Stock Leadership Turns Defensive $SPX $XLP $XLU

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U.S. dollar strength and commodity weakness is starting to have a negative influence on the stock market.

PLAYING DEFENSE

Sector leadership has switched defensive over the last few weeks with Consumer Staples XLP, Utilities XLU and Health Care XLV outperforming.

This defensive intermarket rotation is lining up with a potential trend terminating pattern in the S&P 500, a so-called "Ending Diagonal."

WHAT IS IT?

The Ending Diagonal is a five wave Elliot Wave (EW) termination pattern that takes a wedge shape within two converging lines. Once it has ended it is followed by a swift move that retraces the entire diagonal triangle and possibly more.

The S&P 500 can be counted as having completed one of its alternate counts from the March 2009 low that appears to be culminating with such a pattern. The recent weakness in price has coincided with a break outside and now a close inside the upper trendline (known as a Throw Over) of what can be labelled as an Ending Diagonal.

Even if this high is only the third wave of the required five (See ALT: 3), price should push below 1,422.47 to get back into the territory of the first wave (a rule for the internal waves of the pattern). Follow through and below 1,343.34 would favour the fifth wave (Minor 5 black) to be complete and the early stages of a trend reversal potentially underway.

Madden_Feb27.jpg

LOW RISK/HIGH REWARD SET-UP

The current drop off the top counts well as a lower degree five, how it builds from here remains to be seen, a three wave correction that stays below last week's swing high is a requirement for the bearish forecast. This is a good example of a low risk high reward EW trade set-up.

Things could get volatile from here.

[Editor's note: Madden tracks the intermarket wave counts at www.elliottwaveireland.com ]

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Bernanke's Bubble: Setting Up The Next Bear Market

Read more trading ideas in our daily Markets section here.

1 Comments

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MariaRinehart: True there is a defensive theme among leading stocks. However, what is also happening and what we've been following since the fall is the theme of sleeping giants waking up, YHOO CSCO HPQ and China's potential bottoming with leadership rising among those normally seen at the beginning of a new cycle, semiconductors, finance, autos. One does not deny the other, and it makes one ask if this is a predictable cycle or something else is going on.

Thank you, btw, for introducing Elliot Waves.. .looking forward to more of your lessons.
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Visitor - Michael Madden: Thanks Maria, Ya I know what you mean, the US Dollar will be key to direction and overall out look I think. I'll take one pattern at a time... Look forward to sharing them here at TP.
MariaRinehart: Lol.. I just wrote about this here at TP, the long term view of the TLT if you were looking at the dollar to gauge inflation. Thank you again for introducing Elliot Wave, I hope to see more of these lessons from you to add my to my TA tool box.
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About the Author

Founder of Elliott Wave Ireland, Michael Madden CMT is a Market Analyst and Trader with a special interest in Technical Analysis. Michael has achieved the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation, the gold standard in Technical Analysis (www.mta.org). He is also an Affiliated Educational Instructor with Elliott Wave International with whom he hosts educational seminars on applying the Elliott Wave Principle. An experienced Elliottician and Analyst he provides market reports and educational tools on both a consultancy and subscription basis. Please send any questions or proposals to michael@elliottwaveireland.com

MichaelMadden

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