Year-end/new-year indicators: progress report

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An old stock market saw tells us if the month of January is higher, there is a good chance the year will end higher, i.e. the so-called “January Barometer”. On the other hand, with the exception of 2009, every down-January since 1950 has been followed by a new or continuing bear market or a flat year. “As January goes, so goes the year,” said Jeffrey Hirsch (Stock Trader’s Almanac).

The result for January is in, and it is not a good one: The Dow Jones Industrial Index closed 3.5% down on the month and the S&P 500 Index 3.7% lower.

Also, according to Hirsch, the “December Low Indicator” says that should the Dow Jones Industrial Index close below its December low anytime during the first quarter, it is frequently an excellent warning sign. The key number to watch was the low of 10,286 (December 8) – now history with the Dow down to 10,067.

Although this is not particularly scientific research, it is clear we are not seeing a good start to 2010 and should at least be mindful of these indicators.

Considering the short-term technical picture of the Nasdaq Composite Index, Adam Hewison ( provides a short analysis showing a rather negative downside break. Click here to access the presentation. (He also recently analyzed the Dow Jones Industrial Index and the S&P 500 Index. Click here and here.)

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