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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Daily update 3/31

This will be short as today did not give us much new info.

I scrunched the chart up and connected the last two tops that occurred before the mini crashes.  The blue trend line is still a ways up.  I guess that is the next upward target should this rally keep going.  The breadth was slightly positive despite most indexes being down.  New highs slipped a bit to 173, but were still strong.  Price remains very extended from the 50 DMA, but so fat nobody has cared.

The green count increased to 50 today despite the down day.  The red count is remaining slightly elevated.  I think we could turn down pretty easily, but so far the market has resisted the pull of gravity. 

I really don't have any idea how the next few days play out.  There will be fresh economic data, but will anybody care.  We still have several more days before earnings start coming in.  That could shake things up a bit.  In the mean time lets see if the bulls have any desire to push higher.  There was clear resistance this morning when they tried.  Tomorrow could always be different as the first of the month has an upside bias.

I found this snippet in Best March since 2009 puts S&P 500 back in black  pretty interesting.

But history says ruling out another downdraft this year could be a mistake. Stovall points out that since 1945 there have been nine other years in which the S&P 500 fell more than 5% in the first quarter and recovered all — or nearly all — its losses by the end of March.

And, while the index eked out an average full-year gain of 2.2% in each of those nine years, there were five years where the benchmark U.S. stock index actually made lower lows than the earlier March lows.

In other words it is not a good thing to do since the average gain is only 2.2% for the year.  Notice there is a 55% chance of a lower low this year.   Given the behavior of the VIX I believe the odds are even higher then that.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Daily update 3/30

The rest of the world celebrating Yellen telling us what we already knew caused a gap up this morning.  After a couple of  hours when the European orders were largely fulfilled a little bit of selling came into the market.  Nothing dramatic, but the futures ended up a couple of points below their open.

A bit of a toppy looking candle there.  Breadth ended the day at +56%.  It was +76% mid morning so there was considerable selling into the strength.  New highs remained strong at 222.  We closed above last week's resistance, but not exactly a strong looking pattern.  We will have to see if it can stay up here.  The futures chart does not tell us much so I am skipping that one.

The green count only increased a couple of points and remains below 50.  To push higher this needs to get back above 50.  The Yellen move may look like a thrust, but internally it does not appear that strong.

The breadth chart says the same thing.  While the breadth turned up some the last couple of days it is highly negatively divergent.

Today looked like a good top bar.  We will have to see if that turns out to be true.  The market will have to deal with actual real data like earnings next month.  Expectations have been set really, really low.  I would expect most companies will beat expectations.  However, earnings are still likely to be bad for many sectors.   At the very least I think we can expect some increase in volatility.

I heard plenty of calls for new highs today.  It would seem many people are convinced the worst is over.  I am not one of them.  I have technical signs we are in a bear market and a recession is likely in the not too distant future.  I have zero signs the worst is over.  I think a lot of people are going to be surprised.  I guess we will see.

The COMPX and R2000 turned their intermediate trends to neutral today.  Maybe the rally has finally done its job.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Daily update 3/29

If Yellen spoke every day we could easily get SPX to a new high.

SPX is testing the 3/22 intraday high.  Curiously it came up short by .7.  Volume increased a bit, but by no means was today a big rush into stocks.  New highs were a very strong 205.  That is the highest number since March of last year.  It would be very good if new highs stayed in the 200 range in the days ahead, but my guess is that won't happen. 

ADX has gotten very low.  This has the potential for a double top.  Will the bulls keep on pushing or will the bears strike back tomorrow?

The green count crossed back above the red today.  However, it is still below 50.  Once again we have a big divergence.  There is lots of room before getting overbought again, but it might really be showing there is not much support for higher prices.  Interesting situation.

SPX is still well extended from its 50 DMA.  The number of stocks above their 50 DMAs is also extremely high.  That little pullback did not clear the overbought condition.  I kind of doubt there will be enough buying interest to push through resistance here. 

I found these comments from Yellen interesting.

For a time, equity prices were down sharply, oil traded at less than $30 per barrel, and many currencies were depreciating against the dollar. Although prices in these markets have since largely returned to where they stood at the start of the year, in other respects economic and financial conditions remain less favorable than they did back at the time of the December FOMC meeting. In particular, foreign economic growth now seems likely to be weaker this year than previously expected, and earnings expectations have declined.

So markets crapped out and came back, but economic and financial conditions are not as good as they were before markets crapped out.  Global growth and earnings expectations have declined while markets were bouncing back.  Maybe it is just me and my bearish bias, but I am having trouble seeing this situation as being truly bullish.  I guess we will see.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Daily update 3/28

I forgot Europe closes on Friday and Monday around Easter.  With Europe closed there was not much desire to do anything in the U.S. market.

It looked like the market actually tried to rally today, but the sellers were just active enough to keep that from happening.  SPX closed several points below the open.  Breadth was +54%.  New highs increased considerably to 107.  I am not really sure what caused that.  Very light volume today shows the lack of participation.  More people should be back to work tomorrow.

The futures tried to push up through the 20 SMA, but failed.  That type of action looks like we are in pullback mode. 

Despite the fact SPX closed slightly positive the red count crossed above the green count today.  Will the bears pounce tomorrow or will the bulls show up to save the day?

The green line in the short term indicator has not crossed below the red line yet.  However, that indicator can change very fast.  A down day tomorrow might do it. 

It looks like we could be in pullback mode, but I think we need another down day to confirm that.  If the bulls show tomorrow then a retest of the rally high is likely.  If we continue down there are MAs that could provide support.  Just remember we are in a primary downtrend and those lines might only provide short term bounces.  While we might do a retest of the high the market was weak enough at the peak that this rally could be over.  We might be headed back to the lows, but it is just a bit too early to tell.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Daily update 3/24 Durable goods

Seasonal strength met with overnight negative news.

The end result was a mixed day with most indexes up or down just a bit.  The breadth ended slightly positive after starting -81%.  Pretty big breadth reversal.  New highs came in at 54 while new lows popped up a bit to 22.  I am not sure today told us much.  There was clearly an absence of people interested in selling into the gap down this morning.  That allowed the market to stabilize all morning which emboldened some people to buy in the afternoon.  Since the market is closed tomorrow it is likely a lot of people were already out of the office.  That could have contributed to the lack of selling pressure on the open.  We will have to wait and see what happens on Monday.

The futures confirmed a break of the 20 SMA this morning.  They ended the day just fractionally below that MA.  This is the first confirmed break of the 20 since this rally began back in Feb.  Do we climb back above or turn down from here on Monday?

The green count slipped further today, but is still above the red.  This is the weakest the market has been on this rally.

The bulls did just enough to keep the bears at bay today.  Monday is shaping up to be the decision day.  Will the bulls show up to continue this afternoon's bounce?  Will oil keep going down and bring out the bears instead.  It looks like it could go either way to me.

Durable goods came in much worse then expected.  The question is why did weakness surprise economists.

Core durable goods were once again negative YOY.  While some might say the chart is improving, that is not really the case.  We are now into the major weakness that started at the beginning of 2015.  The fact is we are still negative even from that collapse.  I would call it muddling along rather then indicating an improvement.  .

Core Capex tells pretty much the same story.  We are in an unusually prolonged period of weakness without having a recession.  Odd.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Daily update 3/23 NIRP

A slight bit of profit taking today.

SPX closed below the 3/16 low I mentioned last night.  Dropping below that low today did not bring out the sellers though.  The Thursday before Good Friday has a strong upside bias so the bulls may show up tomorrow instead.  Breadth was -68%.  Small caps and oil stocks were hit especially hard.  Oil was hit when the IEA happened to note that a production freeze (the rumor that started the oil rally to begin with) would really be meaningless.  Well duh.  People say markets are smart.  The truth is the market gets lucky sometimes and gets things right.  People seem to forget all the times it gets things wrong.  Oil will eventually be back to the lows.  New highs came in at 62 while new lows picked up slightly to 13. 

The futures ended the day just above the 20 SMA.  It is break or bounce time.

The green count dropped below 50 again.  This is now neutral.  Break or bounce time on this one also.

Another down day tomorrow will put the market into pullback mode. Given the upside bias for tomorrow the bulls will probably show up in the absence of bad overnight news.  If the bulls show up, but don't get through the rally highs early next week the sellers are likely to show a little more force.  If the bears show up instead the logical target would be the 20 DMA.  However, the 200 DMA is between here and there.  Maybe the dip buyers show up there, maybe they don't.  This entire thing could depend on what oil does.  I think the strong buying we saw on this rally was inspired by the big rise in oil.  That oil rally had no fundamental justification.  I don't know that it will undo itself quickly or not, but it could.  Something we will have to watch.
This is an interesting article on NIRP.  I do not believe the FED will ever introduce negative rates here in the U.S., but we will see.  The NIRP Hail Mary


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Daily update 3/22

We have all this wonderful technology that makes life much easier than the old days.  However, days like today really make me glad I grew up when I did.

SPX lost a little altitude today.  Breadth was slightly negative.  SPX tested the 3/18 high both days this week, but was unable to close up there.  We have clear resistance here at least for the moment.  Volume was very light suggesting a lack of participation.  Once again many investors are sitting around waiting for somebody else to go first.  Still in the holding pattern.  Closing below the 3/18 low (2041) might spark some selling.  Not much else to say.  Just waiting to see what happens.

I would like to apologize for not keeping up with the trend table last week.  The COMPX resumed its short term uptrend on 3/16 and I failed to update the table.  In my defense the weather has been absolutely beautiful and I have been busy getting some outdoor work done.  That made me a little tired some nights when I sat down to write the update.  I realize that is not a good excuse, but its all I got.  Sorry.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Daily update 3/21

Lethargic day.

The bulls bought a little today, but were afraid to push price much above Friday's high.  In the end SPX closed higher, but below Friday's high.  Breadth was slightly negative.  New highs dropped way down to 57.  That is a big loss of enthusiasm.  Today looked like most people were sitting around waiting for somebody else to buy or sell first.  SPX is a pretty good ways from the 50 SMA.  Can't blame the bulls for being a little shy.

The futures don't tell us anything we did not already know.  However, the green count slipped considerably today and is back out of overbought territory.  It remains to be seen if that is an indication of a top or not.  Certainly a loss of momentum.

Here is a look at the full bull pressure chart with short, intermediate and long versions. 

The first thing to realize is that these indicators can top well before or after actual reversals in price.  Sometimes they show divergences, sometimes not.  They can also present mixed messages which usually leads to choppy price action as the bulls and bears fight it out.  Before the big dumps last Aug. and in Jan. both the intermediate and long indicators were showing considerable selling pressure.  It is not always that clear.  It is unusual to have that much warning time.  Currently both the short and intermediate indicators are showing some divergence on this last leg up in price.  The short one is quite noticeable.  Both these indicators seem to show stronger buying then the Oct. rally.  I believe this means that Oct. rally was mostly short covering.  The current rally has more new buying going on.  Before anybody jumps to the conclusion that means we are going to break out on the upside there are similar strong bear market rallies.  What this really means is that the Feb. low is extremely important.  If it breaks it is likely to unleash a torrent of selling from these fresh longs.  The strength in the intermediate indicator tells us the long term green line will keep rising for a while even if price peaks here.  If we were still in a bull market that would tell us there should be plenty more upside to come.  However, bear markets are different.  Here is a look at a bear market rally from 2001.

The rally in Jan. 2001 showed quite a bit of buying, but did not last long.  When SPX made new lows it went down another 13% to the next important bottom.  The upshot is that the long term indicator says we are highly likely in a bear market so the shorter indicators need to be interpreted as such.  Therefore we cannot rely on the strength in the intermediate indicator as an all clear.  It may in fact be telling us that downside risk just increased because of the new longs.

The market may be topping here as we have lost momentum, but the bulls are still in control.  Time to relax a bit and wait and see how it unfolds. 


Friday, March 18, 2016

Last chance to reduce equity exposure before the bear market really gets going?

As you all know I believe the VIX is telling us we are in a bear market.  I am also convinced that some of you probably do not believe that.  I have talked about evidence of a recession and a bear market at times, but I am going to put all the information I have together here.  I will also be showing an indicator I developed last year that I have not shown yet.  I wanted to make sure I could interpret it in real time before doing so.

Lets start out with a look at the last two major tops with SPX and DJ15 (utilities).  As odd as that sounds I think you might find this chart interesting.

The vertical lines mark the month SPX made its final high.  The green arrows mark the month the utilities made their final high.  Notice it came after SPX in both bear markets.  Here we are again with the utilities at a new high and SPX is not.  It was after that final new high in the utilities that SPX really started to tank.  If we turn down again I think the bear will really get going this time.

Here is another chart I showed quite a while back.

This is the number of NYSE stocks which have their 13 month EMA above their 34 EMA.  In the 30 years of data I have dropping below 60 has been followed by a recession,.  That recession was not necessarily right away though.  It fell below 60 last Sept. so it has already been there for a while.  It had little to no lead time in 1990 and 2008, but a long lead time in 2000.  We have a long lead time now.  How many times have I commented on how this market reminds me of 2000?  The data has us on recession watch because of weakness.  This chart says a recession in the near future is probably unavoidable.

I have always believed there was a lot more information contained in the NYSE advancing and declining data that I was not getting.  I decided to see if I could figure out a better way to look at it.  I think I found some truly meaningful information.  I have been using the short and intermediate versions of this indicator for a while now for index swing trades quite effectively.  I decided to play around with long term versions to see if it could give me some information about bull and bear markets.  I think it works pretty well.  I call it Traderbob's bull/bear pressure. This works on the daily data and the data goes back to 2000 so it covers both major tops this century.  Here is the chart with just the long version.  Now that the cat is out of the bag I will show it in the daily update with the short and intermediate versions as appropriate.

This indicator has two lines.  The green one is buying pressure and the red one is selling pressure.  Notice the sell off last Aug. and again this year sent the red line will above the green line at the peak of the rally last fall. This is key.  Lets look at the prior too bull market tops and we will see the same pattern.

It would have been nice if the data had gone back to 1999 so I could see the full top formation.  What we can see though is the same pattern.  The sell offs in the fall of 2000 and spring of 2001 saw the red line higher then the green line in the Jan. 01 rally.  If I had data further back it is possible the indicator would have given an earlier warning, but I don't know.  Lets look at the 2007 top.

The same pattern showed up with the sell off in Jan. 08.  That bear market really got its claws after the peak in May 2008 not shown on this chart.

There is a constant theme in the nearly 16 years of data I have on this indicator.  During bull markets, rallies show the green line climbing above the peak of the red line in the pullbacks.  During bear markets the green line always falls short of the red line peak.  Once that red line peak from the last bottom is eclipsed the next bull market is on.  This indicator gives fairly early confirmation of a new bull market.

This next table is very interesting.  I can't remember if I have shown it on the blog before or not.  I think I did.  Anyway here it is.

This chart clearly shows that high valuation and recessions lead to very big sell offs.  We can also see we are at the second highest valuation in history. 

Lets review the situation.  The VIX and my bull pressure indicator both say we are in a bear market.  The bull pressure indicator says this rally is probably the last chance to reduce equity exposure.  We know historically that recessions and high valuation are a seriously negative combination.  The monthly 13/34 chart indicates a recession in the near future is highly likely.  The more money you have and/or the older you are the more important it is to review your current equity exposure.  The older you are the less time you have to make up for big drawdowns.  Current valuations indicate it could be a decade or more before we get back here again if we do indeed have another big sell off.  Do you have that kind of time?  The market is giving us a gift exit here.  I believe down the road people that don't take advantage of that will be sorry.  The odds of an upside break out and further bull market seem extremely small to me.  The risk/reward seems heavily skewed to the downside.


Daily update 3/18 Axel Merk on possible dollar top

The buying continues, but we have reached day 25.

Here we are.  Overbought and in the middle of resistance on day 25.  I wonder how this is going to work out.  The volume was big, but it was option expiration and there was some kind of re-balance going on today.  There are quite a few short term tops on option expiration Friday.  I once started out to develop a trading system to short when SPX closed opt. exp. Friday at the high of the week.  However, the sell off the next isn't always significant enough to take on the risk.  However, it tanks just often enough to make you think it would be.  It might prove to be a good strategy in a bear market though.  Never thought of that before.  The breadth was +58%.  At 10:15 it was +72% so there was some significant selling into strength today.  Just not enough to send the market down for the day.  I believe that is indicating profit taking has started.  New highs were good once again at 150.  New lows dropped back to 9.  It is amazing how similar the rally looks to last Oct. isn't it.  Buyer beware.  The futures are not adding any information and neither is the green count as they are still in overbought territory.

This looks like a logical place and time for at least a short term top if not the high point of this rally.   Due to the strength of the move I expect dip buyers to show up on the first pullback similar to last fall.  Shorting a pullback should only be done if one can be nimble.  Lets see if the profit takers show up in force next week.

Well known and successful investor Axel Merk came up with this post on the dollar.  Dollar Outlook: Peak Dollar?  It is a good read and there are some interesting points.  Here is a long term chart from the article.

Take a look at the price action with the standard deviation lines.  Notice anything.  Here is another version with my markings on it.

In 50 years of data this is only the third time the dollar index has crossed above the +1 STD line (blue circles).  The other two times it was the beginning of a multi year bull market that went much higher.  Long time readers know I commented many times on the strength of the dollar rally and how it stayed above its 50 DMA for so long.  I said I just did not believe that kind of strength was going to turn out to be nothing but a short term move.  I have been expecting the current trading range to be resolved on the upside.  So far it has refused to do that.  A top and pullback here is a possibility, but far from a certainty.  However, longer term I think any pullback would be just that.  I fully expect the dollar to rally to new highs and beyond.  It is just the shorter term timing that is uncertain.  While the dollar has not broken out it also has done nothing wrong.  It will need to break the low from last Aug.  to indicate a more serious pullback is underway.  I am not at all sure that will happen.

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


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Daily update 3/17 Business sales and inventories

The FED induced buying continued as FDX had good earnings and the dollar was hit again.   Strong sectors were the transports and basic materials.

This is day 24 of this rally.  The rally off the double bottom Oct. low lasted 25 days.  The setup was similar so the length of rally could come into play.  Today filled the big gap down at the start of the year.  There could be some resistance here.  There are no more downside gaps left to fill.  The breadth was an incredible +75%.  This long into a rally that is unusual.  Volume increased again.  That is almost like panic buying at this stage of the bounce.  I am starting to hear more and more calls for new highs in SPX.  New highs swelled to 177.  That is the highest since March of last year.

The futures are getting very extended from the 100 SMA.  Quite the buying panic.  For the last part of this rally the ADX has actually been falling.

The green count has once again reached overbought status.

Bear market rallies are truly amazing.  Today almost looked like panic buying like a buying climax.  Volume was not all that high though.  I guess it could still turn out that way.  The main theme the last two days was buying because the dollar was down.  The dollar was down of course because it had priced in more rate hikes.  Here is my question, what happens when people think about the reason why the FED pulled back on hikes was economic weakness.  Near as I can tell none of the problems that caused the early year sell off have actually been fixed.  Global economic data remains poor.  Oil inventories are still building.

The market is overbought.  While SPX filled the gap down from the start of the year neither QQQ nor IWM are even close to theirs.  Key indexes are lagging while sentiment is swinging towards bullish.  I think the market is doing a great job of fooling people the worst is over.  I don't believe that is the case.  I guess we will see.

Business sales continue to be lackluster. 

Usually data like this means we are in recession.


Inventories continue to build.  I have been wondering how much longer businesses would continue to order stuff.  So far no sign of cutting back.  I wonder if the optimism is based on the low oil prices that are supposed to help consumer spending.  If you order it they will come.  I can't believe this situation will last forever.  Either sales pick up and start working off the inventory or production cuts are coming.  I know I have said similar stuff before, but it still applies.

Happy St. Patrick's day.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Daily update 3/16 Industrial Production IP

Nothing like an unexpectedly dovish FED to bring out a few buyers.  Likely a good bit of the buying was short covering.  I think many people were expecting a more hawkish statement today.  Was this an admission by the FED that the economy is weaker then they have been letting on?  I listened to the press conference and I have to say Yellen was quite confusing at times.  I know the economy is weaker then they have been indicating.  Maybe the FED is starting to figure that out.  Better late then never I guess.

SPX is clearly above the 200 SMA now.  It did that last fall and failed to stay there.  Historically it is unusual to stay above the 200 as long as we did only to fail.  I expect this time will not take as long.  The breadth was +71% so there was broad based buying once again.  New highs jumped to 101.  That eclipses the previous rally high of 94.  New lows came in at 15 which is a bit higher then they have been running.  SPX closed about 3 points above the 3/14 high.  While it was a thrust day we did not get very far into new ground for this rally.

The futures spent the day chopping around until the FED announcement.  They jumped about 15 points in the next 3 minutes.  Every dip was bought after that, but the futures closed only about 2 points above the initial surge.  There must have been plenty of sellers around since we did not keep on climbing.

Today gave the green count another thrust up.  It is getting close to overbought again.  It is still showing a sizable divergence.  We will have to wait and see how that plays out.

You probably know what I am about to say.  Whatever happens on FED day quite often gets reversed over the next couple of days.  The VIX dipped below 15 during the buying spree.  This is about as low as it has gotten in past bear markets.  Now that all the central bank meetings are out of the way for a while some sellers may emerge.  Further upside might be tough to come by. 

Today turned the intermediate trend for SPX to neutral.  This would be a good technical condition for this rally to end.  Will the bulls keep on pushing?

I did not show the IP last month as there was a big jump up caused by the warm Dec. and more normal Jan.  That caused is big spike in utilities.  Here is the latest data.

IP dropped this month and remains below the key 12 month MA.  For the economy to get out of trouble we need to see a sustained uptrend in this key piece of data.

This is the 4th month in a row YOY IP is negative.  I cannot find an instance of that happening historically that was not associated with a recession.  We are still on recession watch.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Daily update 3/15

Another pause day.

Dip buyers came in on the opening gap down and held the market up all day.  Despite the small down move in SPX the breadth was a very negative -72%.  Small caps were hammered pretty hard.  They also have been lagging for the last week and have turned their short term trend neutral.  Volume was even lighter then yesterday.  A little game of wait and see it looks like.

The 20 SMA is catching up to price.  It will either kick the futures higher or end up being broken on the downside. 

The green count slipped a little further today.  The bulls need another thrust pretty soon to keep the rally going.

Neither the bulls or the bears seem very motivated at the moment.  That may change after the FED meeting tomorrow.  There is some talk the FED may open the door for another hike at the June meeting.  One might think that could cause some selling.  However, lots of actions by the FED in recent years that might ordinarily cause some selling haven't.  We will just have to wait and see what happens.  The BOJ just had a meeting and decided to do nothing.  Tomorrow will clear the decks on nearby known major central bank meetings.  That in itself could spur some profit taking.  The bulls grip is getting very tentative.  They could lose it pretty quickly.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Daily update 3/14

Pause day.

Here we sit at the 200.  Breadth was -55%.  New highs dropped way down to 42.  That is not particularly good.  New lows remained low at 7.  Volume was really light today.  Both buyers and sellers taking a wait and see approach.

The volatility has really contracted in the futures overnight data.  All is calm.  I wonder how long that will last.

The green count dropped considerably today and is back under 50.  The bulls have lost momentum.  I don't know that we can count on another thrust day up now that we made it to the 200 DMA.

The next FED announcement is on Wed.  In recent years the market has rallied the day before.  In this overbought state at the 200 I don't know if that will happen again or not.  It is hard to believe there would be much buying interest at higher prices from here without some consolidation/pullback.  It is possible nothing interesting happens until after the FED meeting.

SPX is right on the ragged edge of turning its intermediate trend to neutral.  I have heard a few bears wavering since the Friday thrust up.  While anything can happen in the market this still looks like a bear market rally to me.  It is going to take more then a rally back to the 200 DMA to make me waver at this time.  I still expect we will see new lows eventually.



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