By Michael Ashbaugh, MarketWatch
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Technically speaking, the major U.S. benchmarks continue to trend higher amid thus far lackluster 2019 selling pressure.
Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 is back early Tuesday for its second crack at the 200-day moving average, an area defining the headline bull-bear battleground.
Before detailing the U.S. markets’ wider view, the S&P 500’s /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.14% hourly chart highlights the past two weeks.
As illustrated, the S&P has pulled in from major resistance (2,742) to an inflection point at 2,710.
Monday’s close (2,709.8) matched resistance, and the S&P is comfortably higher early Tuesday. To reiterate, major overhead matches the May peak (2,742) and the 200-day moving average, currently 2,743.
Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has pulled in amid technical price action.
Recall that last week’s low (24,883) registered slightly above major support matching the 2017 peak (24,876).
Conversely, Monday’s session high (25,196.75) closely matched near-term resistance (25,193).
Slightly more broadly, the Dow has registered nine straight closes atop the 200-day moving average, currently 25,014. Constructive price action.
Against this backdrop, the Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.12% has also pulled in to its range.
Tactically, gap resistance (7,347) is followed by firmer overhead matching the February peak (7,410).
Here again, Tuesday’s early session high (7,410) has matched resistance and retest remains underway.
Widening the view to six months adds perspective.
On this wider view, the Nasdaq has staged an orderly pullback from two-month highs, topping under the 200-day moving average, currently 7,460.
The index has thus far maintained the 7,274 support on a closing basis.
Separately, recall that the 50-day moving average (in blue) has ticked higher, consistent with an intermediate-term trend shift. (This signal obviously lags the initial trendline breakout.)
Looking elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is also digesting a recent trendline breakout.
The index has thus far topped near the June peak (25,402), an area also illustrated on the hourly chart.
Conversely, recall that last week’s low (24,883) closely matched the 2017 peak (24,876) punctuating a successful retest. Price action within the prevailing range supports a bullish intermediate-term bias.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has more or less nailed major resistance (2,742) topping last week within three points.
The subsequent downturn has thus far inflicted limited damage. Recall that last week’s close (2,708) closely matched the 2,710 inflection point, also illustrated on the hourly chart.
The bigger picture
As detailed above, the big three U.S. benchmarks continue to act well technically. The February downturn from two-month highs has been relatively orderly, inflicting limited damage.
More immediately, the major benchmarks are pressing significant resistance early Tuesday, including Nasdaq 7,410 and the S&P 2,742 area.
Moving to the small-caps, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF has also staged an orderly pullback.
Tactically, the February peak (151.60) marks an overhead inflection point, and the small-cap benchmark has ventured higher early Tuesday. On further strength, additional overhead spans from about 153.60 to 154.50.
Similarly, the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 is digesting a recent breakout.
Here again, the February peak (340.04) marks an inflection point, and the mid-cap benchmark has ventured higher early Tuesday. A
firmly atop resistance would confirm the intermediate-term uptrend.
Looking elsewhere, the SPDR Trust S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite SPY +0.23% has reached its second test of major resistance. Consider two inflection points, detailed repeatedly: