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Transportation Sector Ignoring High Energy Prices at Trader’s Narrative

Who could have imagined that with crude oil at +$110, the transports would be one of the highest relative strength sectors out there?

Well, if the stock market was strictly logical we would have figured it all out centuries ago. This is exactly what makes trading so fascinating.

Bullish Percent
The recent swing low was in early January, when the bullish percent for the sector reached a measly 5%. Five percent!

Do you know the last time they were that low? Try July 2002.

But since you’ve read my post about timing the market with bullish percent charts, you know all about that and of course, took obscene advantage of it. Of course.

But there’s more going on here. Take a look at this chart:

dow transports sector relative strength april 2008

The top chart shows the relative strength of the transports (to the S&P 500). Notice the higher lows and the higher highs. Then check out the completed head and shoulder formation with a nice quick retest of the neckline.

Believe it or not, it has already made it to the October 2007 highs. In contrast the Dow Jones Industrial average is still well below that area on its chart.

Dow Theory
According to Dow Theory, major signals are given when the two major sectors (sometimes along with the third: utilities) confirm each other.

While the recent action is not bullish per se, at least according to strict Dow Theory, it sets up what is called a “non-confirmation” - in this case, for a decline. That is, because the Dow Transports didn’t confirm the lows that the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached but instead headed up.

What would be truly bearish, according to Dow Theory, is if both the Dow Jones and the Transports print prices lower than their January levels.

So right now what we have is simply the potential for a buy signal, if the Dow Jones continues to rally and rises above its February highs.

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