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The problem for stocks: ‘You can’t get a bottom near a top’

Despite an especially dour beginning to the year, stocks are far from ready to bounce, according to technical analyst Chris Verrone of Strategas Research Partners.

"The market is not oversold here — at all," Verrone said Tuesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

One problem with seeing the market as oversold is that 40 percent of the stocks he tracks are above their average closing price over the past 50 sessions, and "you tend to get oversold conditions when that number's less than 20."

But there's also a much more obvious reason why playing for a short-term bounce would be folly, in his opinion. Even amid the recent volatility, as of Tuesday's close, the S&P 500 is just 5.5 percent away from its all-time intraday high, which was found back in May.

"You can't get a bottom near a top," Verrone advised.

On the whole, "this is more likely a market where you're better inclined to sell bounces than to buy dips," according to the technician.

Read MoreBuy the dips? No, sell the rallies: JPM strategist

Meanwhile, market sentiment is not sending any clear bullish or bearish signal, according to Dennis Davitt of Harvest Volatility Advisors, a close watcher of the options market.

"Market sentiment right now is confusion," said Davitt.

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Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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