Technically speaking, the major U.S. benchmarks continue to grind higher amid persistently bullish, and increasingly consequential, February price action.

On a headline basis, the S&P 500 has extended a mid-month technical breakout — placing distance atop its 200-day moving average — while the Nasdaq Composite has registered its first close slightly atop the 200-day for the first time since Nov. 8. Though sustainability and follow-through remain open questions, the tandem breakouts raise the flag to a primary trend shift.

Before detailing the U.S. markets’ wider view, the S&P 500’s

SPX, +0.22%

 hourly chart highlights the past two weeks.

As illustrated, the S&P has extended its break atop the 200-day moving average, currently 2,745.6, notching four straight closes atop the primary trending indicator.

From current levels, the 2,762 area pivots to support, and is followed by the firmer breakout point, circa 2,742.

Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has knifed to two-month highs, confirming its uptrend.

Tactically, near-term support (25,626) is followed by a more significant floor matching the June peak, circa 25,400.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite

COMP, +0.30%

 has reached a headline technical test.

Specifically, the index is challenging its 200-day moving average, currently 7,467.5, closing last week slightly higher for the first time since Nov. 8.

As always, the 200-day is a widely-tracked longer-term trending indicator. A posture higher generally signals a primary uptrend.

The Nasdaq’s recent persistence near the range top improves the chances of an eventually more decisive breakout.

Widening the view to six months adds perspective.

On this wider view, the Nasdaq is challenging major resistance. Familiar inflection points stand out:

  • The three-month range top, defined by the December peak of 7,486.
  • Major resistance at 7,474.
  • The 200-day moving average, currently 7,467.5.

Against this backdrop, last week’s close (7,272) effectively matched resistance (7,274), and an extended retest remains underway. Still, the weekly close atop the 200-day moving average, combined with Tuesday’s early follow-through, raises the flag to a primary trend shift.

Looking elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has paced the 2019 market rally.

Consider that the Dow cleared its 200-day moving average to conclude January, and has subsequently taken flight. Tactically, last week’s close (25,883) matched a former inflection point at the late-August gap (25,882).

On further strength, the December peak (25,980) is followed by an inflection point in the 26,180-to-26,190 area.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has also extended a break to two-month highs.

Tactically, the 2,773-to-2,775 area remains an inflection point —matching the top of the December gap — and is followed by major resistance at the early-2018 range top (2,802).

The bigger picture

As detailed above, the U.S. benchmarks’ bigger-picture backdrop continues to strengthen.

On a headline basis, each big three U.S. benchmark has reached two-month highs, confirming its intermediate-term uptrend.

Perhaps more notably, key primary trends are also under siege. To reiterate, the S&P 500 has registered four straight closes atop the 200-day moving average, while the Nasdaq Composite has notched its first close atop the 200-day since Nov. 8.

Moving to the small-caps, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF has extended its rally attempt amid a volume uptick.

Consider that the 200-day moving average, currently 157.87, is increasingly within view. The 200-day has capped the small-cap benchmark since Oct. 10.

Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 has edged atop the 200-day moving average, currently 347.52, closing higher for the first time since Oct. 9.

Tactically, significant resistance matches the range top (349.27) and the pending retest should bea a useful bull-bear gauge.

More broadly, the mid-cap benchmark has reached four-month highs, while the small-cap benchmark has tagged three-month highs.

Against this backdrop, the SPDR Trust S&P 500 has placed distance atop the 200-day moving average, currently 274.30.

Tactically, the 200-day closely matches the May peak (274.25) and pivots to support.

Conversely, the December peak (280.40) is followed by the firmer range top, an area spanning from 281.15 to 281.22.

Placing a finer point on the S&P 500, familiar inflection points stand out:

  • Major support matching the May peak of 2,742.24.
  • The 200-day moving average, currently 2,745.60.

To reiterate, the S&P has registered four straight closes atop the 200-day, extending the breakout to conclude last week.

From current levels, major overhead matches the early-2018 range top (2,802), and is closely followed by the post-breakdown peak — the 2,815-to-2,817 area.

Conversely, significant support, circa 2,742, is followed by the familiar 2,710 mark.

Beyond technical levels, the S&P 500 has confirmed its intermediate-term uptrend, and the recent rally atop the 200-day moving average raises the flag to a primary trend shift. All trends technically point higher, based on today’s backdrop, pending signs of a bearish pulse.

See also: Bull trend strengthens, S&P 500 rattles cage on 200-day average.

See also: S&P 500 reaches firmer technical ground, pulls in from major resistance.

Tuesday’s Watch List

The charts below detail names that are technically well positioned. These are radar screen names — sectors or stocks poised to move in the near term. For the original comments on the stocks below, see The Technical Indicator Library.

Drilling down further, the SPDR Shares Gold ETF

GLD, +1.47%

 is digesting a recent break to nine-month highs.

Technically, the shares concluded January with a bull-flag breakout, rising amid a golden cross, or bullish 50-day/200-day moving average crossover.

The subsequent pullback has been comparably flat, fueled by decreased volume.

Tactically, resistance matches the range top (125.23) and the shares have ventured higher early Tuesday. A near-term target projects to the 127.50 area.

Conversely, the major support broadly spans from about 122.40 to 123.20. Gold’s uptrend is firmly intact barring a violation.

Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF — profiled twice last week — has broken out.

The upturn punctuates a tight six-week range, a coiled spring, laying the groundwork for potentially material follow-through.

Tactically, the breakout point (44.90) pivots to support and is followed by the 50-day moving average, an area that has recently defined the trend. The group’s recovery attempt is intact barring a violation.

Similarly, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF has staged a modest breakout.

The upturn punctuates a modified head-and-shoulders bottom, defined by the November, December and January lows.

The pattern’s neckline matches the 200-day moving average, currently 110.55, and pivots to support. The group’s technical bias points higher barring a violation.

More broadly, the U.S. sub-sector backdrop has strengthened in recent weeks, and continues to make progress, as partly detailed above.

Moving to specific names, Intel Corp.

INTC, -0.19%

 is a Dow 30 component coming to life. (Yield = 2.5%.)

Specifically, the shares have knifed to six-month highs, placing distance atop the 200-day moving average.

Underlying the upturn, Intel’s relative strength index (not illustrated) has registered its best levels since June, improving the chances of longer-term follow-through.

Though near-term extended, and due to consolidate, the shares are attractive on a pullback. Tactically, the breakout point, circa 50.00, is closely followed by the 200-day moving average, currently 49.16.

Initially profiled Jan. 7, Netflix, Inc.

NFLX, +1.50%

 has returned 13.2% and remains well positioned.

The shares started January with a decisive breakout, knifing atop trendline resistance and the 50-day moving average.

By comparison, the ensuing pullback has been flat, punctuated by a mini cup-and-handle defined by the late-January and February lows.

Tactically, the range top matches the Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 peaks — both precisely 360.00 — and is under siege to start this week. A near-term target projects to the 382 area on follow-through.

Finally, Chevron Corp.

CVX, -0.01%

 is a large-cap oil and gas name showing signs of life. (Yield = 4.0%.)

Earlier this month, the shares knifed atop trendline resistance, rising after the company’s fourth-quarter results.

The subsequent tight February range is a continuation pattern, positioning the shares to build on the initial strong-volume spike.

Tactically, the range top matches the 200-day moving average, currently 119.50, an area that has capped the shares since October. Conversely, a near-term floor matches the bottom of the gap (115.40) and a breakout attempt is in play barring a violation.

Still well positioned

The table below includes names recently profiled in The Technical Indicator that remain well positioned. For the original comments, see The Technical Indicator Library.

Company Symbol Date Profiled
Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI Feb. 15
First Solar, Inc. FSLR Feb. 15
Varicel Corp. VCEL Feb. 15
SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT Feb. 15
iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF IBB Feb. 14
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. LOW Feb. 14
Home Depot, Inc. HD Feb. 14
Marriott International, Inc. MAR Feb. 14
General Electric Co. GE Feb. 14
Emerson Electric Co. EMR Feb. 13
Viper Energy Partners LP VNOM Feb. 13
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ARWR Feb. 13
Splunk, Inc. SPLK Feb. 12
3M Co. MMM Feb. 12
Infosys Ltd. INFY Feb. 12
Zendesk, Inc. ZEN Feb. 11
Fortive Corp. FTV Feb. 11
Mastercard, Inc. MA Feb. 11
Procter & Gamble Co. PG Feb. 8
Boston Scientific Corp. BSX Feb. 8
Deckers Outdoor Corp. DECK Feb. 8
Alphabet, Inc. GOOGL Feb. 6
Norfolk Southern Corp. NSC Feb. 6
Packaging Corp. of America PKG Feb. 6
Akamai Technologies, Inc. AKAM Feb. 5
Global Payments, Inc. GPN Feb. 5
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA Feb. 5
Baidu, Inc. BIDU Feb. 4
Ebay, Inc. EBAY Feb. 4
Visa, Inc. V Feb. 4
Adobe, Inc. ADBE Feb. 1
Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ICPT Feb. 1
Owens Corning OC Feb. 1
ON Semiconductor Corp ON Jan. 31
MKS Instruments, Inc. MKSI Jan. 31
iRobot Corp. IRBT Jan. 31, Inc. CRM Jan. 30
KLA-Tencor Corp. KLAC Jan. 30
Western Digital Corp. WDC Jan. 30
Whirlpool Corp. WHR Jan. 30
SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF XHB Jan. 30
Texas Instruments, Inc. TXN Jan. 29
Keysight Technologies, Inc. KEYS Jan. 29
Check Point Software Technologies CHKP Jan. 29
Exact Sciences Corp. EXAS Jan. 28
Schlumberger Limited SLB Jan. 28
Aptiv plc APTV Jan. 28
Teradyne, Inc. TER Jan. 28
VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF SMH Jan. 25
Applied Materials, Inc. AMAT Jan. 25
Micron Technology, Inc. MU Jan. 25
Roku, Inc. ROKU Jan. 25
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM Jan. 24
SBA Communications Corp. SBAC Jan. 24
Eastman Chemical Co. EMN Jan. 24
LGI Homes, Inc. LGIH Jan. 24
Paycom Software, Inc. PAYC Jan. 23
Delphi Technologies DLPH Jan. 23
Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. BBBY Jan. 23
Eagle Materials, Inc. EXP Jan. 23
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. AMD Jan. 22
Lennar Corp. LEN Jan. 22
Materials Select Sector SPDR XLB Jan. 18
Nike, Inc. NKE Jan. 18
VeriSign, Inc. VRSN Jan. 18
Dollar Tree, Inc. DLTR Jan. 18
Apple, Inc. AAPL Jan. 18
Nevro Corp. NVRO Jan. 17
Westlake Chemical Corp. WLK Jan. 17
Coupa Software, Inc. COUP Jan. 16
Veeva Systems, Inc. VEEV Jan. 16
Teledoc Health, Inc. TDOC Jan. 16
Incyte Corp INCY Jan. 16
Deere & Co. DE Jan. 11
CyberArk Software CYBR Jan. 11
Square, Inc. SQ Jan. 10
Facebook, Inc. FB Jan. 9
Okta, Inc. OKTA Jan. 9
Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc. TNDM Jan. 9
RingCentral, Inc RNG Jan. 8
Alteryx, Inc. AYX Jan. 8
Pioneer Natural Resources Co. PXD Jan. 8
Netflix, Inc. NFLX Jan. 7
iShares Brazil ETF EWZ Jan. 7
Ciena Corp. CIEN Jan. 7
Crox, Inc. CROX Jan. 7
IAC/InterActivecorp IAC Jan. 7
Five9, Inc. FIVN Dec. 13
Ambarella, Inc. AMBA Dec. 11
Tech Data Corp. TECD Dec. 11
SPDR Gold Shares ETF GLD Dec. 10
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF GDX Dec. 10
Workday, Inc. WDAY Dec. 10
Atlassian Corp. TEAM Dec. 10
Ventas, Inc. VTR Nov. 26
Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. UBNT Nov. 13
TripAdvisor, Inc. TRIP Nov. 13
Welltower, Inc. WELL Nov. 12
Xilinx, Inc. XLNX Nov. 12
Fabrinet FN Nov. 12
Acacia Communications, Inc. ACIA Nov. 7
Starbucks Corp. SBUX Nov. 5
American Tower Corp. AMT Nov. 5
Utilities Select Sector SPDR XLU Oct. 25
McDonald’s Corp. MCD Oct. 24
Spirit Airlines, Inc. SAVE Oct. 19
Yum! Brands, Inc. YUM Oct. 18
Eli Lilly & Co. LLY Oct. 17
Merck & Co., Inc. MRK June 21
Twilio, Inc. TWLO May 21

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