Breakouts vs Breakdowns: Capitulation or Disaster?

Every night I scan for stocks breaking out (upward breakout) and breakout down. I mainly screen for stocks with specific price and volume movements, along with additional moving average and momentum screens. Friday had the biggest discrepancy between breakouts and breakdowns that I can remember. Only 26 stocks showed up on the breakout screen, while a whopping 552 showed up on the breakdown screen.

I honestly am not sure what this data is telling me. It could mean that Friday was a market capitulation event, and most of the correction is behind us. On the flip side, it could be a signal that things are really bad and the worst is yet to come. While I’m not willing to make any big bets, I do think a weak bounce here is an opportune time to deploy a few more short plays.

However, I won’t get carried away. Take a look at this three year chart of the $SPX. Until I’m shown evidence to the contrary (which my heart and brain tell me I should expect), I will operate under the assumption that I must be ready to cover shorts at a moments notice.

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