AS INVESTORS wait for catalysts to move the market forward, technical guidance takes precedence over fundamental factors in trade decisions going forward. Everyone appears to be on their toes, ready to jump in soon as the clapping of the reindeers’ hooves are heard – if it will be coming at all.

The index hardly moved last week, edging higher by a mere 1.58 points. The broader All Shares Index tripped by a slightly bigger -0.7% while only the Financial and Industrial indices posted gains, albeit likewise marginal at 1.4% and 0.1%, respectively. Mining and Oil Shares slipped the most with losses of -1.3%.

Month-to-date volume turnover average narrowed to 3.172B from November’s 3.277B and is significantly slower than the year-to-date mean of 4.223B. Value flow however picked up to a php6.038B average in December from the prior month’s php5.279B, still more than the year-to-date’s php4.754B. This translates to more aggressive trades in smaller lot, higher priced counters and, in light of the month-to-date’s nearly 2.0% rise, gets cast in a positive light, supporting hopes for a Santa Claus rally – at least from a technical standpoint.

The only measure that raises our concern insofar as the internal numbers of the market are concerned is the Advance Decline Line (ADL) which showed up at an even lower -1.126 from end-November’s -1,100. This supports the view that sudden rallies and surges in price levels are expected to be capped by immediate profit taking. Thus, even as we continue to hope, and gets encouragement, for a year-end rally, the flag of caution remain raised.