Why Dow Theory Mavens Are Happy

Another broad-based rally, almost 4-1 advancing to declining stocks, nearly 200 new highs at the NYSE, as we go into the close of the first quarter.

Dow Theory mavens are happy, because the Dow Industrials are knocking at the door of a new 2.5-year high (12,391 was the old closing high on February 18 — a 2.5 year high), while at the same time the Dow Transport index has also today broken out to a new high.

That's not all: the Russell 2000 is also at a 2.5 year high.

Some unhappiness over the low volume...as markets have turned around and advanced in the last week and a half, volume has been considerably lighter than when the market was down earlier in the month.

Analysts like Patrick O'Shaughnessy at Raymond James have noted a 5 to 10 percent decline in trading volumes at the online brokers in March compared to February.

There's another factor: the continuing low volatility means that high frequency traders have less opportunity to profit from statistical arbitrage trading (trading small differences between futures and cash instruments in the same stock or index).

Why unhappiness? Under old measures of technical analysis, a new high without a push up in volume is considered suspect. But trading has changed, and high frequency trading may make some of these old rules less valid.

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