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It could have been worse, and for a short while, it was. Though the S&P 500 ended yesterday's action down 0.25%, at one point it was off by as much as 0.67%. The Fed's explanation of why it didn't push interest rates higher this month but still plans to push them higher through next year ended up being palatable enough to most investors.
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI ) was one of the names that proved most problematic for the broad market. It lost 3.5% of its value during the session, in front of its post-close earnings report. Those sellers made the right call though, as ATVI fell 8% in after-hours trading after serving up fourth-quarter estimates that were less than hoped . Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU ) was one of the biggest losers of the day, however, falling 22.3% in response to slowing quarterly revenue growth .
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) was up 1.1% but largely because investors couldn't find much else to buy or come up with much reason to sell it. There were nowhere near enough B of A's to lift the overall market out of the red on Thursday, however.
Headed into the last trading day of the week, it's the stock charts of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ), Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO ) and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR ) that look the most promising. Here's what's looking right, and wrong, with each.
It was only a few days ago Intel was put under the trading microscope after it failed to move back above a key moving average line. Given how much resistance more than one of these lines had imposed in recent weeks, to see it not happen this time around was a hint of yet-another pullback.
The bulls kept on swinging though, and with a little help from the overall market tide, that ceiling has been breached. INTC may be on the mend after all.
Click to Enlarge • The moving average line in question is the gray 100-day moving average line, which cooled the rebound effort last week. Intel pushed above that level on Wednesday, and widened the gap a little more on Thursday.
• The weekly chart shows new bigger-picture momentum. The downtrend since May has clearly been snapped, and we're on the verge of a fresh bullish MACD cross.
• Though progress is being made, notice that the white 200-day moving average line looms above, and that the rally effort so far has been on poor volume. Both could become liabilities.
Marathon Oil (MRO)
To be fair, the weakness evident in Marathon Oil shares likely has more to do with broad weakness in oil prices than with Marathon itself. Most of these stocks have been fighting a losing battle of late.
Nevertheless, MRO has dropped some alarming hints that its battle is even tougher than most of its peers. One more bad day could push the stock over the cliff's edge.
Click to Enlarge • The breakdown is clear. Not only has MRO fallen below its white 200-day moving average line, that line appears to have become resistance in the meantime. A couple of attempts to crawl back above it have failed, with Thursday's failure dragging the stock all the way back to the lower end of the recent trading range.
• Notice how the selling volume continues to edge higher as well.
• If the recent support around $17.80 breaks down, the next plausible floor is around $14.70.
Juniper Networks (JNPR)
Finally, at first glance it looks like Juniper Networks shares are in the midst of a rally that just won't quit. But, it has looked like that before, only to end up quitting. In fact, the recent strength has carried it right back to lines and levels that have put pullbacks into motion.
Click to Enlarge • On the daily chart, you can see JNPR is within pennies of the technical ceiling that tags all the major highs going back to June. It's not quite there yet, and the RSI indicator isn't quite to overbought levels yet either. But, both are close.
• Zooming out to a weekly chart of Juniper, we can see the stock is within striking distance of the multiyear peak near $31 that was made in the middle of last year. A lot of investors will be making a major decision soon.
• If Juniper Networks does roll over, any selloff should be fairly limited. Any of the moving average lines plotted on the daily chart could stop the bleeding, particularly with some help from the rising support line that's been in place since April.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter , at @jbrumley.
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