The main stock market indexes continued to consolidate in a tight, sideways range for the third straight day yesterday, as a touch of late-day strength enabled stocks to close moderately higher. The Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average registered matching gains of 0.5%, while the S&P 500 similarly rallied 0.4%. Matching the pace of the broad market, the small-cap Russell 2000 also rose 0.5%. Although it only eked out a gain of 0.1% yesterday, the S&P Midcap 400 scored its seventh consecutive advance, and also set a new 52-week closing high for the third session in a row. All the major indices finished near their best levels of the day.
Volume in the Nasdaq continued to recede, falling below its average level. Total volume in the Nasdaq eased 16% below the previous day’s level. Turnover in the NYSE ticked 1% higher. With a closely-watched jobs report due in today’s pre-market, institutions are apparently taking a “wait and see” approach before jumping back on the buy side of the market. Regardless of the market’s knee-jerk reaction to today’s data, we’re likely to see a pick-up in trading activity to close the week. As for market internals, advancing volume exceeded declining volume by approximately 3 to 2 in both exchanges.
Although we usually don’t talk about individual stocks in this newsletter, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs (GS) showed great relative strength and broke out above a key area of price resistance yesterday. GS surged 3.7% higher, and volume also rose above average. The breakout above major resistance is shown on the daily chart below:
Bullish momentum from yesterday’s convincing breakout in GS is likely to persist for at least the next several days. If it does, the price action of GS could help lend a positive bias to the overall stock market because financials have been one of the weaker industries holding the market trend in check. In the March 3 issue of The Wagner Daily, we said of the overall financial industry, “if this sector can finally get in gear, breadth would improve, adding more fuel and conviction to the stock market’s recovery off last month’s lows. Many of the Financial ETFs are nearing key resistance levels that could lead to a breakout.”
Two days ago, we looked at the Regional Bank HOLDR (RKH) as a financial ETF that could soon reverse its downtrend. However, with GS heating up, there may be a better trading opportunity in Capital Markets SPDR (KCE), an ETF comprised of seventeen stocks in the securities broker/dealer sector. In a downtrend since October of 2009, KCE firmly broke out above its 50 and 200-day moving averages yesterday, before closing right at resistance of its downtrend line. The potential bullish reversal in KCE, led by developing relative strength in GS, is shown on the daily chart below:
Although KCE has not yet broken out above its weekly downtrend line, we bought a HALF position in yesterday’s session. The intraday relative strength and breakout of GS, combined with KCE moving above its 50-day moving average, made an anticipatory entry relatively low-risk, especially considering it was only a partial position. If KCE goes on to break out above its five-month downtrend line in the coming days, we will then look to buy the remaining shares on the first subsequent pullback, holding in expectation of a new, intermediate-term uptrend in the broker-dealer industry.
Also in our March 3 commentary, we pointed out the potential buy setup in iShares U.S. Technology Sector Index (IYW). Yesterday morning, IYW “undercut” its lows of the preceding two days, but reversed steadily higher in the afternoon, closing above its 50-day moving average. Because of the early “shakeout” action that led to a positive close, we sent an Intraday Trade Alert to subscribers, informing them of our buy entry in IYW, as it moved back above its 50-day MA and horizontal price resistance. An updated snapshot of the IYW play is shown below:
The major indices have been pretty stagnant, drifting in a narrow range, for the past three days. Still, the price action and volume patterns have not been unhealthy. Stocks are still above short-term support of their 20-period exponential moving averages on the hourly charts, and are holding above support of their prior “swing highs” from February. The small and mid-cap indexes are even trading at fresh 52-week highs. If the S&P, Nasdaq, and Dow surge above their three-day highs today, those indexes could soon join the Russell and S&P Midcap at moving back to their January 2010 highs. But at that point, we would actually consider lightening up and/or tightening stops on long positions. Obviously, there is a risk that the pre-market employment data could spark a swift drop in the broad market today, but the overall technical picture still slightly favors the bulls. Without risk, there is no profit. As traders, taking calculated, controlled risks is what we get paid to do.
After entering two new trades yesterday (IYW and KCE), there are no new setups in the pre-market today. We are still monitoring IYE and IBB for potential buy entry, but we are also being careful to avoid getting too heavily exposed on the long side of the market until we see a little more bullish price confirmation. As always, we will promptly send an Intraday Trade Alert if we enter anything new.
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. Please review the Wagner Daily Subscriber Guide for important, automatic rules on trigger and stop prices.
- Per Intraday Trade Alerts, we bought both KCE and IYW yesterday. Trade details listed above. Note that KCE is only a HALF position right now, limiting our risk to just $300 on the initial entry.
- Reminder to subscribers – Intraday Trade Alerts to your e-mail and/or mobile phone are normally only sent to indicate a CHANGE to the pre-market plan that is detailed in each morning’s Wagner Daily. We sometimes send a courtesy alert just to confirm action that was already detailed in the pre-market newsletter, but this is not always the case. If no alert is received to the contrary, one should always assume we’re honoring all stops and trigger prices listed in each morning’s Wagner Daily. But whenever CHANGES to the pre-market stops or trigger prices are necessary, alerts are sent on an AS-NEEDED basis. Just a reminder of the purpose of Intraday Trade Alerts.
- For those of you whose ISPs occasionally deliver your e-mail with a delay, make sure you’re signed up to receive our free text message alerts sent to your mobile phone. This provides a great way to have redundancy on all Intraday Trade Alerts. Send your request to [email protected] if not already set up for this value-added feature we provide to subscribers.
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Edited by Deron Wagner,
MTG Founder and Head Trader