Stocks are in a 'stealth correction': Acampora

Ralph Acampora
The market is in a 'stealth correction': Acampora   

The S&P 500 is 2 percent from its all-time high, but one top technician says there's more to the charts than meets the eye.

On Tuesday's "Futures Now," Altaira's director of technical analysis, Ralph Acampora, said the market is in a "stealth correction."

"The market is frenetic here. What I see is a two-tier market," said Acampora. "Under the surface there are some issues not doing well at all."

He noted the performance of large-cap stocks has trailed that of small- and mid-cap stocks. The Russell 2000 is up nearly 5 percent year to date, while the S&P 500 is up 1 percent over that time.

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But most troubling to Acampora is the underperformance of the transports, which have badly trailed the S&P this year. "The Dow Jones transportation average peaked in December of 2014 and hasn't made a new high this year," he said. "For those who follow the old theory, the market is on hold."

To note, the "Dow Theory" is an old technical indicator in which investors believe that if the industrial or transportation average were to make a new high or low, the other would follow suit. According to Acampora, the Dow Jones industrial average would need to fall below 17,089 in order for this theory to come to fruition, and it could lead to a 5 to 10 percent correction.

"When I look at stocks technically, they look awfully heavy to me."

But it's not just the charts that bother Acampora. He also sees fundamental headwinds coming as well, including a potential rate hike that could cause a sharp decline in stocks. "I definitely think some kind of a rate hike would be an outside catalyst that would precipitate [a selloff]," he said.

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Of course, Acampora has been wrong in the past. In January he called for a 15 percent correction which didn't pan out as he expected. "I have to be honest I have a bit of egg on my face," he said. "We ended up only getting 3 or 4 percent and then turned dramatically, and as I said, that turn helped a lot of different stocks, but not everything," added Acampora.

It's been more than 3 ½ years since the last 10 percent correction, one of the longest streaks on record.

"Be really careful what you do here."

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