Markets put in a decent showing for themselves today as the averages CLOSED near highs for the session, albeit with modest gains. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 added .4%, with the S&P 500 hitting a roadblock at its still rising 50 day SMA recording a bullish hammer candle, and the Russell 2000 took the day off falling .2%, but for a fifth consecutive day finished in the upper half of its daily range. For the week headed into Friday the Nasdaq is showing a nice gain of 2.2% and looking for its third weekly gain in the last four beginning with the powerful 5.3% advance the week ending 2/16. The tech heavy index is now about 1% from recent all time highs made in late January near the round 7500 number. The S&P 500 is higher by 1.6% so far and the Dow has added 1.3% so far this week.

Looking at individual it was a risk off flavor with the utilities, staples and healthcare at the top of the leaderboard. Not the type of participation bulls wanted to see. Industrials and technology rounded out the top 5 and energy and materials lagged. It was a quiet session as none of the major S&P sectors rose by more than 1%, and nearly all ended in the green. Within the cyclicals it was the gaming related plays that shined as WYNN rose more than 6%. Its chart reveals a few things with a reversal at the very round 200 number in late January and a bear trap as the 3/2 session recorded a bullish hammer which set off the current 4 day winning streak. The trap was because intraday it was beneath a bearish head and shoulders neckline pivot of 160 that had a 40 point measured move lower and another great example of why we demand CLOSING prices. There is a bit of headline risk in the name with Steve Wynn in the news and I have no real opinion on the play just an illustration of why CLOSING prices should be respected. Retailers continue to be a concern with the XRT slipping 1.7% Thursday and has been below its 50 day SMA for one month now.

The packaging plays offer valid clues as to the genuine health of the economy, for obvious reasons. If goods are not being packaged they are not being produced. We highlighted FBR, a Brazilian paper name recently , and today we look at a metal packager. Below is the chart of BLL and how it appeared in our Wednesday 2/28 Game Plan. Notice how it did several things right with a successful gap fill in the middle of February, and a bullish piercing line on 2/6. There however has been a tug Of war at the upward sloping 200 day SMA between bulls and bears as if time it approached the long term secular line it was rejected in December, January and February. That has changed now with a current four session winning streak as the last 3 days have CLOSED above the line. One now looks to see how it reacts when and IF it nears the add on cup base pivot point of 43.34.

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