The U.S. stock market is breaking down below critical support levels at the same time the VIX is starting to surge. As I mentioned in my entry of May 13, there was an inverse head and shoulders pattern on the VIX with the neckline at 21.64. The VIX has now closed above the neckline for 2 days in a row and the S&P 500 has closed below 1340 for 2 days in row. This is a strong indication that the market is heading lower. So far panic selling has not set in but the surge in the VIX indicates that it is probably just around the corner.
The S&P has a quasi head and shoulders pattern on it with a projected downside target of 1260.
In the late afternoon word came down that a run on Greek banks is underway. While the ECB claims there is a firewall around Greek banks, viruses have a nasty way of penetrating firewalls. At this point in time it is unclear as to which banks are exposed to European debt and how far things could spread. We know that MF Global made some bad bets on Europe and now JP Morgan is being investigated for trading losses. While we don’t know exactly what led to JPM’s trading losses, there’s a good chance it involved European debt.
It also looks like the really bad news may just be starting. Greece could not form a government and will require a new election in June. A run on Spanish and Italian banks could start at anytime if the citizens of those countries start to panic because of what is happening in Greece.
The U.S. Dollar has been on a rip and has broken through both short and longer term downtrend resistance. While there are horizontal resistance points at 82, 83 and 86, the multi-year downtrend resistance stands at just under 88. If the dollar were to surge that high the S&P would probably drop to about 1000. The question is will Ben Bernanke allow that to happen.
Since this is an election year the incumbents will probably do everything in their power to prop up the markets. It’s unclear at what point the Fed will step in with further easing but I doubt they will allow the markets to drop that far before the election.
Gold as evidenced by the chart of GLD may be approaching a double bottom. GLD is almost at the December, 2011 low and I would think that traders are waiting for it to get there before hopping in. While there will probably be some sort of bounce off that level, it is unclear if it will just be a blip in a larger downtrend of if a new rally will start.
Oil as evidenced by the chart of WTIC may also be approaching a double bottom. Oil broke down from a rising head and shoulders pattern and the pattern looks like it is near completion. An interesting scenario would be if the Fed announces a new round of QE just as the S&P, Gold and Oil hit their projected downside targets.
Conclusion: It looks like the stock market is heading lower. At some point the Fed and ECB will probably step in with further QE.