Sideways Action Likely in Near Term

Historical price price patterns indicate consolidations should occur, lasting anywhere from 10 to 15 trade days

By Paul Cherney

I have been expecting the DJIA to have a close over 9,400 before the markets started to lose some momentum. Thursday's close was 9410.45. This call was based on the price action from 1930 and 1933. If the present market follows the historical price patterns demonstrated in 1930 and 1933, sideways consolidations should occur lasting anywhere from 10 to 15 tradedays. Downside risk on a closing basis should be limited to 5%-6%. Ultimately, in 1933 and in 1930, (after the sideways consolidation), the markets attempted to move higher but failed to garner followthrough and reversed course for a retest of the prices in the week of the 10% decline.

On Sept 21, 2001, the number of NYSE stocks hitting new 52 week lows hit 784. This is an extreme level. I use the number of new lows divided by the number of issues traded to generate a % of issues trading at new lows. There have been seven times since 1978 that the new lows divided by the issues traded have jumped above 20% (after a period of no "greater than 20%" readings for several months), in every single case, the market (as measured by the S&P 500) returned to print inside the price bar on the day that the new lows divided by the issues traded reached over 20%. (Usually this happens within the first few trade days, that has not been the case this year, nor was it the case in 1981 when it ultimately took the S&P 500 almost four months to return to the prices on the day of the excessive reading for new lows divided by issues traded). Does it have to happen again. No, but these are the kinds of historical odds that demand some degree of respect.

Obviously a positive headline from the War on Terrorism should spark higher prices.

Immediate S&P 500 support is 1072-1052 with a focus 1067-1052.70. Immediate resistance is 1073-1097.43. The next layer of resistance above the 1097 level is 1114-1135.52. (Resistance gets thick with prints of 1023 and higher.)

The S&P 500 has substantial buying support 1050-1026, within this band of support there is a focus of support 1042-1034.

The Nasdaq has substantial support 1642-1584. Immediate intraday support is 1692-1674. There is a focus of resistance 1710-1733, reeesistance runs all the way 1770.76.

Cherney is market analyst for Standard & Poor's

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