Stocks got a strong start to the month, with the S&P 500 closing above 2,100 for the first time in a month. The index is now 1.5 percent from its May all-time high, but despite the rally one technician warns the internals are still very weak.
On CNBC's "Futures Now" Tuesday, Jonathan Krinsky said that while the S&P 500 marches to within spitting distance of its high, less than 55 percent of its components are above their respective 200-day moving average. "That's a set-up we've only seen in the late '90s, then again in 2007 and then this July/August before the crash," said Krinsky. The S&P 500 fell 12 percent from its July 2015 peak to August low.
The technician noted that the best-case scenario would be similar to 1998, where the rally will continue to be supported by few mega-cap names. "In the late '90s, there were many hot tech stocks, perhaps most notably the Four Horsemen," he said, referring to the nickname for Dell, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. "At their peak in March 2000, they had a combined market cap of around $1.7 trillion. This was one of the main reasons the indices held up despite weak breadth."
Krinsky noted a similar dynamic happening with the Jim Cramer-coined F.A.N.G stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet, formerly Google. Those stocks have combined market cap of nearly $1.2 trillion, and Krinsky said the bull case could be made for at least "two more years before narrowing leadership takes its toll on the indices."
Still, Krinsky said that historically speaking he would be "surprised" if the S&P 500 made a new high this year. "When you look at past 10 percent corrections, the average move to get back to a new high is about eight months," said the chief market technician at MKM Partners.
He expects the S&P 500 to finish flat in 2015, and anticipates "a rough" year ahead for the market.