ETF SPY: Will XLK Ride Apple’s Coattail?

Apple has broken above resistance courtesy of a post-earnings gap up open. This is a bullish development, but caution is warranted as there’ve been at least 7 dead cat bounces in recent months.

The after hours reaction to Apple’s earnings announcement was positive. Shares were up nearly 5% as AAPL beat earnings and sold more iPhones than expected. The biggest fly in the ointment was that margins are shrinking, a problem all companies face when they ‘grow up.’

Apple accounts for 11.67% of the Nasdaq-100 (Nasdaq: QQQ) and 13.15% of the Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK).
Although Apple’s effect on the technology sector is not as suffocating as it was at $700 a share, AAPL is still the single biggest component of QQQ and XLK.
Interestingly, XLK has thus far been unable to beat its May high, but QQQ did. This lag is not due to Apple, as Apple rallied 11.8% from June 24 – July 17, XLK only 7.51%.
XLK Technical Picture
The stock market in general is kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. A correction is due, but any dip is likely to be bought again. This means the up side is limited, but so is the down side.
The XLK chart below shows basic support and resistance (solid red and green line).
A close below the July 19 low at 31.37 would be a failed percentR low-risk entry, essentially a sell signal.
As long as prices stay above 31.37, the open chart gap (purple bar) should be filled. Even a move to the red trend line is possible.
AAPL Technical Analysis
If you want a shot of nostalgia, you’ll enjoy this article from August 22, 2012:
This article was written at a time when analysts were ‘bidding’ for the highest Apple price targets. Above 1,000 was pretty much the minimum bet.
Apple then dropped from 705 to 385 and has been bouncing aimlessly ever since.
Today AAPL was able to clear short-term resistance at 437. Next trend line resistance is at 448.
There have been many false fits and starts for Apple since the April low at 385 and there’s no telling if this bounce will stick. Similar breakaway gaps (gray circles) were retraced shortly thereafter, so it’s prudent to wait for more confirmation.
Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report.
You can follow him on Twitter @ iSPYETF.
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Technical Analysis – Will Google Continue To Climb?

Google is trading at an all-time high but momentum is vanishing and RSI is showing two bearish divergences. This alone isn’t a sell signal, but a break below support should be.

A stock that’s trading at all-time highs has little overhead resistance and an unobstructed view to even higher prices targets.

After a truly nasty 18% selloff in October/November 2012, Google soared to new all-time highs. What’s next from here?

Like any other momentum move, Google’s momentum run will eventually take a breather. A number of indicators suggest that any upcoming correction may be more on the shallow side.

But there’s no law that says you need to suffer through corrections hoping that it remains fleeting and short-lived.

The chart below shows a dashed green trend line. A break below would be a first warning sign. A close below the horizontal support line at 760 would open the door to further losses.

Our last Google update (Will Google’s Fumble Take Down the Entire Technology Sector) was posted on October 19 (dashed vertical gray line) and said:

GOOG trading volume was through the roof as prices tumbled below the 20 and 50-day SMA and a couple of trend lines. Prices generally stabilize somewhat after large sell offs like this before falling a bit further. A new low parallel to a bullish price/RSI divergence would be a near-term positive for Google.”

The down side risk for Google and the entire tech sector was limited as the article pointed out that: “Next support for GOOG is around 660 and 630. The Nasdaq Indexes and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) has been much weaker than the Dow Jones and S&P 500 as of late. There were no bearish divergences at the recent S&P and Dow highs. This lack of indicators pinpointing a major top limits the down side of the tech sector.”

The lower green lines represent support at 660 and 630. Following a period of stabilization in late October, Google fell as low as 636 against a bullish RSI divergence and has been rallying ever since.

There’s no solid evidence that Google’s run is over, but RSI at the bottom of the chart is showing signs of fatigue and bearish divergences on multiple timeframes.

Bearish divergences can go on for a while and in itself are no reason to sell, but the bearish divergences combined with a close below 760 would point towards more weakness and could be used as a signal to go short for aggressive investors.

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Real Nasdaq Lagging, But Ex-Apple Nasdaq Just Hit 12-year High

Stock market domination by one stock is a double-edged sword and Apple’s two-fold for better and for worse mastery over stocks has introduced the need for a more objective technology index – The ex-Apple Nasdaq.

Much has been written about the bearish divergence between the Dow Jones and S&P 500 compared to the Nasdaq and Nasdaq-100.

In fact, the Nasdaq-100 is trading 4.5% below its 2012 high, while the S&P 500 is trading more than 2% above its 2012 high water mark.

This could be (and has been) interpreted as a bearish sign, but that’s not necessarily the case.

For better and for worse the Nasdaq-100 has been hijacked by one stock – Apple. A few months ago Apple accounted for more than 20% of the index. As Apple went, so did the Nasdaq-100 (more about the correlation between Apple and Nasdaq here).

Just in September, Apple drove the Nasdaq-100 to the highest point since the 2000 tech bubble. Since then Apple lost as much as 35%. Apple’s decline has been a significant drag on the Nasdaq (corresponding ETF: PowerShares QQQ) and technology sector (corresponding ETF: Technology Select Sector SPDR – XLK).

Apple’s performance is holding the Nasdaq back from reaching new recovery highs, but the Nasdaq-100 without Apple’s drag (aka ex-Apple Nasdaq-100) would trade at new 12-year highs.

I haven’t figured out a way to reconstruct an exact ex-Apple Nasdaq-100 index, but a comparison between the PowerShares QQQ ETF and First Trust Nasdaq-100 Equal Weight ETF (QQEW) illustrates the point.

QQEW assigns an equal weight to all Nasdaq-100 components. The equal weight approach doesn’t eliminate Apple, but it comes close to an ex-Apple Nasdaq index.

The first chart plots the price of QQQ against QQEW since the March 2009 low.

The second chart shows the percentage gain of QQQ and QQEW since March 9, 2009. Although QQQ and QQEW took different routes, both ETFs gained exactly 167% from March 9, 2009 – February 1, 2013.

The steepest portion of AAPL’s ascent started on November 25, 2011. Within the next 10 months AAPL soared from 370 to 705. The powerful rally was followed by a gnarly 35% drop.

The third chart captures the period from November 25, 2011 – February 2013. This period includes Apple’s steep ascent and subsequent descent. The equal weighted Nasdaq-100 ETF (QQEW) clocked in at the highest level since December 2000 just a couple of days ago.

Never before has any one single stock exerted so much power on the stock market as a whole. This illustrates that extraordinary times call for ‘extraordinary’ and out of the box analysis.

Stripped of Apple’s performance, the Nasdaq-100 is trading at new recovery highs, thus erasing the bearish divergence between the senior U.S. indexes. This doesn’t mean stocks can’t decline, but it won’t be because of a true bearish divergence.

Will a ‘Bad Apple’ Spoil the Rest of the Market?

AAPL is down 35% while the Nasdaq is moving higher and the S&P 500 is trading at new recovery highs. Is this bullish for the broad market or will ‘a bad Apple spoil the whole bunch?’

An apple a day keeps the doctor away or so the saying goes. Up until recently Apple (as in AAPL) also kept any bear market away.

For much of 2009 – 2012 the stock market followed this simple formula:

rising AAPL = rising stocks.

Theoretically falling AAPL should = falling stocks, but that hasn’t been the case. Why? And is that bullish or bearish for the broad market going forward?

AAPL – From Leader to Laggard

The chart below shows the percentage gains of AAPL and the Nasdaq Composite since 2012.

Until mid-November AAPL and the Nasdaq traded directionally in sync. Rising AAPL = Rising Nasdaq and vice versa. That changed by late November, when Apple started heading south and the Nasdaq north.

How can this be? Other companies started to pick up the slack and fill the void Apple left behind. Google for example started to rally in November. So did Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, Cisco, Qualcomm, and others.

The second chart illustrates GOOG’s recent counter-AAPL performance. As shares of other technology sector stocks rallied, their market cap and weighting in the Nasdaq increased.

As AAPL tumbled, its weighting (and importance) in the Nasdaq and S&P 500 decreased. Not only did Apple shares tumble 35%, its weighting in the Nasdaq did the same. It fell from over 20% to 13%.

At its best, AAPL accounted for nearly 5% of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) compared to 3.62% today.

Apple’s relevance to the overall U.S. market diminished as Apple shares spiraled lower.

Technical Apple Analysis

The chart below is an updated version of the log chart I first introduced in an August 24 video analysis about Apple.

My comment at the time when AAPL traded at 675 was: “I would like to see a more deliberate test of the upper channel line, but being out of AAPL seems like a prudent move.”

A later issue of the Profit Radar Report recommended to go short with any push above 700.

Getting back to the log chart of Apple; the black parallel trend channel provided a target for the high as well as an initial target for the first leg down. After back testing the lower parallel channel line once more (kiss good bye), AAPL embarked on the next leg down.

On Friday, AAPL closed below support, now red resistance. RSI has not yet reached a new low to confirm the price low. This could be the setup for a bullish divergence, but I would wait for more confirmation in the form of a close back above the red line.

Use that trend line as basis for your stop-loss, because I am following a new parallel channel and a break below this channel support could trigger a bearish technical break down pattern with a significantly lower price target.

Interesting Apple developments and possible profit opportunities will be covered by the Profit Radar Report.

From Boom to Bust – Is Apple All Downhill from Here?

Apple has gone from the first ever 1-trillion dollar baby to stock investors can’t sell fast enough. Is Apple’s sell off overdone? Here’s one key point and a piece of technical analysis that may well hold the answer.

Downhill, up the creek, or to new highs? What’s next for Apple?

The iPad is selling like hotcakes, the iPad Mini tops many holiday wish lists, and Apple is projected to sell 53 million iPhones this quarter, a 40+% increase from Apple’s previous one-quarter record of 37 million.

Considering those numbers, is Apple’s recent 28% drop overdone?

That’s the wrong question. A better question is whether Apple’s run to its $705 all-time high was simply overdone?

The Disconnect between Sales an AAPL Shares

A September 18 article here on iSPYETF addressed an obvious but ignored math flaw in AAPL shares three days before the stocks all-time high. Here’s what I mean:

On September 13, Apple unveiled the new iPhone.

On September 17, Apple sent out an e-mail announcing that iPhone 5 pre-orders topped two million.

From September 13 – 17, AAPL soared 3.5%. Did this move make sense? Let’s calculate:

The profit margin on the iPhone is about 58% (according to a document obtained by Reuters). The average price is $299. The profit on 2 million iPhones sold at $299 is $347 million.

The 3.5% September 13 – 17 rally increased Apple’s market cap by some $24 billion.

Did anything material change in Apple’s fundamentals to validate this rally? No. The same article warned that Apple is due for a reality check, which will drag down the Nasdaq and technology sector.

So is Apple’s decline overdone?

Flawed Math is No Indicator

We surely won’t get the answer from Apple’s (holiday) sales. The math didn’t work on the up side and it won’t work on the down side.

Three factors that likely contributed to the most recent leg down are:

1) Profit taking before a seemingly inevitable tax increase.
2) The psychological effect of the death cross (although it’s not always as bearish as it sounds).
3) The increase of margin requirements by some clearing firms.

The most important factor is simply that the higher a stock rallies, the further it can fall. Apple’s run from below 20 in 2004 to above 700 in 2012 was just “too much of a good thing.”

Despite the set back, AAPL is still up 33% YTD and Apple’s market cap still $100 billion bigger than its closest market cap competitor.

Short-term Technical Outlook

Technical analysis of Apple and the AAPL chart warned of a top above 700 and a bounce of the November 16 low at 506 (summary of my Apple analysis can be found here).

The current chart is somewhat inconclusive, but selling has been heavy (see chart) and it seems to me that Apple is heading for a new low, perhaps around 480 – 490. Nevertheless, the down side seems limited and a new low unconfirmed by a new RSI low would create a bullish divergence and possibly prove as a springboard for a more sustainable rally into Q1 2013 (even without new low AAPL is likely to rally in Q1 2013).

 
Simon Maierhofer shares his market analysis and points out high probability, low risk buy/sell recommendations via the Profit Radar Report. Click here for a free trial to Simon’s Profit Radar Report.

Sector ETF Analysis: 9 Sectors – 1 Message: Watch Important Technical Support

The S&P 500 Index is generally sub-divided into nine sectors. How the leading (or lagging) sectors behave can provide valuable forecasting insight. This article takes a look at the three leading year-to-date performers and their technical message.

The S&P 500 Index and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) are made up of ten industry sectors. State Street Global Advisors subdivides the S&P into nine popular sector ETFs, called Select Sector SPDRs.

There are ten sectors, but they are condensed into nine ETFs as the technology and telecommunication sector are represented by the same ETF, XLK.

The first graph below provides a visual of the S&P 500 sectors and the sector allocation for the Select Sector SPDRs.

The second graph shows the year-to-date performance of each sector.

Each sector corresponds differently to economic developments and some sectors may boom while others bust. That at least used to be the case. During the 2000 decline about half of the sectors delivered positive returns, the remaining ones negative returns.

Since the beginning of the QE market, most sectors are up, just at a different pace.

Right now, most sectors are just above technical support and are sending the same technical message: Watch out how each sector performs around support. If support fails … watch out.

Let’s look at the technical picture of the three biggest and best performing sectors individually:

Technology:

The technology sector got hit hard in recent weeks. Nevertheless, as of Thursday’s close the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) is up 22.48% year-to-date.

The technical picture for XLK looks plain ugly. XLK dropped through trend line support going back to the October 2011 lows (at 29.65) and the 200-day SMA at 29.19.

The technical picture for the Nasdaq-100 looks similar. December 30, 2011 was the last time the Nasdaq-100 closed below the 200-day SMA. It’s been trading above the 200-day SMA for more than 200.

Here’s a surprising factoid: Since 1990 the Nasdaq-100 had seven streaks of trading above the 200-day SMA for more than 200 days. The first close below the 200-day SMA was bearish only one time.

Owners of Rydex funds have grown very skeptical of the technology sector. The percentage of assets invested into Rydex technology funds has dropped to an all time low.

On August 5, the Profit Radar Report pointed out a similar extreme in the financial sector: “Financials are currently under loved (who can blame investors). Of the $900 million invested in Rydex sector funds, only $18 million (2%) are allocated to financials. With such negative sentiment a technical breakout (close above 14.90) could cause a quick spike in prices.”

The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) rallied as much as 10% after it broke above 14.90.

Even though the technical picture of the technology sector looks quite bearish, there’s reason to believe that the down side is limited. A bullish opportunity may develop soon.

Financials:

The financial sector, represented by the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), is holding up much better than the overall market. The chart for XLF is a bit more decorated with trend lines as the Profit Radar Report has provided updates for XLF since it’s August 6 break out.

Immediate trend line support for XLF is at 15.65. The 50-day SMA is at 15.68. Immediate resistance is at 16.05. Aside from a break of the minor red trend line support, the recent decline hasn’t done any technical damage to the financial sector.

Consumer Discretionary

The Health Care (XLV) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) are slightly bigger than the Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY), but XLY outperformed XLV and XLE.

XLY is just barely holding on to its position above the trend line from the October 2011 low (at 45.60), but the 200-day SMA is not until 44.27. Support based on prior supply/demand inflection points is around 45.

Simon Maierhofer shares his market analysis and points out high probability, low risk buy/sell recommendations via the Profit Radar Report. Click here for a free trial to Simon’s Profit Radar Report.

Will Google’s Fumble Take Down the Entire Technology Sector?

Due to a combination of facts, Google shares dropped as much as 11% on Thursday before trading in GOOG was halted by the Nasdaq. What caused this meltdown and will it carry over and drag down the Nasdaq and technology sector?

Google couldn’t wait to share its disappointing Q3 earnings with Wall Street. Although slated for an after-hours earnings report, Google accidentally spilled the beans around 12:30 EST.

At first it looked like a refreshing change to Washington’s modus operandi of extend and pretend or snore and ignore. But as it turns out, R.R. Donnelley (the company that does Google’s financial filings) accidentally filed Google’s 8-K form too early.

Heading for the Exits

Surprise turned into disappointment and distain as investors dumped GOOG as fast as they could. At one point GOOG was down $83.43 or 11%. Nasdaq even suspended trading in GOOG. Why the rush for the exits?

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $10.65 a share and net revenue of $11.86 billion.

The actual profit was only $9.03 a share on revenue of $11.33 billion. Another  major concern was that the average price that advertisers paid Google per click fell 15% from a year earlier. If Google, the king of monetizing advertising dollars, can’t charge top dollars anymore, how will Facebook and others?

What’s Next for Google?

Google is the third largest component of the Nasdaq-100 Index (corresponding ETF: PowerShares QQQ) after Apple and Microsoft. What does Google’s sell off mean for the Nasdaq QQQ and the technology sector (corresponding ETF: Technology Select Sector SPDRXLK)?

GOOG trading volume was through the roof as prices tumbled below the 20 and 50-day SMA and a couple of trend lines. Prices generally stabilize somewhat after large sell offs like this before falling a bit further. A new low parallel to a bullish price/RSI divergence would be a near-term positive for Google. Next support for GOOG is around 660 and 630.

Will Google Drag Down the Technology Sector?

The Nasdaq Indexes and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) has been much weaker than the Dow Jones and S&P 500 as of late. There were no bearish divergences at the recent S&P and Dow highs. This lack of indicators pinpointing a major top limits the down side of the tech sector.

Key support for the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) is at 29.50. A move below 29.50 would be technically bearish although there may not be much more down side. Traders may use 20.50 as trigger point for bullish and bearish trades.

Simon Maierhofer shares his market analysis and points out high probability, low risk buy/sell recommendations via the Profit Radar Report. Click here for a free trial to Simon’s Profit Radar Report.