Stock Market Correction? Technically Speaking, This Could Be It

The stock market, in a week-long swoon, could be in for several more weeks of selling pressure before moving higher again, said Carter Worth, Oppenheimer Asset Management’s chief market technician.


Stocks broke out of their “euphoric fever” Monday, says Worth. The Standard & Poor's 500, now down 3.7 percent from its April 2 intraday high, could be headed to the 1,340 level before it ends its decline, he said.

“We’re all wondering and hoping for a correction. It implies something is incorrect about the current angle, the steep curve, the current fever," said Worth. The S&P 500 is up 32 percent since October.

The S&P finished Monday down 15 at 1,382.

“It’s underway. It’s just a question of what order of magnitude. I’m sort of planning on 1,340," he said, adding a five percent-plus correction would be the first in a while. "That’s the first time that’s happened in three and a half months,” he said.

Worth said he’s watching the 1,370 level, an uptrend drawn from the intra-day lows of Oct. 4 when the S&P fell to 1,074 intra-day. It closed that day at 1,125. After breaking 1,370, the next level of support would be the 1,340 level Worth is targeting.

But if it falls through that level, the next point to watch is 1,293, which he describes as the “euphoric, recovery spike high” of Oct. 27, just three weeks after the Oct. 4 plunge. He said that was an important intermediate top and a price level that represents the mean price of the trading range for the first half of 2011.

After 1,293, the 1,285 level would be the next level to watch. He said that would be the 150-day moving average three weeks from now. The 150-day moving average is at 1,274.

“But it is rising quickly, as all will know. Assuming the correction now under way is 3-4 weeks long (a typical correction) the smoothing mechanism will be up at 1,285 +/-…about 10 points higher than at present,” he wrote, in a note Monday.

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