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Stocks & Oil, Sat Jun 18th, 2005

Both the stock market and oil prices rallied recently, which seems to be a paradox, because high oil prices are negative for earnings (i.e. a higher production cost and a higher consumer tax). However, the stock market was worried about another "soft patch," of slower economic growth, and the sharp rise in oil prices suggest the U.S. economy is still expanding at above trend growth.

The two charts below are same period daily charts of SPX and OIH. The short-term technical indicators suggest SPX is near a top, e.g. VIX closing at a multi-year low, VXN closing at an all-time low, and the NYSE Oscillator's 20 day MA at an extreme level. Also, Nasdaq closed at 2,090 Fri, and 2,100 is major resistance. SPX rallied to 1,219.5 Fri, and 1,220 may be resistance. SPX may be creating a bearish head & shoulders pattern, with the left shoulder at 1,217.9, the head at 1,229.1, and the right shoulder at 1,220 (see chart). SPX may pullback, consolidate, and become more volatile next week. Major support is about 1,200, the current 20 day MA, which SPX held over the rally, and 1,200, in general, which is psychological support and a congestion area. Major resistance is at 1,220 and 1,229 (the recent high).

OIH closed at an all-time high and created a bearish hammer Fri. Major resistance is Fri's high at 104. Major support is at 100.30 (previous highs), and the 10 day MA, currently at 99 1/4. There's also an open gap at just below 95 1/2, and Jul Max Pain is still 95. OIH rose about 20 points, while oil rose from $47 to about $59 a barrel. Consequently, if oil falls to the low $50s, then OIH may retrace 50% of the 20 point rise. The steep rise (also, see MACD) suggests a consolidation period soon. Both the RSI and Oscillator (ULT) are severely overbought, particularly for an index.

Perhaps, the oil market has discounted future events that would influence oil prices, e.g. stonger than expected global growth, the start of hurricane season Jun 1st, which may affect oil platforms and refineries in the Gulf, end-of-the-quarter window dressing, and the 4th of July holiday, which is the start of the summer driving season. Also, I may add, the U.S. oil strategic reserve is filled up. So, the federal government isn't draining oil from the market. Moreover, China's economy is "overheating," and it's to China's benefit to grow at a sustainable rate, to prevent inefficiencies.

Next week is a light economic and earnings data week. So, oil prices may have a more influencial effect on stock prices. Consequently, SPX puts, for example, may hedge OIH puts. Both SPX and OIH are at high levels. Economic reports next week are: Mon: Leading Economic Indicators, Thu: Unemployment Claims and Existing Home Sales, and Fri: Durable Goods Orders and New Home Sales. Also, the U.S. weekly oil inventory data Wed should move oil prices. I believe, the positive correlation in stocks and oil will decouple next week, because the longer oil prices stay high, the more negative it will affect earnings of non-energy stocks. Arthur Eckart, PeakTrader.com

See PeakTrader.com Market Overview section in Forum Index for charts.

Arthur Albert Eckart is the founder and owner of PeakTrader. Arthur has worked for commercial banks, e.g. Wells Fargo, Banc One, and First Commerce Technologies, during the 1980s and 1990s. He has also worked for Janus Funds from 1999-00. Arthur Eckart has a BA & MA in Economics from the University of Colorado. He has worked on options portfolio optimization since 1998.

Mr Eckart has developed a comprehensive trading methodology using economics, portfolio optimization, and technical analysis to maximize return and minimize risk at the same time. This methodology has resulted in excellent returns with low risk over the past three years.

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