I will give the charts their due. Plenty of stocks are trying to bottom. Have you noticed the transports? I think the airlines bottomed back in July when that short squeeze in oil ran into a wall. The rails? I think they may have bottomed at the end of August when everyone gave up on coal. Didn't XPO Logistics (XPO) create a bottom in the truckers when it bought Con-Way, a true sign that the group got too cheap? Even Fedex (FDX) didn't really throw the group off its tracks.
Or how about retail? I know that Bruce Kamich, our resident technician, suggests that Macy's (M) isn't done going down. I am intrigued by that, because the lower it goes, the more likely activism strikes. In the meantime, though, Wal-Mart (WMT) is doing its best to find a floor and there's no ceiling in sight for TJX Cos. (TJX) or JC Penney (JCP). Home Depot (HD) and Lowe's (LOW) look like the might be about to lift off.
Big pharma and consumer-packaged goods are all basing. If they go the way of Eli Lilly (LLY) then the base could be a rocket launching pad.
The homebuilders keep going higher, obvious to the fed. D.R. Horton (DHI) is on fire. And can anything stop Nike (NKE) or Under Armour (UA)?
I know Goldman Sachs is using a $20 price target for oil, but that clarion call seems to have put a definitive floor under the group.
But then there's tech and fins and industrials. They are in the balance. They are all in no man's land. Whether it be Palo Alto Networks (PANW) or Cisco (CSCO) or Salesforce.com (CRM) or Microsoft (MSFT), they could go either way. Same with Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM).
United Technologies (UTX) comes out and says that China's real bad. Maybe it's obvious, maybe it won't matter. It's nothing that makes you want to buy the stock, though, especially when competitor General Electric (GE) is doing everything right and it can't move higher.
It's almost as if without activism or takeovers, there's a huge portion of this market that's just inert. Those are the battlegrounds. They're the ones that are in the balance when we speak of the Fed.
And they're a gigantic part of the S&P 500, which is why the darned Fed decision matters so much. Too many shares of too many companies are at stake to make us feel comfortable and confident about anything.