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Charting a bullish technical tilt: Dow 30,000 and Nasdaq 12,000 under siege



Technically speaking, the U.S. benchmarks continue to rise amid bullish market rotation and expanding sector participation.

Against this backdrop, two round-number milestones are under siege early Tuesday — Dow 30,000 and Nasdaq 12,000 — as each benchmark builds on already firmly-bullish November price action.

Before detailing the U.S. markets’ wider view, the S&P 500’s
 hourly chart highlights the past two weeks.

As illustrated, the S&P is digesting the steep early-November rally.

Tactically, a near-term floor matches the October peak (3,550) and is followed by the post-breakout low (3,512).

Conversely, the September peak (3,588) marks an overhead inflection point and is followed by the S&P’s record close (3,626.9).

Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
 is traversing a range-bound backdrop.

Tactically, overhead inflection points match the Dow’s record close (29,950.44) and absolute record peak (29,964.29). Both areas are under siege early Tuesday.

Against this backdrop, the Nasdaq Composite
has flatlined, asserting a tight six-session range.

This is the only major U.S. benchmark not to register a record close last week.

Against this backdrop, major resistance remains slightly more distant, areas better illustrated below.

Widening the view to six months adds perspective.

On this wider view, the Nasdaq is traversing the November range. The prevailing upturn punctuates a successful test of major support in the 11,450-to-11,460 area.

Conversely, the range top marks significant resistance. Overhead inflection points match the October peak (11,965) and September peak (12,074), formerly the Nasdaq’s all-time high.

Also see the Nasdaq’s record close (12,056.44), established Sept. 2. To reiterate, the marquee 12,000 mark is under siege early Tuesday.

Looking elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has sustained a November breakout.

To reiterate, the prevailing flag-like pattern positions the index to build on the steep early-month rally.

Tactically, notable floors match the September peak (29,199) and gap support (29,127), areas that underpinned last week’s pullback.

More broadly, the prevailing upturn punctuates a bullish double bottom — defined by the September and October lows — and originates from the 200-day moving average.

Similarly, the S&P 500 has staged an orderly pullback from its record close, established last week.

Here again, the prevailing flag pattern punctuates a well-defined double bottom. Recall that the November rally originates from major support (3,233).

The bigger picture

As detailed above, the major U.S. benchmarks are acting well technically.

On a headline basis, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials have sustained early-November breakouts — asserting bullish flag patterns — while the Nasdaq Composite remains range-bound.

More immediately, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has tagged the 30,000 mark early Tuesday for the first time on record.

Perhaps not surprisingly, each benchmark’s intermediate-term bias remains firmly bullish.

Moving to the small-caps, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF has extended a break to record highs.

The prevailing upturn punctuates last week’s unusually tight range, a backdrop signaling muted selling pressure.

Similarly, the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF has extended its November breakout.

Here again, the prevailing follow-through punctuates last week’s tight range near record highs.

Combined, the small- and mid-cap benchmarks have staged tandem bull-flag breakouts, reaching previously uncharted territory.

Looking elsewhere, the SPDR Trust S&P 500 is holding its range top.

As detailed repeatedly, the prevailing flag-like pattern is hinged to a double bottom — the W formation — defined by the September and October lows. Bullish price action.

Placing a finer point on the S&P 500, the index is traversing a jagged two-week range.

Within the range, the October peak (3,550) marks a notable floor, a level that has underpinned seven straight closes.

More broadly, the S&P has asserted a flag-like pattern hinged to the steep early-November rally from major support (3,233).

As always, the bull flag is a continuation pattern, improving the chances of upside follow-through.

Tactically, the S&P’s record close (3,626.91) and absolute record peak (3,645.99) mark overhead inflection points. The pending retest from underneath should be a useful bull-bear gauge.

Against this backdrop, the prevailing upturn punctuates a double bottom defined by the September and October lows. As detailed repeatedly, an intermediate-term target projects to the 3,800 area on follow-through.

Also see: Charting the approach of Dow 30,000 as bullish sector rotation persists.

Tuesday’s Watch List

The charts below detail names that are technically well positioned. These are radar screen names — sectors or stocks poised to move in the near term. For the original comments on the stocks below, see The Technical Indicator Library.

Drilling down further, the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF
 is acting well technically. (Yield = 1.7%.)

Earlier this month, the group gapped to record territory, clearing resistance matching the October peak.

The subsequent pullback has been effectively underpinned by the breakout point, and punctuated by a bull flag, the recently tight one-week range.

Monday’s close marked a nominal record close, laying the groundwork for potentially more decisive follow-through. An intermediate-term target continues to project to the 210.00 area.

Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF is showing signs of life.

As illustrated, the group has weathered the Nov. 9 downdraft, the long red bar induced by recent vaccine progress. (A vaccine is expected to redirect spending away from housing, on a relative basis, and toward more conventional spending patterns.)

More immediately, the prevailing upturn has been punctuated by a nominal record high. An intermediate-term target projects to the 62.50 area on follow-through.

Initially profiled April 23 — and revisited last week — Tesla, Inc.
 has returned 255% and remains well positioned.

Earlier this month, the shares knifed atop trendline resistance, rising after the announcement that the company will be added to the S&P 500, effective Dec. 21.

As of today, Tesla would be the seventh-most valuable S&P 500 component.

The subsequent follow-through has been punctuated by a break to record territory. Tactically, a sustained posture atop the breakout point (502.50) signals a firmly-bullish bias. Delving deeper, the post-breakout low (487.60) is followed by the former range top (465.90).

More broadly, the shares are well positioned on the two-year chart, rising from a continuation pattern hinged to the massive mid-2020 breakout.

Coca-Cola Co.
 is a well positioned Dow 30 component. (Yield = 3.1%.)

Technically, the shares have recently gapped to eight-month highs, rising amid a vaccine-fueled strong-volume spike.

The subsequent pullback has been orderly, placing the shares 3.7% under the November peak.

Tactically, the top of the gap (52.07) is followed by the firmer breakout point (51.50). The prevailing rally attempt is intact barring a violation.

Finally, Microchip Technology, Inc.
 is a well positioned large-cap semiconductor name.

Earlier this month, the shares gapped to all-time highs, rising after the company’s strong second-quarter results. The breakout punctuated a prolonged five-month range, underpinned by the 200-day moving average.

More immediately, the shares have registered consecutive record closes fractionally under the early-November peak (131.65). A near-term target projects to the 141 area on follow-through.

Still well positioned

The table below includes names recently profiled in The Technical Indicator that remain well positioned. For the original comments, see The Technical Indicator Library.


Symbol* (Click symbol for chart.)

Date Profiled

Zillow Group, Inc.


Nov. 23

Yeti Holdings, Inc.


Nov. 23

Carvana Co.


Nov. 23

Palo Alto Networks, Inc.


Nov. 20

Bank of America Corp.


Nov. 20

Eaton Corp.


Nov. 20

SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production ETF


Nov. 20

MetLife, Inc.


Nov. 19

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc.


Nov. 19

American Express Co.


Nov. 18

Kohl’s Corp.


Nov. 18

FleetCor Technologies


Nov. 18

Applied Materials, Inc.


Nov. 17

Delta Air Lines, Inc.


Nov. 17

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR


Nov. 17

Appian Corp.


Nov. 16

Ross Stores, Inc.


Nov. 16

Boeing Co.


Nov. 16

RingCentral, Inc.


Nov. 13

Urban Outfitters, Inc.


Nov. 13

Regions Financial Corp.


Nov. 13

iShares Europe ETF


Nov. 13

Flex, Inc.


Nov. 9

Snap, Inc.


Nov. 9

Norfolk Southern Corp.


Nov. 9

Materials Select Sector SPDR


Nov. 6

Communications Services Select Sector SPDR


Nov. 5

Health Care Select Sector SPDR


Nov. 5

Alphabet, Inc.


Nov. 5

Uber Technologies, Inc.


Nov. 5

Keysight Technologies, Inc.


Nov. 4

Harley-Davidson, Inc.


Nov. 4

Garmin, Ltd.


Nov. 4

Pinterest, Inc.


Nov. 3

Sony Corp.


Nov. 3

8×8, Inc.


Nov. 3

Exact Sciences Corp.


Nov. 2

Universal Display Corp.


Nov. 2

Dentsply Sirona, Inc.


Oct. 27

Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.


Oct. 21

Jazz Pharmaceuticals, plc


Oct. 21

The Travelers Companies, Inc.


Oct. 21

Micron Technology, Inc.


Oct. 20

Vulcan Materials Co.


Oct. 19

Utilities Select Sector SPDR


Oct. 19

ON Semiconductor Corp.


Oct. 16

Ford Motor Co.


Oct. 15

Texas Instruments, Inc.


Oct. 15

Skyworks Solutions, Inc.


Oct. 14

First Solar, Inc.


Oct. 13

Nevro Corp.


Oct. 12

Teradyne, Inc.


Oct. 12

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF


Oct. 9

Shake Shack, Inc.


Oct. 9

SPDR S&P Biotech ETF


Oct. 8

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Oct. 8

Twilio, Inc.


Oct. 8

Cloudflare, Inc.


Oct. 7

Ceridian HCM Holding, Inc.


Oct. 7

Gap, Inc.


Oct. 6

Motorola Solutions, Inc.


Oct. 6

RSailPoint Technology Holdings, Inc.


Oct. 1

Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.


Sept. 30

Whirlpool Corp.


Sept. 29

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.


Sept. 29

Blueprint Medicines Co.


Sept. 28

Zendesk, Inc.


Sept. 23

Scientific Games Corp.


Sept. 23

Crocs, Inc.


Sept. 14

Five Below, Inc.


Sept. 10

Eastman Chemical Co.


Sept. 10

International Paper Co.


Sept. 3

Anaplan, Inc.


Sept. 2

Celanese Corp.


Aug. 26

Westlake Chemical Corp.


Aug. 25

Deere & Co.


Aug. 24

Expedia Group, Inc.


Aug. 24

Johnson Controls International


Aug. 21

Canadian Solar, Inc.


Aug. 20

General Motors Co.


Aug. 20

Starbucks Corp.


Aug. 18

Builders FirstSource, Inc.


Aug. 18

Steel Dynamics, Inc.


Aug. 17

Elanco Animal Health, Inc.


Aug. 17

Brinker International, Inc.


Aug. 13

Enphase Energy, Inc.


Aug. 13

Nucor Corp.


Aug. 11

Freeport McMoRan, Inc.


Aug. 10

Natera, Inc.


Aug. 10

McDonald’s Corp.


Aug. 7

Industrial Select Sector SPDR


Aug. 6

Penn National Gaming, Inc.


July 30

Procter & Gamble Co.


July 29

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF


July 28

iShares MSCI South Korea ETF


July 28

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.


July 23

Best Buy Co., Inc.


July 22

Materials Select Sector SPDR


July 20

Caterpillar, Inc.


July 20

Roku, Inc.


July 16

Cognizant Technology Solutions, Inc.


July 16

Costco Wholesale Corp.


July 15

Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR


July 13

SunPower Corp.


July 13

Walmart, Inc.


July 8

Danaher Corp.


June 24

Fiverr International, Ltd.


June 19

HubSpot, Inc.


June 8

Square, Inc.


June 8

FedEx Corp.


June 3



June 3

iShares MSCI Japan ETF


May 29

Synopsis, Inc.


May 27

Agilent Technologies, Inc.


May 15

Qualcomm, Inc.


May 12

Facebook, Inc.


May 7

Dollar General Corp.


Apr. 28

ServiceNow, Inc.


Apr. 27

Five9, Inc.


Apr. 24

Chewy, Inc.


Apr. 24

Tesla, Inc.


Apr. 23

VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF


Apr. 17

Veeva Systems, Inc.


Apr. 17

Okta, Inc.


Apr. 16

Target Corp.


Apr. 16

Invesco QQQ Trust


Apr. 14

Apple, Inc.


Mar. 27

Nvidia Corp.


Mar. 27

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF


Mar. 19

Microsoft Corp.


Feb. 22

* Click each symbol for current chart.

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‘I could live on my Social Security and still save money’: This 66-year-old left Chicago for ‘calming’ Costa Rica — where he now plans to live indefinitely




Editor’s note: This article was first published in September 2019.

A school break changed 66-year-old Martin Farber’s life forever.

In 2007, his daughter — who at the time was attending Illinois State University — decided she wanted to spend a college holiday volunteering in Costa Rica and staying with a local family, he explains. She came home raving about the experience, so, in 2008, Farber — who at the time was living in Evanston, Ill., just outside Chicago, and selling cars — took his first trip there.

“It was a big surprise to me — bumpy roads, dogs barking in the streets,” he says. “I wasn’t enamored at first.”

But as his daughter began traveling there more and eventually moved there for a year, he took additional trips to Costa Rica. It quickly grew on him — in particular, the people. “The Costa Rican people are warm, open and friendly. I felt less invisible in a strange country in a strange town where I didn’t speak the language than I did in Evanston.”

And the more time he spent there, the more it impacted him: “On one of my trips there, I thought: My daughter’s life makes more sense than mine,” he says. “There was nothing wrong with my life, but I felt that my life was out of context with who I’d become. … I would have bills and make money to pay them, but that had ceased to be satisfying,” he recalls. “I knew I needed to change my life — there was no more joy in what I was doing.”

What’s more, when he’d return from his Costa Rica trips, people noticed. “I would come back, and my friends and therapist would say: You seem better after you go,” he says with a laugh.

A view from the hot springs near Martin Farber’s home in Costa Rica.

Martin Farber

So in 2014, he packed up and moved to Orosi — a picturesque, lush small town with waterfalls and hot springs a little over an hour’s drive from San Jose — promising himself he’d stay for two years. It’s been five, and he now plans to stay in Costa Rica indefinitely. (Though Farber notes that, to him, “it’s not a retirement; it’s a chance to lead a new and different life.”)

Here’s what his life is like, from costs to health care to residency to everyday life:

The cost: While many expats spend way more living in Costa Rica, Farber says: “I could live on my Social Security and still save money.” He says “a person can live on $1,200 per month, two people on $2,000.” The key, he says, is to live more like he does and as the Costa Ricans do — in a modest home, eating local food and purchasing local goods.

Indeed, Farber himself spends just $300 a month for rent (he rents a home from a friend who moved recently and gave him a good deal), roughly $225 a month on groceries and just $50 a month total on water and electricity (the temperate climate in Orosi means you rarely need heat or air conditioning). The veteran Volkswagen


salesman saves money by not owning a car (those over 65 ride municipal buses for free), which can be a significant expense in Costa Rica; for his cellphone, “I pay as I go … roughly $10 may last me a couple weeks or more,” he says, adding that “many people handle there their cellphones this way. You can get them recharged anywhere.”

His major expense is travel: He goes back to the U.S. to visit his mother in Florida several times a year and lately has spent part of the summer in Chicago helping out a friend with a dealership there. He also spends a good amount of money on health care. He says that while flights can be had for as little as $350 roundtrip during offseasons, the cost can be much higher the rest of the year.

In the saddle.

Martin Farber

Health care: Farber, who has permanent resident status in Costa Rica, says he pays about $90 per month to participate in the country’s health-care system — adding that the health care he’s received has been very good. (A 2018 study of health-care quality and access in more than 190 nations ranked Costa Rica No. 62.)

When he developed a detached retina, though, he paid for the procedure out of pocket so that he didn’t have to wait for the required surgery, he says — adding that the entire procedure cost him about $5,000. “I would have had to have waited four days,” he says, if he had not paid to expedite matters. “That might have been fine, but it might not.” And he adds that the quality of care depends on where you get it in the country.

Lifestyle: Though Farber says that he “moved here with no goals and no agenda,” he’s found plenty to do. “I take Spanish lessons two days a week for two hours a day. It’s been great. I never thought I would acquire a usable language in my 60s,” he says. He also rides his bike all around the area, does some writing and belongs to a community group that undertakes projects to improve the area.

And he often simply takes in nature, which he says has been an essential part of why he feels calmer and more relaxed in Costa Rica than in the U.S. “I live at 3,000 feet but in a valley surrounded by coffee fields and lime trees and water. At night, if I open the windows, I can hear the river rushing by,” he says. “It is very calming … hundreds of trees everywhere … you know the Earth is alive.”

The historic Iglesia de San José de Orosi.


Cons: “I don’t want to overglorify. It’s not without its problems,” Farber says of Costa Rica. “There are social problems and downsides.” He notes that crime and petty theft can be a problem (“I am cautious,” he says of his approach) and seem to have increased since he moved there, and adds that he misses out on some cultural things because of where he lives. And, he says with a laugh, “I can’t order Thai food at 9 at night.” But, he adds: “These are trade-offs — in the afternoon, I get to walk in the coffee fields and see flocks of parrots.”

Residency: To qualify for Costa Rica’s pensionado visa, expats must prove that they have a pension of at least $1,000 coming in each month. (Here are the details of that program.) Once you have lived in Costa Rica for three years, you can apply for permanent residency. Farber used a lawyer to help him figure out the ins and outs of residency options; his entire path to permanent residency took about a year, he says.

The bottom line: “After five years I am still amazed and surprised that I made the decision to lead a life I never thought I would,” he says. And while he may not stay in Orosi forever — “the town doesn’t have an ambulance, [and] I don’t know what it will be like to be 80 there,” he says — he does plan to stay in Costa Rica in no small part because of the people and sense of community. “I have the feeling that life is good here,” he says. “It’s hard sometimes, but we are all in it together.”

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Mutual Funds Weekly: These money and investing tips can help you read the market’s signs and stay on your path




These money and investing stories were popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week.

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Mutual Funds Weekly: These money and investing tips can help you read the market’s signs and stay on your path




These money and investing stories were popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week.

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