An improving global economy and stronger demand for higher risk assets helped drive crude oil futures higher this week. Although the market looked sluggish at times due to technically overbought conditions and uncertainty over the U.S. debt ceiling issue, the nearby futures contract has been able to hold on to most of its gains.
Typically, a rally lasts 7 to 10 weeks. We are now in the eleventh week since the bottom at $85.40. This makes the market vulnerable to a short-term correction. The best topping signal to watch for is a closing price reversal. This occurs after the market has had a prolonged move up in terms of price and time and closes lower after posting a new high for the week. All of these conditions have been met this week so a close below $96.04 on Friday could trigger the start of a decline next week.
On Thursday, January 24 the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil supplies rose by 2.8 million barrels. This was higher than pre-report estimates and could be the catalyst that puts in the top and triggers the start of a much needed break.
Basically the fundamentals suggest the market should start to correct the eleven week rally. Speculators, on the other hand, buoyed by stronger demand for higher yielding assets and a bullish stock market continue to drive prices higher. Markets don’t go up forever and buying eventually dries up, but at this time there doesn’t…