Another week gone and the market is still in a range. The S&P 500 index (SPX) has climbed back to the top of the range at 2120, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJTA) are lagging a bit. As I mentioned last week the direction of the break in SPX, DJIA, and DJTA will point the direction of the next intermediate term trend. So we’re left waiting again this week for confirmation of the uptrend or a rejection at the current level which will result in more time waiting. On thing I’m watching on a longer term scale is the continued negative divergence from several indicators. Negative divergences aren’t good timing devices for the simple fact that they can last for month or years, but they do provide important information if price declines. The percent of stocks above their 200 day moving average has been diverging from price for over two years (although from abnormally high levels). This indicates that market participants are getting
Earlier in the month I highlighted some technical analysis indicators that showed a battle between accumulation and distribution. As of Friday we have more evidence of a battle between people accumulating stock and distributing it. This evidence comes from Dow Theory. Friday’s decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) created a Dow Theory line. Both averages are now showing a pattern that indicates either accumulation or distribution is underway, but we’ll have to wait and see how these patterns resolve to know which will win. William Peter Hamilton stated: When a ‘line’ is in process it is the hardest thing in the world to tell either the nature of the selling or that of the buying. Both accumulation and distribution are at work, and no one can say which will ultimately exercise the greatest pressure. When the pattern is broken we’ll have an answer that will have a significant impact on the market. Hamilton said that the break of a line will indicate a change in general market direction
The sharp drop in the market today is creating a lot of buzz from the financial press, but isn’t really showing up as fear or panic in the measures I follow. None of the four components of my Market Risk Indicator have gone negative. This is unusual given the fact that the drop is a result of the fear of a global macro event (speculation that Greece may leave the Euro) which could cause a large disruption in currency valuations. The day isn’t done yet, so there is the possibility that my measures of risk escalates into the close, but at the moment my they are treating this as a “normal” profit taking event. Our core measures of risk fell a bit this week, but like our Market Risk Indicator they aren’t showing panic. Our other market health indicators dipped slightly but haven’t been damaged enough to change any of our core portfolio allocations. I suspect that we’ll have enough evidence by next Friday to determine if the current dip
Over the past week our core market health indicators continued to churn along with the market. Most of them rose, but none significantly. We still have every category with the exception of the economy with positive readings. As a result, none of our portfolio allocations will change this week. For a longer term view I’m currently watching Dow Theory for a warning or confirmation of a renewed uptrend. Dow Theory should give us some clues over the next few weeks if there is cause for concern, but it will take longer to confirm the uptrend. Until we have more evidence I’ll wait and watch with a small hedge.
Over the past six months there has been distribution occurring in the market. However, the market has been able to move higher due to bottom fishing and value buying. So far the choppy market we’ve seen since the first of the year has been a result of profit taking (distribution) in stocks that had been making new highs with the money raised being put to work (accumulation) in stocks that have been beaten down enough that they were making new lows at the end of last year. When the S&P 500 index (SPX) broke higher in March the number of new highs jumped to healthy levels. Currently, SPX is within 2% of those highs, but NYSE new highs aren’t rising rapidly. This is a bit of a concern and suggests that distribution is still occurring, but nothing to worry about yet. Another sign of the battle between the accumulators and distributors comes from Trade Followers breadth. It is holding up at healthy levels with the same condition as NYSE new
At the end of February I noted that Dow Theory had created a non confirmation. In that post I mentioned that I wouldn’t care about it unless the transports (DJTA) fell below their January lows. On Thursday of last week the January lows were broken. This is our first caution sign from Dow Theory. What makes the warning more significant is that the transportation average has been trading in a tight range since the first of the year. This tight range is called a Dow Theory line. The break below the bottom of the range creates a warning, but a major tenet of Dow Theory states that both averages must move together. The industrial average (DJIA) still hasn’t created a low that is three weeks away from its early March high. In addition, it isn’t painting a line. When both averages paint a line then break out (either higher or lower) the event is considered significant in Dow Theory. Since that hasn’t happened it leaves us with a small warning
Just a quick note today. No changes to any of the portfolio allocations this week. Enjoy the holiday!