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The One Chart You Need to Watch Right Now

By Jeff Clark
Thursday, March 27, 2014

If you're worried about trouble in the stock market, there's one sector you need to keep an eye on.
Banking stocks are the market's version of the canary in the coal mine. If there's going to be a correction, it'll show up first in these stocks.
The Financial Select Sector Fund (XLF) broke out to a new high last week. And so far, it has been immune to the volatility this week. That makes it tough – even for diehard skeptics like me – to argue there's trouble brewing in the stock market.
But the momentum of the financial sector could change course at any moment...
Take a look at this chart of XLF...
stock chart XLF
The red lines represent the support and resistance lines of a rising channel. It's a series of higher highs and higher lows – which is bullish.
The blue lines within the channel, however, outline a rising-wedge formation. That's a potential reversal pattern, which is bearish.
Most of the time, rising-wedge formations break to the downside. So if XLF breaks below the support line of the wedge – at about $22 per share – the canary will be telling us the stock market may be entering a rough spell. Perhaps it'll be just a mild correction, similar to what we saw in January... and XLF will remain inside its rising-channel pattern.
But – and this is a big BUT – if XLF breaks the rising wedge to the downside and breaks below the support line of the rising-channel pattern, there's a bigger problem. XLF will be signaling it's time to get out of the stock market.
Pay attention to this chart. If there's trouble ahead for the stock market, XLF will give you the first warning.
Best regards and good trading,
Jeff Clark
P.S. You can now follow my market comments on Twitter at @JeffClarktrader.

Further Reading:

The canary in the coal mine is just one of many indicators Jeff uses to see where stocks are headed next. Brush up on some of his other trading tools here: Bollinger Bands, the MACD indicator, bullish percent indexes, and the "empty restaurant" indicator.
Editor in Chief Brian Hunt has reviewed just about every type of technical analysis out there. And he has distilled this complex subject into a few important ideas that belong in every investor's toolkit. Learn how to time your trades – and ensure the biggest profits – right here.

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Market Watch
Symbol Price
S&P 500 1852.56 -0.7% +18.5%
Oil (USO) 36.09 +0.9% +4.8%
Gold (GLD) 125.41 -0.8% -18.9%
Silver (SLV) 19.02 -1.0% -31.5%
U.S. Dollar 80.04 +0.1% -3.4%
Euro 1.38 -0.2% +7.3%
Volatility (^VIX) 14.93 +6.5% +16.9%
Gold Stocks (^HUI) 219.52 -3.7% -37.7%
10-Year Yield 2.70 -1.1% +41.4%

World ETFs
Symbol Price
Israel (ISL) 17.91 -0.5% +25.5%
USA (SPY) 184.97 -0.7% +20.8%
India (IFN) 22.38 +1.2% +12.0%
Taiwan (EWT) 14.18 +0.0% +8.5%
S. Africa (EZA) 65.11 +0.2% +4.1%
Canada (EWC) 29.13 -0.1% +4.0%
Japan (EWJ) 11.05 +0.7% +3.8%
S. Korea (EWY) 60.17 +1.3% +2.7%
China (FXI) 34.85 +0.2% -3.6%
Singapore (EWS) 12.77 +0.7% -6.1%
Russia (TRF) 12.86 +1.0% -11.6%
Lat.America (ILF) 34.98 -0.3% -16.3%

Sector ETFs
Symbol Price
Alt. Energy (PBW) 6.95 -4.9% +64.0%
Biotech (PBE) 41.44 -1.8% +62.2%
Defense (PPA) 31.94 -1.0% +41.1%
Semis (PSI) 20.47 -1.8% +32.5%
Health Care (IYH) 121.99 +0.0% +29.8%
Big Tech (QQQQ) 87.37 -1.3% +29.2%
Nanotech (PXN) 8.40 +0.7% +31.1%
Media (PBS) 24.71 -0.5% +27.6%
Consumer Svcs (IYC) 119.38 -1.0% +24.1%
Telecom (IYZ) 29.22 -1.3% +24.0%
Industrials (IYJ) 99.11 -1.0% +24.0%
Transportation (IYT) 132.89 -1.6% +21.9%
Financials (IYF) 81.10 -1.0% +21.2%
Basic Mat (IYM) 82.14 -1.5% +19.5%
Software (PSJ) 35.44 -1.6% +18.4%
Retail (PMR) 32.64 -1.0% +18.4%
Insurance (PIC) 19.01 +0.1% +18.3%
Water (PHO) 26.06 -1.5% +14.1%
Construction (PKB) 22.48 -1.4% +11.5%
Utilities (XLU) 40.62 -0.4% +9.8%
Real Estate (IYR) 66.52 -1.1% +0.2%