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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 06/08/2005

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Table of Contents

  1. Market Wrap
  2. New Option Plays
  3. In Play Updates and Reviews
  4. Trader's Corner

Market Wrap

Truckers Put On The Breaks For Cautious Bear

Truckers Put On The Breaks For Cautious Bear

In a rather lackluster trade ahead of Fed Chairman Greenspan's testimony tomorrow, stocks edged modestly lower on a broader scale, while Treasuries found selling evenly distributed among the major maturities.

Advancers outnumbered decliners in the first half of the session, but sentiment soured after a premature release of a White House economic report, which showed a reduced 2005 real GDP forecast of 3.4%, versus a previously forecasted 3.5% from six months ago. The White House's report also showed an increased inflation estimate of 2.9%, with energy prices cited as one of the main reasons.


A flat open for Treasuries did find some bond traders heading for the sidelines. It would be my best guess that the White House's revised inflation estimate, as well as Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee tomorrow morning (10:00 AM EDT) was reason enough to keep buyers on the sidelines.

I do think, based on observation, that the White House's comments regarding inflation did grab some trader's attention as the U.S. Dollar Index (dx00y) 87.88 +0.44% saw a quick turn higher from its session lows of 87.15.

Today's intra-day dollar action looked like something we would brace for around a nonfarm payroll number with a knee-jerk lower, then being quickly reversed back up! The down move comes on the lowered GDP outlook, but the strength comes on the inflation estimates where the dollar would likely find a bid from those that had been overly short the dollar under the scenario that it is a "sure thing" the Fed is nearing its tightening phase.

Spot gold as well as the AMEX Gold Bugs Index ($HUI.X) quickly reversed morning gains as the dollar strengthened.

Oil was all over the map in today's trade and proved volatile after the DOE said crude oil supplies fell by 3 million barrels, while gasoline supplies saw a draw down of 100,000 barrels. July Crude Oil futures (cl05n) settled down $1.22, or -2.27% at $52.54. One trader commented that he thought oil sold off based on the thought that refiners had shifted some focus away from unleaded gas refining toward heating oil.

Now this trader's thoughts might not make a lot of sense if we're thinking about summer weather and the need for heating oil, but under the backdrop of a capitalistic society it might. July Heating Oil futures (ho05n) $1.5528 -3.00% came rather close to trading contract highs on Monday and price gains in this complex have outperformed in recent weeks. It might make sense that refiners look to capitalize on the relative higher price of heating oil and focus their production efforts there until equilibrium is found.

I've discussed this energy dynamic in past commentary. If you're selling widgets and the blue widgets are selling for $1.00 and the red ones are selling for $0.80, which widgets are you going to produce more of?

Laughing out loud. A capitalist will produce more of the blue widgets. A socialist will want to produce more of the blue ones, but will come up with a good reason as to why he/she shouldn't. Meanwhile, a communist will do what his/her government tells them to do.

Economic data released earlier this morning showed wholesale inventories (supply) up 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted $349.96 billion in April, which was above the 0.4% increase economists had forecasted. The 13-month high in inventories drew mixed views from bulls and bears. Bulls found relief with the thought that that companies might finally be getting a handle on stockpiles, which would be viewed favorably for steady/lower inflation, while bears sense the build being further sign of economic slowing.

Sales (demand) surged 1.5% in April after a modest 0.2% gain in March. The inventory-to-sales ratio fell to just 1.18 months, down from 1.19 readings for March and February.

Stock specific news found its way to some Dow components with General Motors (NYSE:GM) $32.02 +4.19% jumping more than $1.00 on news that Kirk Kerkorians Tracinda boosted its GM stake to 7.2% from 3.9% based on preliminary results of its tender offer. The sharp gains came after Tracinda officials said only 18.9 million shares were tendered at $31.00, which was well below the 29 million shares Tracinda was hoping to buy. Buyers pushed the stock as high as $32.65 with the thought being that there might be something bullish in GM's future if holders were not so eager to tender the additional 10.1 million shares.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) $96.58 +2.16% plowed higher after the Dow component declared a 2-for-1 stock split and increased its quarterly dividend rate by 22% to $0.50 per share on a pre-split basis. The split will be distributed to shareholders on July 13.

Fast-food giant McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) $29.23 -1.14% approaches its April lows after announcing a mere 1.8% increase in May same store sales. Not bad, but the "golden arches" had been posting 4.2% rates in recent months. The company cited international challenges, with particular slowdown problems in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Among technology, shares of ImClone Systems (NASDAQ:IMCL) $35.27 +16.94% rebounded from 52-week lows after saying a Phase III study of its Erbitux cancer drug showed effectiveness against advanced squamous cell cancer.

Web searchers Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) $279.56 -4.62% and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) $36.63 -2.16% retreated after a report from research firm Fathom, which tracks the prices advertisers pay to buy search engine keywords that launch Web search ads, said keyword prices fell in May from April, due primarily to a drop in the mortgage sector.

The Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) 430.27 +0.64% got a modest boost after the Semiconductor Industry Association said that as a result of robust demand for chips and the semiconductor companies' ability to work off excess inventory quickly, it now expects chip sales to grow 6% this year with some margin expansion.

Today's gains may be questioned tomorrow after programmable chipmaker Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) $28.08 +0.89% saw its shares slide to $27.25 in tonight's extended session. The company backed it Q1 sales growth guidance, but said gross margins will be slightly narrower than expected due to a higher than expected ramp in sales of the company's newest products.

U.S. Market Watch - 06/08/05 Close


Sectors finished mixed, but it was a downgrade of "truckers" by Bear Stearns that had the Dow Transportation Average (TRAN) 3,537.73 -2.07% atop today's percentage loser list.

Dow Transport Components (TRAN) - Sorted by Net%


Dow Transport component Landstar Systems (NASDAQ:LSTR) $31.59 -5.87% was a focal point of Bear Stearns' trucking sector downgrade. The firm said while it sees potential upside to current earnings estimates for the transportation service provider based on continued gross and net operating margin from increasing transportation yield, it expects gross revenue growth to continue to decelerate.

Two stocks that I've provided some bullish commentary on, and still believe bulls can be taking partial bullish positions on, with higher targets toward the end of the year, are FedEx (NYSE:FDX) $89.70 -0.20% and United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) $72.36 -0.90%

DDow Transportation Average (TRAN) - Daily Intervals


The recent couple of weeks trade in the TRAN would be similar to traveling uphill at 100 miles per hour, some traffic congestion, what looked like a breakthrough at the 3,650 elevation, but today's "bear crossing" in the truckers leaves a jackknifed rig having momentum bulls moving aside.

I've seen a lot of technical analysis pointing to some "bearish cross-unders" with the MACD below Signal. Yes, this is a sign of caution and indicates a near-term loss of momentum. I think a TRAN bull that is playing the broader group would be patient on any new entries at this point, but look for the TRAN to firm up from 3,450-3,490 and have MACD easing into zero. Then look for demand (buyers) to resume their activity and keep eating away at overhead supply.

In last night's Market Wrap, Jim Brown discussed the Wilshire 5000 Index. Let's take a look at the NYSE Composite ($NYA.X) and make some ties with Jim's observations.

NYSE Composite ($NYA.X) - Daily Intervals


One event that has taken place since Wednesday is that the NYSE Bullish % ($BPNYA) reversed up to a 60% reading from 54% on Friday. Now, Stockcharts.com's reading is "bear correction" status, while Dorsey/Wright and Associates, while also reversing up to 60% is "bull confirmed." The reason for the difference in terminology is that Stockcharts.com will adjust the point and figure charts of stocks they chart with the point and figure technique when companies pay dividends. Dorsey/Wright does not penalize a stock's PnF chart when they pay a dividend. In essence, if you buy a stock at $20.00 and it has paid $1.00 in dividends, Dorsey/Wright believes you still paid $20.00. Stockcharts.com will deduct $1.00 from the price of the stock, and feels you only paid $19.00, then adjusts the stock's PnF chart to reflect the buildup of dividends over time. Now... try explaining that one when you go to report capital gains/losses and dividends (income) to the IRS at some point down the road.

Semantics aside "bear correction," or "bull confirmed," of roughly 3,000 stocks, we're seeing some meaningful increase in the number of point and figure buy signals.

Now, before bulls put on their party hats, I do want to make some points of reference here.

On the above chart, I point to a period in early April when the NYSE Bullish % ($BPNYA) was reading 66% bullish as the NYSE Composite ($NYA.X) itself had bounced from below 7,100 to roughly 7,143.

As the NYSE Composite ($NYA.X) now challenges this same PRICE level comparison, we can see that while the internals are strengthening, we're not as bullish internally at 60%.

This SAME PRICE, but not yet as strong internals would depict BEARISH DIVERGENCE at this point.

Now, you and I both know that the NYSE Bullish % ($BPNYA) is measuring just more than 3,000 point and figure charts! It is going to be SLOOOOW moving and very methodical.

Go back and review tonight's internals (chart #1) and note that a faster moving of internal strength and our NH/NL ratios at both the shorter-term 5-day NH/NL and intermediate-term 10-day NH/NL ratio are getting close to 100%. While they can stay up here for periods of time that many have underestimated, we're at some near-term overbought levels and should continue to monitor.

I could pick many sectors and say "this group is key," but using market theory, I still think the TRANSPORTS provide a pretty good tie and serve as an important sector to be monitoring.

On the above chart of the NYSE Composite ($NYA.X), I've pulled some of Jim's observations (technical levels) from the Wilshire 5000 (NASDAQ and NYSE-listed stocks) over to the NYSE. While I prefer SIMPLE moving averages (each day's PRICE is as important as the next), I did add one of Jim's exponential moving averages (today's PRICE was more important than yesterday and yesterday's PRICE more important than the day prior).

I think it "a good thing" during an option expiration to broaden out your observations a bit. On any one day, we could expect institutions to be pushing some stocks and indexes around. With the Wilshire 5000, the NYSE Composite and NASDAQ composite, its a lot tougher to push that many stocks around in a given day.

Hey! I was just noticing that the narrower S&P 100 Bullish % ($BPOEX) saw a net gain of 1 stock to a point and figure buy signal today, and that's enough to get this market reversing back up to "bear correction" status at 60% after a May low reading of 53% (we chart to 54% on PnF chart).

Of the major index bullish % charts, only the very broad NASDAQ Composite Bullish % ($BPCOMPQ) would remain in a column of "O." It saw a net gain of 0.15% today, with a bullish % reading of 43.01%. Considering roughly 3,000 stocks are tracked here, that would be a net gain of 4 or 5 stocks seeing a reversing higher point and figure buy signal. This very broad measure of market internals would currently need to see a 44% reading to reverse up to "bear correction" status, and to achieve "bull confirmed" status, it would need to read 62%.

You can view these various bullish % charts for FREE by visiting www.stockcharts.com.

NASDAQ Composite (COMPX) - WEEKLY Intervals


The www.stockcharts.com symbol for the very broad NASDAQ Composite Bullish % is $BPCOMPQ. Here we look at the COMPX itself on a weekly interval. No oscillators, just the bars with with a 40-week SMA and 10-week SMA. I've overlaid some of the more recent inflection point bullish %. See the "bearish divergence" noted in the bullish % at the most recent January highs compared to the January 2004 high? That is similar to what we're noting in the NYSE right now, so some caution is warranted among bulls.

The recent two low bullish % readings are bullish confirmation as the recent pullback low was HIGHER than the August low, as has been the bullish % reading.

I note two different scenarios of analysis at this point, which both BULLS and BEARS can use in coming sessions as it relates to the monitoring of the bullish % as well as PRICE.

If the very broad COMPX pulls back, but BUILDS additional buy signals, isn't that BULLISH DIVERGENCE from the internals? Bears may be leveraging off the 2,100 level, bulls may be booking some gains. However, if the COMPX continues to build point and figure buy signal on a PRICE retreat to 2,023-2,040, then that would be a good sign that demand still builds for stocks and bulls and bears may be eager to buy that area.
 

 
 




New Plays

New Option Plays

Call Options Plays
Put Options Plays
None None

New Calls

None today.
 

New Puts

None today.
 


Play Updates

In Play Updates and Reviews

Call Updates

Amer. Intl Group - AIG - close: 54.95 chg: -0.28 stop: 52.95

Despite any headlines that AIG might be a part of today the stock isn't doing much and continues to slip towards the $54 level as we expected. We would not consider new bullish plays at this time. Wait for the stock to bounce.

Picked on May 26 at $ 55.05
Change since picked: - 0.10
Earnings Date 02/09/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 15.5 million

---

Caterpillar - CAT - close: 96.58 chg: +2.05 stop: 91.49 *new*

Dow component CAT bucked any market weakness today with a 2.16 percent gain on above average volume. Shares got a boost from an upgrade by Prudential who raised their rating from "neutral" to an "overweight" and raised their price target from $100 to $120. Prudential was pretty positive on CAT's earnings growth. Meanwhile CAT also helped propel its stock price higher with news of a higher dividend and a stock split. The company plans to boost its cash dividend from 41 cents to 50 cents per share, which will equate to 25 cents per share on a post-split basis. The 2-for-1 stock split is due to occur on July 13th. We're obviously encouraged by the stock's strength and continue to target a move into the $99.25-100.00 range. We are raising our stop loss to $91.49.

Picked on May 18 at $ 92.35
Change since picked: + 4.23
Earnings Date 04/20/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.8 million

---

Career Education - CECO - close: 36.28 chg: -0.03 stop: 32.95

CECO didn't produce much follow through on yesterday's breakout but we remain bullish on the stock. Broken resistance near $35.50 should now act as new short-term support. CECO is currently fighting with its exponential 200-dma. Our target is the $38.50-39.50 range.

Picked on May 23 at $ 35.24
Change since picked: + 1.04
Earnings Date 05/02/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.5 million

---

Rockwell Collins - COL - close: 48.53 chg: +0.15 stop: 44.95

No change here. We continue to wait for COL to pull back toward its 100-dma. Our suggested entry is a dip into the $46.25-45.50 range although we made adjust this range higher as the 100-dma keeps climbing.

Picked on May xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 04/27/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 800 thousand

---

Reynolds American - RAI - cls: 83.48 chg: +0.52 stop: 78.75

Tobacco-related stocks inched higher after government prosecutors reduced their request from a 25-year $130 billion anti-smoking campaign to a 5-year $10 billion campaign. This is certainly a positive for the industry (we'll keep our personal comments to ourselves). At any rate shares of RAI are trending higher after a two-week consolidation. Our short-term target remains the $85.00-86.00 range.

Picked on May 16 at $ 81.31
Change since picked: + 2.17
Earnings Date 04/27/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 866 thousand

---

Teekay Shipping - TK - close: 44.37 chg: -0.03 stop: 42.45

We are still sitting on the sidelines here. Our plan is to catch a breakout over resistance at the $45.00 mark and its 100-dma. Our specific entry point is at $45.05 and until TK trades at or above this point we'll sit back and watch. More aggressive traders may want to give TK another look here with today's intraday bounce off the simple 50-dma.

Picked on June xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked: + 0.00
Earnings Date 07/20/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 681 thousand

---

United Technologies - UTX - cls: 106.22 chg: -0.81 stop: 102.45

UTX has pulled back toward the bottom of its current trading range between $106 and $108. If it bounces here traders might consider new bullish positions but we would prefer to wait a day or two just in case the stock dips lower toward the $105 level.

Picked on May 23 at $106.25
Change since picked: - 0.03
Earnings Date 04/20/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.0 million

---

Wellpoint Inc - WLP - close: 66.71 chg: -1.01 stop: 64.90

WLP has pulled back to three-week old support near the $66.00 level. A bounce from here could be used as a new bullish entry point. However, if you suspect that the market is going to continue lower then consider waiting for a potential dip toward the $65.00 level.

Picked on June 05 at $ 68.40
Change since picked: - 1.69
Earnings Date 07/27/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 3.5 million
 

Put Updates

ITT Industries - ITT - close: 93.57 chg: -0.59 stop: 96.01

Ding! ITT has hit our trigger point to buy puts. The stock continued to drift lower following yesterday's failed rally and ITT traded through our trigger at $93.85. The play is now open and the stock's MACD sell signal looks more pronounced. Our initial target is the $90.00 level with a secondary target near $87.50.

Picked on June 08 at $ 93.85
Change since picked: - 0.28
Earnings Date 07/22/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 581 thousand

---

MedcoHealth Sol. - MHS - close: 51.28 change: -0.32 stop: 52.21

No change from yesterday's update. We remain cautious and we are not suggesting new bearish positions at this time. Wait for MHS to trade back below the $49.50 level.

Picked on June 01 at $ 49.90
Change since picked: + 1.38
Earnings Date 07/26/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 2.0 million

---

Whole Foods - WFMI - close: 116.87 chg: -1.25 stop: 121.05

Ding! We have been triggered in WFMI. The stock continued to trade lower this morning following yesterday's failed rally. Shares traded below their Friday session low and hit our trigger to buy puts at $17.40. The stock's MACD sell signal looks more pronounced. This is a new two-week low as the stock tests its 21-dma. Our target is the $111.00-110.00 range.

Picked on June 08 at $117.40
Change since picked: - 0.53
Earnings Date 08/03/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume = 859 thousand
 

Dropped Calls

None
 

Dropped Puts

None
 


Trader's Corner

Key Reversals and Candlestick Patterns

OIN SUBSCRIBER QUESTION:
According to what I read from you recently in a past traders article, was the action today (tues, 6/7) a key reversal? I notice that you don't use candlestick charts that I recall. I think these chrts can also predict future market action when there are certain candlestick types. Any comments on these?

I usually also read your index trader article when I get the weekend newsletter but didn't see it this last time. Can you update what you have been thinking about the indexes.

RESPONSE:
Yes and no, on key reversals on Tuesday (6/7). Yes, there was a one-day 'key' downside reversal in the Nasdaq 100 (NDX), but the same type reversal was not seen in the S&P 100 (OEX).

However, the OEX pattern did suggest a top based on some other ways of looking at the charts. The S&P 100 did not make a new high for the move, but nearly matched the peak of the previous week. However, after this strong rally, Tuesday's high was followed by a sharp intraday downside reversal with a close near the day's low.

If there had been a new high, above last week's S&P peak, it would have been a classic "bear trap" reversal. What we saw yesterday (Tuesday) was akin to it. A pattern of a new high followed by an immediate downside reversal, is sometimes called a 'bull trap' reversal. The bulls get blindsided so to speak.

You may recall that I've been saying that traders were "too" bullish by my 'sentiment' indicator and in my estimation, to suggest that this rally was going into a next up phase straight away. The market doesn't usually work that way. As well, a double top was pretty evident in the OEX hourly chart.

A double top is 'confirmed' so to speak (until then its only a 'possible') when a prior downswing low is pierced; in the hourly chart above, that clearly at the line of support at the prior low at 564.

REVERSAL PATTERNS:
I'll repeat some essentials from my last week's Trader's Corner on what constitutes a "key reversal", but if you want to go back and see the entire article, you can by clicking here

Also, I'll say a bit about, and show, a recent candlestick chart in the OEX, which did suggest an impending top by the "hanging man" candlestick pattern. So, in a sense, the candlestick chart showed something here that the regular bar chart didn't.

The same predictive elements show up in different ways on bar charts, so I don't feel handicapped by not usually looking at or for particular candlestick patterns. However, the recent 'hanging man' candlestick suggested a top was forming in the OEX. This pattern and one that followed it is worth describing as to its potential meaning.

KEY REVERSALS
A strong sign of a trend reversal and which is often the start of an intermediate or long-term trend change, is the formation of a 1 or 2-day KEY reversal.

A downside key reversal day: a day where there is a higher intraday high than the prior day AND the CLOSE is below the prior days LOW (a 1-day key downside reversal); or, the close is below the prior two days (a 2-day key reversal). In the case of Monday and Tuesday's price action in the Nasdaq 100 (NDX), as seen in the chart below, we're talking about a 1-day key downside reversal.

A garden variety downside 'reversal' (not using the descriptive "key" adjective) is where the reversal's close is under the prior day's (or, days') close, rather than under the prior low.

[The Key Upside reversal is the reverse of the Downside key reversal: a lower low than the prior day or prior two days, with a close above the high of the prior day (or the prior 2 days).]

There is more to the NDX chart above, in terms of analysis of its pattern, than simply the 1-day reversal: the Index was hitting resistance in the 1570-1575 zone implied by a cluster of prior highs. The Index was also banging against resistance implied by the previously broken up trendline, on its return to this trendline; this is noted by the red (down) arrow at the dashed up trendline in the NDX daily chart above.

In the S&P 100 (OEX) daily bar chart below, there is not the same 1-day reversal based on Monday and Tuesday's price action of this week (6/6) that is the same as the Nasdaq 100 (NDX) 1-day Tuesday reversal.

Tuesday's OEX close was not even under its prior day's close, let alone below the prior day's low, as can be seen on the last 'bar' on the OEX daily chart below. The spike back up to near the prior high for the current move, followed by the steep decline and close near the low, is bearish action; but not a key reversal.

However, what is significant for a possible top in OEX is the fact that the Index has basically gone sideways since hitting resistance implied by its previous bullish up trendline. This 'line' defining the low end of the previous rising trend, now appears to be acting as resistance.

More price action is needed to 'confirm' a possible top; especially a retreat to below the low end of the recent sideways price range; e.g., a daily close below 564-565.

CANDLESTICK PATTERNS
Of possible significance for a top is what someone who interprets Japanese Candlestick chart patterns might have to say about the same recent price action in the S&P 100 (OEX), when seen using a candlestick chart:

The HANGING MAN
Japanese Candlestick Pattern

The Hanging Man is a Japanese Candlestick 1-day pattern that, when occurring in an uptrend, tends to indicate a bearish market ahead and a reversal of the previous (up) trend.

A Hanging Man pattern is a short 'real' (price distance from open to close) and a lower shadow (intraday low) at least twice the length of the 'real' body.

The Hanging man consists of a single candlestick with either a filled real body or a hollow real body. The Hanging Man is identical to the Hammer, except the Hanging Man occurs at the top of an uptrend while a Hammer occurs at the bottom of a downtrend.

The EVENING STAR
Japanese Candlestick Pattern

An Evening Star is a Japanese Candlestick pattern consisting of three candlesticks indicating a bearish top pattern usually. It consists of the following candlestick pattern characteristics, from left to right on a chart:

1. The first candlestick's real body is long and hollow.

2. The second candlestick, known as the star, is gapped up from the body of the first candle. The star can have a filled or hollow real body.

3. The third candlestick's real body is filled and closes lower than the Close of the first candlestick. The third candlestick's real body is usually long.

Colorful names, like 'Hanging Man' and 'Evening Star', for a colorful art!

Lastly, in relation to your query on my most recent (weekend) Index Trader article, it was posted on the OI web site after the Option Investor Newsletter was e-mailed over the weekend. Check the web site later on, even the next day, in the rare event of a delay. My most recent Index Trader column ("WANING UPSIDE MOMENTUM") can be seen by clicking here

Good Trading Success!

NOTE -
Please send any technical and Index-related questions for possible use in my next Trader's Corner article to Contact Support with 'Leigh Stevens' in the Subject line.
 

Today's Newsletter Notes: Market Wrap by Jeff Bailey, Trader's Corner by Leigh Stevens, and all other plays and content by the Option Investor staff.

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