Remember green shoots? Those optimistic anecdotes that were flooding the market in 2008 and 2009 concerning every glimmer of hope that the worst recession in 75 years was ending, or at the very least stabilizing?
While those little sprouts ended up getting strangled by relentlessly high unemployment and stubbornly slow growth, the stock market has never really looked back and is set to mark its fourth anniversary, albeit at a time of heightened worry ahead of the fiscal cliff follow up fights I like to call the February follies.
And yet, through this fog of fear, Ryan Detrick, sr. technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research is looking for another 15% this year and is taking comfort in the strength of small caps.
"The small cap leadership is a good sign," Detrick says of their new high and 10-year outperformance. "That's an indicator that potentially sometime later this year, blue chips and the Dow Jones very well might also breakout to new highs."
What's more, this Ohio-based investor says the very same thing is also happening to the mid caps (^MID), which he characterizes as his favorite chart and have just "broken through multiple resistance at 1,000" which it initially hit in April 2011.
That said, Detrick is not a maniac, saying the market is "possibly a little overextended in the near term" and that it makes sense to be concerned about short-term obstacles (in Washington or technical levels like 1,475) before cruising on to his year end target of S&P 500 at 1650.
"We have had a great rally," he says, "but again, bigger picture, the upward trend has been, and continues to be, in place."