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Valero Breaks Rising Wedge Trendline

04/11/03 08:18:46 AM
by Arthur Hill

The stock price for Valero has broken below support on both the weekly and daily charts.

Security:   VLO
Position:   N/A

The rising wedge is a bearish pattern that usually forms as a reaction rally or retracement within a larger downtrend. Typically, the advance will retrace 38-62% of the prior decline. A trendline break signals a continuation lower and projects a move below the low that began the pattern.

On the weekly chart, Valero (VLO) formed a lower high in Mar-02 and broke long-term support in Jul-02 (red arrow) to usher in a long-term downtrend. The stock subsequently fell about 50% to around 23 before recovering with a sharp advance back above 35 in Oct-02. In December and January VLO established resistance at 39, a level that also marked a 62% retracement of the prior decline, and later turned into support. Even though VLO exceeded the 62% retracement mark, it never came close to its prior high in Mar-02 (50) and the advance was always viewed as a retracement rally.

Figure 1: Weekly chart for VLO
Graphic provided by: MetaStock.
This advance has since evolved into a rising wedge and the stock broke below the lower trendline earlier this week. With the larger trend down, this support break is viewed as a continuation move that will ultimately result in a decline below the Oct-02 low. There is also support around 23-24, which is confirmed by the horizontal support line extending from Nov-99 and the trendline extending up from Apr-95.

Figure 2: Daily chart for VLO.

Looking at the daily chart, the stock has clearly broken support with a gap down on high volume (gray arrows). There were two clues to the subsequent breakdown: First, RSI formed a negative divergence over the last few weeks and moved below zero. Second, the price relative (VLO relative to the S&P 500) formed a negative divergence as well and moved below its 50-day EMA. The gap down and break below resistance-turned-support at 39 broke the camel's back and the next support level resides around 32. With a 10% decline in the last few days, the stock could become oversold soon. The trend is clearly down and a rally back to 39-40 would be viewed as a second chance to either exit longs or establish shorts.

Arthur Hill

Arthur Hill is currently editor of, a website specializing in trading strategies, sector/industry specific breadth stats and overall technical analysis. He passed the Society of Technical Analysts (STA London) diploma exam with distinction is a Certified Financial Technician (CFTe). Prior to TD Trader, he was the Chief Technical Analyst for and the main contributor to the ChartSchool.

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