Global equity markets will consolidate gains this summer with chartists predicting that a sharp rise since March has run its course for now, but technical signals have set the stage for another rally into year-end.
The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 was on track to post its 10th successive day of gains on Friday, while the Nasdaq rose for 12 days until Thursday and is up 25 percent for the year.
The staggering 41 percent rally from a lifetime low set in March for the European benchmark index has left even the most ardent bulls out of breath, technical analysts said.
Because of the overbought signals, our bias is not to get too excited yet, said Phil Roberts, chief European technical strategist at Barclays Capital.
The chances are we are going to have to range-trade to unwind the overbought signals.
However, any pause in the rally is likely to be short-lived according to technical analysts, who deliver views on the market outlook based on the past performance of securities or indexes using measures such as moving averages and Elliott wave patterns.
Barring any significant pull-back, a move back to levels last seen before the collapse of Lehman Brothers last September is on the cards for major markets around the world, Roberts said.
GREED IS BACK
Some chartists are even more bullish about prospects for equities into year-end.
We see a change from investors looking for value and looking for bargains, to turning much more to greed, said Gerry Celaya, chief strategist at Red Tower Research. But it's early days ... and there are more substantial gains to follow.
He sees Germany's DAX .GDAXI advancing to a basing pattern around the 6,000 area before a move to challenge the 7,000 level last seen in June 2008. The index was at around 5,286 points on Friday.
The scene is now set for a long term up-trend, analysts said, and with the FTSEurofirst about 40 percent lower from a peak in July 2007, there is plenty of scope for further steep climbs.
If you have concurrent breakouts from highs in Europe and the United States, it would be telling you that something really major is taking place, Roberts at Barclays Capital said
At some stage later this year, we think the markets are going to break decisively higher and that would set up the S&P 500 .SPX to go to 1,200, from around 975 now.
UP AND AWAY? Roberts sees 4,685 as the next level for Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to breach, but said that is very, very conservative, with 5,000 being a realistic proposition for this year.
The index was around 4,585 points on Friday.
He said the German index's take out of its June high of 5177.59 could signal a major base, in which case it could go substantially higher than that.
Some chartists put more emphasis on resistance to further gains.
Paul Nesbitt, director, technical analysis at Fortis Private Investment Management, said the S&P 500 may reach the 1,000 level and the FTSE 4,700 in the short term.
But even if they do take out these levels I don't see that there's an awful lot of upside in the near term, he said.
The greater likelihood is that we'll see a period of consolidation over the summer, which could lead to a better buying opportunity in the autumn.
Others are more downbeat still about prospects for equity markets.
We have taken out the May highs, but I think the current bull run is coming to an end and we will come back to range-bound trading, said Nicole Elliott, technical analyst at Mizuho Corpotate Bank.
The percentage rise since May is already big, I just think (expectations of a further rally) is wishful thinking, Elliott said. I don't know what could lift it up.
But the broad consensus is that equity markets are set for a solid end to the year.
We think the FTSE 100 is heading into higher ground with a trading range of 4,500 to 5,000, said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin in a note to clients.
The latter is still our year-end target.
(Reporting by Simon Falush; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)