Frankly, there are so many cross-currents influencing the markets at any given time, uncertainty clearly has the upper hand -- even when we think that new information or decisions are alleviating some of the uncertainty.
Case in point: crude oil prices. Is downward pressure positive for equities (for obvious reasons: i.e., the consumer gets a "tax cut"), or negative because it might reflect a serious slow down in U.S. and global economic growth (read: China demand)?
I don't know the answer, but I am leaning towards the latter scenario right now.
Looking at the nearby NYMEX crude oil futures chart we see that prices continue to follow their technical script, which called for a breakdown from the four-week coil pattern towards an optimal target zone of 90.00-88.00.
So far, the plunge from the coil has hit a confirmed low of 92.12 earlier this morning. Barring a sustained climb above 97.25, my pattern and momentum work will continue to point to 90.00-88.00.
Whether or not downward pressure on NYMEX oil (and to a lesser extent Brent) will translate into headwinds for Exxon (XOM), Schlumberger (SLB), ConocoPhillips (COP), Halliburton (HAL), Chevron (CVX) and the ProShares UltraShort Oil & Gas ETF (DUG) remains to be seen.
That said, with the possible exception of CVX, all of the above-mentioned energy names exhibit very toppy intermediate-term chart patterns.