For the past few weeks WTI crude oil prices have risen significantly, and for the first time since early December 2014 prices closed above $60.0 last week. However, many traders are questioning the long-term validity of the price rise continuing due to concerns of a persistent supply glut, and the technical factors show that the market reached a crucial decision point at $62.58 last week.
The June WTI futures contract met crucial resistance at $62.58 on Wednesday, May 6, and as called for in our weekly Kase Crude Oil Commentary, prices have begun to pullback in a corrective manner. The correction is taking place after a blow-off high and evening star setup formed that same day. The evening star (some might say shooting star) was both completed and confirmed on Thursday when prices closed below the midpoint and open of Tuesday’s Harami bar. In addition, bearish divergences on the KaseCD and KasePO were confirmed on Friday. The combination of negative short term technical factors indicates the downward correction should extend and will likely form Wave IV of a longer-term five wave formation that projects to target in the mid-to upper $60s and even the low $70s.
We expect the pullback to challenge at least $56.2. This is the 38 percent retracement of the move up from $45.93 and is near the bottom of the sub-wave 4 of III. If prices are going to extend to new highs in the next week or so, $56.2 must hold. Otherwise, a close below $56.2 would call for the 50 and 62 percent retracements at $54.3 and $52.3. For now, it looks as though $56.2 will hold. The long-term outlook would only shift back to being bearish upon a close below $52.3. We do not expect to see a decline of that magnitude.
Today’s decline was nominal, so the next few days will be crucial for the near-term direction. A close over last Thursday’s $59.82 midpoint would shift the near-term outlook back to positive, call for another test of $62.5, and likely open the way for the five-wave pattern to unfold to upper targets of $66.8 and $71.5 over the course of the next few months.
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Brent crude oil prices will likely test a key decision point at $68.0 this week. This is the 1.00 projection for the wave up from $50.1, and a confluent projection for the sub-waves up from $53.63. A close over $68.0 would confirm that a long-term bullish recovery is underway. Narrowing calendar spreads support the move up, but are still wide by historic standards. First class long permissions (blue dots) on the KEES indicator also confirm the positive tone.
That said, momentum is waning on the KaseCD and is setup for a bearish divergence (higher high in price with lower high in momentum). The KasePO is quickly nearing overbought territory. There are also a daily bearish hanging man and evening star setup. These and a few other negative factors tell us that Brent will likely stall at $68.0. We expect to see a significant correction take place to test the mettle of the market before the move up extends much higher than $68.0.
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June WTI crude oil has oscillated in the range of a broadening wedge over the last eight trading days. The pattern is bullish, but the euphoria of WTI’s recent price surge is waning. Mixed technical and fundamental factors indicate the pattern will fail if the $58.41 swing high is not overcome soon.
Key technical support for the near term is $55.3 because it is the 1.00 target for the wave down from $58.82, and intersects with the lower trend line of the expanding wedge. This wave stalled at its 0.618 projection of $56.5, so the market is sitting on the teetering edge of a decline to $55.3 or push higher to overcome $58.41. A close over $58.41 would confirm a break higher out of the wedge and would open the way for an extended upward correction. A move below $56.5 would open the way for $55.3 to be challenged. Overall, odds are still slightly in favor of the move up and a break higher out of the wedge, but a close below $55.3 would indicate the pattern has failed.
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NY Harbor ULSD May futures fell to 187.35 on Monday, but the decline is corrective and forms an intraday bullish pennant (not shown). Support at 182.7, the 38 percent retracement from 166.53 should hold, though an extended correction to the 62 percent retracement at 176.5 would not be out of the ordinary at this point. A close over 190.9, the 1.618 projection from 164.9 would confirm the short-term positive tone and call for a split target at 205.0. This is the 2.764 projection from 164.9 and the 1.00 target from the 155.66 low, and is the most likely stalling point.
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Since mid-March prices for the May RBOB Gasoline futures contract have oscillated in a narrowing range and formed a coil pattern. Coils are patterns that indicate market indecisiveness, which has definitely been the case for the entire crude oil infrastructure since the beginning of the year. Coils are not as reliable as flags, pennants, and wedges at predicting the direction of the breakout, coils do tend to break in the direction of the trend, in this case down.
On Monday, the upper trend line of the coil was tested and held. Prices fell at the end of the day, and the evening star setup that formed indicates a test of support and the lower trend line of the coil should be tested later this week.
A close below 172.7, the 0.618 projection of the wave down from 197.95 would open the way for at least 161.7 and possibly 150.7 as he 1.00 and 1.382 projections, respectively.
A close over 185.0 would indicate prices have broken higher out of the coil and call for another test of crucial resistance at 197.3, which is the 0.618 projection of the wave up from 152.34.
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The WTI-Brent spread narrowed to ($5.81) on Monday and will likely continue to narrow over the next few days as it approaches a key threshold at ($4.40). This is the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $1.01 to ($13.13). The narrowing spread is currently a result of strengthening WTI prices and a weaker outlook for Brent. Ultimately, weaker Brent prices and a narrow spread could put another wave of downward pressure on both WTI and Brent. It will likely take at least a few more days, but look for the spread to stall near ($4.40).
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Brent crude’s failure to close above the $57.5 completion point of the weekly morning star setup (circled in green) was negative and indicates the geopolitically driven move up that took place last week may be short lived. The Brent crude price rose modestly on Monday, but most short-term technical factors indicate it should test $53.1 again. A close below this would call for $49.2, which is the last target protecting the $48.95 contract low.
Look for resistance at $57.5 and $60.05. A close over the latter would open the way for the $63.66 swing high to be challenged.
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WTI crude oil rose for a second straight day due to the declining dollar. The long-term bias is still negative, so the move up is corrective. However, mixed fundamental and technical factors indicate the correction should extend to at least $48.2 before settling into another trading range. This is the 1.00 projection for the wave up from $44.03 and the 38 percent retracement of the decline from $54.0. A close over $48.2 would call for $50.4, the 1.618 projection and the 62 percent retracement. Look for immediate support at the $45.33 and $44.77 swing lows.
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NY Harbor ULSD futures fell to a new intraday low for the eighth session in a row, but formed a bullish morning star setup and hammer. These are bullish reversal formations, but in this case it is more likely that a subsequent move up will be a correction rather than a reversal. In addition, the decline stalled near the 62 percent retracement of the move up from 154.8 to 197.86, which supports the likelihood of a correction. However, the KasePO and KaseCD show that the decline should ultimately continue. Look for resistance at 178.7 and no higher than 186.0 to hold.
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April gasoline prices fell for the fourth day in a row, but held support at 185.0. The bearish KaseCD divergence and underlying short permissions (red dots) indicate the decline should continue to 180.0. A normal correction will hold 180.0 because it is the 38 percent retracement of the move up from 149.64 and the 1.618 projection for the intraday wave down from 198.93 (not shown). A close below 180.0 would call for the 62 percent retracement at 168.5. This level must hold for gasoline prices to retain any chance at a continued recovery in the near term.
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