Technically speaking, the major U.S. benchmarks continue to trend higher amid rotational market price action.

Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 has challenged its range top early Tuesday, rising to press record territory from a shaky, but successful, test of its breakout point.

Before detailing the U.S. markets’ wider view, the S&P 500’s
SPX,
-0.13%

 hourly chart highlights the past two weeks.

As illustrated, the S&P has weathered Monday’s brief whipsaw under the breakout point (3,826) a move that swiftly filled last week’s gap.

The subsequent bullish reversal — to close near session highs — places record territory just overhead. The S&P’s latest bull-flag breakout attempt is underway early Tuesday.

True to recent form, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.03%

 continues to lag behind.

The index briefly tagged record highs last week without technically breaking out.

The prevailing pullback preserves a range-bound near-term backdrop. Tactically, the Dow’s former range bottom, circa 30,790, remains an inflection point.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-0.04%

continues to take flight.

Technically, the index has extended its recent gap to record territory, notching four straight record closes.

The prevailing upturn punctuates a mid-month bull flag, also illustrated on the daily chart below.

Widening the view to six months adds perspective.

On this wider view, the Nasdaq has extended a bull-flag breakout, knifing to all-time highs.

The prevailing four-session spike marks a 3.1% technical breakout, confirming the primary uptrend.

Separately, the prevailing upturn also marks a two standard deviation breakout, encompassing three straight closes atop the 20-day volatility bands. (Monday’s close nearly marked a fourth straight close atop the bands, missing by just two hundredths of a point.)

Though still near-term extended — and due to consolidate at some point — the Nasdaq’s statistically unusual January rally is longer-term bullish.

Tactically, the top of the gap (13,329) is followed by the firmer breakout point (13,220).

Looking elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to lag behind, pulling in modestly from last week’s nominal record high.

Still, recall that its early-January breakout marked the strongest of the big three U.S. benchmarks. (The Dow notched three straight closes atop its 20-day Bollinger bands to start January.)

So combined, the Dow’s comparably sluggish prevailing price action — as the Nasdaq takes flight — is consistent with a healthy rotational market backdrop.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has sustained a respectable — though not off-the-charts aggressive — technical breakout.

Recall that the prevailing upturn originates from the 20-day moving average and near-term support (3,764).

The bigger picture

Collectively, the major U.S. benchmarks continue to trend higher. Each big three U.S. benchmark has recently tagged all-time highs, though amid breakout attempts that get mixed marks for style.

On a headline basis, the Nasdaq Composite has taken flight — rising amid statistically unusual momentum — while the Dow industrials’ recent price action remains comparably sluggish. The S&P 500’s backdrop splits the difference.

Amid the rotational backdrop, each benchmark’s intermediate-term bias remains bullish.

Moving to the small-caps, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF
IWM,
-0.56%

 continues to grind higher.

Last week’s close (215.00) marked a record close, and the small-cap benchmark has tagged an absolute record peak this week. Selling pressure remains flat.

Similarly, the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF
MDY,
-0.80%

 has asserted a bullish flag-like pattern.

The recently persistent small- and mid-cap strength is also consistent with rotational market price action.

Looking elsewhere, the SPDR Trust S&P 500
SPY,
-0.14%

 has rallied less decisively to record highs.

Still, the SPY has sustained its break to a higher plateau. The prevailing upturn originates from the 20-day moving average, a widely-tracked near-term trending indicator.

Placing a finer point on the S&P 500, the index has sustained last week’s break to record territory.

The prevailing bull flag — the relatively tight four-session range — marks the latest continuation pattern.

Tactically, the breakout point (3,826) remains the S&P’s first notable floor.

More broadly, the prevailing upturn punctuates a successful test of the 20-day moving average, and familiar near-term support (3,746).

Delving deeper, the ascending 50-day moving average, currently 3,706, is rising toward major support in the 3,723-to-3,726 area, levels matching the December gap and the former breakout point.

Tactically, an eventual violation of these areas would likely raise a caution flag.

Beyond specific levels, the S&P 500’s intermediate-term bias remains bullish, based on today’s backdrop. A near-term target continues to project to the 3,890-to-3,900 area.

Also see: Charting a bullish holding pattern, S&P 500 maintains 20-day average.

Tuesday’s Watch List

The charts below detail names that are technically well positioned. These are radar screen names — sectors or stocks poised to move in the near term. For the original comments on the stocks below, see The Technical Indicator Library.

Drilling down further, the Financial Select Sector SPDR
XLF,
-0.42%

 is acting well technically. (Yield = 2.2%.)

The group started the new year with a breakout, ultimately tagging record highs amid surging Treasury yields. (The group’s January price action mirrors that of the 10-year Treasury note yield in many respects.)

The breakout punctuates a tight December range, hinged to the steep November vaccine-fueled rally.

More immediately, the prevailing pullback places the group near gap support (29.77) and 5.0% under the January peak. Monday’s session low registered within three cents of gap support.

Delving deeper, the 50-day moving average, currently 29.08, closely matches the former range top, circa 29.00. The group’s uptrend is firmly-intact barring a violation.

Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF
XRT,
+2.27%

 continues to take flight.

As illustrated, the group has knifed to all-time highs, rising amid a volume spike.

The upturn punctuates a bull flag, the tight range hinged to the sharp early-January rally. The initial spike marked an unusual two standard deviation breakout, encompassing six closes atop the 20-day volatility bands across a seven-session span. January momentum has registered as extreme in several spots.

Though still near-term extended, and due to consolidate, the strong 2021 start is longer-term bullish. Tactically, the breakout point (74.10) is followed by near-term support, circa 71.80.

Moving to specific names, Prudential Financial, Inc.
PRU,
-0.43%

 is a well positioned large-cap name. (Yield = 5.3%.)

Earlier this month, the shares rallied to 11-month highs, clearing resistance matching the December peak.

The subsequent pullback places the shares near the breakout point (81.30) — a level closely matching trendline support — and 4.5% under the January peak.

Delving slightly deeper, the 50-day moving average, currently 78.70, closely matches the early-January gap. A sustained posture higher signals a bullish bias.

Initially profiled Oct. 13, First Solar, Inc.
FSLR,
-0.96%

 has returned 26.5% and remains well positioned.

As illustrated, the shares have rallied to the range top, rising to briefly tag nine-year highs. An intermediate-term target projects to the 117 area on follow-through.

Conversely, trendline support is rising toward the former range top, circa 98.00. A breakout attempt is in play barring a violation.

More broadly, the shares are well positioned on the 10-year chart, extending the break from a multi-year base.

Rio Tinto Group
RIO,
+0.27%

 is a large-cap U.K.-based producer of copper, aluminum, iron ore and related minerals. (Yield = 4.8%.)

Technically, the shares started January with a strong-volume breakout, knifing to 12-year highs.

The ensuing pullback places the shares near gap support (79.50) and 7.2% under the January peak.

More broadly, the shares are well positioned on the 30-year chart, reaching less-charted territory from a prolonged multi-year base.

Finally, Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.
SRNE,
+11.69%

 is a mid-cap biotech name coming to life.

Earlier this month, the shares knifed atop trendline resistance, reaching three-month highs.

The subsequent pullback has been fueled by decreased volume, placing the shares 16.2% under the January peak. Tactically, the breakout point (8.55) pivots to support. The prevailing rally attempt is intact barring a violation.

Still well positioned

The table below includes names recently profiled in The Technical Indicator that remain well positioned. For the original comments, see The Technical Indicator Library.

Company

Symbol* (Click symbol for chart.)

Date Profiled

Netflix, Inc.

NFLX

Jan. 25

Akamai Technologies, Inc.

AKAM

Jan. 25

Cummins, Inc.

CMI

Jan. 25

Invesco Solar ETF

TAN

Jan. 22

Magna International, Inc.

MGA

Jan. 22

M.D.C. Holdings, Inc.

MDC

Jan. 22

Electronic Arts, Inc.

EA

Jan. 21

Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc.

BBBY

Jan. 21

PVH Corp.

PVH

Jan. 21

Schlumberger Limited

SLB

Jan. 20

Sunnova Energy International, Inc.

NOVA

Jan. 19

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.

RS

Jan. 19

Alaska Air Group, Inc.

ALK

Jan. 15

Chevron Corp.

CVX

Jan. 15

Zebra Technologies Corp.

ZBRA

Jan. 14

Juniper Networks, Inc.

JNPR

Jan. 14

Chegg, Inc.

CHGG

Jan. 11

Ambarella, Inc.

AMBA

Jan. 11

Macy’s, Inc.

M

Jan. 11

Nexstar Media Group, Inc.

NXST

Jan. 11

iShares Transportation Average ETF

IYT

Jan. 11

Energy Select Sector SPDR

XLE

Jan. 8

Teledoc Health, Inc.

TDOC

Jan. 8

Skyworks Solutions, Inc.

SWKS

Jan. 7

Financial Select Sector SPDR

XLF

Jan. 7

FireEye, Inc.

FEYE

Jan. 5

Check Point Software Technologies

CHKP

Jan. 4

Synaptics, Inc.

SYNA

Jan. 4

Sunrun, Inc.

RUN

Dec. 23

ShockWave Medical, Inc.

SWAV

Dec. 23

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPM

Dec. 22

Coupa Software, Inc.

COUP

Dec. 22

PagSeguro Digital Ltd.

PAGS

Dec. 22

Ballard Power Systems, Inc.

BLDP

Dec. 21

LivePerson, Inc.

LPSN

Dec. 21

United Therapeutics Corp.

UTHR

Dec. 21

Shopify, Inc.

SHOP

Dec. 18

CyberArk Software Ltd.

CYBR

Dec. 18

Calix, Inc.

CALX

Dec. 17

Elastic N.V.

ESTC

Dec. 17

Cerner Corp.

CERN

Dec. 17

Tenet Healthcare Corp.

THC

Dec. 16

Sunnova Energy International, Inc.

NOVA

Dec. 16

Toyota Motor Co.

TM

Dec. 15

Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

WSM

Dec. 15

iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF

IBB

Dec. 15

SDPR S&P Regional Banking ETF

KRE

Dec. 14

Etsy, Inc.

ETSY

Dec. 14

Surface Oncology, Inc.

SURF

Dec. 14

Monster Beverage Corp.

MNST

Dec. 9

Plug Power, Inc.

PLUG

Dec. 9

F5 Networks, Inc.

FFIV

Dec. 8

Emerson Electric Co.

EMR

Dec. 8

Zscaler, Inc.

ZS

Dec. 7

Fortinet, Inc.

FTNT

Dec. 7

Kulicke and Soffa Industries, Inc.

KLIC

Dec. 7

Dillard’s, Inc.

DDS

Dec. 4

Caleres, Inc.

CAL

Dec. 4

Spotify Technology S.A.

SPOT

Dec. 3

Align Technology, Inc.

ALGN

Dec. 3

Valero Energy Corp.

VLO

Dec. 3

Analog Devices, Inc.

ADI

Dec. 2

Cirrus Logic, Inc.

CRUS

Dec. 1

Sonos, Inc.

SONO

Dec. 1

Dollar Tree, Inc.

DLTR

Dec. 1

Nuance Communications, Inc.

NUAN

Nov. 30

Northern Trust Corp.

NTRS

Nov. 30

American Airlines Group, Inc.

AAL

Nov. 30

Microchip Technology, Inc.

MCHP

Nov. 24

Zillow Group, Inc.

ZG

Nov. 23

Yeti Holdings, Inc.

YETI

Nov. 23

Palo Alto Networks, Inc.

PANW

Nov. 20

Bank of America Corp.

BAC

Nov. 20

Eaton Corp.

ETN

Nov. 20

SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production ETF

XOP

Nov. 20

MetLife, Inc.

MET

Nov. 19

American Express Co.

AXP

Nov. 18

Kohl’s Corp.

KSS

Nov. 18

Applied Materials, Inc.

AMAT

Nov. 17

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

DAL

Nov. 17

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR

XLP

Nov. 17

Ross Stores, Inc.

ROST

Nov. 16

RingCentral, Inc.

RNG

Nov. 13

Regions Financial Corp.

RF

Nov. 13

iShares Europe ETF

IEV

Nov. 13

Flex, Inc.

FLEX

Nov. 9

Snap, Inc.

SNAP

Nov. 9

Norfolk Southern Corp.

NSC

Nov. 9

Communications Services Select Sector SPDR

XLC

Nov. 5

Health Care Select Sector SPDR

XLV

Nov. 5

Alphabet, Inc.

GOOGL

Nov. 5

Uber Technologies, Inc.

UBER

Nov. 5

Keysight Technologies, Inc.

KEYS

Nov. 4

Harley-Davidson, Inc.

HOG

Nov. 4

Garmin, Ltd.

GRMN

Nov. 4

Pinterest, Inc.

PINS

Nov. 3

Sony Corp.

SNE

Nov. 3

8×8, Inc.

EGHT

Nov. 3

Exact Sciences Corp.

EXAS

Nov. 2

Universal Display Corp.

OLED

Nov. 2

Dentsply Sirona, Inc.

XRAY

Oct. 27

Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.

MXIM

Oct. 21

The Travelers Companies, Inc.

TRV

Oct. 21

Micron Technology, Inc.

MU

Oct. 20

Vulcan Materials Co.

VMC

Oct. 19

ON Semiconductor Corp.

ON

Oct. 16

Ford Motor Co.

F

Oct. 15

Texas Instruments, Inc.

TXN

Oct. 15

First Solar, Inc.

FSLR

Oct. 13

Nevro Corp.

NVRO

Oct. 12

Teradyne, Inc.

TER

Oct. 12

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF

XHB

Oct. 9

Shake Shack, Inc.

SHAK

Oct. 9

SPDR S&P Biotech ETF

XBI

Oct. 8

Twilio, Inc.

TWLO

Oct. 8

Cloudflare, Inc.

NET

Oct. 7

Ceridian HCM Holding, Inc.

CDAY

Oct. 7

RSailPoint Technology Holdings, Inc.

SAIL

Oct. 1

Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.

MLM

Sept. 30

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

ANF

Sept. 29

Zendesk, Inc.

ZEN

Sept. 23

Scientific Games Corp.

SGMS

Sept. 23

Crocs, Inc.

CROX

Sept. 14

Five Below, Inc.

FIVE

Sept. 10

Eastman Chemical Co.

EMN

Sept. 10

International Paper Co.

IP

Sept. 3

Anaplan, Inc.

PLAN

Sept. 2

Deere & Co.

DE

Aug. 24

Expedia Group, Inc.

EXPE

Aug. 24

Johnson Controls International

JCI

Aug. 21

Canadian Solar, Inc.

CSIQ

Aug. 20

General Motors Co.

GM

Aug. 20

Starbucks Corp.

SBUX

Aug. 18

Builders FirstSource, Inc.

BLDR

Aug. 18

Steel Dynamics, Inc.

STLD

Aug. 17

Brinker International, Inc.

EAT

Aug. 13

Enphase Energy, Inc.

ENPH

Aug. 13

Nucor Corp.

NUE

Aug. 11

Freeport McMoRan, Inc.

FCX

Aug. 10

Natera, Inc.

NTRA

Aug. 10

Industrial Select Sector SPDR

XLI

Aug. 6

Penn National Gaming, Inc.

PENN

July 30

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF

XME

July 28

iShares MSCI South Korea ETF

EWY

July 28

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

AMD

July 23

Materials Select Sector SPDR

XLB

July 20

Caterpillar, Inc.

CAT

July 20

Roku, Inc.

ROKU

July 16

Cognizant Technology Solutions, Inc.

CTSH

July 16

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR

XLY

July 13

SunPower Corp.

SPWR

July 13

Walmart, Inc.

WMT

July 8

Danaher Corp.

DHR

June 24

Fiverr International, Ltd.

FVRR

June 19

HubSpot, Inc.

HUBS

June 8

Square, Inc.

SQ

June 8

SPDR S&P Retail ETF

XRT

June 3

iShares MSCI Japan ETF

EWJ

May 29

Synopsis, Inc.

SNPS

May 27

Agilent Technologies, Inc.

A

May 15

Qualcomm, Inc.

QCOM

May 12

Five9, Inc.

FIVN

Apr. 24

Chewy, Inc.

CHWY

Apr. 24

Tesla, Inc.

TSLA

Apr. 23

VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF

SMH

Apr. 17

Okta, Inc.

OKTA

Apr. 16

Target Corp.

TGT

Apr. 16

Invesco QQQ Trust

QQQ

Apr. 14

Apple, Inc.

AAPL

Mar. 27

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

EEM

Mar. 19

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT

Feb. 22

* Click each symbol for current chart.


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