“It’s déjà vu all over again.”
– Yogi Berra
In mid-December, after the Fed lowered rates to 0 to .25%, we noted:
Aggressive action by the Federal Reserve today pushed most markets above their respective simple 50 day moving averages for the first time since September. We have highlighted the 50 day as resistance level number one in prior notes and have shown it to be critical resistance along with the 200 day and 80 week. This is a primary step to recovery and opens the door to a potential challenge of the 200 day near the beginning of 2009.
That rally was short lived, eventually failing after a more sustained move above the 50 day near the beginning of the year. What is interesting is that we may be seeing a similar sequence of events again.
After a brief dip below the 2002 lows, the SPX has rallied back significantly on the back of announcements from the Treasury and Federal Reserve. The combination of these announcements (along with better economic reports) has again pushed most major market averages over their simple 50 day moving averages. Unfortunately, volume has not expanded with this push, even though volume levels are higher than earlier in the year.
The market managed about 7 days above the 50 day in early January. So far, we have 3 days on this trip. To avoid a repeat of action earlier in the year, it is critical that the SPX remain above the 50 day and the 2002 lows. The Feds can do all of the grandstanding and wagon circling they want, but the market will not be forced higher. We need to see organic buying build on this foundation for the bears to truly remain buried below the 2002 lows. Ideally, a high volume rally will spring from support at the 50 day to challenge the Feb highs in the area of 875. If this occurs, the 50 day and 800 will serve as very solid support going forward as we move toward the Jan highs around 940.
If the market again fails after a quick Fed induced burst over the 50 day, we look at 741 as the first support level below the 2002 lows. A significant break at 741 would argue for at least a retest of the lows at 667. With other indicators showing improvement, including some leaders exhibiting notable relative strength, it is our assumption at this point that the lows at 667 will not be broken.