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Stock Market Commentary 1/16/15

By Lawrence G. McMillan

The stock market has experienced huge moves so far this year far greater than have been seen since the fall of 2011. There has been a lot of back forth action, but the bears seem to be gradually getting the upper hand. Yet, the indicators are mixed and it could be that the Standard & Poors 500 Index ($SPX) is just in a wide and volatile trading range.

$SPX has established support near 1990. Below there, the next support level is at roughly 1975, and if that support is violated, then the $SPX chart would take on a distinctly more bearish appearance. Equity-only put-call ratios turned bullish a week ago and remain on buy signals at this time.

Market breadth has not been as weak as one might have expected, but that is mostly due to the countertrend intraday rallies that keep springing up (but failing to hold). Even so, both of the breadth indicators that we watch are on sell signals, and only one of them is in oversold territory.

CBOE volatility indices ($VXST, $VIX, $VXV, and $VXMT) have been rising of late. The red line on the $VIX chart (Figure 4) shows that there is an intermediate-term uptrend building in $VIX, and that is bearish. A $VIX close above last week's high at 22.90 would be a very negative sign.

In summary, each day's action seems to have pushed more of the indicators towards a bearish stance. However, as long as $SPX closes above support at 1990, and the put-call ratios remain on buy signals, the bulls can still pull things together. As a result, the indicators are mixed, and the outlook is neutral, but volatile.

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The Weekly Updater Stock Market Commentary is an abbreviated version of the commentary featured in The Option Strategist Newsletter.

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About Lawrence G. McMillan

Lawrence G. McMillanProfessional trader Lawrence G. McMillan is perhaps best known as the author of Options As a Strategic Investment, the best-selling work on stock and index options strategies, which has sold over 300,000 copies. An active trader of his own account, he also manages option-oriented accounts for separately managed accounts. In a research capacity, he edits and contributes to his firm’s publications: Daily Volume Alerts, The Option Strategist and The Daily Strategist – derivative products newsletters covering equity, index, and futures options. Finally, he speaks on option strategies at many seminars and colloquia in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He is often seen on CNBC and Bloomberg TV and is quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities, Data Broadcasting’s “Exchange” magazine, Futures Magazine, theStreet.com, Active Trader Magazine and many others. In 2011, Mr. McMillan received the prestigious Sullivan Award in recognition on behalf of his outstanding contributions to the growth and integrity of the U.S. options markets. In these capacities, he is the President of McMillan Analysis Corporation, which he founded in 1991.
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