Securities Research Services

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Watch Out for Rising Wedges

The rising wedge pattern is one of the more reliable chart set ups as the contraction of price movement as prices rise reveal the fact that bulls are running out of fire power. Note the S&P 500 traded in a rising wedge pattern from the first of the year until April, when a breakout attempt proved to be a head fake and the price subsequently plunged into a two-week free fall, which gave back the entire gain from the previous five months.

Now take a look at the current S&P chart, represented below by the SPY (ETF) exchange traded fund.

The wedge here is in a much sharper uptrend, but the price is contracting nonetheless. Could the bulls rally the price of the SPY back up to $132? We don't know yet. But if they did, there would surely be a great deal of capitulation amongst the shorts. Likewise, given the low volume in which this steep climb has been driven with, the probable reversal could be sharp and swift. Now turn your attention to the QQQQ, which has been behaving a little better lately. Below we are providing a weekly view of this ETF. Note the red line on the chart just above $39. This represents the 50-week average. Note also the blue trend line drawn on the chart. This line represents the last broken uptrend. Stocks and indices often move back up to retest their broken trends before reversing. We don't know what exactly to expect next, but it is clear that any further rally from yesterday's close is sure to run head long into some serious resistance.

Finally, let's take a look at the semiconductor sector, represented below by the SMH ETF. The semiconductors actually look pretty good lately. They appear to be in a decent uptrend that is rising on decent volume. Also note, however, that yesterday's sharp move put the sector right near overhead resistance, as represented by the rising trend channel. Furthermore, $34.28 represents the broken 200-day average. Thus, any further rallies in this sector are also likely to run into heated resistance. The semi conductors could actually produce some good long side trades after a pull back if it is orderly. For now it is too late to try and catch this trend.

Bottom line: Professional traders are expected to return next Tuesday after the holiday weekend. Any breakout attempts following yesterday's strong close should be eyed very suspiciously. No one knows for sure what will develop next week, but several indices are poised for serious downside if the pros come back with selling on their minds. If, on the other hand, they come back in a buying mood, further upside is likely to be muted by serious overhead resistance. In other words, be extra cautious if you are trading the long side of this market and don't get too aggressively short unless we see some breakout failures start to emerge.

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