9:05am (EST)

When we went over the charts in our Weekly Wrap for the major indexes on Sunday, we knew the market could go either way this week heading into today’s highly anticipated speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. 

The bears appeared to have the momentum following last week’s romp and the indexes were right at major support levels.  We knew any upside bounce would be limited as we doubted big bets would be made going into Thursday’s close.

We also knew yesterday’s unemployment report had a pretty good chance of coming in above 400,000, and it did, as the Labor Department reported jobless claims rose to 417,000.  Even worse, the prior week’s total was revised upward to 412,000 which brought the 4-week average to nearly 410,000 as a result.   

Of course, much of the employment news was overshadowed by the Bank of America (BAC, $7.65, up $0.66) rally but came into focus after the market reversed course.  Shares of BofA gave back over half of its intraday session high gains along with the rest of the market 

The Dow fell 171 points, or 1.5%, to finish at 11,149.  The index battled the 11,200 level for much of the session following the drop in Germany’s market and traded to a low 11,106.  The high was 11,406 and we couldn’t have called it any better this week.  Given where things stand, we would expect a close above 11,350 or below 10,800 on any good or bad news from Big Ben today.

The S&P dropped 18 points, or 1.6%, to close at 1,159.  The index traded to a low of 1,155 and we mentioned 1,150 would come into play after the bulls failed at the 1,200 level once again.  The high was 1,190 and resistance could be taken out if there is a rally.  However, if the bears can get below 1,125 then we will likely see the 1,100 level come back into the picture.

The Nasdaq gave back 48 points, or 2%, to settle at 2,419.  We said yesterday the 2,500 level represented critical resistance while 2,400 needed to hold into the close.  Tech touched a low of 2,415 while the high came in at 2,482.  If there is further selling pressure, there could be a test to 2,350 today while a rally could get the Nasdaq back to 2,500.

Futures were flat for much of Thursday night and but have gotten worse as we head towards the opening bell.  Dow futures are down 80 points to 11,051 while the S&P futures are off by 10 points to 1,147.  The Nasdaq 100 futures are lower by 15 points to 2,096.  We are expecting a busy day so stay tuned for possible Trade Alerts. 

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