Stocks eased modestly on Monday, on very light trade. The major indices chopped around in a tight range for the entire day and eventually closed just below session highs. The small-cap Russell 2000 fell 0.3%, while the Nasdaq, DJIA and S&P MidCap 400 each shed 0.1%. The S&P 500 demonstrated the most relative strength yesterday, as it closed fractionally lower. The gold, oil, utilities, healthcare and transportation sectors all struggled yesterday, while solar energy, biotechnology, oil services and networking outperformed.
Market internals were mixed on Monday, as volume plummeted. On the Nasdaq, trade fell by 22.0%. NYSE turnover was similarly lighter by 23.6%. Declining volume marginally outpaced advancing volume by 1.1 to 1 on the NYSE and 1.2 to 1 on the Nasdaq. Monday would be considered a typical consolidation day for the broad market because prices were little changed, price action tightened, and volume dropped.
Yesterday, on increasing volume, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration ETF (XOP) rallied to close at its intraday high and within striking distance of a key level of horizontal price resistance. If XOP can rally above resistance of the January 26 high of $57.32, it could provide an excellent buying opportunity. We are monitoring this ETF carefully for a possible long entry, as shown on the chart below…
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