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Stock-Markets / Stock Markets 2010 Aug 17, 2010 - 02:48 AM GMT

By: Jack_Steiman

Stock-Markets

Five straight gap downs is not something that happens very often. It makes you step back and wonder what it means. Maybe it means nothing bigger picture. Maybe it means something very important. There's one thing, though, that is clear and that's the simple fact that there are now many open gaps that will keep the wallet on the hip for the bulls, and encourage the bears to get more aggressive when gaps are hit from underneath.


The bulls know that with so many gaps out there moving higher, it will really be tough, unless some spectacular news comes out and carries things higher than would normally be available. It's going to have to be big news at that. So many open gaps is almost too good to be true for the bears. They will make sure they use this weapon when necessary in the future. Today was unreal. We have a fifth straight gap down at oversold on the short-term charts, and the market still struggles for any appreciable upside. Hollow candles, yes, but come on, where's a large move higher by the bulls to fill some of those gaps?! Where's a blast up one might expect because five gap downs in a row should be exhaustive. The weakness is stunning to be blunt. Shocking is the best word I can find. Not a bid anywhere to be found, and that says something considering what has just taken place with those gaps. Another bad day for the bulls and another positive day for the bears.

The one difference with this gap down today was that it finally printed some positive divergences on the short-term 60-minute charts. This, in combination with five straight gap downs, gave the market a nice blast up off the gap open lows. Had to be expected. It never feels like any upside is possible, but with RSI's down below 30, along with MACD's at deeply compressed levels, some type of move off the lows had to take place, and it didn't take long before it did. Right off the gap down we saw buyers and short covering come in together. Bears taking gains as they should and the bulls trying to pick a bottom after so many gaps in a row. Once the markets went green across the board the market flattened out creating a bear flag pattern. No great push higher once we saw green. The positive divergence will shortly play itself out, and clearly there won't be a whole lot of upside from it other than clearing out the gap lows from this morning. Poor behavior, but we're still not unwound fully, and thus, some further upside is possible before testing lower again.

So what about testing lower. The market has spectacular support at 1050 where we have the 70-week exponential moving average, and more importantly, the up trend line off the March 2009 lows. That trend line is very mature, now a break of it would be devastating news for the bulls. A line in the sand they must defend 100%. A forceful close below opens the door to a nasty move lower that would likely take place in quick order. The 70-week exponential moving average is normally a defining line of bull band bear markets as well. The combination is powerful support for the bulls, so expect a war should we get that low. A decent bounce would likely take place first if for no other reason than we'd be super oversold on the short-term charts and decently so on the daily charts.

Another reason the market held up today was because we finally saw some bounce in Nasdaq stocks, Intel Corporation (INTC) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO). Strong, decent bounces after getting totally trashed over the past many weeks. Intel fell 15% or so and Cosco roughly 20%. Both in a very short period of time. When these two bounce hard, the market holds because of their very heavy weighting in the index. However, keep in mind that these are broken stocks overall and once their down trends continue it'll be very tough for the market to move appreciably higher. When heavily weighted stocks struggle, it can take the whole sector down with it.

Things are poor for sure, but not yet really broken, as crazy as that sounds. It really is about losing 1050 S&P 500 with force. If the bears can do this, and they are notorious chokers, then they can brag about full and total control of this market. They tend to give it up once the daily charts get a bit oversold. They tend to give it up on the first bit of positive news, thus they have a lot of work left before they can feel secure. Bottom line is we're trading between 1050 massive support and 1131 massive resistance. Whichever goes first will be huge. The bears need to put distance below 1080 first and then work on 1050. The bulls need to keep this market from losing 1080 S&P 500 with force so that they don't have to deal with trying to hold 1050.

Peace,

Jack

Jack Steiman is author of SwingTradeOnline.com ( www.swingtradeonline.com ). Former columnist for TheStreet.com, Jack is renowned for calling major shifts in the market, including the market bottom in mid-2002 and the market top in October 2007.

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