The S&P Breaks Out To New All Time Highs And The Technicians Declare Victory

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The S&P broke out to a new all time high Wednesday on the back of a mostly inline April CPI Report. Here’s what Patrick Dunuwila of The Chart Report had to say:

SPY broke out to a new all time high [today] for the first time since March 28. This officially marks the end of [the] pullback within an ongoing uptrend.

While it’s great to have found the official arbiter of stock market reality, I still have my doubts. Humor me for a minute.

While the breakout to new all time highs is certainly a bullish development, it does not guarantee the continuation of the bull market. There are no official, real time arbiters of stock market reality. Just because the stock market made an all time new high doesn’t mean the bull market must continue for the foreseeable future. The stock market can do anything – including nullifying these new all time highs in the near future.

Indeed that’s just what happened during 2007 – my first year managing money professionally. I started Top Gun in 2006 to profit from the collapse of the housing bubble and the massive recession that I saw ensuing. All through 2007 I was waiting for the top. And it finally seemed like it was in on July 19, 2007. Two Bear Stearns hedge funds heavily invested in subprime mortgage backed securities blew up shortly sending the stock market reeling in August 2007.

However, to my surprise and chagrin, the market – to my mind inexplicably – found a bottom and rallied all the way back to make marginal new all time highs in early October 2007. The market seemed to say that it was just a blip and subprime was indeed “contained” as then Fed Chair Ben Bernanke infamously said at the time. But it wasn’t. The marginal new highs of October 2007 were shortlived and in retrospect marked a double top. All they did was get the crowd uber-bullish for a minute only to be caught wrongfooted when the market reversed hard to the downside into the crash of 2008.

I cannot guarantee that that’s what’s going to happen this time around as I am not the official arbiter of stock market reality. But neither is Patrick Dunuwila and the rest of the technicians for whom the current breakout in price essentially guarantees a continuation of the bull market according to their simplistic methodology. While the breakout negates all bearish technical arguments, there are other reasons to be bearish – and those trump the technicals at this particual juncture in my estimation. Only time will tell who is right.

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