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Weekly Commentary12/2/2011

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This week's rally has improved the status of many of the indicators, but not necessarily the chart of $SPX itself. A breakout above resistance and the 200-day moving average at 1265 would be required in order to turn this chart positive.

Equity-only put-call ratios have turned bullish. Market breadth swings the most wildly as these volatile moves occur. Currently, breadth indicators are on buy signals and are not yet overbought.

“90% up day” of gigantic proportions

By Lawrence G. McMillan

In the continuing roller coaster that is this market, Monday was a “90% up day” of gigantic proportions.  Advancing volume led declining volume by a nearly 40-to-1 margin, driving the Arms Index down to a near-historic-low of 0.12 for the day.  It was a pure “90% up day” in terms of “Stocks only” data, and a “90% up volume day” in terms of NYSE-data.  However, as strong as it was, it did not change the bearish slant of the intermediate-term indicators.

Market Commentary 11/25/2011

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Just over a week ago, $SPX was probing the upper end of the trading range, a few days after a strong rally on Veteran's Day.  But upside momentun slowed, and selling set in.  Since then, the selling has fed on itself with ample aid from a series of unsettling news:  

     1) the continuing European debt crisis      
     2) the lack of results by the Super Committee      
     and 3) the MF Global bankruptcy.      

In focus: Breakdown

By Lawrence G. McMillan

Despite some positive signals, the news events and market worries have swamped stocks with wave after wave of selling in the past few days.

Naked Option Paranoia?

By Lawrence G. McMillan

When is it a good time to write naked options?  When volatility is high and the market is “dangerous” or when volatility is low and the market is in a bullish mode?  Or perhaps never, because one can always construct butterflies or condors to limit risk on all sides?  In today’s article, we’ll take a look at these questions and more, because with $VIX remaining above 30 for over four months now, these questions are certainly pertinent...

Can this oversold market rally?

By Lawrence G. McMillan

It just doesn’t seem that this market can put a rally together.  There were two attempts to do so this morning, and both failed.  Yet, when $SPX probed below 1180, a strong buy program arose.  So there are buyers around, but the aren’t likely taking positions to hold, merely to trade.  

Weekly Commentary 11/18/2011

By Lawrence G. McMillan

The bears seized control with heavy selling over the past two days. However, all is not lost, but the bulls certainly squandered what could have been a good opportunity.  The $SPX lows today were 1209, with a close at 1216.  This is just barely clinging onto the old support range (1215-1230).  A rally from this level would be viewed as just another probe to the lower end of the wider trading range.      

Bulls and bears battle within trading range

By Lawrence G. McMillan

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (MarketWatch) — When the stock market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, broke out over 1,220 about a month ago, it was a strong bullish signal. Most of the technical indicators agreed by registering intermediate-term buy signals as well.

Trading range narrowing

By Lawrence G. McMillan

...As a result, not only is the $SPX trading range (1215-1230 on the downside, and 1275-1290 on the upside) still intact, but it is actually narrowing.  There is a downward-sloping trendline overhead, and an upward-sloping trendline beneath.  Something is going to have to give here – and soon.  The fact that volatility remains high and put volume remains heavy should be a contrary, positive indicator, but as long as the market continues to react violently to these European news "bits," there will continue to be demand for protection.

Portfolio Protection, Revisited

By Lawrence G. McMillan

We have written about the subject of protecting a portfolio of stocks with derivatives several times over the years, although it’s been a while (Volume 19, Numbers 6 and 12 had articles on the subject).  Recently, some subscribers have inquired about how to calculate  the amount of protection they need.

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