Monday, February 25, 2008

Surge Leads To Breakout - Is That Good?

More bailout talk today led to another surge of buying. The major averages closed strongly positive on good breadth and increased volume. Technically notable is the fact that the triangle pattern in the S&P was broken to the upside. An argument could be made that the triangle broke to the downside on Friday and that break quickly led to an upside reversal. Based on the definitions in the studies I laid out last week, there was no break on Friday. The first breakout came today. In this case I’ll stick with my definitions because those are the ones that were used to develop the statistics. The minimum target based on those studies' triangle measurements would be 1446.57. Of note is that over 70% of these patterns have failed to reach their target before dropping below the lower triangle line. In this case a failure would mean a move below 1327.04. It appears looking for an entry to fade this breakout may provide the greatest edge.

The surge the last two days which broke this market out has certainly been impressive. I looked back to see how the market had reacted following similar boughts of strong buying. Below is a table displaying how the market has performed near-term following two strong days of buying during a long-term downtrend.

Historically, fading these surges has provided a decent edge. As can be seen in the picture above, not all breakouts are good news. Between the 2-day surge and the triangle breakout study it appears the edge over the next few days is to the downside.

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