How Much More Pain Can The Stock Market Bears Take?

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There was no doubt at the start of last week that both traders and investors were worried about the stock market ahead of the FOMC meetings as well as big tech earnings. The Wall Street Journal commented that a “mixed set of earnings reports traced an unsteady path forward for markets ahead of a critical Federal Reserve meeting this week.”

Tech stocks had dropped sharply on July 22nd in reaction to the dismal earnings from Snap as some of the largest tech companies that were scheduled to report this week were also dumped.

Amazon.com (AMZN) for example declined 8% from July 22nd through July 26th to close at $114.81. Those who sold likely had some regrets by the end of the week as AMZN closed at $134. 95 up over 10% for the week. Other beaten-up tech giants like Microsoft MSFT (MSFT) also had a good week up 7.8% to close at $280.74. MSFT had a Tuesday low of $249.57.

It was the post-earnings action in MSFT after its earnings along with the action in the S&P futures (see Tweet) that indicated Tuesday’s market’s pullback was over. The strong opening on Wednesday also supported the bullish case.

Of course, those that were short the big tech names had even a worse week. The technical studies last week indicated that the shorts would get squeezed and they certainly did.

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The strong gains last week and the impressive monthly performance in June has not been enough to convince many that stocks can go even higher.

The decline in yields boosted the Dow Jones Utility Average ($UTIL) to a 6.6% gain for the week with the Dow Jones Transportation Average not far behind as it was up 5.8%. $UTIL is the only one of the averages in the above table that is higher year-to-date (YTD).

There were also solid gains in the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 that were up 4.5% and 4.3% respectively. Both still show double-digit YTD losses while the 3% gain for the Dow Jones Industrials moved it to a 9.6% loss for the year. The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD GLD ) had a nice gain of 2.1% for the week.

What about the market action? There was dramatic improvement last week in the outlook for the Spyder Trust (SPY PY SPY ) as it closed well above the 38.2% Fibonacci resistance at $407.17 and the 20 week EMA at $406.89. The 50% level is at $421.08 and a close in the S&P 500 above 4200 is likely to get the market’s attention. The 61.8% resistance is at $434.98 with the weekly downtrend, line a, bit higher.

The weekly S&P 500 Advance/Decline line was very strong last week as it closed above the resistance (line c) which is a sign that an important low is in place. The WMA is trying to turn higher and needs to hold on all pullbacks. The weekly NYSE Stocks Only A/D and NYSE All A/D lines (not shown) also closed the week above their moving averages and resistance.

Not all stocks did well last week as while Amazon.com (AMZN) gapped higher Friday in reaction to its earnings, Intel INTC (INTC) gapped lower to close down 8.56% for the day. The action in Apple AAPL (AAPL) confirmed the positive on-balance-volume (OBV) signals in June when the long side was favored and it was up another 3.28% on Friday.

All of these stocks are part of the Invesco QQQ QQQ Trust (QQQ) which dropped back to its 20 day EMA on Tuesday before rallying sharply. The 38.2% Fibonacci retracement resistance is at $322.54 with the downtrend line a, at $328.90. The 50% resistance is at $339 and a close above $340 should convince many that stocks can go even higher.

The Nasdag 100 Advance/Decline line is still in an uptrend from the June lows, line c. It reached the highest level since April and has major resistance at line b. A drop below its WMA and the daily uptrend would be a sign the rally has lost momentum. The OBV is in a shallow uptrend as the volume on the rally has not yet been impressive. The volume in the S$P 500 has been better.

So what is next? Since June’s “Don’t Count On A Rally Failure” the evidence has been emerging that an intermediate-term bottom was forming. The action last week added to the “weight of the evidence”.

How Much More Pain Can The Stock Market Bears Take? In my experience it takes both time and higher prices to convince those who are bearish to change their minds.

Some were not expecting the S&P 500 to overcome 4000 and it may take a few more weeks and a move above the 4000 level to change their minds. It will be important to monitor the technical action of the leading growth ETFs for warning signs to see if the rally is faltering – stay objective.

Last week I was looking for a pullback early in the week and then a strong close to further support the bullish case. This week I would expect there to also be some profit taking as those who are not long try to stall the rally.

Many of the ETFs that I have favored such as QQQ, XLK XLK , SPY, IWM IWM and SMH SMH are now closer to the June highs and their starc+ bands. This increases the odds of a short-term pullback but for now there are no signs of a top.

The rallies in some of the individual stocks have been even more impressive so a pullback should create even stock picking opportunities. I will be sharing my market view during the week on Twitter and I expect stocks to move even higher in August as the A/D lines start to trend higher.