U.S. Stock Market Surge – ‘The Bull Market Is Back’
Monday, February 26, was a red-letter day for the U.S. stock market. All three major indexes (DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq) opened up and then charged ahead, knocking over barriers and practically shouting, “The bull market is back!”
Disclosure: Author is invested in U.S. stocks and U.S. stock funds
It was so fast! On Feb. 10 in “U.S. Stock Market Signals ‘That’s All, Folks!’ – Time To Buy,” I explained why the correction looked like it was playing out in record time.
First, there was a quick test of the lows that petered out at the 200-day moving average. Then the markets began building an uptrend foundation. That meant all we needed as proof was for the markets to break through commonly recognized, upside barriers. And that is what the surge accomplished.
The upside barriers
Fortunately, there were two clear bell ringers that many investors have confidence in.
One was the 50-day moving average, a particularly useful trend measure in bull markets. Each of the three market measures easily and quickly broke down through theirs in the sell-off. While some interpreted those moves as bearish, the moving average was still showing an uptrend. It would take a deeper and/or longer-lasting decline to turn the moving average downward, the bearish signal.
The other was besting the 50% retracement level. While different markets can have different patterns, this particular correction was shaping up as a classic. Since the indexes had each fallen about 10% (a classic correction distance), the retracement barrier was at the 5% decline level.
Because we are talking “classic” here, let’s start with the classic Dow Jones Industrial Average. Monday saw a broad-based rise in the 30 companies, with only Coca-Cola lagging at -0.02%. Even GE, starting with a sharp drop, turned around, climbing 5% to end the day up.
The graph shows the DJIA’s strong 400-point (1.5+%) rise. Now look at the barriers that were coincidentally at the same level. After closing Friday at those barrier levels, the DJIA gapped up Monday, then steadily rose through the day. By the close, the DJIA was above those barriers.
DJIA signals bull market
Importantly, the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index mirrored the DJIA…
SP 500 signals bull market
Then there is the Nasdaq, which is a special case. Its tech-heavy weighting was already leading the other indexes, so we can say the DJIA and S&P 500 confirmed what the Nasdaq was already signaling. (Note: This Nasdaq leadership could change ahead as I describe in “Market Shift Coming – Value Stocks Overtake Growth In 2018”)
COMP signals bull market
The bottom line
It looks like the U.S. stock market’s 10% decline was just a very quick correction and that it has shifted back to bull market mode. Thus, the classic patterns from all three major indexes combined with the breakthroughs give confidence in buying and holding U.S. stocks.
Note: I realize that all of this evaluation says nothing about fundamentals. But, then, the bearish views coming from the market’s original drop were also devoid of fundamentals. The reason is that the economy and companies continue to deliver positive news. Nothing’s changed there, so the best analysis is to evaluate market behavior. From that technical analysis, we are still in a growing economy with profitable companies supporting a continuation of 2017’s bull market.