Friday, February 19, 2010

MTU Weekend Ed - Despite the rally, little change in risk/reward (2/19/10 Close)

While SPX has advanced more than 3% over the past week, on a weekly timeframe, there has been no change in the poor reward-risk profile for long exposure, and no change in the wave structure, as discussed in the previous Weekend Update (Upside potential no longer compensate for downside risk, 2/12/10).

The only material changes are that
[1] The rally over the past week allows us to eliminate the advance since the Feb 5th low being wave (ii)-up of [iii]-down of 1-down. This is the first of the top three scenarios outlined two weeks ago (Stocks to rebound, upside potential uncertain, 2/5/10).

The remaining two scenarios are still at play. The red and green labels in Chart 1 highlight the bearish and bullish counts, respectively.

The bearish scenario is my primary count. It describes the current rally as [ii]-up of 1-down, a short term upward retracement of a larger selloff. Once wave [ii] is complete, [iii]-down of 1-down will deliver a forceful selloff.

The bullish scenario is my alternative count. It proposes that the rally since last March has not ended and the current rally is [i]-up of 5-up.

[2] The advance since the Feb 12th low and since the Feb 18th-19th overnight low is nearing its end, if not already complete. Under the bearish count, this peak should be the end of [ii]-up.

There was substantial uncertainty last weekend regarding whether the market was near the beginning or the end of the rebound from the Feb12th low. Hence the poor reward-risk profile then. Now that there is clarity that the market is near the end of the rebound from the Feb 12th low, if the bearish count is on track, the same poor reward-risk profile applies (at one degree larger in EWP terms).

Chart 2 offers a squiggle count of the advance since the Feb 18th-19th overnight low. The count with green labels allows for another push higher, whereas the count with the red labels indicates that the top of the rebound is already in place at Friday’s high.

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