The Dow and S&P 500 are essentially dealing with a resistance level that has stopped the market dead in its tracks twice before since 2000.
“With the S&P 500 zeroing in on its all-time high and threatening to break out above the 1,600 barrier, we find ourselves wondering … Is it for real this time?” ConvergEx Group market strategists wrote in a note this week. “We’ve been here twice before – in 2000 and 2008 – but each time failed to hold.”
On the plus side, the market has seen a flurry of M&A activity this year and corporate profits are strong. Still, the market faces headwinds from a still-weak employment picture, and investors are complacent as the CBOE Volatility Index drops to its lowest levels since 2007, they said.
“In spite of some weak economic fundamentals – the jobs market in particular – the stock market continues to push higher. And in our opinion the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to 1600 for the S&P 500. Corporations deserve the lion’s share of the credit; corporate earnings have never been higher and 2013, albeit young, is on pace for the biggest M&A year since 2000,” the ConvergEx analysts concluded. “Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at record highs and are much better off than the economy as a whole, so with next quarter’s gearing up for potentially another fresh high, it seems the third time is indeed going to be a charm for the S&P .”
Turning back to the Dow, technical analyst Tarquin Coe at Investors Intelligence said only slipping back beneath the 2007 high of 14,198.1 would raise concern.
“That level is now support and failure to provide such would hint at a bull-trap. However, the present indicator situation suggests that a head-fake is not evolving,” Coe said Wednesday in a newsletter.