Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is That A Head And Shoulders Top I See?

Is that a head and shoulders top I see on the S&P500?

Figure 1 is a weekly chart of the S&P500. Prices have probed the support zone between 1066 and 1072, and so far we have yet to close on a weekly basis below this "key" support level. From a point of having market participants express grave concern that the world is coming to an end, it would certainly be nice to have prices close below these levels. It's bad enough that prices are already below the 40 week moving average on the S&P500. (For the record, the NASDAQ 100 and Russell 2000 are above the 40 week moving average - thank god for that too!).

Figure 1. S&P500/ weekly

In any case, "they" - and whoever "they" is - just won't let the market fall apart. So I guess we go higher, but from this perspective, going higher without having the "decks all cleared" of market participants first will likely lead to more bouts of abrupt selling in the future.

So we go higher to make what appears to be the right shoulder of a head and shoulders topping pattern. What happens after that is pure speculation. What I would like to see happen is 1) a break below the neck line of that head and shoulders top; 2) a "puke" by the bulls; 3) CNBC calling the correction a bear market. Then we can make a better bottom.

All this will take time and play out through the summer and likely come to fruition in the fall. By that time, everyone and their brother will know about the head and shoulders top.


Anonymous said...


I don't get it (it must be my poor english).

You expect to see a H&S forming; we are already at the high of the right shoulder, so do you expect to drop from here to complete the H&S (target is 900 on S&P)? Or do you expect to drop more before rising to complete the right shoulder? I see you use a weekly; because if you look at the daily chart, the right shoulder seem complete; you need to confirm that with the volumes (they should be weaker on the right shoulder than the left, which I don't think is the case, right?)

Thanks Guy!

Guy M. Lerner said...


I just point it out on the weekly because I see it coming and it will be easy to spot....

But I don't make investment decisions based upon head and shoulders because I can't test for it

The daily chart is kind of sloppy....but one of the points is we need to get everyone talking about this and then it doesn't happen

hettygreen said...

I thought it was an obvious head and shoulders that got the bears into all kinds of trouble last summer? Repeat performance or is it now the bulls turn for a little high anxiety?

Anonymous said...

Patterns,save me please !
The H & S can morph into a double top if it fails which can morph into a triple top if the double top fails which can morph into ..well enough said ,BUT hey they are look sweet from over the shoulder and royalties on technical analysis books just wouldn't be the same without them ;)

Guy M. Lerner said...

hetty: I think you are right about last summer

anon #2: I personally don't use H/S or price patterns but I guess that is my point: something to get the bulls all lathered up in a couple of months

Anonymous said...

Well-Well, the 27th arrived and we are still waiting to see what everyone decided to buy. June 1 may be the last all-aboard call if a second chance is offered. The good news is that this will be nothing more than a nice bounce prior to the summer bottom to keep everyone occupied. Once the bottom is complete below 1044 somewhere, sideways foolishness, then the politicians will have the 'team' step up to the plate with their "feel good" candy.

Guy M. Lerner said...

this is the kind of goofy email I get:

"Man, did you pick a bad day to be calling a Head and Shoulders Top!"

Hmmmm....I can't see where in this article I picked anything; the way I read the article is that I am suggesting that a head and shoulders top will likely form sometime in the future ....that is f-u-t-u-r-e

It seems obvious to me what I am talking about here!

hettygreen said...

Guy I think some people only read the title before jumping in with their .02 worth. I am interested to read your sentiment report this week because apparently enough newsletter writers have become sufficiently bearish to kibosh any further declines in the foreseeable future. I read some comments to this effect today; I'm not saying I believe it. Still there are already a lot of technical commenters who are in a terrific lather about much more upside, new highs coming etc. As someone with a much longer view than the next few weeks or months, I remain unmoved by these prognosticators.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of H&S, take a look at the BIGGIE, the 15 year DJIA. Between 1999 and 2000 there were several violent declines just below 10,000 from over 11,000. Looks to me like strength thru Oct with possible top around 11,500.

Anonymous said...

Last summer's H&S was a weenie... just over 2 months. This current one...if it develops is/will be over 6 months. My initial reaction thus far is it could be a fake breakdown like last year...but by this summer the 200dma could be turning down...something to chew about. --- Jimmy