The Bears Have the Wheel

Bear Stock MarketOn the charts, the DOW and S&P 500 are managing to hold above key support levels at 10,000 and 1,040, respectively, but not before closing below these key technical levels in the recent sessions.

The bears appear to be in control, while the bulls are trying to hang on and minimize the losses. The blue-chip DOW closed below 10,000 on August 26 for the first time since July 6, when the index fell to 9,686.48. In the previous decline, the DOW held below 10,000 for five straight days from June 29 to July 6, prior to rebounding. The DOW has broken below 10,000 in five of the last six sessions to August 31. In our view, the breaks are worrisome and could point to a more sustained move below 10,000.

With four months remaining in the year, stock markets are negative and under selling pressure. Stock markets have closed lower in 17 of the last 25 sessions to August 30. The bias is negative, as stocks search for a bottom. Until we see it reach one, the downside risk remains high. The overall bias at this time is down, as reflected by the current level of the indices below key moving averages and chart tops. The key will be the ability of markets to hold as we move forward. I continue to be cautious due to a fragile technical picture.

The near-term technical picture has turned more bearish with weakening Relative Strength as of August 31.

Markets continue to be on fragile ground and this should not be a surprise given that the key stock indices were unable to break or hold above some topping resistance on the charts. The failure to break higher was a red flag and a signal of further potential downside weakness to come. All four of the key stock indices are negative this year and are fighting to find some support. The Relative Strength is weak.

On the charts, the stock indices are trading at a crux, below the key 50-day moving average (MA) and 200-day MA, along with the tops on the charts as follows:

Russell 2000 — 675
NASDAQ – 2,320
DOW — 10,650
S&P 500 — 1,125

The S&P 500 failed to break its key 1,100 level on August 18 and is back below its 50-day and 200-day MAs. The Russell 2000 is below its 50-day and 200-day MAs.

While there is some decent support on the charts, I continue to see a “death cross” on the charts for all four stock indices. This is a situation in which the 50-day MA is below the 200-day MA. This is a dangerous bearish indicator. I’m not trying to scare you off, but just warning you to be on alert.

I continue to be cautious given that markets need to receive some oversold buying support at the lower supports. As I said, the recent failure to break above the chart tops is bearish.