Weekly Market Commentary 1.31.14

Are you having fun yet?  Volatility has returned, and the market is a daily dose of pain and pleasure, to either the bulls or the bears.  There are plenty of cross-currents now, and in reality, volatility hasn’t even increased all that much (statistically).

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ($SPX) broke down through the important support level at 1810 last Friday.  The chart is now negative, with important support at 1770.  If that fails, 1710 seems to be a reasonable next target.

Equity-only put-call ratios are bearish and have stayed that way. As long as these ratios continue to rise, that is bearish for stocks. Market breadth has been negative.  The breadth indicators remain on sell signals.

Volatility indices  spiked up when the market first broke down. That is, of course, negative, as an upward trending $VIX is bearish for stocks.

In summary, the complacent bullish market of 2013 is gone.  The media — and some traders — are coming up with excuses (do you really care about a supposed Turkish currency “crisis?”), but the real fact of the matter is that a huge overbought condition had built up, and investors are looking for a place to get out or to lock in profits.

Once again it is the chart of $SPX that is quite important.  If that support at 1770 gives way, all the other indicators will pale in comparison.  If it does hold, though, then there could be a rally by $SPX back towards 1830.   LM