Here's the ubiquitous excerpt:
THE stock market has had a great run over the last few months, but as the holiday season begins, some analysts are worrying that the traditional year-end rally on Wall Street may have already come and nearly gone.
Mary Ann Bartels, technical research analyst at Merrill Lynch, wondered in a note to investors whether the tendency for stocks to climb in the last couple of months of the year had been rescheduled this year for September and October.
“We think yes,” she wrote. She then acknowleged feeling torn between what her charts have told her and what the calendar and history have led her to expect.
“It is not our favored stance to be more toward the bear camp looking for a cyclical correction of 8 to 10 percent, but all of the market indicators suggest this is the more likely scenario over the coming weeks,” Ms. Bartels said. “What is surprising is that these readings are occurring at this time of year. Most years see a bullish year-end rally.”
She highlighted several exceptions that prove the rule, including three years in the 1990s when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost at least 6 percent at some point during the last two months of the year. What signs suggest that 2006 will play out as those three years — 1991, 1994 and 1996 — did?
Trading volume has shrunk, something that often precedes a price decline, she noted, and several sentiment indicators, including opinion surveys of investment advisers and measures of market volatility, show the sort of complacency that typically occurs near market tops.
Interesting stuff . . .
CNBC's Bob Pisani quotes several unnamed traders who have said that in light of the dollar drop, overseas investors are repatriating some cash, locking in their profits for the year, and eliminating additional currency risk . . .