Market Ends Higher, Mixed for the Week
The talking heads and suit-and-ties have pushed the panic button all week but the bulls calmed them down by rebounding and holding their gains on Thursday. The market still had trouble clearing resistance as rallies are being sold into but it is not always wise to tug on Superman's cape as Tech and the small-caps have shown strength.
We should know soon if the bears are spitting in the wind or if they are serious as the mini-trading range continues. While ranges are hard to predict, this week's choppy action is pointing towards a volatile October with an upside surprise or a downside slide.
The Dow gained double-nickels (55 points, or 0.4%), to finish at 15,328 on Thursday. The blue-chips held green all session long and reached a peak of 15,387 before closing just below resistance at 15,350-15,400. A close above 15,400 would be bullish heading into next week while anything below 15,200 would be bearish. With all the noise this week and the Debbie Downers that have called for a correction, it's pretty amazing the Dow is only down 1%, or 123 points.
The S&P 500 popped a 6-pack, or 0.4%, to settle at 1,698.67. The index kissed 1,703.85 shortly after the open but faded below 1,700 before Wall Street's lunch break. The bears were able to hold the fort down for a third-straight session and today's session could offer some clues on where the index is headed for next week. A close above 1,700, and more importantly 1,710 would be bullish while a close below 1,680-1,675 would be bearish. The bulls need to clear 1,710 by the close to get the weekly win.
The Nasdaq jumped 26 points, or 0.7%, to end at 3,787. Tech looked strong and pushed 3,795 but struggled for the seventh-straight session in its attempt to clear 3,800 and our year-end target from February. We have said there could be fluff up to 4,000 as long as support holds at 3,750-3,700. A close above 3,775 gives the index a win for the week.
The Russell 2000 advanced 5 points, or 0.5%, to close at 1,078.41. The small-caps came within a point of setting another fresh all-time high for the third-straight session as the bulls continue to eye 1,100. However, we made a note to self that the index was the only one to dip into negative territory yesterday. As long as 1,075 sticks as support it shouldn't be a big deal but bears watching. Pun intended. For the week, the Russell is higher by a baker's dozen.
The S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX, 14.06, up 0.05) barely budged but was volatile as it traded down to 13.58 after the open and jumped to 14.40 on the pullback. The VIX is still giving us a neutral reading as it remains stuck between 13.50 and 15. Watch for a close below or above these levels today for a possible hint at next week's action.
As we head to press, futures look like this: Dow (-39); S&P 500 (-6); Nasdaq 100 (-11).