Get Ready for the Retracement: Analyst
Updated from 5:30 p.m. ET to include additional analyst commentary.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The theory that there's still plenty of money on the sidelines waiting for stocks to pull back in order to jump in could get tested soon.
Mark Arbeter, chief technical strategist at S&P Capital IQ , has been out with commentary for the past two weeks saying the S&P 500 is due for a swoon since surging more than 20% off the October lows, and he's not backing off now.
"We still believe that the stock market is in the process of tracing out a minor top within the confines of an intermediate-term uptrend," he wrote on Friday. "We see the major indices falling 3% to 5% over the next month, before resuming their uptrend, which we think will take the major averages to new recovery highs by the second half of the second quarter."
The great rally of 2012 has been a low-volume, churning affair. Triple-digit swings in the Dow Jones Industrial Average have been few and far between. Since Jan. 18, the VIX, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, has only closed above 20 two times, and its finish on Thursday at 16.83 was its lowest since early July.
From a sector standpoint, information technology has been the leader, up more than 14% so far this year, helped by Apple(AAPL) of course; followed by the financials, up more than 13%, and the materials sector, which has gained more than 12%. The only two sectors in negative territory are utilities, down 3.5%, and telecommunications, off less than 1%.
This holiday-shortened week was positive for the major indices but not by much. Greece reached a deal on austerity measures to secure its next round of bailout funds from Eurozone leaders, and managed to launch a debt swap with its private creditors on Friday, allowing investors to take a so far, so good view of the region. Earnings season is winding down and the fact that it was no great shakes hasn't been a problem, partly because the improving data on employment and housing has picked up the slack.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 were up 0.3% for the week, while the Nasdaq tacked on 0.4%. Year-to-date, they've appreciated 6.3%, 8.6%, and 13.8%, respectively. As of Friday's close at 1365.74, the index's highest finish since June 2008, the S&P 500 is right up against its 2011 intraday peak of 1370.58, and Arbeter is seeing signs that it's primed for a dip.