On the first four days of this week, $SPX closed at a new all-time high each day. It was accompanied by strength in the other indicators to confirm the breakout. However, some overbought conditions are beginning to appear.
Last week, we wrote extensively about the similarities between the current market and the market of the summer of 2000. In 2000, $SPX rallied back to its old highs, forming a double top right around Labor Day. From there, the market declined 50% into the summer of 2002.
It was just over a week ago that $SPX was having some trouble and was testing the 2800 level (August 15th). That test was successful, and the Index has been pressing the upside ever since. It has run into some resistance at the old highs, but it is trying to overcome that. The support level at 2800 remains an extremely important. The $SPX chart remains in an upward channel, as shown by the blue lines in Figure 1.
Perhaps the market is merely recharging its batteries for another push higher, but action had generally been lackluster until yesterday's large rally. Once $SPX failed three times last week to break out to new highs, it succumbed to selling. That selling culminated with yet another test of the 2800 support level. The market passed that test with flying colors, as a large rally rebounded from there. The take-away from this action is that the $SPX chart is still bullish as long as support holds at 2800.
The double top in $SPX in 2000 led to a huge bear market. Could it be happening again? To their credit, I have heard a few (very few) market commentators on TV mention the fact that there was a double top in the market in 2000, wondering if it could be happening again now. This is pertinent, of course, because $SPX is laboriously trying to get back to the 2870 highs that were set in January. The average bull (who is just about everyone around) laughs at the idea that $SPX could turn down from here. Admittedly, its chart looks strong, but it did in 2000 also. To evaluate the possibilities, we are going to compare the various technical indicators that we use, comparing their current states to their states 18 years ago.
Stocks continue to press onward, trying to reach the January highs at 2870. Volatility has slowed tremendously, giving the impression that $SPX is struggling to reach those old highs. There is resistance 2870 (the old highs), and there is support at 2800. A violation of the 2800 level would not necessarily mean that a bear market has begun, but a violation of the lower bullish channel would.
While the $SPX chart remains bullish, in that it is in an upward-sloping channel, there are some troubling signs beginning to appear, including a verified "modified Bollinger Band" sell signal.
The $SPX chart itself has seen support at the 2800 level, or just below, on recent pullbacks. Below that there is major supoport at 2740.
When $SPX broke out above 2740 two weeks ago and then followed that with a breakout over 2790, it seemed that further gains were certain. However, the market has stalled just above the 2800 level. Perhaps it's just regrouping, for most of our indicators are remaining positive, but it's hardly a resounding victory for the bulls (yet).
The upward channel is marked with blue lines on the $SPX chart in Figure 1. The next target would be the top of that channel, which is at 2850 and rising.
The low-volume rally of last Friday (July 6th), finishing up the holiday week, was a breakout over resistance at 2740. That has spurred a strong, quick move to the next resistance level at 2800. $SPX is now bumping up against the March intraday highs, and it has closed at its highest price since January.
$SPX has broken out over resistnace at 2740. This gets it out of the 2700-2740 trading range that is been in for several weeks. The 2700 level has been support and/or resistance for over three months now, acting as a sort of weird magnet for the market.