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May's Stock Market Volatility


Last Tuesday's positive national ISM numbers sent the Dow Industrial surging. Many analysts were euphoric, and some in the media were talking about the possibility of breaking though resistance that had formed over the last month, and a new price melt-up occurring.

At the same time, other analysts were warning about a soon coming banking crisis in Europe, and the seasonal tendency to 'Sell in May and Go Away' here in the US.

The the strong ISM were indicative of strengthening US Manufacturing on the supply side, but many analysts were still tempered in their positive outlooks by US unemployment concerns. Employment numbers were expected out later in the week.

In Wednesday and Thursday trading, the market wrestled with these issues, selling off to Tuesday ISM pre-announcement levels, but rallying back again almost to the Tuesday top.

Friday's employment number were released, and the market found them uninspiring. Upon their release at 830AM Friday morning, the market tanked. Asian market's already also rattled by their own issues and those in Europe, had also been buoyed through the week by possible strength in North America. This completely fell away over the weekend.


By Sunday morning the Dow Futures had tanked yet again, and were now flirting with significant technical support levels, approaching prices that erased an entire quarter of gains on the Dow 30 Industrials. In the short time since last Tuesday's ISM intraday high, the Dow had now lost almost 500 points, 3.7%!

Since then the Dow has been trading in a highly volatile 250 point range. On Monday it rallied about 200 points in what appears now to have been a 'dead cat bounce.' Tuesday's perceived market and global banking 'unfriendly' European election results seemed to have been this cat's demise. Weakness occurred in European trading in the morning there, and when the US market opened prices drove precipitously to new weekly lows here until continental European markets closed at 1130AM EST, down almost 250 points from Monday's bounce. This put a second significant test on a large quarterly price pivot occurring in the Dow Industrials which, among market technicians, is viewed as a very negative market outlook indicator.

Bouncing again off this support, the market rallied back Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, looking at the Dow Futures, you can see Asian market were unconvinced at their open Wednesday, and eroded these gains by half, and when European open, all these gains were gone by the opening bell here in the US Wednesday morning. That inspired a sinking of the Dow to a third new low in three days, and called into question the major support/pivot issue again. Triple bottoms are highly reactive market events, and the volatility index, the VIX, became a high topic of conversation. The market initially bounced heartily off this third test of support Wednesday afternoon though, with many analyst believing that European global banking concerns were possibly overblown. Other Analyst were pointing out that the broad market was full of weakness, that the VIX, a measure of short interest coming into the market, was becoming more awake', and that the three test of support, and that looking at the nearly continuous global futures market, a descending triple bottom had occurred. So by Wednesday's close half these gains were gone, and the rest disappeared in aftermarket trading on negative market outlooks from Cisco.

On Thursday morning in Asia, US securities rallied modestly, but sold down again in Europe. In a small change of pattern, the market rallied at the opening here. This was considered a positive sign, and that perhaps the triple bottom was holding after all. But then the market started to sell down into Europe's close, a cause for concern. But managed to hold onto half its morning gains, and trade in this range through the afternoon. Analyst felt one more bullet had been dodged.

Unfortunately the market sold off again, and dramatically in Thursday's aftermarket, with Dow futures driving lower than Wednesday's lows. Quadruple bottoms are rare in market dynamics. And as of this evening, the Dow futures have traded lower than it had on a strict day-to-day 'quarterly basis.' A pivot in the US Dow 30 Industrial Futures has now occurred! So tomorrow's market here in the US should be particularly interesting!

I have included a chart of the /YM, the globally traded Dow 30 Industrials Mini-Futures for quick referencing. One the chart it is easy to see Tuesday's ISM strength, Wednesday's and Thursday's lack of conviction, Friday's precipitous selloff on US employment concerns, Asia's Sunday morning reaction to Friday's US market deflation, Monday's bounce back from piercing and trading within the critical 12700 handle, Tuesday's European Election woe's, the bounce off the double bottom, Wednesdays lack of conviction and triple bottom bounce, and Thursday's seeming turn with higher highs and higher lows forming, only to find that completely erased by extended hours trading Thursday evening.

A sustained break below the 12750 level and breaking 12700 tomorrow could present real problems for the market on Monday.

Hopefully things won't turn that... Black.

No doubt the Fed is watching, and regardless of what might be voiced this week, QE3 may be just around the corner.


/YM Dow 30 Industrials Mini-Futures 10 Day 15 Minute Chart