By Paul Cherney I still think the markets may have run out of sellers in the short-term. Thursday's price action was indicative of a market which can't make up its mind. The March employment report is due on Friday. In Thursday's session, the larger than expected increase in new claims for unemployment spooked the market, but downside was never able to generate follow-through so, while the employment landscape is very important to the bond market, the stock market has technical factors (short-side profit-taking) which might prevent prices from moving significantly lower.
The Street expects the unemployment rate to have risen 0.1% to 5.6%. The unemployment rate lags the economy and the rate tends to rise even though an economic recovery is already underway. If the markets sell off on Friday, something about the employment report will be used as an excuse for the market reaction, but really it is a lagging indicator and it would be perfectly natural for it to rise.
Technically, we are at price levels for both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 which look like natural profit-taking points for the bears (meaning buying stock to closeout open short positions). There just might not be a lot of investors willing to commit due to worries about the warning season and the upcoming earnings reports so any rebounds will probably be short-lived.
Immediate Nasdaq support is at 1765-1742. The Nasdaq is inside a layer of support running from 1808-1773. Immediate intraday resistance is 1793-1803, then 1808-1822.
The S&P 500 has immediate resistance at 1126-1136, then 1142-1157.
The S&P 500 has immediate support at 1124-1106, with a focus at 1119-1113. If tested, this area should produce a rebound in prices. Cherney is market analyst for Standard & Poor's