Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Treasury Throws a Wrench into QE-Infinity

Tuesday was an interesting day as the market gapped lower, reversed strongly higher, and then retraced most of the rally by the end of the day.  The market remains balanced at a key support zone, and the market is very oversold, so while those conditions could lead to a rally, oversold by itself doesn't mean anything.  As I've noted on several occasions, crashes generally begin when a market is oversold, not when it's overbought.  A lot hinges on what happens next.

I've poured over many charts this week, and I continue to feel this zone is critical for bulls to defend.  Below this level, and there's simply a lot of air.  I'm watching the charts for the market to declare its intentions, but there are two fundamental issues which could compound the technical situation and combine to create a "perfect storm" if support fails:

1.  We are again facing the "fiscal cliff" dilemma.  This was a precursor to the 2011 crash.

2.  Bulls have been banking on roughly $26 billion in QE-Infinity liquidity injections, due to start hitting the Primary Dealer accounts on November 14, to provide fuel for equities.  However, there has been a potential last-minute game-changer for this month.  The Treasury announced on November 13 that it will auction $25 billion in Cash Management bills on, you guessed it, November 14.  That auction will absorb much of the pending QE-Infinity liquidity.

A failure of support here thus has the potential to compound a selling-panic, because bulls may capitulate en masse if it's perceived that Fed cash isn't back-stopping equities as expected.

So this remains a dangerous position for the market, as I warned when SPX 1425 failed, and warned again when SPX 1403 failed.  Bulls who got out then can always get back in if and when the market starts giving more signs of a turn.  A wise old trading adage:  "Better to be out wishing you were in, than in wishing you were out."

A favorite chart of mine recently (below) shows that most markets are sitting right on support zones.  Bulls need to hold these zones, or the market could easily go into free-fall.  Be aware that markets often become very whippy around major support and resistance, as they try to shake traders out and/or get them positioned wrong.

The S&P 500 (SPX) daily chart is shown below, and little here has changed from last update. 

I also want to again note the Nasdaq Composite long-term chart.  Interesting to observe how the market was firmly rejected at the top of the base channel, which was the resistance level I discussed throughout August and September. 

Especially given recent word of today's Treasury auction, I can't overemphasize the need for caution here, and the chart below outlines the "conservative" bear case if support fails. (continued, next page)

The SPX short-term chart is hinting at lower prices still to come.  I've parsed the information as best I can, though the chart will probably still be confusing to those not well-versed in Elliott Wave Theory.  To make it as simple as possible, I've diagrammed the near-term path that would be most confusing to try and explain.  I've also outlined some key levels.  Barring a failed fifth wave at yesterday's low, the chart suggests lower prices one way or another.

The running triangle count (option 3 on the chart and not shown) would see a small bounce early tomorrow and then a reversal to new lows.

Finally, the bullish wave count remains on its last leg here, and as I've noted in past updates, I do not recommend front-running a turn with the market in this position, unless you are an extremely nimble trader.  The path of least resistance remains down.

In conclusion, while the market is quite oversold and in a support zone -- and those conditions can lead to a rally at the drop of a hat -- for those exact same reasons, this could be viewed as a market perched on the edge of a cliff.  Bulls need to start backing away from the edge, or risk tumbling over.  Trade safe.


  1. Hope everyone is doing well, I am still nailing all turns and levels on a nice site with respectful ppl. Trade smart.

  2. Katzo, miss you.  What site?  Katwitch