Monday, November 17, 2014

What Happens To Open Gaps in SPY

From its mid-October low, SPY has left six large open gaps. These total to nearly $6. Three gaps are more than $1 each. In the charts below, open gaps are in blue; closed gaps are in yellow.

It's not unusual for SPY to leave open gaps from a low. There are still open gaps from lows in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

But it is unusual to leave this many large gaps open within one month. On past experience, you should expect some of these gaps to eventually close. Let's look back at the large gaps since March 2009.

The rise off the March low started with a 1.8% gap up. It added another 2.2% gap up later that same month. From there on, however, it filled open gaps, adding just two more open gaps in the next half year. Most of the open gaps filed within a month; some took two months.

September 2010 was the end of the four month bottoming process. The rise off the September low started with a 1.2% gap up that is still open. It added several more gaps over the next two months. Most of these stayed open for a year before the 2011 swoon closed them all.

Mid-2011 was also a long bottoming process. The gap ups off the October 2011 were filled in the next month. The rise off the November low started with two large gap ups, the second of which was nearly all filled within a month. There are two more unfilled gaps from this low. The remainder were filled 1-3 months later.

The June 2012 low left only two large open gaps within the first two months, compared to the six which are open from the recent low last month. Most of these were filled quickly; one took three months.

The January 2013 rise started with just a single large open gap.

The June and August 2013 lows left one large open gap apiece. The rest filled within a month. There are three open gaps from October 2013; the rest were filled as SPY moved higher.

2014 hasn't produced wild gains like 2013, but both years have been unusual in many ways. Not all gaps fill, but leaving six large open gaps within one month is unusual, even for this market. We can't say that some these are going to fill, but that would be the typical pattern, even for an atypical market.

Normally, these gaps have closed within 1-3 months, but it took a year to do so in 2010-11. Closing the last two open gaps would push SPY down to 199.5; the next one is way down at 196.2.

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