One more prelude: The picture of the major indices
January 27, 2003
Sorry everyone...I forgot one more prelude to that is VERY important to those of you who are still actively investing. Here is a quick rundown of what the picture looks like on each major index. The Dow and S&P look the worst, but the Nasdaq is not too far behind. I summarize here because if I wait another week, it may be too late to be of use to some of you. The main overall theme is to notice that we are below a lot of cortical supports and are now eating away at the big gains from the October lows. And we have reached these ugly levels within LESS time than it took to get everyone hopeful and optimistic for a bright 2003 with those early January gains.
Please note that these indicators are based on price alone. A true complete reading would involve much more sophisticated analyses. However, I wanted to give you some kind of early warning.
Dow: This index is becoming less and less relevant because its price-weighting scheme is getting dominated by two big defensive stocks (PG and 3M will be 1/6 the entire index of 30 stocks after MSFT splits). Nevertheless, the Dow looks horrible. It has not been this low since early October. It is now again below those ugly lows in late September, 2001. In fact, if the Dow cannot hold its ground here, there is no more real support until the July and October lows. It has now just about taken back the third big day of gains from the October lows. Two more to go...Such an event would happen much sooner than my current springtime predictions for a test (and failure) of those lows.
S&P 500: This is the real deal to watch. It looks very similar to the Dow, but it's picture is a bit worse than the Dow (still too much tech and telco stuffings in the S&P!). Almost everything I said about the Dow applies here with two caveats. The S&P still has one more support to take out which marks the low in August after we bounced from the July lows. I don't expect that to hold much weight though. What is ominous is that the S&P has ALREADY returned the full third day of gains from the October bounce from the lows.
Nasdaq: You might be wondering how in the world this index could be the better performer. Thank all those shorts who have been covering their positions and inflating tech stocks. Combined with the beta-chasers who speculate by gunning for the fastest moving stocks, you get quite a powerful buying force. Needless to say both camps are practically spent here. The Nazz has only just today broken the December lows and returned all those juicey gains of January. The Nazz has a whole lot of support beneath it before the lows are tested. In fact, it may be tech stocks that save the entire market from retesting those ominous lows right away. Unfortunately, this will mean the inevitable correction will be slow to play out, fool more people into committing long-term investments into the market, and then making the pain of the Spring even worse.
This is all just a prelude of the possibilities. Obviously, there are a LOT of geo-political and economic contingencies that could either alleviate the dire picture above or violate even my own bearish worst fears. There are also some pockets of potential strength in the financial markets. But suffice it to say that it is unlikely that 2003 will be the return to roses that we all so desperately need and that the optimists have been promising for months now. To the best of my ability, I hope to make the whole picture clearer in the coming week.
And again, be careful out there!