Daily Form October 22, 2007

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MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 2007       07:18 ET

The intuition on Friday that the market had reached an inflection point at which a strong directional move was imminent turned out to be more prescient than I thought. The equity market found that it had run out cover in the face of continued adversity in sections of the money markets, burgeoning energy prices, weakness in the dollar and the catalyst for the bears to run amok was Caterpillar’s downbeat earnings statement and forecast. The company’s ominous assessment of economic prospects proved too hard a knock for the Dr Panglossian spin machine and caused a lot of analysts and fund managers to see a half empty glass that had previously appeared to be half full.

The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) took a 2.6 percent hit which was in line with the subset index of the Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) but as the charts reveal the larger composite index has now retreated back towards a retesting of the breakout at 2705 that occurred on October 1st.

The reaction in the overseas markets to Friday’s action in the US has been rather heterogeneous with the Hang Seng (^HSI) in Hong Kong feeling most of the pain with a 3.6% decline but the Bombay Sensex (^BSESN) ended Monday’s trading with a minor gain. European markets are holding with one percent losses as this is being written which suggests that some traders may be taking the view that Friday’s action on Wall Street may have been a bit overdone.


The Russell 2000 (^RUT)which experienced a more than three percent decline on Friday and five percent for the whole of last week, came to rest just below the pivotal level of 800. This level has provided both strong support and resistance over recent months and I shall be watching keenly to see if we can hold at or close to this level. If we cannot find a sustainable support near 800 then I would have to become much less sanguine about the intermediate outlook for equities, despite favorable seasonal factors. In terms of the larger picture it is also worth citing the fact that this index, unlike most other broad equity indices, failed to reach a new multi-period high during the rally off the August lows.

The weekly chart of the banking index (^BKX) shows that the early 2006 lows have now been taken out in addition to the 2007 lows. We may need to return to the October 2005 low close to the 95 level before the sector attracts some bargain hunters.

TRADE OPPORTUNITIES/SETUPS FOR MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 2007



The patterns identified below should be considered as indicative of eventual price direction in forthcoming trading sessions. None of these setups should be seen as specifically opportune for the current trading session.
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USB  U.S. Bancorp  

US Bancorp (USB) dropped below key moving averages in Friday’s sell off and the chart suggests that a re-visit to the August low seems probable.



MER  Merrill Lynch and Co. Inc.  

Merrill Lynch (MER) closed below the summer lows and has headed back towards the June 2006 low below $66. As with the banking sector index that we reviewed above there could be further attrition as the stock may need to seek out support closer to the October 2005 levels just below $60.



ATK  Alliant Tech Sys Inc  

Alliant Tech Systems (ATK) has dropped below a clearly defined buy channel and also dropped below the 50 day EMA. The larger time frame reveals an extended pullback from the August selling. Perhaps not altogether a positive sign is that Friday’s volume was not particularly aggressive.



LOW  Lowe"s Companies Inc.  

In last Tuesday’s commentary I suggested that Lowe’s Companies (LOW) which had broke down from a bear flag pullback pattern may not find real support until the mid August low near $26 is tested. In Friday’s sell off the stock reached almost exactly to that level and the trade would have delivered a seven percent return in four days.



GS  The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  

I would be surprised to see Goldman Sachs trade much below $210 again in the near term unless, of course, the correction gets quite nasty.



INTC  Intel Corporation  

The chart for Intel (INTC) showed relative strength during last week’s weakness and some constructive patterns appear on the chart.

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