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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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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