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Financial Stocks Can’t Get Traction at Trader’s Narrative

This week the financial giants Goldman Sachs (GS), Bear Stearns (BSC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) will be releasing their quarterly earnings reports.

I’ve been patient and hopeful with this sector since it has been showing the classic signs of oversold extremes.

But each time it is given a chance to bounce back, it only musters a meager step or two forward… and then falls back.

You can see this in the bullish percent index of the sector:

financial sector bullish percent index Dec 2007

In July it reached an extreme oversold level of 25% but couldn’t gain any traction. Then again this November the index fell to 20%. But after a feeble “dead-cat” bounce it has rolled over again. This behavior is a marked contrast to the previous years when the bullish percent index remained at very high levels and only sporadically dipped lower.

Looking at the price chart itself (the Philadelphia Banking Index) we see the same thing. A classic downtrend pattern of lower lows (green) and lower highs (red):

philadelphia banking index Dec 2007

No question that things are downright ugly. Within the sector, only 17% of the component stocks are now sitting above their 200 day moving average. This is extreme. But it has been the case for most of the time since the swoon in July. Only 4% closed above their short term, 10 day moving average and a paltry 13% above their 50 day moving average.

But when oversold levels don’t lead to lasting rallies, you know something is wrong. The banks and financial stocks are acting very tired here and I would either wait to see a dramatic washout (the kind that has you gasping) or a miraculous sign of strength before giving them the benefit of the doubt again.

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4 Responses to “Financial Stocks Can’t Get Traction”  

  1. 1 Aaron

    The only financial sector stock that I am interested in right now is GS. GS has proven its ability to buck the trend in the investment banking area. It will be interesting to see if this continues tommorrow.

  2. 2 Keith Shepard

    So far (today), it appears that the market isn’t all that thrilled with Goldman’s (GS) earnings or the ECB injection. Maybe we’ll get that sector exhaustion soon leaving room for some Value picking.

  3. 3 Babak

    Aaron, GS has been showing relative strength but as Keith mentioned, even the mighty GS seems to be faltering. The actual news was good but the expectations were much higher obviously.

  1. 1 Has The Financial Sector Suffered Enough?

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