All of my core market health indicators bounced around this week without much change. However, my core measures of risk moved enough to go positive. This changes the core portfolio allocations as follows: Long / Cash portfolio: 40% long and 60% cash Long / Short hedged portfolio: 70% long high beta stocks and 30% short the S&P 500 Index (or use SH) Volatility hedged portfolio: 100% long (since 3/4/16)
On Friday my market risk indicator cleared its warning. Does that mean the bear market is over? I doubt it. I’ll show you why in several charts below, but lets start with a longer view of market risk indicator warnings. Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see that the indicator is prone to whipsaws. As I’ve mentioned many times before, the indicator generally warns at inflection points — right before the market resumes its uptrend or accelerates to the downside. It also often clears just as the market is peaking. Especially, when the market is entering a more volatile phase like late 2007 thru early 2008, then again in the summer of 2011. I suspect that’s what we’re seeing now… but because I can’t see the future I set my bias aside and follow the signals. Who knows, this recent signal could be followed by a huge rally like the cleared warning in 2012. Long story even longer, the indicator has a lot of whipsaws, but the
My market risk indicator cleared its warning this week. As a result, the volatility hedge will go 100% long. In addition, the core portfolios will remove their aggressive hedge and replace it with a short of the S&P 500 Index (SPX). My core market health indicators all improved with the exception of market quality. My measures of the economy improved enough to go positive which will change the core portfolio allocations a follows. Long / Cash portfolio: 20% long and 80% cash Long / Short portfolio: 60% long high beta stocks and 40% short the S&P 500 Index (or use the ETF SH) Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long Below is a chart of recent market risk indicator signals. As I noted in January, the market risk indicator signals near inflection points where the market either turns back up quickly or accelerates to the downside. This signal has the same appearance as the 2012 and 2015 signals, where the market traded slightly lower after the signal, but the warning didn’t clear
Over the past week all of my core market health indicators improved. However, as you can see, they are all still deep in negative territory. They are clearly showing weakness in underlying market internals. There is a slight chance that a continued rally next week might bring my measures of core market risk and/or measures of the economy positive. In order to accomplish the feat it will require a continuation of the strong rally currently underway. My market risk indicator has been trying to clear this week, but hasn’t been able to right itself. Next week will be key for this indicator. I suspect it will clear unless the market turns back down with some momentum behind it. Even a consolidation at current levels would likely clear the warning. Conclusion All of my indicators are still negative, but the recent rally has removed some of the underlying damage. Next week will likely be a make or break moment for the market.
Wow. What a week. Like the market all of my core health indicators got hammered. They are now all deep in negative territory. I’ll let the chart speak for itself. One thing of note is that my market risk indicator is now signalling. This changes the volatility hedged portfolio to 50% long and 50% hedged with mid term volatility (an ETF/ETN like VXZ) or dynamic volatility (XVZ). For official tracking purposes I use XVZ, but the instrument is thinly traded so it introduces problems in actual portfolio management. First is that thin trading means it is difficult to fill large trades at a good “market” price. Second is that in a swiftly declining market the bid may as much as 20% below the market so you’ll have difficulty getting out of the position (or rebalancing) when pure panic has set in. As a result, I personally use mid term volatility like VXZ instead of dynamic volatility. But, since the back test has been done with XVZ I’ll continue to use
As I mentioned on Monday, the damage done to the core indicators would be hard to overcome and that the intermediate term trend is now likely down. Since Monday things have only gotten worse. All of my core indicators dipped even deeper into the red. As a result, the core portfolio allocations are now fully hedged or 100% in cash. My market risk indicator has three of four components warning at the moment, but the forth is still positive. That leaves the volatility hedged portfolio 100% long. Here’s a complete list of the allocations: Long / Cash portfolio: 100% cash Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 50% long high beta stocks and 50% short the S&P 500 index (or use SH) Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long As an example of the broken intermediate term trend here’s a point and figure chart of the S&P 500 index. The damage done this week was pretty significant, but looking longer term there is still the possibility that once the current correction has ended we’ll
Over the past week my core market health indicators held steady as the market whipped back and forth. The lack of movement in the indicators while the market was falling sharply on Wednesday and Thursday indicates internal strength. None of the core indicators moved enough to change any portfolio allocations. One thing of note this week is that the sharp dip didn’t cause any of my measures of risk to move much. Market participants aren’t reacting to downward price moves. One illustration of fear comes from price targets gleaned from the Twitter stream for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). On the chart below each red dot represents multiple market participants tweeting the same price level for SPX. Notice that the declines in early and late 2014 put enough fear in the market to result in a fair amount of lower price targets on dips for several months. Traders got skittish and tweeted their fears of how low the market might fall. The August / September correction didn’t result in the
Just a quick note. My measures of core risk are falling. With an inverted scale this is making the core risk category go positive. None of the other measures of market health are positive yet. So if the measures of risk stay positive into the close tomorrow (Friday) the core portfolios will be adding some exposure as follows. Long / Cash portfolio: 20% long and 80% cash Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 60% long high beta stocks and 40% short the S&P 500 Index (or use the ETF SH) I’ll make a post with a final call an hour before the market closes tomorrow, but wanted to give you a heads up so you can plan on what longs you’d like to hold.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, my market risk indicator cleared during the week and the positive readings have held throughout the week. However, my core market health indicators are all still below zero. This changes the portfolio allocations as follows. Long / Cash portfolio: 100% cash Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 50% long stocks I believe will outperform in and uptrend and 50% short the S&P 500 Index Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long As was the case in mid August the core indicators don’t like the current market internals, but the perception of risk is low. You’ll need to assess your own needs and risk tolerance to decide how much of a hedge (if any) you leave on your portfolio. If you’d rather use an ETF for the long portion of your portfolio here are some ideas on how to find one. Look at the comments too as a reader found several ETFs that met the high beta criteria. At the end of August I wrote a post explaining why
Yesterday my market risk indicator moved back to positive territory. It’s looking like price above 1975 on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is roughly the level where the risk indicator clears so you can use that level for planning during the week. If the readings can hold into Friday it will clear the current market risk warning. If that happens it will result in the Volatility Hedged portfolio going 100% long (for official tracking purposes I use SPX for the longs). The Core Long/Short Hedged portfolio will remove the aggressive hedge (mid term volatility) and replace it with a short of SPX (or using SH). The longs for the core portfolio are stocks that should outperform the market during an uptrend (high beta stocks). As I mentioned above I use SPX for tracking the Volatility Hedged portfolio, but I personally use high beta stocks with that strategy. Recently I’ve been asked if an ETF can be used for the long portion of the core portfolio rather than stocks. The answer