There's more than one reason to be bullish on equities right now, according to Oppenheimer's head of technical analysis, Ari Wald. Actually, he counts exactly five.
"Our indicators are largely positive, and we accordingly recommend buying the S&P 500 into its 2,135-2,145 support range in anticipation of higher highs over the coming months," Wald wrote in a recent note to clients.
Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation," the technical analyst spelled out just what he's looking at.
The market's trend and momentum:
With the S&P closing Tuesday at 2,176, less than 1 percent from an all-time high, it's a fair bet that the market's rise will continue, according to Wald. Importantly, "the S&P 500 has rallied through key 2,135 resistance," clearing the way for fresh highs ahead.
The market's internal breadth:
An important consideration for many technical analysts, "breadth" measures the level of participation in the market's moves. A rally with narrow breadth is one driven by a small number of surging stocks, and many consider this to be a less "sustainable" type of rally.
At present, however, Wald reports that "internal breadth is the strongest it's been since the summer of 2014," based on the number of advancing versus declining stocks, as well as on the number of names above their 200-day moving average. These indications "support a resumption of equity market strength over the coming months."
Another indication of the "healthiness" of a rally is the width of credit spreads. That is, when the amount of additional compensation that investors require for holding riskier bonds declines, it is taken as "confirmation" of a rise in the equity market — as it shows that there is optimism about the economy across the board
Oil and other commodities have seen a substantial bounce from the lows seen in December and February, but commodity volatility has substantially declined.
"We've found that low and stable commodity prices have historically been a positive for equities," the technical analyst wrote.
The types of stocks that are leading the market are often taken to be a meaningful indicator. And at present, more volatile stocks that generally move in concert with the market (that is, high beta stocks) have outperformed, a good sign for those who are focused on sentiment.
"One argument that we've heard from the bears in recent months is, 'Oh, we've had this rally led by very defensive areas of the market.' Well I've got great news for you — this is no longer the case," Wald said Tuesday.
The relationship between high beta stocks and low-volatility names "now favors high beta. And we ran the numbers on this: Forward performance by the S&P 500 tends to be above average over most time horizons when this occurs."
This, like many of the above signals, is "an indication of bullish risk appetite."
All in all, "The technical setup is very strong here," Wald added.