Tuesday – Trouble at 1,700 for the Russell

What's wrong with small caps?

All the other indexes seemed pretty happy yesterday but the Russell 2000 fell 1.5% and are down even more this morning in a non-stop UGLY day of trading where almost every candle formed on the hourly chart was a down one (and the up ones were pathetic).  Volume was also almost all red and much stronger than Friday's up volume, which was completely reversed by noon.  

So far, this is just a natural rejection of the Russell's 10% run for the year, which began at the 1,550 line on Jan 2nd so 10% from there is 1,705 and that's why we have been shorting the Russell below the 1,700 line, looking for that rejection.  According to our 5% Rule and rounding off to the more significant 1,700 mark, a 150-point run expects a 30-point (20% of the run) rejection so 1,670 should be a weak retrace and that's all this is so far.  Another 30 points would be a strong retract (1,640) and still not really bearish unless we fail it.  As noted in Friday morning's PSW Report:

Notice on our Big Chart that the Russell has failed its 50-day moving average at 1,700.  There's nothing bullish about the market until it takes that back and watch out below if any of the others fail to confirm a new downtrend but, as I said, not today – today we have to make the quarter look pretty so we can bring some fresh retail suckers in to hold the bags next quarter

Remember, I can only tell you what is likely to happen and how to make money trading it.  A 30-point drop in the Russell is good for gains of $1,500 per contract and, since we expect a bounce off the weak retrace at 1,670 – we already know where we're likely to stop out.  Now that we have that range, we look at the 40-point drop from 1,710 (because we can't round off in the short-term picture) to 1,670 (but we do use the goal line – even if it doesn't actually hit) and now we look for a weak bounce – which is 20% of the 40-point drop – to 1,678 and a strong bounce to 1,686, which we have to clear before looking bullish…
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