Waiting for New Year's Rally

The indexes are stuck in a sideways trend waiting for a catalyst

By Paul Cherney

Because Monday is situated between the weekend and the New Year's holiday, total trading volume for the day has the potential to be very light. Based on my recent study of the total trading volume for the last five trade days of the year (as a predictor of gains or losses in January), we would need to see about 1.5 billion shares traded on the NASDAQ to increase the odds for a positive January. The same number for the NYSE would be total trading volume on Monday of at least 950 million (ballpark).

The seasonal bias for positive price action during the last five trade days of the year through to the close of the second trade day of the new year is still in place.

The NASDAQ has been testing intermediate term (a weekly view) brick wall resistance in the 1934-2106 area. Immediate intraday support is a thin ledge 1985-1975. Immediate intraday resistance is 1999-2027 and 2010-2065. The overlap of these bands of resistance is the focus of resistance for the NASDAQ: 2010-2027.

The NASDAQ has well defined intermediate term chart support 1965-1853. The index has intraday chart support 1970-1962 and 1942-1913.

The S&P 500 has intermediate term brickwall resistance 1153-1206. There is a focus of resistance 1052-1060 which now must be considered the first line of support.

The S&P 500 has additional support 1137-1132, but it is doubtful that prices can reach this level anytime soon without a headline of undeniably bearish importance. Downside risk appears limited, but upside moves in either index (NASDAQ or S&P 500) would be suspect unless a clearly bullish headline accomanies the move. The indexes are stuck in a sideways trend waiting for a catalyst, maybe the earnings reports in January will represent that catalyst.

Cherney is market analyst for Standard & Poor's

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