The S&P 500 snapped its longest losing streak since late September on Tuesday, barely etching out gains as volatility continues to plague the market. Still, the index is just 2 percent from its all-time highs, but that's small comfort to one highly regarded technician who sees troubling signs in the chart.
"I think this market rally is running out of fuel," Stephen Suttmeier said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." The S&P 500 has soared more than 8 percent in the fourth quarter.
According to Suttmeier, the S&P 500 is currently the most overbought it's been in more than 15 years, which could signal a near-term top. "After hitting its lowest level since 2011 and 2009 in late August and early September, the S&P 500's daily MACD has quickly moved to the most overbought reading since the 1998-2000 period." Technicians often look to the MACD, which stands for moving average convergence/divergence, as a momentum indicator that detects how much buying and selling is in the market. "The market has gone from one extreme to the other," he added.
In addition to overbought conditions, Suttmeier said that the number of stocks participating in the rally has decreased by more than 40 percent in just the last month. "Fewer S&P 500 stocks are trading above their 10-day moving averages," he said. An abundance of stocks trading below this moving average is generally viewed as a sell signal. "Right now it's just 56 percent of stocks trading above its 10-day moving average," added Bank of America Merrill Lynch's technical research analyst. It was at 94 percent a month ago. "What this is telling me is that the old highs are going to be very tough to crack."
For Suttmeier, if the S&P 500 were to break support at 2,080, it could open the floodgates to a plethora of selling. "A move below 2055 would question the rally and suggest weakness back to 2,020 to 1,990," he said. That's as much as a 4 percent move lower than the current price of 2,082. "This market can move very quickly," he warned.