Talking Numbers

Why this could be as good as it gets for stocks

Why this could be as good as it gets for stocks

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Why this could be as good as it gets for stocks

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It’s official: 2014 is half over.

With the benchmark S&P 500 index up just 6 percent since January compared to 12 percent the same time last year, what can we expect for the second half of year?

“Mostly pain for technical analysts because it’s been extremely difficult to handicap this market based on the charts alone,” said Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson. “That’s often the case when you have a one way market like we’ve seen this year.”

(Watch: Stocks close mixed, S&P continues quarterly wins)

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The S&P 500 successfully tested its 150-day moving average in February and formed a support line that is currently at 1,900. That level is significant because it’s also the resistance level of an ascending triangle from which the index broke out of back in late May, according to Ross’ charts. Though the S&P 500 has stayed above the 150-day moving average going back to 2012, Ross is worried about it.

“The problem I have with the market – the problem I have had and that has made me wrong – is these longer term weekly charts,” said Ross, a “Talking Numbers” contributor.

(Watch: Second half playbook: Pros hunt for value)

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The S&P 500 has been trading well above it 150-week moving average since 2012 and above its 50-week moving average since 2013. “We are so far above trend here,” said Ross. “We have a bull market that’s over five years in terms duration. And, we know about the magnitude from the lows set back in 2009. I think a 10 percent – even a 20 percent pull back –is well within the historical context here.”

Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, believes the fundamentals agree with Ross’ technical analysis.

“There is some pain ahead, particularly if you look at the fact that this has been an incredibly long bull run,” said Sanchez, a CNBC contributor. “This is headed to be one of the longest bull runs in history.”

Sanchez notes that over the past six months, defense stocks have rallied while consumer stocks haven’t fared as well. Among sectors in the S&P 500 index, defensive utilities are up 16.42 percent year-to-date, while the consumer discretionary sector is the only one in negative territory, down 0.13 percent.

“Some of the worst performers are things like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and just anything that sells anything to the consumer,” Sanchez said. “That is because the market started to discount the consumer gain for the year before economists started to bring down their GDP expectations.”

The market may have gone to new highs but it’s been on low volatility and low volume, notes Sanchez. She sees that as a problem unless capital expenditures significantly pick up. But, she doesn’t believe that may happen any time soon. And, she is also concerned with top line growth for companies.

“Sales have been incredibly tepid,” said Sanchez. “I don’t see how they’re going to pick up at this point. So I actually think from a fundamental standpoint this is a worrisome trend.”

To see the full discussion on the S&P 500, with Ross on the technicals and Sanchez on the fundamentals, watch the above video.

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