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Raising Cash – Adding Hedge

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Over the past week all of our market health indicators fell. Our measures of trend fell into negative territory which causes us to change our portfolio allocations. The Long / Cash portfolios will now be 60% long and 40% cash. The hedged portfolio will be 80% long stocks we believe will out perform the market in an uptrend (high beta stocks) and 20% short the S&P 500 Index (SH). Our market risk indicator hasn’t signaled so our volatility hedge is still 100% long. Below is a chart with the core portfolio allocation changes over the past year. The green lines represent adding exposure to the market and the yellow lines represent raising cash or adding a hedge. Here is a chart of the current readings (normalized) of our market health categories. The thing I’m watching most carefully at the moment is breadth. The NYSE cumulative Advance / Decline line (NYAD) is getting close to painting a lower low. This would be a warning sign of the most significant top we’ve

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Another Heads Up

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Our measures of trend have been bouncing back and forth across the zero line this week and are currently negative. If they are still negative on Friday we’ll be raising more cash and/or adding a larger hedge before the week ends. Here are some of the things I’m watching at the moment. The actively managed short ETF HDGE is currently rising even though a simple short of the S&P 500 Index (SH) is trending lower. This indicates that shorting selected stocks is starting to work. This often happens before the general market falls. In addition, mid term volatility (VXZ) is rising as well. This indicates that investors are getting nervous going into the end of the year. Small cap stocks (IWM) broke below the triangle I’ve been watching with an associated break in momentum from traders on Twitter. The negative gap in breadth between small and large cap stocks continues to grow. While everyone is watching small cap stocks I’m seeing deterioration in large caps under the cover of new

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Trade Followers Momentum Shows Chasing

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Social media indicators are showing mostly positive signs with some indecision and chasing by traders on Twitter. You can see the full commentary here. In addition, here are some charts of individual stocks with social media indicators for those of you who are interested.

 
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Market Health Diverging

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Over the past week we saw a bit of divergence between our core market health indicators. Our measures of quality and risk got better, while our measures of trend and the economy weakened. None of them moved enough to change our core portfolio allocations. Our core measure of risk is still diverging with the last several peaks in the market. Since the extremely overbought condition on this indicator in late 2013 it has mostly painted lower highs as the market moves higher. This indicates that investors are getting less confident with each rally. As I’ve noted before, it takes time to build a top so this indicator provides information and something to watch carefully, but nothing to act on…yet. The most important thing to watch for a sign of a long term top continues to be breadth. So far we’re seeing small chinks in the armor, but nothing serious. The NYSE Advance / Decline Line (NYAD) is an example. It isn’t confirming the new highs in the S&P 500 Index

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False Alarm

On Tuesday we mentioned that our measures of trend were negative. That condition has resolved itself so it looks like we won’t be making any portfolio changes tomorrow. This is a good example of avoiding a whip saw by waiting for Friday’s data to make decisions. Our portfolios are designed to be long term in nature and have infrequent allocation changes. Since we use weekly data for all of the signals they tend to track the intermediate term trends. The sensitivity in our measures of trend show how long in the tooth the current long term trend is. Even with new highs our trend measures are barely positive so it won’t take much weakness to raise more cash. I’ll do an update of all of our core market health measures tomorrow.

 
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More Warning Signs

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It’s still early in the week, but I wanted to give you a heads up that our measures of trend are currently negative. We require a weekly close below zero before changing any portfolio allocations so this is simply early warning that we might be raising some cash and adding a larger hedge come Friday…but I’ll wait till Friday to make any changes in order to avoid whip saws. Our market risk indicator has two of its four components signalling, but the two positive components are a long way from a warning. What is interesting about their current condition is that the least sensitive components are warning while the most sensitive are a long way from a signal. This means there is some instability in the underlying market and that we’d quickly get a market risk signal if prices drop substantially. Our core measure of risk fell out of over bought readings in early July, moved back up to kiss overbought in August, and is now falling again. This is

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No Portfolio Changes This Week

Just a quick note today. Our core indicators bounced around this week, but none of them moved enough to change our core portfolio allocations. Here’s the post where from our last allocation change. Have a good weekend.

 
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Chinks in the Armor

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Although almost every indicator I follow is still positive I’m starting to see some chinks in the armor that suggest that a longer term top is in the making. Tops are a process and take a long time to form so there’s nothing to worry about yet, but here are some things to watch over the next several weeks. First is the ratio between the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW). We use the 20 week moving average as a bullish/bearish line. When the ratio is below the 20 week ma the market is often choppy as a result of reallocation rotation or the ratio falls as investors are rotating to safety. Recently it fell below the 20wma then retraced back to it and has turned down again. Investors are continuing to rotate to larger cap stocks which often precedes longer term tops. Next, the NYSE Advance Decline Line (NYAD) is reacting much more quickly to small price declines. This tells us that fewer stocks are

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Raising Cash and Adding a Hedge

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This past week our measures of the economy dipped into negative territory. As a result, we’ll be changing our core portfolio allocations (details below). All of the rest of our core market health indicators dropped as well. They had held up fairly well earlier in the week, but Thursday’s market action did some damage to them.  As a side note, it is extremely unusual for one indicator to warn without others warning within a month so it is likely we’ll be raising more cash over the coming weeks. But as always, we’ll wait for a signal before making further moves. Our core measure of risk turned down after touching over bought readings the last few weeks. It is painting lower peaks which suggests investors are getting more concerned as the market moves higher. Our market risk indicator still has one component that is negative even though the market has moved to all time highs. All the other risk components peaked recently and have turned back down. Right now it is

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Heads Up

Just a heads up. Our measures of the economy have been negative all week long and it appears they’ll end that way on Friday. If they stay negative into Friday afternoon we’ll be raising 20% cash in the long/cash portfolios (will be 80% long and 20% cash) and going 90% long and 10% short in the hedged portfolio. I give the warning so you can evaluate your positions and determine which stocks would fair worst or you’d be uncomfortable holding if the market turns down over the next several weeks. As always, I can’t see the future and as a result make allocations based on the odds. I’ll do a post on Friday before the close to let you know if the measures of the economy are still negative. As a side note, all of our other indicators are still positive and mostly moving up. The only dark cloud would be our market risk indicator hasn’t cleared one of its components and the others have turned down this week. It

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