Nasdaq's next stop: 5200

Nasdaq market site
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

The Nasdaq's move above 5132 for the first time since 2000 has sparked concerns the new high would signal the end of an uptrend. But chart analysis suggests otherwise.

There are distinct differences between the rapid rise from 1998 to 2000 and the current situation. In 2000, the very rapid rise of 247 percent from 1475 to 5132 over seven months was unsustainable from 1999 November until the crash in 2000 March the NASDAQ trend was almost vertical. This is not the situation today.

The current Nasdaq movement is a steady uptrend moving in a well-defined trading channel. The up move started in 2009 March and has proceeded steadily. This is not a rapid rally. It's a sustained 6 year uptrend and that's very different from the trend rise leading up to the 2000 tech crash.

Still, investors must remain alert as a retreat may develop into a trend change. It's important to watch the pattern of chart behavior which provides the best guidance.

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The Nasdaq has a rising trend channel. The lower edge of the trend channel is shown by trend line A. The upper edge of the channel is down by trend line B. In 2013 November the NASDAQ moved above the value of trend line B and now uses this trend line as a support level. If the Nasdaq develops a retreat then there is a high probability the value of trend line B will provide support, currently near 4500.

The Nasdaq trends moves up in a series of horizontal trading bands. The width of the trading band is measured and this value is projected upwards to give the new upside trading target. Using this method the breakout above 4640 has an upside target near 5200. A move above 5200 has a target near 5800.

There are three significant patterns that indicate a major trend change. The first of these patterns is the head and shoulder pattern. The second is the rounding top pattern. The third is a blow-off top pattern follows a period of extreme upwards momentum. None of these three trend reversal patterns currently appear on the NASDAQ chart. This suggests there is a low probability of a change in the trend direction in the first half of 2015 so any retracement is a buying opportunity.