After a rally which has lasted since Fed Chairman Bernanke announced on the 60 Minutes TV program that the Fed was “electronically” printing dollars, the S&P 500 has made a double top.
Although my style of trading is more fundamentally based in that I mainly use technical price points for entries and exits, I think it’s important to recognize chart formations that are obvious and likely to catch the eye of even a casual observer. This formation definitely falls into that category.
What’s also interesting is where the double top was made.
I use several non-standard Fibonacci levels which I’ve found to be accurate and useful. For example, most people who use fibs on their charts have the 50% retracement line, which actually is not in the standard 23.6, 38.2 etc. fib sequence.
Fib levels are separated by Fibonacci’s “golden ratio”-1.618. To go up in a sequence, you multiply by the golden ratio and to go down, you divide. If you multiply the 50% retracement level by 1.618, you get 80.9. In other words, 80.9 is the next number in a Fibonacci sequence that begins with 50.
I set up a fib sequence that measures the fall of the S&P from the time Lehman collapsed until it hit bottom in March 2009, and I’ve been measuring the retracement of this decline expecting that at some point in the near future to see the entire decline retraced. But what’s interesting is that the 80.9 fib level where the S&P has made its double top.
And that has me a bit nervous about where stocks could be headed to from here.
In the post-crash economy, what we’re left with is an ever-widening divide between the haves and the have-nots. The haves (the banks, Wall Street firms and corporations able to issue bonds in the capital markets) are doing quite well thanks to the Fed’s extraordinary interventions. A new study done by economists Allen Sinai and Paul Edelstein have estimated that the Fed’s actions boosted GDP growth by 1.9 percentage points in 2009 and would add 3.3 points this year.
While that sounds great (and certainly things would have been much worse absent the Fed’s actions), the facts are that little if any of this stimulus has trickled down to the general population. Why would I say this? Well, aside from the dismal unemployment figures, there’s another simple metric I use to gauge what’s happening in the real economy-gasoline usage.
One thing is for certain; Americans love their cars. They love to drive and they love the freedom that driving affords. But if you look at the weekly Oil Inventory reports, you’ll see that gasoline usage is still down from last year’s seriously depressed levels. Also, as reported on Thursday, January’s Trade Gap unexpectedly narrowed by 6.6% to $37.3 billion because the demand for foreign oil and automobiles dropped. The U.S. imported just 245 million barrels of crude oil in January, the fewest since February 1999.