Technically speaking, the major U.S. benchmarks have whipsawed to start the new year, pulling in respectably from recent record highs.
Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 has reversed to its former December range, though amid a downturn that has inflicted limited damage in the broad sweep.
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 has pulled in to its range after briefly tagging record highs.
Tactically, notable resistance matches last week’s gap (3,723). Tuesday’s early session high (3,722.5) has registered nearby.
Conversely, significant support matches the November peak (3,646).
Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has pulled in to its range after briefly tagging record highs.
Still, the index has initially maintained major support (29,964), an area matching the mid-November range top, also detailed on the daily chart.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite
has sold off from its range top.
This was the lone major U.S. benchmark not to conclude 2020 with a record high.
But here again, the index has maintained notable support (12,607), an area matching its breakout point, also detailed below.
Widening the view to six months adds perspective.
On this wider view, the Nasdaq is digesting the late-2020 rally to record highs.
Though the index formed a bearish engulfing pattern to start January — the long red bar, engulfing the prior session’s range — the downturn has been underpinned by the breakout point (12,607). Limited damage has been inflicted.
Delving deeper, the November peak (12,244) is followed by the 50-day moving average, currently 12,128, and the late-November breakout point (12,074). A sustained posture atop this area signals a bullish intermediate-term bias.
Looking elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average also registered a bearish reversal to start the new year. The index has pulled in to its former December range.
Against this backdrop, the index has maintained support matching the mid-November range top (29,964).
Delving deeper, the Dow’s former record high (29,568) — established last February — is followed by the 50-day moving average, currently 29,388.
Likely last-ditch support (29,127) closely matches the November gap. The Dow’s bullish intermediate-term bias is intact barring a violation.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has started 2021 with a bearish engulfing pattern.
In its case, Monday’s downturn (long red bar) encompassed the range of the prior session, as well as the prior week’s range.
Still, the downturn has been underpinned by the 20-day moving average, currently 3,700, a widely-tracked near-term trending indicator. The S&P has not closed under the 20-day since Nov. 2.
The bigger picture
As detailed above, the major U.S. benchmarks are off to a less-than-stellar 2021 start.
Each index registered a bearish reversal to start the new year, selling off respectably from recent all-time highs.
But on the positive side, each index has initially maintained notable support. The single-day downdraft has lacked material follow-through early Tuesday, thus far inflicting limited damage in the broad sweep.
Moving to the small-caps, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF
is digesting its late-2020 rally to record territory.
The small-cap benchmark has initially maintained first support (191.50) detailed previously. On further weakness, a deeper floor, circa 185.40, closely matches the November peak.
Similarly, the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF
is digesting a December rally to record highs.
Here again, the MDY has maintained first support (410.70) even amid a strong-volume first-day-of-the-year downturn.
Looking elsewhere, the SPDR Trust S&P 500
has pulled in to its former December range.
Tactically, the former breakout point — the 370.80-to-371.07 area — pivots to resistance. Conversely, the SPY has maintained a deeper floor matching the mid-November range top (364.40).
Beyond specific levels, Monday’s internals registered as conspicuously tame despite the strong-volume downturn. Consider that declining volume surpassed advancing volume by about a 2-to-1 margin on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.
Placing a finer point on the S&P 500, the index has also pulled in to its former December range.
To reiterate, notable resistance matches last week’s gap (3,723) a level also defining the weekly low.
Tuesday’s early session high (3,722.5) has effectively matched resistance.
More broadly, significant support spans from 3,633 to 3,646, the latter matching the November peak.
On further weakness, the 3,588-to-3,594 area — detailed previously — closely matches the ascending 50-day moving average, currently 3,596.
Delving deeper, the October peak (3,550) continues to mark last-ditch support, an area partly defining the S&P’s late-2020 double bottom.
All told, a garden-variety pullback — or healthy consolidation phase — seems to be underway to start the new year. Still, the downturn has initially lacked material follow-through, inflicting limited real damage.
Broadly speaking, the S&P 500’s intermediate-term bullish bias is intact barring violation of the areas detailed above. The 3,550 area marks likely last-ditch support.
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 SPDR Gold Shares ETF
has come to life technically.
As illustrated, the shares have gapped atop trendline resistance, rising amid increased volume to start 2021. The breakout signals a trend shift.
Underlying the upturn, the GLD’s relative strength index (not illustrated) has registered its best levels since early August, improving the chances of longer-term follow-through.
Tactically, the trendline pivots to support, an area closely matching the bottom of the gap (178.40). The prevailing rally attempt is intact barring a violation.
More broadly, the shares are well positioned on the 10-year chart, rising from a continuation pattern hinged to the sharp mid-2020 break to record territory.
Moving to U.S. sectors, the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF
is acting well technically.
As illustrated, the group has rallied to the range top, briefly tagging record highs amid increased volume. An intermediate-term target projects to the 232 area.
Conversely, a well-defined floor matches the December range bottom, circa 210.40. The prevailing uptrend is firmly-intact barring a violation.
Initially profiled Dec. 1, Cirrus Logic, Inc.
has edged slightly higher and remains well positioned.
Technically, the shares have reached 11-month highs, rising to start the new year despite a down market.
The upturn punctuates an orderly December range — a continuation pattern — hinged to a massive double bottom defined by the June and September lows. (See the one-year chart.) A near- to intermediate-term target projects to the 88 area.
Conversely, the breakout point (83.10) pivots to support. A sustained posture higher signals comfortably bullish bias.
is a well positioned large-cap cybersecurity name.
The shares initially spiked two weeks ago, rising amid a sustained volume spike after the December cyber-hack.
The subsequent flag-like pattern has formed amid decreased volume, placing the shares 16.8% under the December peak.
Tactically, the post-breakout low (20.76) closely matches gap support (20.80). The prevailing rally attempt is firmly-intact barring a violation.
More broadly, the shares are well positioned on the five-year chart, sustaining a break atop major resistance matching the 2018 peak (20.61).
Finally, Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.
is a large-cap Canada-based gold and silver miner.
As illustrated, the shares have reclaimed the breakdown point (44.00) as well as the 50- and 200-day moving averages to start the year. The strong-volume upturn places trendline resistance under siege.
Tactically, the 50-day moving average, currently 43.15, has marked a recent inflection point. A breakout attempt is in play barring a violation.
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.
|Company||Symbol* (Click symbol for chart.)||Date Profiled|
|Check Point Software Technologies||CHKP||Jan. 4|
|Synaptics, Inc.||SYNA||Jan. 4|
|Ceridian HCM Holding, Inc.||CDAY||Jan. 4|
|Lumentum Holdings, Inc.||LITE||Dec. 23|
|Sunrun, Inc.||RUN||Dec. 23|
|ShockWave Medical, Inc.||SWAV||Dec. 23|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co.||JPM||Dec. 22|
|Coupa Software, Inc.||COUP||Dec. 22|
|PagSeguro Digital Ltd.||PAGS||Dec. 22|
|Ballard Power Systems, Inc.||BLDP||Dec. 21|
|LivePerson, Inc.||LPSN||Dec. 21|
|United Therapeutics Corp.||UTHR||Dec. 21|
|Shopify, Inc.||SHOP||Dec. 18|
|CyberArk Software Ltd.||CYBR||Dec. 18|
|Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||APLS||Dec. 18|
|iShares Silver Trust||SLV||Dec. 17|
|Calix, Inc.||CALX||Dec. 17|
|Elastic N.V.||ESTC||Dec. 17|
|Cerner Corp.||CERN||Dec. 17|
|Universal Health Services, Inc.||UHS||Dec. 16|
|Tenet Healthcare Corp.||THC||Dec. 16|
|Sunnova Energy International, Inc.||NOVA||Dec. 16|
|Xilinx, Inc.||XLNX||Dec. 15|
|Netflix, Inc.||NFLX||Dec. 15|
|Toyota Motor Co.||TM||Dec. 15|
|Williams-Sonoma, Inc.||WSM||Dec. 15|
|iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF||IBB||Dec. 15|
|SDPR S&P Regional Banking ETF||KRE||Dec. 14|
|Atlassian Corp.||TEAM||Dec. 14|
|Etsy, Inc.||ETSY||Dec. 14|
|Surface Oncology, Inc.||SURF||Dec. 14|
|Autodesk, Inc.||ADSK||Dec. 9|
|Monster Beverage Corp.||MNST||Dec. 9|
|Cimarex Energy Co.||XEC||Dec. 9|
|Plug Power, Inc.||PLUG||Dec. 9|
|F5 Networks, Inc.||FFIV||Dec. 8|
|Emerson Electric Co.||EMR||Dec. 8|
|Zscaler, Inc.||ZS||Dec. 7|
|Fortinet, Inc.||FTNT||Dec. 7|
|Kulicke and Soffa Industries, Inc.||KLIC||Dec. 7|
|Honeywell International, Inc.||HON||Dec. 7|
|Dillard’s, Inc.||DDS||Dec. 4|
|Caleres, Inc.||CAL||Dec. 4|
|Spotify Technology S.A.||SPOT||Dec. 3|
|Align Technology, Inc.||ALGN||Dec. 3|
|Valero Energy Corp.||VLO||Dec. 3|
|Analog Devices, Inc.||ADI||Dec. 2|
|Cirrus Logic, Inc.||CRUS||Dec. 1|
|Sonos, Inc.||SONO||Dec. 1|
|Dollar Tree, Inc.||DLTR||Dec. 1|
|Nuance Communications, Inc.||NUAN||Nov. 30|
|Northern Trust Corp.||NTRS||Nov. 30|
|American Airlines Group, Inc.||AAL||Nov. 30|
|Microchip Technology, Inc.||MCHP||Nov. 24|
|Coca-Cola Co.||KO||Nov. 24|
|Zillow Group, Inc.||ZG||Nov. 23|
|Yeti Holdings, Inc.||YETI||Nov. 23|
|Palo Alto Networks, Inc.||PANW||Nov. 20|
|Bank of America Corp.||BAC||Nov. 20|
|Eaton Corp.||ETN||Nov. 20|
|SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production ETF||XOP||Nov. 20|
|MetLife, Inc.||MET||Nov. 19|
|Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc.||HLT||Nov. 19|
|American Express Co.||AXP||Nov. 18|
|Kohl’s Corp.||KSS||Nov. 18|
|FleetCor Technologies||FLT||Nov. 18|
|Applied Materials, Inc.||AMAT||Nov. 17|
|Delta Air Lines, Inc.||DAL||Nov. 17|
|Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR||XLP||Nov. 17|
|Ross Stores, Inc.||ROST||Nov. 16|
|RingCentral, Inc.||RNG||Nov. 13|
|Regions Financial Corp.||RF||Nov. 13|
|iShares Europe ETF||IEV||Nov. 13|
|Flex, Inc.||FLEX||Nov. 9|
|Snap, Inc.||SNAP||Nov. 9|
|Norfolk Southern Corp.||NSC||Nov. 9|
|Communications Services Select Sector SPDR||XLC||Nov. 5|
|Health Care Select Sector SPDR||XLV||Nov. 5|
|Alphabet, Inc.||GOOGL||Nov. 5|
|Uber Technologies, Inc.||UBER||Nov. 5|
|Keysight Technologies, Inc.||KEYS||Nov. 4|
|Harley-Davidson, Inc.||HOG||Nov. 4|
|Garmin, Ltd.||GRMN||Nov. 4|
|Pinterest, Inc.||PINS||Nov. 3|
|Sony Corp.||SNE||Nov. 3|
|8×8, Inc.||EGHT||Nov. 3|
|Exact Sciences Corp.||EXAS||Nov. 2|
|Universal Display Corp.||OLED||Nov. 2|
|Dentsply Sirona, Inc.||XRAY||Oct. 27|
|Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.||MXIM||Oct. 21|
|The Travelers Companies, Inc.||TRV||Oct. 21|
|Micron Technology, Inc.||MU||Oct. 20|
|Vulcan Materials Co.||VMC||Oct. 19|
|ON Semiconductor Corp.||ON||Oct. 16|
|Ford Motor Co.||F||Oct. 15|
|Texas Instruments, Inc.||TXN||Oct. 15|
|First Solar, Inc.||FSLR||Oct. 13|
|Nevro Corp.||NVRO||Oct. 12|
|Teradyne, Inc.||TER||Oct. 12|
|SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF||XHB||Oct. 9|
|Shake Shack, Inc.||SHAK||Oct. 9|
|SPDR S&P Biotech ETF||XBI||Oct. 8|
|Twilio, Inc.||TWLO||Oct. 8|
|Cloudflare, Inc.||NET||Oct. 7|
|Ceridian HCM Holding, Inc.||CDAY||Oct. 7|
|RSailPoint Technology Holdings, Inc.||SAIL||Oct. 1|
|Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.||MLM||Sept. 30|
|Abercrombie & Fitch Co.||ANF||Sept. 29|
|Zendesk, Inc.||ZEN||Sept. 23|
|Scientific Games Corp.||SGMS||Sept. 23|
|Crocs, Inc.||CROX||Sept. 14|
|Five Below, Inc.||FIVE||Sept. 10|
|Eastman Chemical Co.||EMN||Sept. 10|
|International Paper Co.||IP||Sept. 3|
|Anaplan, Inc.||PLAN||Sept. 2|
|Celanese Corp.||CE||Aug. 26|
|Westlake Chemical Corp.||WLK||Aug. 25|
|Deere & Co.||DE||Aug. 24|
|Expedia Group, Inc.||EXPE||Aug. 24|
|Johnson Controls International||JCI||Aug. 21|
|Canadian Solar, Inc.||CSIQ||Aug. 20|
|General Motors Co.||GM||Aug. 20|
|Starbucks Corp.||SBUX||Aug. 18|
|Builders FirstSource, Inc.||BLDR||Aug. 18|
|Steel Dynamics, Inc.||STLD||Aug. 17|
|Brinker International, Inc.||EAT||Aug. 13|
|Enphase Energy, Inc.||ENPH||Aug. 13|
|Nucor Corp.||NUE||Aug. 11|
|Freeport McMoRan, Inc.||FCX||Aug. 10|
|Natera, Inc.||NTRA||Aug. 10|
|Industrial Select Sector SPDR||XLI||Aug. 6|
|Penn National Gaming, Inc.||PENN||July 30|
|Procter & Gamble Co.||PG||July 29|
|SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF||XME||July 28|
|iShares MSCI South Korea ETF||EWY||July 28|
|Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.||AMD||July 23|
|Materials Select Sector SPDR||XLB||July 20|
|Caterpillar, Inc.||CAT||July 20|
|Roku, Inc.||ROKU||July 16|
|Cognizant Technology Solutions, Inc.||CTSH||July 16|
|Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR||XLY||July 13|
|SunPower Corp.||SPWR||July 13|
|Walmart, Inc.||WMT||July 8|
|Danaher Corp.||DHR||June 24|
|Fiverr International, Ltd.||FVRR||June 19|
|HubSpot, Inc.||HUBS||June 8|
|Square, Inc.||SQ||June 8|
|SPDR S&P Retail ETF||XRT||June 3|
|iShares MSCI Japan ETF||EWJ||May 29|
|Synopsis, Inc.||SNPS||May 27|
|Agilent Technologies, Inc.||A||May 15|
|Qualcomm, Inc.||QCOM||May 12|
|ServiceNow, Inc.||NOW||Apr. 27|
|Five9, Inc.||FIVN||Apr. 24|
|Chewy, Inc.||CHWY||Apr. 24|
|Tesla, Inc.||TSLA||Apr. 23|
|VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF||SMH||Apr. 17|
|Okta, Inc.||OKTA||Apr. 16|
|Target Corp.||TGT||Apr. 16|
|Invesco QQQ Trust||QQQ||Apr. 14|
|Apple, Inc.||AAPL||Mar. 27|
|Nvidia Corp.||NVDA||Mar. 27|
|iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF||EEM||Mar. 19|
|Microsoft Corp.||MSFT||Feb. 22|
|* Click each symbol for current chart.|
‘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.
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.
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.”
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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