By Paul Cherney
Right now (i.e., in the short term) there should be a balance between buyers and sellers. The markets probably have to consolidate the recent gains, but the underlying measures remain positive and ultimately, buyers should re-assert themselves and push prices higher.
The technical condition of the market has not changed: the trend for prices remains positive. If there is a retracement, it would be a natural part the bigger advance. End-of-day momentum measures suggest that any short-term price weakness should attract buyers, not sellers, so downside risk should be limited, but some sideways price action might unfold.
Immediate intraday resistance is 1,185.88-1,188.46 for the S&P and 2,105.97-2,112.18 for the Nasdaq. If either of these resistance levels is exceeded, another leg higher will be in place.
Immediate intraday support for the S&P 500 is 1,178.44-1,175.32. Nasdaq intraday support is 2,087.30-2,073.35.
The Nasdaq has resistance at 2,108-2,153.83, the beginning of this level was tested intraday on Wednesday (the intraday high print was 2,112.18) and sellers moved in. A short-term stall in the advance might unfold, but the intermediate term and the seasonal strength remain positive.
Nasdaq support is 2,068-2,025 with thick support at 2,068-2,056. Another layer of strong support exists at 2,036-2,027.69. Next intraday support is 2,020.67-2,002.
S&P 500 support is 1,177-1,160, with thick support at 1,170-1,160. The next layer of organized intraday support is 1,147-1,138.50.
The S&P 500 has thick resistance at 1,185-1,226 and this area could be a short-term stall zone.
We are at the beginning of what has been historically, on average, the three best-performing months of the year: November through January. Downside risk should be limited.
Cherney is chief market analyst for Standard & Poor's