Futures for U.S. indices were decidedly lower this morning. The weakness seen last week carried through and was bolstered by mixed data from the Asian sector. Data from Japan and the possibility of renewed QE in China raised cautionary flags for traders in the early morning hours. Japanese GDP was reported as 2.6% for the 2nd quarter, the third consecutive quarter of growth but a full percentage point below expectations. In China a new report states that there may be more stimulus coming for troubled areas of its economy. Chinese stocks jumped on the news, reaching a near two month high; Japanese stocks faltered, shedding -0.70%.
Today was a light one in terms of domestic news. The weekly economic calendar is full, but today only one release was scheduled. The Treasury Budget was released at 2:00 PM with little fanfare. In business news the headlines were dominated by Blackberry's announced exploration of strategic alternatives. The announcement caused trading in the stock to be halted in the pre-market session. When trading was allowed to open at 8:30 AM share prices jumped more than 8%. The rest of the week will be quite full of news as there are more than two dozen scheduled economic releases.
One thing that did not get much attention was the impressive snap back rally in gold. Gold prices climbed more $25 or 1.5% to reach $1336 during intra-day trading. Gold prices have become volatile over the last week to ten days, I would not be surprised to see prices trade below $1300 again. Today's move is the third daily gain in a row, a near two week high and yet still below the long term resistance line I have at $1350. Economic data will be an important driver of gold prices, this week could provide a turning point for the metal. This week is important because it is the first big data week since the last FOMC meeting and the first clues as to what they (the FOMC) may do about tapering come September. Weaker than expected data could lead the FOMC to ease off on plans to taper and possibly even consider additional easing, strong data could lead to increased expectation of September tapering.
The Gold Index
The Gold Index has responded to the rebound in gold prices by climbing as well. The index has gained for the past three sessions, forming two long white candles in what could be a continuation signal. However, the index is still below Fibonacci resistance and will need a strong catalyst to get investors to drive up the price. Should gold keep moving higher and break through its own resistance this could be the catalyst that the Gold Index needs. Stochastic and MACD both suggest that there is some support at the current level that could last into the mid term. On the long term weekly charts both indicators are both on the rise but do not indicate a bottom or even support at this time. High energy costs are eating into the gold miners margins from one side while a strengthening world economy is squeezing them from the other.
The Oil Index
Oil prices held steady today. After an initial dip into negative territory the price of crude regained last week's closing price before moving higher in the late afternoon. Driving today's oil action was new supply disruption concerns from Libya. Oil has now been trading above $100 for over 6 weeks, or the entire third quarter to date. This means that there is a significant chance for third quarter earnings in the sector to be ahead of expectations. The Oil Index has responded to the high price of oil by drifting lower. The index is now hovering above a long term support and is also approaching a rising up trend line.
The unexpectedly weak GDP numbers from Japan have helped to weaken the yen a little. The currency had been strengthening in recent weeks on expectations the country was strengthening faster than expected. The weak GDP data put that thought to bed for now. Yen printing will continue into the future while dollar printing is likely coming to an end. The USD/JPY pair is winding up into a potential bull triangle with a target between 110 and 120. The pair is currently trading near the lower end of the 4 month range and is in oversold condition. Strong data here at home this week could be the catalyst to send this trade higher. A break above the 100 level and the top of the triangle is needed for a stronger bullish stance.
Blackberry announced that they were in strategic search for solutions to its growth problems. The company is expected to announce something more concrete in the near future. Possibilities include going private as well as other arrangements. The stock got a big boost from the news and climbed more than 8% in the pre market trading. During the day the stock traded down from the session high but remained well above last week's closing price. Looking at the chart I do not get a very bullish feeling. The share price is still trading near an 8 month low and below the window opened two month ago. The question now is what will Blackberry do and how much per share will it cost them (or their new partner/owner etc).
Apple made a big announcement today as well. The iPhone maker reported that the next new iPhone would be launched next month. The current release date is set for September 5th and is the first new piece of hardware from Apple since the iPad mini last winter. The stock has been gaining in value over the last month and saw another jump in prices today. Shares of Apple climbed $12, or nearly 3%, only to be stopped near the recent high and long term down sloping resistance of $466-$467. This resistance line is the extension of a neck line marking a the H&S reversal formed last year. A break above this line could take Apple up to the $500-$550 level in the near to short term.
The major U.S. indices traded in a very tight range today. After initially opening down about 3 points the index dropped briefly below the long term support before climbing back above it. After regaining the upper side of support the index managed to claw its way up to break even before running out of steam. For the remainder of the day the index traded between flat line and -4ish, but never fell below support again. The current support level is the previous all-time intra-day high level set way back in May of this year. The index has been trading at or just above this level for over a month now, giving the indicators a chance to pullback from overbought. The long term and short term up trends are still intact with growing support at the current level. A drop below the 1690 level could result in a small pullback. If such a pullback were to occur there are three significant support lines within 3% of the current level and the long term support level of the 150 EMA roughly 5% lower.
The Russell 2000 has made a similar sideways consolidation over the past 3-4 weeks. This index has been trading over and under the 1050 level allowing the short term 30 day moving average to catch up with it. The sideways move has also alleviated over bought conditions in this market as well. Near term support is currently near the 1035 level with resistance at the current all time high of 1063. On the weekly charts the Russell is still bullish but extremely extended. There is a possibility of pullback here but I don't see it in the indicators.
The Dow has been testing its support for several days now. The blue chip index fell below its first support line last week and breached the 30 day moving average Friday. The index has been able to hold the moving average so far and even traded into the positive today. The data deluge begins tomorrow and is expected to be good. This could spark another moving average bounce. There is also some risk the index could break the moving average at which point next support is the up trend line. Indicators on the daily charts are still moving lower but at their current levels still indicate a rising/supported market. On the longer term charts MACD is very mildly bullish despite the black candle formed last week. This, along with the stochastic, also supports a rising market.
The Transports have also tested support. This index moved up today from the moving average. The move resulted in the stochastic turning up as well, a good sign for bullish sentiment. Momentum is still bearish but may be peaking. The index still has a resistance line to break but if momentum is shifting back to the buy side it may not hold. The transports are foreshadowing strong economic data but less than expected could cap the index at resistance.
The Nasdaq Composite led the market today and is almost indicating a buy. MACD is crossing over to bullish and stochastic is almost making a crossover. The thing standing in the way is economic data. The techs were hot this summer and they have been hot since the June swoon. Some good data could add momentum to this trade, carrying the index higher. There is risk here though. The index has formed a fairly big divergence from the last two MACD peaks. This could signify serious weakness and leaves the index susceptible to pullback if the data is not up to snuff. I also want to take this time to point out that a previous market leader, Apple, which has suffered greatly over the last year is now coming back on the scene.
Data is what is on the minds of traders today. Not the data today, but the data we start to see tomorrow. This week is big on data and importance. There are only a few more weeks left until the next FOMC meeting in mid-September. If tapering is coming the data tomorrow and this week should be strong. If this is the case then the economy is still doing OK. OK used to be enough to drive the indices higher, will it be enough now. For now, the markets appear to be rolling over into bullishness again. At least they are getting ready to be bullish if the data is right. Regardless, the markets all have resistance in the form of recent all time highs that need to be broken.
Until then, remember the trend!