The major indices diverged sharply for the second consecutive day, as small caps continued to show leadership. Stocks traded sideways throughout the morning, rallied in the early afternoon, then pulled back in the final hour. The S&P 500 lost 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged, but the small-cap Russell 2000 rallied 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4%, while the S&P Midcap 400 closed 0.2% higher. Divergence was also found in the intraday patterns. The Nasdaq and Russell both closed in the upper third of their intraday ranges, but the S&P and Dow both finished in the bottom third.
Total volume in the Nasdaq was 1% higher than the previous day’s level, helping to confirm the gains in that index. Volume in the NYSE, however, declined 18%. Since both the S&P and Dow closed slightly lower, it’s positive that turnover receded. In the Nasdaq, advancing volume exceeded declining volume by a margin of just under 2 to 1. The NYSE ratio was flat.
Over the past three days, the market has been clearly telling astute traders that four-letter tickers is where to find the action. Many S&P and Dow-related industry sectors appear to be entering a period of consolidation, or even setting up for a retracement, while a variety of Nasdaq sectors are waking up. In addition to the semiconductor sector that we have already analyzed, biotechs may be ready to move higher. After a healthy correction off its late-April high, the Biotech Index ($BTK) now appears ready to resume its primary uptrend. As you can see on the chart below, it finished yesterday back above its 20-day exponential moving average and closed right at resistance of its multi-week downtrend line:
As we have pointed out several times in recent months, the popular Biotech HOLDR (BBH) is a laggard ETF and should be avoided. Instead, consider the StreetTRACKS Biotech (XBI), which is showing relative strength to the actual $BTK Index. Notice how XBI closed at a new 52-week high yesterday, even though the $BTK is still trading below its high:
Because of its relative strength, any subsequent gains in XBI should rival those of the $BTK index. On a pullback, one could also expect XBI to retrace less than the $BTK. The First Trust Biotech (FBT) is another option, as its chart pattern most closely mirrors the $BTK Index.
In yesterday’s newsletter, we pointed out the potential trade setups that were forming in both the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) and the Semiconductor HOLDR (SMH). Both setups triggered yesterday, prompting us to buy them. We bought IWM when it broke out above the high of its consolidation. It subsequently closed at a fresh record high. We bought SMH when it rallied above resistance of its hourly downtrend line, though it closed a few cents below our entry point. Unfortunately, negative earnings news from semiconductor company Analog Devices (ADI) may also put some pressure on SMH today.
There are no new setups in the pre-market today. We will be monitoring the Biotech ETFs for potential trade entry, but first want to assess broad market conditions. As always, we will promptly send an intraday e-mail alert if/when we enter any new positions not listed as a setup here.
Daily Performance Report:
Below is an overview of all open positions, as well as a performance report on all positions that were closed only since the previous day’s newsletter. Net P/L figures are based on the $50,000 Wagner Daily model account size. Changes to open positions since the previous report are listed in red text below:
Open positions (coming into today):
IWM long (200 shares from May 22 entry) – bought 83.39, stop 81.28, target new high (will trail stop), unrealized points = (0.06), unrealized P/L = ($12)
SMH long (500 shares from May 22 entry) – bought 37.41, stop 36.81, target new high (will trail stop), unrealized points = (0.12), unrealized P/L = ($60)
XRT short (600 shares from May 4 entry) – sold short 42.90, stop 43.79, target 40.70, unrealized points = (0.40), unrealized P/L = ($240)
Closed positions (since last report):
Current equity exposure ($100,000 max. buying power):
Both SMH and IWM triggered yesterday. Per intraday e-mail alert, we lowered the trigger price on SMH.
Edited by Deron Wagner,
MTG Founder and