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Closing Technical Market Analysis for Thu March 18th 2010
The stock market indices edged higher today, but ended mixed with the Nasdaq 100 and Dow making new rally highs. The S&P 500 and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOXX) trailed.
The technicals were rather poor, particularly on the New York Stock Exchange. Despite the gains in the NDX and Dow, the technicals did not confirm and may be setting up negative divergences as the market appears to be churning and acting toppy in the zone. No support, however, has been broken at all, and until that occurs they can still squeeze them somewhat higher.
Tomorrow being an options expiration day, I suspect they may wait into early next week before they take them down, but we’ll see.
The day started out with some backing and filling action. They went to new session highs early on, but the S&P 500 didn’t cooperate. Then they rolled over to test the lows on the NDX and held, but made lower lows on the S&P 500. At that point they tried a mid-day rally back, with the NDX moving to new highs but only about 10 points off its low, as it was a fairly narrow range today. The S&P 500 traded in a 6-point range today and closed down 38 cents but only a couple points off its high.
Net on the day, the Dow was up 45.50 at 10,779.17, the S&P 500 down .38 at 1165.83, and the NDX up 7.72 at 943.94. The SOXX was down 2.42 at 361.64.
Advance-declines were 17 to 13 negative on New York, with about 460 issues lower. Up/down volume was 2 to 1 negative, but total volume was light, with just over 900 million shares traded today. On Nasdaq the situation was a little tighter, although there were about 380 more declining issues than advancing issues, a ratio of about 15 to 11 negative. Up/down volume, however, was about 11 to 10 negative with about 2.1 billion traded.
TheTechTrader.com board, as a result, was mostly narrowly mixed, but there were several point-plus gainers. Leading the way by far today was Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (SOMX), which got FDA approval for their sleep apnea drug, and the stock advanced 5.27 to 9.21 on 41 million shares traded today, a net gain of 134%.
Other point-plus gainers today included China Agritech (CAGC), up 1.53 to 27, and the Direxion Daily Emerging Markets Bear 3x (EDZ) up 1 to 44.97.
Large fractional gainers were InterMune (ITMN) at 39.49 up 72 cents, NuVasive, Inc. (NUVA) at 45.34 up 58 cents, and low-priced Delta Petroluem Corp. (DPTR) at 1.77 up 41 cents on news of a sell-off of a portion of their drilling holdings for $400 million.
On the downside, the only point-plus loser was the Direxion Financial Bull 3x Shares (FAS), which dropped 1.14 at 94.47.
Other fractional losers of note: Brigham Explorations (BEXP) backed off 74 cents to 16.20, MAP Pharmaceuticals (MAPP) lost 53 cents to 16.02, McMoRan (MMR) also in the junior oil group at 15.51 was down 92 cents today. US Energy (USEG) dropped 24 cents to 5.84 in that same group. So, it was a difficult session for some of the junior oils that we follow.
Stepping back and reviewing the hourly chart patterns, the indices were choppy in the morning on Nasdaq and lower on the S&P 500. They did rally midday to retest the session highs and take them out on the NDX, but failed to follow through on the S&P 500 and confirm. So we had a mixed close, but technicals were rather weak today and may be signaling that the market’s getting tired at these levels and is due for a pullback. We shall see.
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