Monday, June 23, 2008

Stock market overview

Looking at the US stock market this week, we seem to find ourselves at an inflection point. Will the leading averages turn down and break through their previous lows, or does the market have enough strength to consolidate and head higher?

With the recent downturn in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (following its May rally highs), we are now headed right back down to the previous March low.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Transportion Average has been incredibly strong coming off its January lows, setting a record high of 5,492.45 earlier this month.

Unfortunately, that move was unconfirmed by the Industrials, which continued to slump from its May high. The DJIA remains well below its record high of 14,164.53, reached back in October.

Back in May, noting the confusion over the status of the latest upmove in the Dow Averages, we wondered if this was, in fact, a rally with serious muscle.

So far, the Dow Transports have managed to hold out impressively, but the coinciding downward move in the Industrials seems troubling from a Dow Theory point of view. Will the Industrials weigh the rest of the market down like a stone?

Looking beyond the Dow Transports and Industrials to the other leading stock averages, the picture for stocks is not so rosy.

The S&P 500 is down on the year and down considerably from its October '07 highs. Same thing goes for the Dow Jones World Stock Index, although both averages are still holding up well if we take a five year view.

And while the WSJ notes that the previously high-flying Indian and Chinese share markets are among this year's worst-performing markets, they also mention that India's Sensex and China's Shanghai Composite Index are both "much higher than they were a few years ago".

So certain areas in the global markets are still looking good (in the sense that they are still holding onto previous gains) from a multi-year vantage point.

For more on the direction of the US and global stock markets, see:

"Trapdoor falling on equities in stagflation cage" - FT.com.

"Technical Analysis: Indices are in major downtred" - Economic Times.

"Asian Markets Rumble" - Frank Barbera, FSO.

"No Capitulation" - John Hussman.

"US Stock Market - Muddling Through..." - Investment Postcards.

"Market Wrap - 6/23/08" - Bear Mountain Bull.