Stock Market Breakout Unlikely, Chart Patterns Not Bullish: Traders

If chart patterns in the Dow and S&P are to be believed, stocks will either go sideways or lower, but higher is unlikely. So says top Oppeneheimer technical analyst Carter Worth.

It’s not so much where the market is – but how we got here.

“Had we gotten here in a slow steady line it would be one thing, but the fits and starts of the last 6 months scared off retail investors,” observes Karen Finerman.

Though Finerman is a value investor, it turns out her analysis aligns with charts.

“We had an epic plunge in mid 2011 and now we’ve recovered all that lost ground,” explains Worth.


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“When you get back to the level from which you sold off, people who were hurt badly by the decline -- and have now seen that money returned to them -- are inclined to sell. That’s human nature.”

Also, fearing resistance, savvy investors who bought around the lows lock in profits.

"Because of these tendencies, the market almost never breaks out on the first test of the high. The probability is sideways or some kind of backing away,” says Worth. The likelihood that the rally continues is slight.

Trader Joe Terranova shares the skepticism. “We’re not seeing a reallocation of money out of fixed income funds into equity funds – last year fund flows drove markets higher.”

He also thinks the price action should be stronger considering Apple's blockbuster earnings and a Fed statement in which the central bank promised to keep rates 'lower for longer.’

Terranova tells us that if the market breaks 1306, the lows of the week, it will give him cause for concern. “I’m taking off long exposure.”

Those calls are largely trading calls. If you're an investor with a longer time horizon, both Tim Seymour and Ron Insana think there’s every reason to remain bullish.

“The Fed has all but said we should be in risk assets – that’s what they’re saying by promising to keep interest rates low through 2014. I think we have a green light for stocks for quite some time,” says Insana.

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Trader disclosure: On Jan 26, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Terranova is long XOM; Terranova is long TRLG; Terranova is long CNX; Terranova is long SBUX; Terranova is long SNDK; Terranova is long CSCO; Terranova is long VRTS; Terranova is long LQD; Terranova is long MUB; Terranova is long EMC; Terranova is long AXP; Terranova is long F; Terranova is long JOY; Terranova is long MCD; Terranova is long OXY; Terranova is long MCD; Terranova is long OXY; Terranova is long IBM; Terranova is long SU; Terranova is long MA; Seymour is long F; Seymour is long AAPL; Seymour is long BAC; Seymour is long CIB; Najarian is long AKS; Najarian is long BAC; Najarian is long PNC; Najarian is long WFC; Najarian is long GDX; Najarian is long NFLX; Najarian is long MSFTl Najarian is long IBM; Finerman is long (JPM); Finerman is long (BAC); Finerman is long (PLCM); Finerman is long (IBM)

For Ron Insana
No Dislcosures

For Mike Khouw
No Disclosures, all holdings in separately managed accounts

For Karen Finerman
Finerman’s fund is long (AAPL)
Finerman’s fund is long (JPM)
Finerman’s fund is long (PLCM)
Finerman’s fund is short (SPY)
Finerman’s fund is short (MDY)

For Marc Riddick
No Disclosures

For Carter Worth
No Disclosures

For David Barger
No disclosures

For Richard Repetto
Sandler O'Neill expects to receive or intends to seek compensation from E*TRADE Financial Corporation for investment banking services in the next three months. As of the date of this report, Sandler O'Neill currently acts as a market maker in the securities of E*TRADE Financial Corporation. E*TRADE Financial Corporation is a client of and receives non-investment banking securities-related services from Sandler O'Neill (based on information as of the end of the month immediately preceding the date of this report). An affiliate of Sandler O'Neill has received compensation from E*TRADE Financial Corporation for providing products or services other than investment banking services in the 12-month period ending as of the last calendar quarter. and wires