Spread trading strategies | Stock markets at resistance

Continuing our focus on the S&P 500 and different spread trading strategies that can be used on this market, today we are looking at the resistance from moving averages. We tend to focus more on the S&P 500 than other stock indexes as the S&P 500 is the main stock market and the other indexes tend to take their lead from this index.

Yesterday I wrote that the S&P 500 was pushing up towards resistance at the 200 day moving average, which also happens to be at another round number, the 1100 area. The high in the market yesterday on the August S&P 500 contract was 1099, where the market reached resistance and pulled back to close at 1091.1.

Although I’m not a huge fan of moving averages (my research and testing shows that they are not nearly as important or useful as people think and I’ll write more on that another time) one average that is focused on by many traders is the 200 day simple moving average, and on my charts that is sitting at 1101.

What we saw in yesterday’s chart was not a reversal pattern but more a sign that the rally was running out of steam and this carries a bit more significance when we see this kind of formation happen at resistance. That said, I don’t think that the 200 day moving average is particularly huge resistance in and of itself but added to the 1100 level this increases somewhat.

If this resistance at the 200 day moving average holds then what will be important is that this will be yet another lower high in this market from the highs of this year and the prior bull run, formed on the 26th April. A series of lower highs over a period of time (the longer the better) is a classic set up of a bear market. Therefore, the current resistance level is worth watching closely for short term direction when deciding which spread trading strategies you are going to use on this market.

A far more important level in my eyes is the high on the 21st June 2010 at just shy of 1130. If the market can clear the 200 day moving average and 1100 level, the 1130 level will be the next target for the bulls. If that level is cleared then we may be looking at a different scenario for the intermediate term but for now things are still bearish and the long term trend is down.

Overall I still favour spread trading strategies from the short side only at present, not just in the S&P 500, but in all stock indexes, and am not looking at any longs as that is counter to the long term trend. Successful spread trading is all about turning the odds in your favour as much as possible and one strategy for this is to only take trades in the direction of the long term trend and reject counter trend moves.

Good trading

Phil Seaton


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  1. August 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Just read through a lot of your blog posts and I’m pleased to say that you have really grown as a blog author. Your newer posts are much more convincing and really enjoyably (don’t mean to bash your old ones). Keep it up!

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