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Monday, February 29, 2016

Daily update 2/29


This morning SPY traded up to the .786 retrace line to Friday's high then turned tail and ran.  SPX ended the day back below our resistance line from the early Feb. high and the 50 SMA.  I am having a hard time trying to come up with a scenario that today's action was bullish.  The breadth was slightly positive despite the sizable down move.  That indicates the damage was largely being done in big cap stocks.  The new highs dropped way down to 41 while new lows came in about the same at 26.  Today was a serious loss of momentum by the bulls.

The futures made two attempts to get above the red resistance line, but could not sustain it.  They ended the day right at the 20 SMA.  Since we have not broken that MA yet, there is a chance the bulls could save the day tomorrow.  That seems like the lower odds scenario to me though.

The green count slipped considerably today, but is still slightly above 50.  The loss of momentum by the bulls is obvious.

To continue higher I think SPX needed to hold above the 50 DMA and its early Feb. high.  On Thursday I wrote

"So everybody that rushed into shorts and placed a stop above the 2/22 high got stopped out today if they stayed in the trades.  Ouch.  Now the internals are fading so this is a much better setup for shorts.  A narrow range day tomorrow, preferably a doji bar, would add to the setup.  If the market can manage to keep going higher the next target would be the 1995-2000 area.  A strong up day tomorrow would probably send us on the way.  I just think that will be tough to achieve with the VIX already below 20."

Further upside was indeed hard to come by.  They sold into the gap up the next morning and sold into the short lived rally this morning.   I think it is likely the rally is over.  The market did its job.  It flushed out a bunch of shorts and sucked in a bunch of new longs.  SPX is possibly forming a lower double top.  Those can be quite negative patterns.  I think the bulls need to show up in force tomorrow morning to save the day.  That seems unlikely.  A down day tomorrow is likely to send the market back to the lows and I would expect that double bottom to be broken.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Daily update 2/26 World trade

That was a rather mixed day despite the positive start.

Despite the optimism at the open the sellers went to work right from the opening bell.  There were enough buyers to hold the market up though.  The breadth was +58% despite SPX being negative.  Small caps were positive.  Strength in the dollar might have been the reason for that.  New highs dropped considerably to 62.  New lows also dropped a bit to 26.  Resistance in this area held for today.

The futures tagged the 200 SMA and turned tail and ran.  That is a logical place for this rally to end.

Today could easily have been the end of this rally, but we need to see follow through selling.  This is a good place and a good technical condition to end.  Will the bears show up in force next week?  Stay tuned.

I have heard plenty of bullish comments lately.  Some think this rally means the recession case is off the table.  Things are great get long and enjoy.  Let me be clear.  We are in a bear market.  The duration and magnitude is unknown.  The only all clear sign possible at this time is for SPX to get above its 200 SMA and stay there.  Period.  Nothing about the current low looks even remotely like a bear market ending low.  The VIX did not even get one close above 30.  Hardly the stuff of major bottoms.

According to this chart world trade continues to fall off a cliff.


Many countries including China and India are seeing double digit drops in both imports and exports.  The global economy is in trouble.

The market and sector status pages have been updated.  Have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Daily update 2/25


Mission accomplished.  SPX tags the 50 SMA.  Oil up, SPX up.  The breadth came in at +66% so the broad based buying continued.  The  new highs popped to 89, but remain low.  New lows dipped slightly to 39, but remain elevated.  The VIX closed at 19.11 once again giving us a sell signal.  We have arrived at the destination.  What happens now?

The futures ended slightly above their Feb. high.  Notice ADX is still on the floor.  With  no strength in the uptrend it should be easy for the bears to tip the market over if they so desire.

The green count did not go up much today.  There is a pretty sizable divergence with the 2/22 high.  Like the lack of trend in the futures this makes it easier for the bears to get control.

So everybody that rushed into shorts and placed a stop above the 2/22 high got stopped out today if they stayed in the trades.  Ouch.  Now the internals are fading so this is a much better setup for shorts.  A narrow range day tomorrow, preferably a doji bar, would add to the setup.  If the market can manage to keep going higher the next target would be the 1995-2000 area.  A strong up day tomorrow would probably send us on the way.  I just think that will be tough to achieve with the VIX already below 20.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Daily update 2/24 Debt vs growth

The bulls came out to buy the dip.

SPX tested down to the 20 SMA and our support line early this morning.  However, selling pressure dried up and the dip buyers came out in force when oil rallied after the inventory data.  Oil up stocks up.  The breadth was +60% so there was broad participation in the bounce.  New highs are still low at 44, but up a tad.  New lows also picked up a bit to 71.

The futures made it all the way down to the lower Keltner channel early this morning before launching hard to the upside.  This keeps the bulls in control.

Today put a whack on the green count.  It is down out of the overbought range, but still above 50.  Internals are confirming price that the bulls are still in control

The bulls kept the dream alive of reaching SPX's 50 DMA.  The 50 has come down to the 2/22 high so theoretically SPX could actually hit it without making a new high for this rally.  I would think that should make it easier to achieve. 

Today probably made a few more skeptics into believers of the rally.  That is how bear market rallies work.  Suck em in then bury them.  Lets see how far the bulls are willing to push it.

This is a very good article on why growth is so slow.  It does a better job explaining the situation then I ever could.  Debt vs Growth: Correlation or Causation


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Daily update 2/23

Oil down, SPX down.

The supposed oil production freeze deal that everybody knew would never happen fell apart today.  That caused oil to drop and stocks went along for the ride.  The breadth was -65% so it was broad based selling,  New highs dropped down to 39 while new lows picked up just a bit to 24.  The volume was light.  Bulls would say that is a good thing, but when SPX is down 1.25% that means buyers put their hands in their pockets.  It did not take much selling pressure to send SPX down considerably.  That is a hallmark of a bear market. 

The futures pulled back to the 20 SMA.  This could provide support for a bounce.  A break of that MA will probably indicate the bounce is over.  Notice that ADX is staying on the floor on this rally.  No trend strength in this move up yet.

The market got fully overbought and the VIX got below 20, but we are still in a short term uptrend.  I don't think I can say with any confidence the market is rolling over just yet.  Another down day like this will probably do it though.  Will oil be up or down tomorrow?  That may be the deciding factor since this entire rally seemed to be predicated on the oil bounce.  I was thinking SPX would get to its 50 DMA with all those divergences noted at the low.  Maybe it won't make it there if oil keeps heading lower.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Daily update 2/22

The rally continues to pick up believers.

SPX came within 6 points of the 50 DMA.  The breadth was +76%.  I saw a piece today about the strong breadth on this rally meaning the worst is over and the market is making a bottom.  If you see such info consider the source lying or just plain clueless.  Bear market rallies are sharp and broad.  They suck people in because of the apparent strength.  Then the rally gets overbought and rolls over to new lows.  New highs were a paltry 56.  New lows dropped way down to 13.  People have quit selling their losers at the moment.  That could be another sign of people believing in the rally.

The futures got up to the resistance area from the early Feb. high.  Could be significant resistance here.

The green count is now in the overbought range.  That could be trouble for this bounce.

The VIX close at 19.38 giving us a sell signal.  With the market in an overbought condition just a few points below the 50 DMA upside progress is likely to be tough to come by.  A sell signal in a bear market is not a signal to short.  It is a signal to cut back on long exposure.  This has been a decent bounce and this is a good time to book some profits.  Bears need to wait a bit for a sign the market is rolling over before shorting.  While this market could start rolling over tomorrow it could also continue higher after a down day.  Patience is important in a bear market.  It is no fun to get stopped out of shorts only to see the market roll over without you.  Been there done that.  Didn't like it.  The market is likely to chop around tomorrow while people assess what they want to do here.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily update 2/19

Another choppy pause day.  Buyers had a minor victory in the afternoon.

SPX rallied well off its low, but found resistance at yesterday's close.  The breadth was slightly negative again.  The new highs were about the same at 35, but new lows picked up a tad to 40.  SPY got in to the 2/17 gap up a couple of times today, but the bulls rushed in to defend the market.  I think we established clear support at today's low at least for the moment.  Breaking that low is likely to bring on some sellers.  The bulls need to push to the upside on Monday.

All year we have seen selling pressure in the morning and buying in the afternoon.  We saw that again today.  I would guess most of the selling pressure is coming from overseas.  Most likely sovereign wealth funds desperately raising cash.  The afternoon buyers are likely investors here in the states thinking they are getting a bargain.  I suspect that will prove to be an incorrect theory, but we will see.  The futures came inside the upper Keltner channel and rebounded.  If the world is not crashing by the open on Monday the futures look set to rally.  I guess we will see.

The VIX was down 5% today and closed at 20.53.  I don't think that is a good thing.  An up day on Monday is likely to take the VIX below 20.  The last time that happened SPX rolled over to  new lows.  That could easily happen again.  The reason I bring this up is that I have seen this bear market rodeo twice now.  Those bear markets were very different in many ways, but the VIX around or below 20 was bad.  SPX did not necessarily sell off right away, but upside progress was very slow.  Sometimes the market sold off without getting below 20.  Other times the VIX kept falling while SPX did a slow drift up or went sideways for a week or two.  In the end SPX sold off to new lows.  In the weeks ahead the odds are very high SPX will head south to new lows.  If you learn only one thing from this blog make it this fact.  The best sign of a bear market is the VIX getting to 20 or below while SPX is below the 200 DMA.  In the history of the VIX this has only happened during bear markets.  I really, really wish I had known that during the last two 50% crashes. 

Interesting how sentiment changed.  After two big up days there was lots of skepticism.  The third big up day seemed to make a lot of believers.  I heard lots of talk today that the market is very likely making a bottom.   Do not get sucked in.  That is how many people lose a lot of money in bear markets.  They buy the dip then get crushed as the market tanks to new lows.  There will be great bargains to be had down the road.  It is better to have a pile of cash to take advantage of that.  Let others be the bag holders.

A close below today's low next week probably means the rally is over.  Lets see how far the bulls are willing to push prices (if they are).

Sometimes the things I see in the media just amaze me.  When the market was tanking and recession talk was prevalent the media was quick to show data showing many stock market swoons that were not associated with recessions.  It is clear they said that stocks are not a good barometer of economic weakness.  Then we get a big 3 day bounce.  Now the media is out to say that the stock market is saying the risk of recession is greatly diminished and nothing to worry about.  Is that absurd or what?  SPX getting above the 200 DMA and staying there would be a great indication that no recession is going to happen anytime soon.  A three day bounce that did not even overtake the 50 DMA that is below the 200 is not a sign of anything relative to the economy.  The crap that comes out of the Wall Street media machine is just unbelievable sometimes.

The market and sector status pages have been updated.  Have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Daily update 2/18

Profit taking day.

SPX was pretty choppy as small waves of buying and selling hit the market.  At the end of the day the breadth was slightly negative.  New highs picked up a bit to 36, but remain low.  New lows also picked up a bit to 26.  The oddest thing today was the VIX dropping 3%.  Its now down to 21.64.  Still room down to 20. 

The futures show a slight downward drift.  Just a little profit taking so far.  Will it turn into serious profit taking or will the bulls come back?

I have seen a number of people trying to compare this bottom with the bottom that formed last fall.  We have a completely different price and volume pattern here.  Last Aug. we had a clear volume climax low.  We don't have that now.  We had down days will elevated volume, but the closes were well off the lows.  Instead of climax selling this pattern suggests bulls stepping in at lows and buying.  That is how the market made a short term bottom pretty often in the last bull market.  We really did not see that much at all in the recent bull market.  In an uptrend this would be a perfectly fine bottom.  However, we made new lows more then 6 months from the top and trend measures all agree on a downtrend in the big picture.  Longer lasting lows in a downtrend tend to come from selling climaxes.  I don't think we have that.  While the market may climb higher it could also easily roll over again.  Tricky.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daily update 2/17

Nothing like the upward bias of option expiration week.  Its pretty rare to get one this strong though.

There was a lot of skepticism of this bounce after yesterday.  I wonder if that will continue much longer.  The breadth was strong again at +81%.  The new highs picked up slightly to 27, but remain very low.  New lows dropped down to 20.  That is lower then the we saw on the bounce attempt from the Jan. low.  That makes sense with the big divergence in new lows noted in the blog at the recent low.  Despite the skepticism I hear from traders on TV there are obviously believers in the potential double bottom. 

The futures got a confirmed break of the 100 SMA.  They popped a bit after the market closed.  That is probably amazing in itself with as far as we have come in such a short time.  Panic buying.  We still have another 13 points or so to go before we get to resistance.  The futures are getting pretty stretched from the 20 SMA though.

The MCO has reached very overbought levels.  This halted the last rally attempt, but that was off a V bottom.  Since we have a better looking bottom structure the MCO might only cause a pause.

The green count is just short of overbought levels. 

Price is obviously a bit extended short term and is overbought in the market internals.  Getting this overbought below the 50 DMA is generally not particularly good.  At the same time there does not seem to be many believers out there in the media.  Sometimes bear market rallies last until many  people become believers.  The VIX is at 22.  The last bounce did not stop until the VIX closed below 20.  There is room to go higher, but this big a move off the low in such a short time seems likely to cause some profit taking tomorrow. 

This rally started with the pop in oil caused by some of the oil producing countries talking about freezing production.  This has certainly caused oil shorts to run for cover.  The rise in oil has inspired stock buyers.  The trouble is that this is really just countries talking up the price of oil.  There will be no real action as Iraq and Iran are very unlikely to make any agreement of that sort.  Iran wants to increase production in a big way.  I don't believe the other countries are going to just sit back and lose that market share.  The oil market may come to that conclusion at any time, but there is no way to know when that will be.  The only sell signal I know of at this point is the VIX under 20.  Lets see if the bulls can keep this thing going until that happens.

Today turned the short term trend up across the board.  Just remember the last time the trend turned up the market rolled over.  I don't expect that at the moment, but it is a possibility (some might say a likelihood since I don't expect it).


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Daily update 2/16

The bulls came out to play once again.

SPX closed above the 20 SMA for the second time this month.  The breadth was +79%.  The volume was slightly higher then yesterday, but still relatively low.  The  new highs were very low again at 22.  New lows dropped way down to 53.  The apparent double bottom attracted some buyers today.  SPX has not been able to post three up days in a row this year.  A pause tomorrow would not be surprising.

The overnight session saw a confirmed break of the 20 SMA.  The futures are testing the upper Keltner channel.  The last time they did that it was resistance.  However, we have a double bottom in place this time.  A pause here would not be a surprise due to the size of the move up, but the sellers might not be in quite as big of a hurry to jump in here.

The green count crossed over the red count today, but is still below 50%.  This indicator is in that grey area where neither side is truly in control yet.  However, the bulls have the edge for the moment.

Today's big move turned the short term trend to neutral across the board.  If we were still in a bull market it would obviously be highly likely the market would keep going up here.  However, we are in a bear market so it is not quite so cut and dried.  The news flow could easily bring the sellers back out.  If we continue higher the 50 DMA would be the next target.  It is moving down pretty fast so the area where SPX would contact it would depend on how many days between now and then.

Regardless of how long this bounce lasts a break below the 2/11 low is likely to cause a cascade lower.  The exit will be crowded.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Daily update 2/12 "American Capitalism" No Longer Serves Society

The bulls show up to defend the market.

Yesterday's test of the Jan. low brought out a few dip buyers today.  The breadth was +78%.  New highs actually dropped considerably to 22.  I suspected the big increase in new highs we saw lately were mostly bond related items.  With most bond related things down today the new highs really dropped thus confirming my suspicion.  New lows also dropped considerably, but remain elevated at 136.  Volume was noticeably lower.  Today is exactly what I was thinking yesterday when I wrote "In the absence of bad news the bears might wait to see if the bulls step in for a bounce here.  There seemed to be a reluctance to sell near the lows."  The much lower volume indicates sellers stepped back more then buyers stepped up.

The futures made it up to the 20 SMA.  This could be resistance.  We need a confirmed break of the 20 next week before we can even say we are in a micro uptrend. 

The red count dropped a bit, but is still well above 50.  The bulls have more work to do.

This afternoon SPX did a slow creep up into the close.  Buyers were acting reluctant to chase price.  This close to the low that is not a particularly good sign.  Maybe it was just some hesitation in front of a three day weekend.  I don't believe selling is exhausted, just taking a break.  The news flow could easily determine how much higher (if any) we go before the bears show up again.  While we clearly have the possibility of a double bottom and rally today was not convincing at all.  If we get some bad news early next week the sellers may come out of the woodwork again.  The bulls need a strong up day on Tuesday to get a rally going.  I don't have a clue what the odds of that happening are.

This is an excellent article.  I urge everybody to take a few minutes to read it and share it with family and friends.  "American Capitalism" No Longer Serves Society

The market and sector status pages have been updated.  Have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daily update 2/11

Retest of Jan. low.  What happens now?

SPX slightly penetrated the Jan. low and was hanging around when a rumor about OPEC possibly talking about cutting production sparked a big rally.  That saved the day, but it remains to be seen if the bulls have won the battle.  Breadth was -82%.  New lows spiked up to 686, but that is quite a bit lower then the 1368 we had back in Jan. at this level.  Quite a divergence.

The futures slightly penetrated the Jan. low.  Before we had the late day rally the market was acting like people were reluctant to sell as we approached the key Jan. low.  The news flow could easily change that. 

The MCO has reached a slight oversold condition.  There is a pretty big divergence in both breadth indicators with the Jan. low. 

The red count has reached a slightly oversold condition.  There is also an obvious divergence with the Jan. low like the breadth data.

In the absence of bad news the bears might wait to see if the bulls step in for a bounce here.  There seemed to be a reluctance to sell near the lows.  There are big enough divergences that would give very high odds of a short term low here if we were still in an uptrend.  Since we are in a downtrend we are just going to have to wait and see if the bulls make a stand.  Those same divergences could mean there is more downside to come before getting oversold enough to generate the next bounce.  Option expiration is next week and it usually has a strong bullish bias.  While there was a reluctance to sell near the lows it remains to be seen if the bulls are comfortable holding new longs overnight.  Every day seems to bring surprises with foreign markets up or down big.  No way to predict that.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily update 2/10 Thoughts from Axel Merck on the FED

No save from Yellen.

The market gapped up this morning on strength in Europe.  However, not even Yellen could keep it positive.  Sellers were relentless in hitting the bids.  Around 10:30 the breadth was +79%, but by the end of the day it was only +51%.  Nothing positive going on yet.

The futures are still consolidating just above support.  This still looks like it wants to go lower to me.

This market looks extremely heavy.  The trends are all down.  A full test of the Jan. low still looks like the higher odds scenario.  If that happens we will have to see how the market reacts.  Until the bulls demonstrate the ability to hold on to a rally there is not much to talk about on the upside.

Here are some interesting thoughts on the FED.  Clueless Fed?!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daily update 2/9

Consolidation day.

Hanging at the lows.  The breadth was worse then one would think for the small move in SPX at -68%.  New highs actually increased to 70.  New lows also increased a bit to 471.  The bulls are putting up a little bit of a fight just above the Jan. low. 

The futures are trying to find some support.  At the moment this looks like a continuation pattern. 

The market is  not short term oversold enough to cause a technical bounce.  That likely means the bulls need some good news to spark enough buying to get a decent bounce going.  Yellen speaks tomorrow in front of congress.  That is a bit of a wild card.  Unless she indicates they will forget about raising rates any further I would expect the market to eventually do a full retest of the Jan. low. 

I saw some headline about the IEA saying the global oil oversupply is getting worse not better.  That put downward pressure on oil and likely kept stock bulls away.  I think it might be tough for oil to get much of a bounce going for now. 


Monday, February 8, 2016

Daily update 2/8

Late day bounce made it not look quite so bad.

The late day bounce was not enough to keep the short term trend from turning down.  Breadth was -80%.  The TRIN closed at .99 so no help from that for a bounce tomorrow.  New highs were only slightly lower at 52, but there was a big jump in new lows to 434.  

The futures took a pretty good tumble in the overnight hours with Europe down big.  They did not get down to the Jan. low.  We have an incomplete test at the moment.

The red count crossed the 50 mark, but is not in an oversold condition.  This confirms the short term down trend.

The MCO went negative today.  The 10 DMA lines did not get a negative crossover yet. 

The COMPX closed below its Jan. low and the low from last Aug.  This adds more confirmation that we are in a bear market.

We do not have a short term oversold condition in the market.  The red count and the MCO are confirming the short term downtrend in all three indexes.  Late day bounces like we saw today are not reliable indicators of future direction.  Nothing stands out to me that today will be an important low of any kind.  Now that I said that the market will probably stage a big bounce.  Support below the Jan. low is pretty nebulous.  Things could accelerate again if we keep heading south.

The VIX getting below 20 was a good sell signal.  That may happen again down the road.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Daily update 2/5 Credit standards tightening

Support held for today.

The bears started selling right from the start after yesterday's close at 1915 resistance.  Breadth was -75%.  New highs increased a bit to 60 while new lows increased a lot to 164.  The TRIN was a low 1.03.  No panic there.  SPX held the key support at 1875 I noted last night.  However, the COMPX and the R2000 indexes did not. 

The futures confirmed a break of the 20 SMA.  This is a micro downtrend, but they ended the day right at the lower Keltner channel.  That could be support at least temporarily.

The green count dropped below 50, but is still above the red count.  Another down day could easily give a negative crossover.

Neither of the breadth indicators have a negative crossover yet.  Another down day could change that.

Both the R2000 and the COMPX turned their short term trends down today.  However, SPX held key support.  Market internals are not confirming a down move yet.  Monday should be very interesting.  The bulls probably have one last chance to save this oversold bounce.  It seems likely to bounce strongly back towards 1915 resistance or break down strongly toward 1820.  What happens may be dependent on what is going on around the world before the open.  One would think down based on all the trends, but those Monday flip flops happen now and again.  The bulls have pulled a lot of rabbits out of their hats over the last few years.  There is still a slight chance they have another.

This is an interesting article even if the title is a bit misleading.  How The Fed Unwittingly Confirmed A Recession And A Default Cycle Are Now Inevitable

This is problematic because as DB's Jim Reid writes, two consecutive quarters of tightening standards "has never happened before without it signalling an eventual move into recession and a notable default cycle. Once we have 2 such quarters lending standards don't net loosen again until the start of the next cycle."

We may not be in a recession yet, but the clock is ticking.

The sector and market status pages have been updated.  Have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Daily update 2/4 Factory orders

Bulls still struggling.

SPX managed a slight gain.  It looks like we have resistance at 1915 and support at 1875.  Volume was high again today. There is participation even if we didn't get very far.  The breadth was a strong +62%.  That is pretty strong considering the meager move in the major indexes.  There was considerable strength in basic materials, transports, and the SOX.  New highs dropped considerably to 53.  New lows also dropped, but outpaced new highs coming in at 66.  I am not quite sure what to make of today.

The futures ended the day just above the 20 SMA.  They are trading just below it at the time of this writing.  More pokes below that line today.  This chart looks heavy doesn't it?  If the bulls don't get a lift going and soon this seems likely to cave in. 

The green count continues to hold in there.  There is clear lack of progress despite a strong green count.  The breadth indicators are also strong.

This looks like what I call the invisible hand at work.  That is when internals are strong and price does not move up or they are weak and price does not drop.  This condition usually results in a big move in the other direction.  If we have already seen the peak of this bounce it could be a long way down to the next short term bottom.  All we are doing is burning off the oversold condition.  The rally off the Aug. mini crash failed to make new highs in most indexes, but at least it was a strong rally.  So far this looks rather wimpy.

The latest factory orders data came in this morning.

There is still nothing positive going on with new orders.  They remain negative YOY.  Nothing more to say.



The information in this blog is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as investment advice.