Get Ready for a Change in the Action

 | Jan 13, 2012 | 4:34 PM EST
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Weaker-than-expected earnings from JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and downgrades of European sovereign debt gave the market good excuses for profit-taking, but the dip-buyers refused to give up and closed the indices at the highs of the day once again.

We still had plenty of red on the screens and breadth was around 2-to-1 negative, but the underlying support was impressive, as it has been every day this year. 

Apparently, the bulls are more worried about being left behind than about being caught by bad news. We had some negative economic news this past week and it simply didn't matter. The only news that was positive was that stocks refused to go down.

The big question now is whether earnings season is going to change the character of this market. Expectations, as measured by the action in the indices, are quite high, which creates a danger of a 'sell the news' reaction. But if the dip-buyers stay with us, those pullbacks may just be good buying opportunities.

We shall see how things react as the reports roll out, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see more stocks act like JPM did today, which gapped down and lost 2.5% on the day but bounced well off its early lows.

The dilemma is that while we have very tenacious support and active dip-buying but rather lackluster momentum. We hold up well but don't really gain substantial traction. It is strong enough to frustrate the bears but not energetic enough to attract the hot money. The low-volume rising wedge we have in the indices can continue to run higher, but it is a wobbly foundation.

The good news is that regardless of what the major indices may do, earnings season always produces a new crop of winners and losers.  Be ready for a change in the action next week.

Enjoy the holiday and I'll see you on Tuesday.



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