A Bump in the Road?

While the trend is for higher prices, there could be some profit-taking in Wednesday's session

By Paul Cherney

This is option expiration week. Tuesday's move higher was helped by an analyst upgrade of Intel and strong April retail sales numbers. The markets were strong on Monday in anticipation of the new semiconductor book-to-bill ratio and Applied Materials' earnings report (due after the close of trading Tuesday). The SOX index -- the leading semiconductor industry benchmark -- is up about 13% from its Friday (May 10) low. One could interpret the current run-up as a "discounting" of good news.

I feel convinced that there will be further upside over the next seven trading days, but if you want a recipe for a "sell on the news" event, there are the potential ingredients. The action in the techs (especially the SOX) is setting up as a classic "sell on the news event," (the news potentially being earnings from Applied Materials and the book-to-bill ratio). I think there is still more to go on the upside for this leg, but we all know that markets don't go up every single day, so I am pointing out that there could be a little short-term profit-taking on Wednesday.

This is option expiration week and often, a part of the move on Tuesday can see the opposite occur for at least a portion of the next trading day (Wednesday).

I have mentioned Nasdaq price and volume patterns for 3 days now. So far, historic patterns of price advance have more or less performed according to historic parameters so, if it works, don't fix it. The natural extension of the Nasdaq price and volume patterns I have identified are suggesting that the Nasdaq should ultimately have a high close between 1762-1781 sometime up to and including the close of trade on Tuesday May 21. (History never repeats itself exactly.)

Immediate resistance for the NASDAQ is 1724-1802 with a focus 1769-1786.

Immediate support for the NASDAQ is 1711-1691 with a focus 1707-1700. Next support is 1690-1678.

Immediate resistances for the S&P 500 are 1102-1114.73 with a focus 1105-1109, AND 1117-1133.31 with a focus 1122-1127.

Immediate S&P 500 support is 1092-1085.

Cherney is chief market analyst for Standard & Poor's

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