Thursday, May 16, 2013

SPX and BKX: One Chart to Rule Them All

Before I even begin this article, I feel obliged to engage in a bit of a tangential rant which actually relates to my charts.  If you're on the hurry-up, or if you find my sense of humor to be confusing and mentally frustrating, then you can skip right to the section titled "Market Update."   
My story begins like this:  A couple months ago, I purchased a new PC.  I'll pause here while we wait for the Mac users to stop laughing, since they already know there is now no possibility of a good ending to this story.  Anyway, like so many others who've bought new PC's recently, I had no choice but to "upgrade" to the latest mutant version of Windows, which is called simply Windows 8 (an inside joke at Microsoft, code for: "Windows ate my desktop!").  As every PC user knows, every so often Microsoft's Crack Team of Windows Engineers feels it's their God-given red-blooded patriotic American duty to cram some new version of Windows down our throats.  They refer to this as "progress," because that sounds better than "a way to continue justifying our expense accounts." 
For those of you fortunate enough to have avoided Windows Ate, basically the iconic "Start" button is gone, and the desktop has been replaced with a series of apps pinned to a home screen.   I was already familiar with the Windows Ate concept, since I've had a Windows phone for years -- and while I think the whole "app" concept is fine for phones, or tablets, or anything smaller than, say, a PC -- I think it stinks for PC's.  
I believe the majority of us who do not presently earn our livings by developing software for Microsoft were entirely satisfied with Windows 7 as a stable, user-friendly OS.  In fact, within two days of having Windows Ate inflicted upon me, I had already installed a program that forced it to emulate the Windows 7 navigation style.  Apparently Microsoft had forgotten that a handful of us still use our computers for something other than watching South Park's take on central bank policy on YouTube all day.    
But even with this productivity upgrade, Windows Ate still does not emulate Windows 7 in terms of reliability.  And the point I'm getting at (if I remember correctly) is that ever since "upgrading" to Windows Ate, my charts act screwy.  When I use Adobe Flash for annotations, the lines and numbers demonstrate all the orderliness of a preschool fire drill, and show no regard whatsoever for remaining in their assigned locations.  Numbers seem to move around of their own freewill, often vanishing from the charts entirely at random -- sometimes magically appearing later on a completely different chart, as if they'd traveled through an inter-cyberspace wormhole.  In fact, the numbers behave in such an incredibly random fashion that I'm fairly convinced I've secretly stumbled onto the exact same algorithm Bernanke is using to set Fed monetary policy.  
Interestingly, when I use Java instead of Flash, almost everything works exactly as it's supposed to, except for one "minor" detail:  with Java, I can only work on the charts at one-half normal size.  Attempting to annotate these diminutive charts requires me to practically press my face directly onto the computer screen, while at the same time squinting really hard -- which makes me feel like some kind of Peeping Tom technical analyst, and I keep expecting to hear tiny screams of "Cad!" emanating from my computer.  
These issues are a complete nightmare for someone who's as much of a perfectionist about charts as I am.  So if you've noticed lately that my charts aren't quite as pretty as they used to be, it's not because I've gotten lazy, it's because Windows Ate them.  I'm working to resolve this issue, with a hammer if necessary, and I'm sure eventually I'll get it all figured out... no doubt just in time for Microsoft to cram Windows? Nein! down our throats.
Market Update
Yesterday we discussed the possibilities for a whipsaw vs. a melt-up, and today I have a chart to share which should go a long way toward providing an early warning if the melt-up is underway.

One of the cardinal technical rules of Elliott Wave Theory is that wave three cannot be the shortest wave.  If the wave we find in the third wave position is the shortest, then that tells us the pattern isn't what we think it is.  The Philadelphia Bank Index (BKX) is currently providing us with an excellent tell in this regard.

The hourly chart of BKX below.  The nice thing with the BKX pattern is it's telling us "either the rally ends here, or it's got a lot farther to run."  There probably isn't much in-between.

SPX hourly below:

The five minute SPX chart notes the overthrow of the potential bearish rising wedge discussed yesterday. 

In conclusion, we now have a solid pattern in BKX to watch for clues, and near-term confirmations, of a larger potential melt-up.  Conversely, if the rally is going to end, then now's the time.  Trade safe.

Reprinted by permission; Copyright 2013 Minyanville Media Inc.   


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