Monday, July 18, 2011

Four Charts: Shanghai, S&P 500, U.S. Dollar and the Dow

Four charts cast a skeptical light on the Status Quo "stories" of endlessly rising equities and the doomed dollar.

Here are the Status Quo's most important investment "stories:"
1) China will continue booming for decades
2) U.S. equities will continue soaring as profits continue rising
3) The U.S. dollar will continue heading down because Bernanke wills it to do so

I would love to believe these magical tales, but the charts cast a skeptical pall on the happy stories. Beauty and uptrends alike are in the eye of the beholder, so maybe you see uptrends in equities here; I don't.

The chart of the SSEC Shanghai Index is downright ugly. The uptrend line has been decisively broken, and a giant pennant/flag pattern looks busted, too.

The SPX (S&P 500) has also busted its uptrend, and the fan pattern indicates a weakening trend off the March 2009 lows. Notice how the trendline that was support is now resistance--a classic technical sign of reversal.

The dollar's slight uptrend was broken in Bernanke's last-ditch effort to goose the equities market to a new high in April. Since then, the DXY has clawed its way higher while the indicators are showing positive divergence to the buck's weak ascent.

There is great resistance just overhead above 76, as the trendline now offers resistance, as does the 50-week moving average. Those two are roughly aligning with the upper Bollinger band. On a slightly positive note, the lower Bollinger has turned up and the DXY has managed to hover at or above its 20-week moving average.

If the dollar closes decisively above 76.30, then Bernanke has lost control and equities are headed down: a dollar breakout will be in play.

Here is an analog chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1907 and the present, courtesy of Ron Griess and The Chart Store. Note the uncanny correlation of the two. Correlation isn't causation,of course, so maybe the Dow will sprint to 15,000 from here. But this chart introduces the notion that if history and pattern-matching have any predictive value, the next move will be down.

The truism in technical analysis is that you can always find a chart or indicator to support your belief system. But if we look at these simple charts and simple lines without predisposed beliefs, then what story are they telling?

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