Tuesday’s ETF Chart To Watch: Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT)

by on July 17, 2012 | ETFs Mentioned:

Stock markets had a rather uneventful start to the week as more of the same eurozone threats and uncertainties surrounding corporate earnings season at home continue to weigh down on confidence. On Wall Street, economic releases remain a mixed bag at best; the Empire state index beat expectations while June retail sales came in at -0.5% versus the previous reading of -0.2%, sparking a wave of profit-taking across the consumer discretionary sector. Earnings season continues full steam ahead this week, including performance results from Goldman Sachs (GS), Coca Cola (KO) and Intel (INTC) later today [see also ETF Insider: Earnings, The Fed, And Spain Oh My!] .

To top it all off, Ben Bernanke is slated to deliver his semiannual monetary policy report to Congress later today and Wednesday. Whenever the Fed Chairman speaks, investors listen, and markets have a history of whiplashing all over the place; as such, the iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) could be in for a volatile trading day as investors digest the latest economic outlook commentary from Chairman Bernanke [see also 17 ETFs For Day Traders].

Chart Analysis

TLT hit an all-time high yesterday, soaring to $130.61 a share before noon and settling  just below the $130 level as the closing bell rang. From a fundamental perspective, its no surprise that TLT has been steadily chugging along higher over the past few months as investors’ confidence has been rattled by economic uncertainties from both sides of the Atlantic ocean. It’s worth nothing that today’s high was fueled by relatively low trading volumes, which may foreshadow profit taking in the not-so-distant future for this ETF [see ETF Technical Trading FAQ].

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Looking back, it’s quite clear that TLT has a history of multi-tops; notice how back in the second half of 2011 TLT flirted with the $125 level on several occasions before finally hurdling over it in May 2012. If the $130 level is a major resistance level just as the $125 mark was previously a significant barrier for this ETF, conservative investors should exercise caution jumping in long at current prices. TLT has a history of requiring several attempts to summit major resistance levels [see also 3 ETF Trading Tips You Are Missing].


If Bernanke’s economic commentary later today paints a gloomier-than-expected picture, investors will likely scale back on risk exposure. As such, safe havens like TLT could enjoy a massive rally on the day; in terms of upside, this ETF has no clear resistance in sight given that it’s trading in uncharted territory. On the other hand, inspiring words from the Chairman could make way for the bulls on Wall Street; in terms of downside, the first support level for TLT comes in at $127 a share followed by the $124 level. As always, investors of all experience levels are advised to use stop-loss orders and practice disciplined profit-taking techniques.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.