By Lawrence G. McMillan
Well, the market finally found something it couldn’t shake off — at least not right away — on the geopolitical front. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but an overbought, somewhat nervous market can react to this type of news dramatically, and it did. So what is the real overall effect?
First of all, the $SPX chart is still bullish and in an uptrend. The support level at 1950 has not been violated. I’d say that this is now a quite important support level. If it is broken, one could reasonably say that the $SPX chart is no longer bullish. Below 1950 there is support at 1925, and that would be the next level to look for.
Equity-only put-call ratios remain on sell signals, as they have for several weeks now. There was some wavering in the signals earlier this week, but Thursday’s big slide has them rising again. As long as they remain in an uptrend, that is bearish for stocks.
Market breadth has been poor of late — even on days when the market has been up. As a result, our breadth indicators remain negative.
Volatility indices ($VXST, $VIX, and $VXV) behaved most violently on Thursday. $VXST blasted 6 points higher (+58% wow!), and $VIX was up 3.54 (+32%). The $VIX close above 13 was a bearish sign and definitely brings up the possibility that $VIX will trend higher for a while — a bearish factor for stocks. A close below 12 would return $VIX to a bullish state.
In summary, for all the panic in Thursday’s trading, it didn’t really show up in the indicators except for the change in $VIX to a bearish status. So at this time, we have sell signals from breadth, put- call ratios, and $VIX. But what we don’t have — and this is extremely important — is a breakdown below support from $SPX. Hence we are not getting bearish unless support at 1950 is broken.