Stocks: More Uncertainty Ahead of Data Tomorrow

The market remains in a waiting mode ahead of tomorrow’s CPI and Fed releases.

Stock prices extend their short-term indecision and a consolidation ahead of the important inflation data and the Fed release tomorrow. The S&P 500 index gained 0.26% yesterday, closing the highest in history. On Friday, it reached a new record high of 5,375.08 before retracing the intraday advance. Today, futures contracts are pointing to a 0.3% lower opening for the index.

In my forecast for June, I wrote “For the last three months, the S&P 500 index has been fluctuating along new record highs, above the 5,000 level which was broken in February. It looks like a consolidation within a long-term uptrend, but it may also be a topping pattern before some meaningful medium-term correction. What is it likely to do? As the saying goes, 'the trend is your friend', so the most likely scenario is more advances in the future.

However, a negative signal would be a breakdown below the 5,000 level. That would raise the question of a deeper correction and downward reversal. I think that the likelihood of a bullish scenario is 60/40 - a downward reversal cannot be completely ruled out. The market will be waiting for more signals from the Fed about potential interest rate easing, plus, at the end of the month, the coming earnings season may dictate the market moves.”

Investor sentiment remained unchanged last week, as indicated by the AAII Investor Sentiment Survey from Wednesday, which showed that 39.0% of individual investors are bullish, while 32.0% of them are bearish (up from last week's reading of 26.7%). The AAII sentiment is a contrary indicator in the sense that highly bullish readings may suggest excessive complacency and a lack of fear in the market. Conversely, bearish readings are favorable for market upturns.

The S&P 500 breached its upward trend line on Friday, signaling another short-term pause within an uptrend, as we can see on the daily chart.

Stocks: More Uncertainty Ahead of Data Tomorrow - Image 1

Nasdaq 100 Remains Close to Record High

The technology-focused Nasdaq 100 index reached a new record high of 19,113.88, before closing slightly lower, and yesterday, it gained 0.39%, extending a consolidation.

On Friday, I wrote “The market may see some more uncertainty, and perhaps, a profit-taking action at some point.” It seems likely that the market will continue sideways until the mentioned data releases tomorrow.

Stocks: More Uncertainty Ahead of Data Tomorrow - Image 2

VIX Higher Despite Advancing Stocks

The VIX index, also known as the fear gauge, is derived from option prices. In late May, it set a new medium-term low of 11.52 before rebounding up to around 15 on correction worries. Last week, the VIX came back lower, and on Friday, it was as low as 12.11, signaling less fear in the market. However, yesterday, it rebounded up to the daily high of 13.28 despite rising stock prices.

Historically, a dropping VIX indicates less fear in the market, and rising VIX accompanies stock market downturns. However, the lower the VIX, the higher the probability of the market’s downward reversal.

Stocks: More Uncertainty Ahead of Data Tomorrow - Image 3

Futures Contract Extends a Consolidation

Let’s take a look at the hourly chart of the S&P 500 futures contract. On Friday, it set a new record of around 5,386, and this morning, it continues to trade along the 5,350 level. It still looks like a relatively flat correction of the uptrend. However, a profit-taking action cannot be ruled out at some point. The support level remains at around 5,300-5,320, marked by the recent trading range.

Stocks: More Uncertainty Ahead of Data Tomorrow - Image 5


Today, the stock market is likely to open slightly lower, but it may see one more day of indecision as investors await the key data tomorrow: Consumer Price Index and the FOMC Rate Decision. The S&P 500 index is likely to remain relatively close to its recently acquired highs; however, a profit-taking action cannot be ruled out at some point.

On Friday, I noted “Will the market retrace some of its recent rally? The bearish argument is relatively thin trading, with only a handful of stocks like NVDA, MSFT, or AAPL responsible for the rally. On the other hand, the trend is still upwards, hence further advances are more likely”

For now, my short-term outlook remains neutral.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • The S&P 500 may extend fluctuations ahead of the important data tomorrow.
  • Last week, stock prices rebounded and reached new record highs despite mixed data and growing uncertainty.
  • In my opinion, the short-term outlook is neutral.

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Thank you.

Paul Rejczak,
Stock Trading Strategist