 
Weekly  1,148  1,165  1,177  1,195  1,207 
Monthly  1,098  1,141  1,165  1,207  1,232 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,453  2,466  2,473  2,486  2,493 
Weekly  2,401  2,440  2,461  2,500  2,521 
Monthly  2,260  2,370  2,426  2,536  2,592 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 3 weeks up 20.2%  Expect a reversal soon.
 2 months up 36.5%  The trend may continue.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 3 weeks up 17.2%  Expect a reversal soon.
 2 months up 39.0%  The trend may continue.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 3 weeks up 17.6%  Expect a reversal soon.
 2 months up 41.6%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bullish.
Nasdaq Composite: bullish.
S&P 500 Index: bullish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season is either underway or should be starting soon. The sessions could be more volatile.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
29Triangle, symmetrical
13Rising wedge
11Triangle, ascending
10Rectangle top
8Target price
6Double Top, Eve and Eve
6Pipe bottom
6Head-and-shoulders top
5Triangle, descending
4Flag, high and tight

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Internet1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Computers and Peripherals2. Internet
3. Chemical (Specialty)3. Metals and Mining (Div.)
4. Metals and Mining (Div.)4. Chemical (Specialty)
5. Chemical (Diversified)5. Chemical (Diversified)
48. Building Materials48. Trucking/Transp. Leasing
49. Retail (Special Lines)49. Securities Brokerage
50. Semiconductor50. Cement and Aggregates
51. Cement and Aggregates51. Semiconductor
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 10/21/10. When Do Chart Patterns Work?

Picture of a flower.

When do chart patterns work? That's a good question, but one I haven't made a formal study to prove. However, I have done some research on it. There are two scenarios.

  1. The bear market ends.
  2. An industry trends.

The bear market ends. I did some research on this when studying cloudbanks. I found that you can make a ton of money at least a year after a bear market ends and often into the second year. Beyond that and momentum dwindles. That's why I turned into an almost "buy-and-hold" person since March 2009, when the bear market ended.

If you look at a chart of the Dow industrials or the S&P 500 index, you'll see how price started climbing steeply and curved over, forming a rounded top or dome shape.

An industry trends. The second time chart patterns work is when many of the other stocks in the same industry also begin trending. It's like a rising tide lifts all boats, a phrase common to the stock market. Research for my new book I'm writing uncovered that an industry trending is more important to the health of a stock than the market trending. That surprised me.

I have yet to conduct research on individual chart patterns to determine how often their sideways price movements result in a tradeable trend. One question I have, is what's meant by tradeable? How high must price rise before we call it a trend? I think that one answer is to measure the length of a straight-line run. I can do that easily enough. Many industries high on the relative strength list are in the midst of straight-line runs today.

Here's a list from the last update.

  1. Computers and Peripherals
  2. Toiletries/Cosmetics
  3. Machinery
  4. Packaging and Container
  5. Chemical (Diversified)
  6. Chemical (Specialty)
  7. Metals and Mining (Div.)
  8. Internet
  9. Chemical (Basic)

Chemicals appear three times in this list and that's a good hint that something wonderful is happening. I own one company from the chemical industry and it's almost doubled in price. Yippee! Forget singles and doubles. I'm looking for home runs.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 10/19/10. My New Bike!

Picture of my new bike.

Instead of telling you about chart patterns, let me tell you about my new bike, pictured, including a state-of-the-art bike stand which took me a day to build. The bike was much too expensive to come with a kick stand, and I didn't want to weigh the bike down anymore than necessary.

So, I built a stand of space-age wood (that I stole from my neighbor's fence -- complete with termites) with bolts that will probably rust, and old rubber inner tubes to protect the carbon forks (on the bike) and the cement floor, on which the stand rests.

I compared a bike made of fiber composites (just like the newer airplanes are made out of) to one made of aluminum. For 50% more bucks, I could buy a bike that had lower qualify shift components, ridded a bit smoother, but saved an amazing 4 ounces. Yuck. I chose to go with a metal frame.

After putting all of my accessories on it, the thing weighed in at 25 pounds even (that's with one full water bottle apparently the size of a 55-gallon drum filled with cement). My old bike was 31.6 pounds, so it was a big improvement.

I put on thorn preventer strips in the tires (they go between the inner tube and tire) because I learned and experience proved that those work and work well. Then I pumped up the tires only half way (50 psi) and forget to top them off for my first ride. The result? Out of 55 rides, it scored 52 where 1 is fastest! Of course, this included getting used to shifting through 20 gears and not having the bike setup properly by the shop (the front tire rubbed against the brake, for example).

Picture of a flower and butterfly.

When I arrived home, I pumped up the tires to 120 psi and promptly blew out the rear one (psi should be between 100 and 120). The tire didn't go flat. It pushed aside the tire and exploded like a balloon popping. Way cool, but disappointing since I've changed lots of tires and know how to do it. The blowout happened near the brake, wedging the tire in place. If that happened during a ride on the front tire, I'd flip over the handlebars (which I nearly did in my youth when I clamped down on the front brake. I released the brake just in time to drop the rear tire back to earth and rode on, having learned never to use the front brakes. I also learned this season that if I want to stop a bike moving at 30 mph in an emergency, the front brakes help more than the rear ones, probably because they throw you off the bike first before coming to a stop).

My guess and hope is that I just seated the tire improperly but haven't had the courage to pump them up to 120 again (I ride at 110 psi).

On the third ride, the winds were zero mph and I pushed the bike. Guess what? It was no faster than the old bike. I couldn't believe it!

I'm hoping that it's just me still unfamiliar with shifting through 20 gears from 12 and minor adjustments in the bike setup that are holding me back (I had to buy a seat cushion because the 2 by 4 piece of wood that came with the bike hurt too much to sit on. I also bought a helmet light in sympathy with the Chilean miners even though I ride during the day. I turn on the strobe to alert drivers that I'm coming, even if my lime green jersey doesn't do the trick. Most accidents happen at intersections, so I'm looking to avoid that. Read www.bicyclesafe.com.

So, I'm disappointed. This bike has a smaller gear in back so it's faster than the old bike, but the ones in front are also smaller, so the old bike was faster there. If I replace those (50-34 for you bike-speak people) with a larger model, add clipless pedals (which clip into the pedals...go figure), I could add more speed.

The moral of the story is this: When buying a bicycle, ask if it comes with an engine.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 10/18/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

Picture of the Nasdaq composite on the daily scale.

I show the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) on the daily scale in the chart to the right. The index is making what's called a measured move up chart pattern. These are useful to help predict where the rise will end.

In this case, point A is at 2099 and B is at 2400 for a height of 301. If you add the height to the bottom of the corrective phase of the measured move up (C), you'll get a target of 2633 (D). That's off the chart by about another red line's length.

For a closer and more reliable target, I multiply the height by 45% because that's how often a full measure works (see Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns, 2nd Edition, pg 510). Doing the math gives a new target of 2467 and that's just one point below where it closed on Friday. Does that mean the index will drop?

Since the index is approaching the price of the old high, at E, the peak provides overhead resistance to the up move. Coupled with many stocks looking as if they are about to turn down, my guess is we are coming to the end of the uphill run that began in August. However, such runs can continue longer than anyone expects, so I'll wait before adjusting my price targets ("Tom's 2 Wk Targets," in the panel shown at the top of this page).

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Up 3.63 points.
Tuesday: Up 10.29 points.
Wednesday: Up 75.68 points. Export prices dropped from the prior period.
Thursday: Down 1.51 points. Initial jobless claims climbed. PPI climbed above expectations.
Friday: Down 31.79 points. CPI dropped below expectations but retail sales rose.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 56.3 points or 0.5%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 66.86 points or 2.8%.
The S&P 500 index was up 11.04 points or 0.9%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     1.7% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     15.1% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     2.6% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     19.8% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     3.6% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     16.3% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Industrial production9:15 MB-Production of utilities, mines, and manufacturers.
Capacity utilization9:15 MB-Gauges economic activity, hints of inflation.
Housing starts8:30 TB-Number of homes beginning construction.
Building permits8:30 TB-Measures building permits for new construction.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
FEDs Beige book2:00 W?Reports on economic conditions.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Leading indicators10:00 ThD-Summary of already known reports.

Options Expiration

VIX, RVX expire on Wednesday.

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 10/15/2010, the CPI had:

4 bearish patterns,
36 bullish patterns,
277 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 90.0%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,941  11,002  11,072  11,132  11,202 
Weekly  10,803  10,933  11,044  11,174  11,285 
Monthly  10,196  10,629  10,892  11,326  11,589 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,161  1,168  1,175  1,183  1,189 
Weekly  1,143  1,160  1,172  1,188  1,201 
Monthly  1,087  1,132  1,158  1,203  1,229 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,428  2,448  2,459  2,479  2,489 
Weekly  2,350  2,409  2,439  2,499  2,528 
Monthly  2,195  2,332  2,400  2,537  2,605 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 2 weeks up 29.3%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 36.5%  The trend may continue.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 2 weeks up 27.4%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 39.0%  The trend may continue.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 2 weeks up 25.0%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 41.6%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bullish.
Nasdaq Composite: bullish.
S&P 500 Index: bullish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season is either underway or should be starting soon. The sessions could be more volatile.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
30Triangle, symmetrical
15Rising wedge
12Triangle, ascending
10Head-and-shoulders bottom
8Rectangle top
8Target price
5Triangle, descending
5Pipe bottom
3Broadening wedge, ascending
3Flag, high and tight

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Internet2. Toiletries/Cosmetics
3. Metals and Mining (Div.)3. Machinery
4. Chemical (Specialty)4. Packaging and Container
5. Chemical (Diversified)5. Chemical (Diversified)
48. Trucking/Transp. Leasing48. Insurance (Life)
49. Securities Brokerage49. Securities Brokerage
50. Cement and Aggregates50. Semiconductor
51. Semiconductor51. Cement and Aggregates
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 10/14/10. Strategy Recap

Picture of a flower from my garden.

Several years ago I spent over 3 weeks in California on a business trip, within walking distance of Disneyland. While I was there, I am sure that earthquakes occurred (micro ones), but I never felt one.

This morning, I felt my first one. I was sitting at my computer and just after 9 A.M., I felt the house move up and down, twice in rapid succession. You get the same feeling in a 2 story house when a helicopter flies over. The blades compress and expand the air, making your house also move up and down. Well, that's what it felt like.

I looked over at my water bottle and it showed ripples that continued, confirming that I wasn't imagining it. The midday news reports also confirmed that an earthquake struck in another state, but I felt it here as did others from the area.

$ $ $

Back in July, I depended on the 12-month moving average to signal the end of this bull market. Combined with listening to people I respect in the business that said the wheels were coming off the recovery, I decided to begin a selling program to take profits on my stocks, starting with the best performers.

I sold half my portfolio. And yet, the market continued to move higher.

I am bullish again, selectively buying stocks to hold for the long term. Many trades are mostly adding to exiting holdings, filling out to a full position where I see opportunities for continued growth. My guess is that the market is about to run into overhead resistance setup by the prior peak. For the Dow industrials, that would be the April peak. The index is almost at that price level. Perhaps the earnings reports that are trickling out now could push us to new highs, or force the index lower. Time will decide.


Tuesday 10/12/10. Tutorial Tuesday: Double Bottom Refresher

Picture of the four types of double bottoms

A double bottom pattern occurs when price drops to a low and forms a valley, rises, and then forms a second valley near or at the same price as the first one. The shape of the double bottom can vary from pattern to pattern.

The chart shows the four types of double bottoms. Adam bottoms are narrow, often one-day price spikes. Eve bottoms are wider and more rounded looking. Eve bottoms may also contain price spikes, but they tend to be shorter and more numerous.

Perhaps the best way to tell apart the various types of double bottoms is to ask if the two bottoms look similar or different. Similar means Adam & Adam or Eve & Eve. Different means Adam & Eve or Eve & Adam. Once you've figured that out, look at the height of the bottom. Adam bottoms tend to remain slender over the height whereas Eve bottoms tend to widen out.

The figure shows a few statistics to help gauge performance. All four varieties perform similarly. The failure rate is a measure of how often price fails to rise at least 5% above the breakout price. The breakout price is the highest high between the two bottoms. Thus, the "break even failure rate," which I show, is an easy benchmark and that's why the numbers are so small, 4% or 5%.

The average rise my cause your jaw to drop. It's a measure of the average rise from the breakout price to the ultimate high. The ultimate high is the highest high before price reverses trend. And that trend reversal means a drop of at least 20%. The numbers are based on hundreds of perfect trades, so your chance of duplicating such a rise on a consistent basis is probably zero.

The Eve & Eve double bottom gives a trader the most bang for the buck. It has the smallest failure rate and the highest average rise. It's the best choice if you're going to trade double bottoms.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 10/11/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

Picture of the S and P 500 index on the daily scale.

I show the S&P 500 index on the daily scale. A head-and-shoulder bottom chart pattern appears as shown. The left shoulder (LS) is a bit odd, having twin spikes, but few chart patterns are perfect.

I show this more for the measure rule than anything else.

Use the measure rule to help predict where price is going to stop. Some claim that it represents a minimum price move, but my numbers are geared toward what the average head-and-shoulders does. The green line shows the vertical measure from the head low to the neckline. The neckline is a line connecting the two armpits. I multiply the height of the line by 74% since that is how often a full height measure works for the head-and-shoulder bottom pattern. Making it 74% shorter means there's a 90+% chance of reaching it.

The measure rule target is 1,217 or about 1200. That would place it right at overhead resistance. So, that's where I would expect the index to top out eventually.

How long will it take to get there? Based on the curving arc from the September low, my guess is about a month.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Down 78.41 points. Factory orders were weaker than expected.
Tuesday: Up 193.45 points.
Wednesday: Up 23.93 points.
Thursday: Down 20.07 points. Initial jobless claims were less than expected.
Friday: Up 57.9 points. Unemployment rate held steady, beating expectations.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 176.8 points or 1.6%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 31.16 points or 1.3%.
The S&P 500 index was up 18.91 points or 1.6%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     2.2% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     14.5% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     5.3% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     16.5% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     4.5% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     15.3% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
FOMC Minutes2:00 T?Minutes of the prior Federal Reserve meeting.
International trade8:30 WC+Import/export prices, trade balance. US economy vs others.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
Treasury budget2:00 WDTracks budget deficit. Important in April (tax filing).
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Producer price index8:30 ThB-Measures wholesale goods cost. An indication of future inflation.
Trade balance8:30 ThC+Signals balance of exports & imports.
Consumer price index8:30 FB+Inflation report. Measures cost of goods and services.
Retail sales8:30 FA-Reports total retail sales (not services). Are people spending?
Business inventories10:00 FC-Reports manufacturing, wholesale, retail inventories.

Options Expiration

The following is courtesy of the Options Industry Council.

OptionDate
2013 Equity LEAPS addedMonday
A.M. settled index options cease trading.Thursday
Expiring equity, P.M. settled index options and treasury/interest rate options classes cease trading. Expiring cash-settled currency options cease trading at 12:00 P.M. EST.Friday
Equity, index, cash-settled currency and treasury/interest rate options expireSaturday

Many options expire this week, so traders will be looking to close out their positions ahead of that, and that suggests increased volatility (large daily price swings).

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 10/08/2010, the CPI had:

5 bearish patterns,
80 bullish patterns,
312 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 94.1%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,886  10,946  10,989  11,049  11,092 
Weekly  10,596  10,801  10,917  11,122  11,238 
Monthly  10,091  10,549  10,791  11,248  11,490 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,151  1,158  1,163  1,170  1,175 
Weekly  1,119  1,142  1,155  1,178  1,191 
Monthly  1,065  1,115  1,141  1,192  1,218 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,357  2,379  2,393  2,416  2,429 
Weekly  2,306  2,354  2,380  2,428  2,455 
Monthly  2,138  2,270  2,338  2,470  2,538 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 1 week up 42.2%  Expect a random direction.
 2 months up 36.5%  The trend may continue.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 1 week up 38.8%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 39.0%  The trend may continue.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 1 week up 39.0%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 41.6%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bullish.
Nasdaq Composite: bullish.
S&P 500 Index: bullish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season will be starting in about 3 days.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
26Triangle, symmetrical
16Rising wedge
12Head-and-shoulders bottom
10Target price
9Triangle, ascending
7Pipe bottom
5Rectangle top
4Big W
4Triangle, descending
3Flag, high and tight

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Toiletries/Cosmetics2. Machinery
3. Machinery3. Alternate Energy
4. Packaging and Container4. Internet
5. Chemical (Diversified)5. Packaging and Container
48. Insurance (Life)48. Coal
49. Securities Brokerage49. Insurance (Life)
50. Semiconductor50. Semiconductor
51. Cement and Aggregates51. Cement and Aggregates
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 10/7/10. Is GoLD Losing its Shine?

Picture of GLD on the weekly scale.

I show GLD, which is an exchange traded fund (ETF) on the weekly scale.

I picked two major turning points, A and B, and did a 38% Fibonacci extension to find C. If this analysis is correct, then the run up in gold and GLD is nearing an end. However, I don't think that's the case. Why? Because straight-line runs like gold has been on can continue for a long time.

Just because I drew a horizontal line is no reason to think that the fund and gold will stop there. Having said that, I have found that a 38% extension to be reliable, even though I don't use it much. Also, some will use a 27% extension instead of 38%. Clearly, the fund has bypassed that extension already.

That's also one of my quibbles about Fibonacci. There seem to be an infinite number of ways to manipulate the Fibonacci series to come up with all sorts of percentages. One of my tests of Fibonacci showed no statistical significance for retraces. However, I continue to use Fib retraces in the belief that if other traders think it works then that's to my advantage.

One last thought. The DE pattern is called an ascending scallop. Notice that DE is taller than scallop EA and EA is taller than AC, so far, at least on the log scale. I found that when ascending scallops get shorter, it signals a trend change. So, maybe the run in gold is coming to an end...

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 10/5/10. Tuesday: Entry and Exit Timing

I reviewed all of my trades from 2000 to 2010, but excluded day trades, trades that spanned the date boundaries, long term trades (held over a year), options, short sales, and ETF trades. In other words, I evaluated recent stock trades. The table shows what I found about entry and exit timing.

Early EntryPerfect EntryLate Entry
Distribution17%63%20%
Early ExitPerfect ExitLate Exit
Distribution34%30%35%

I did a frequency distribution for entries and found that 17% occurred too early. Most often, these resulted from trying to buy before the stock reached bottom (bottom fishing), but it includes cases where I bought before price broke out of a chart pattern or before it bottomed during a throwback.

Twenty percent were late entries, often caused by trying to chase a stock upward. The rest, 63%, were perfect entries. That's not hard to do if you place a buy order at the breakout price of a chart pattern.

The exit side is more troublesome. It shows the distribution about evenly split among early, perfect, and late exits. When I exited early, I made the most money, which I find is somewhat weird since it beat perfect exits. Late exits caused losses, just as late entries did. In another study I found that if I couldn't buy within 5% of the breakout price, I increased the failure rate and lowered profits. Perfect entries resulted in the highest gain.

Late exits often came from buy-and-hold type situations where I wanted to hold for the long term but changed my mind. That meant I sold well after I should have. The table shows that I'm good at figuring out when to buy but not when to sell.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 10/4/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

Picture of the Dow utilities on the daily scale.

I show the Dow utility index on the daily scale. Notice the rising wedge. It's a chart pattern formed by two converging and rising trendlines. I like to have at least three touches of each trendline because this one can be tricky to identify. The three touches helps remove questionable patterns.

The breakout from a rising wedge is downward 69% of the time, so that's what I expect the index to do: Drop. It may not, of course. In fact, the recent congestion area (circled) looks like a partial decline. That's when price drops but does not come close to or touch the lower trendline before turning and staging an upward breakout.

I didn't study partial rises or declines in rising wedges since the converging trendlines suggests they don't happen often (because price would touch the opposite trendline instead of reversing before the touch). The index will probably make its move sometime this week.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Down 48.22 points.
Tuesday: Up 46.1 points. Consumer confidence declined more than expected.
Wednesday: Down 22.86 points.
Thursday: Down 47.23 points. GDP climbed more than expected. Initial jobless claims dropped more than expected. Chicago PMI climbed.
Friday: Up 41.63 points. Personal income and construction spending climbed.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were down 30.58 points or 0.3%.
The Nasdaq composite was down 10.47 points or 0.4%.
The S&P 500 index was down 2.43 points or 0.2%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     3.8% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     12.6% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     6.5% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     15.0% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     6.0% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     13.4% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Factory orders10:00 MD+Durable/non-durable goods orders w/factory inventories.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Consumer credit3:00 ThD-Measures auto, credit card and other debt.
4 Employment reports8:30 FANonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, avg workweek, hourly earnings.
Wholesale inventories10:00 FD-Wholesale sales and inventory statistics.

Options Expiration

No options expire this week.

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 10/01/2010, the CPI had:

3 bearish patterns,
31 bullish patterns,
326 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 91.2%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,740  10,785  10,826  10,871  10,912 
Weekly  10,615  10,723  10,836  10,943  11,056 
Monthly  9,559  10,195  10,572  11,207  11,584 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,134  1,140  1,145  1,151  1,156 
Weekly  1,120  1,133  1,145  1,158  1,170 
Monthly  997  1,072  1,114  1,189  1,232 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,343  2,357  2,373  2,387  2,403 
Weekly  2,310  2,340  2,370  2,401  2,431 
Monthly  1,989  2,180  2,290  2,481  2,591 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 1 week down 32.4%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 36.5%  The trend may continue.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 1 week down 32.4%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 39.0%  The trend may continue.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 1 week down 35.5%  The trend may continue.
 2 months up 41.6%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bullish.
Nasdaq Composite: bullish.
S&P 500 Index: bullish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season will be starting in about 10 days.
 Found Chart Pattern Name
20Triangle, symmetrical
15Rising wedge
11Head-and-shoulders bottom
8Target price
6Triangle, ascending
6Pipe bottom
5Rectangle bottom
5Triangle, descending
4Triple bottom
3Broadening top

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Machinery2. Alternate Energy
3. Alternate Energy3. Metals and Mining (Div.)
4. Internet4. Internet
5. Packaging and Container5. Packaging and Container
48. Coal48. Coal
49. Insurance (Life)49. Securities Brokerage
50. Semiconductor50. Semiconductor
51. Cement and Aggregates51. Cement and Aggregates
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Use the best: Linux for servers, Mac for graphics, and Windows for Solitaire.