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Will the Stock Market be Lower in October?

The stock market often closes a week in the middle of a "perceived primary-trend range." SPX closed at about 1,234 Fri, which is between a multi-year Fibonacci level at 1,253 (i.e. 38.2% retracement level from the peak in 2000 to the trough in 2002) and the 20 day MA at 1,212 (which was general support over a recent rally).

It's possible, SPX can rally to 1,253 short-term. However, longer-term (perhaps in Aug and Sep), SPX seems destined to fall sharply. A Goldilocks economy (of neither too hot nor too cold) is priced-into the stock market, and if any future economic data show either output growth has slowed more than expected or inflation has risen more than expected, then massive selling may take place.

There are several intermediate-term technical indicators that make me cautious. VIX (S&P 500 Volatility Index) shows an extreme level of complacency. VIX fell below 10 last week, to a 12-year low. Consequently, the SPX to VIX ratio hit an all-time high last week. Moreover, both the Transport and Utility Indices to VIX ratios have rocketed at parabolic rates recently, to over 50% beyond previous year's highs. Also, a ratio of large cap to small cap stocks (e.g. S&P 100 to Russell 2,000) is near a multi-decade low, which indicates big institutions, who tend to buy large cap stocks, are not convinced of the rally. Moreover, the SPX to U.S. Dollar ratio is near a historically high level. There's typically an inverse relationship between the U.S. stock market and the U.S. dollar, because a weaker dollar spurs export growth, which is normally bullish for the stock market. The high ratio indicates it's more likely the stock market will fall, since the dollar depreciation has stabilized for over six months, at far lower levels than a few years ago, and then risen somewhat recently.

SPX has open gaps at 1,221, 1,174, 1,143, and 1,138. Nasdaq also has several open gaps, including one at 1,905, which is currently 275 points lower. The stock market has been a market of deep rises and deep falls. For example, just over the past 13 months, Nasdaq fell 305 points (in two months), then rose 440 points (in four months), then fell 300 points (in four months), and then rose 300 points (in three months). Moreover, VXN (a Nasdaq volatility index) rose only six to nine points over the two deep falls, and declined from 28 to 12 (an all-time low), over the past 13 months, which made it a particularly unforgiving short-term trading market.

Economic reports next week are: Mon: Existing Home Sales, Tue: Consumer Confidence, Wed: Durable Goods Orders, New Home Sales, and Fed's Beige Book, Thu: Unemployment Claims, Fri: GDP and GDP Price Deflator, Employment Cost Index, Michigan Consumer Sentiment, and Chicago PMI.

Notable earnings next week include:

Mon: AXP TXN XRX PBI CEGE CD

Tue: AMZN DD SEBL WWY BIIB IMCL X N VLO LMT BDK GLW SUNW SE SWY MDG RFMD MCHP SSTI NANX

Wed: BA AHC COP CSX CL SBUX K KMG MSO NEM CHIR OSIP CRA FON HMC HCA

Thu: BMY GSK ELN GP XOM APA KLAC SYMC XMSR WMI BR RTN AET PD AU ABX KGC PAAS ZEUS GR WEN JNS DCX

Fri: CHV BHI AEP ADM BWNG

Large caps may outperform small caps over the next few months, i.e. small caps may fall greater than large caps. So, IWM (Russell 2000) and SPX (S&P 500) puts may be better than QQQQ (Nasdaq 100) and OEX (S&P 100) puts. With volatility levels at all-time or multi-decade lows, the steep decline in volatility, since the cyclical bull market began in Oct 2002, may shift into an uptrend. So, market conditions may improve for short-term traders, including daytraders.

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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