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Looking Up

Over the past week, all of my core market health indicators rose. They are finally starting to look like they want to confirm price, but I suspect it will take a very good week for the market next week or a couple of weeks of sideways to up movement to get any of the negative categories in positive territory. At the moment, I’m looking up rather than down.  

 
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Breadth Not Improving

Over the past week, my core market health indicators bounced around a bit. They are mostly showing short term weakness, but longer term strength. This usually means the market should resolve higher. One thing of particular note is that my core measures of risk are deteriorating rapidly. This isn’t a normal occurrence near all time highs. The last time this occurred was in February of 2015 which was followed by several months of choppy movement, then a decent decline. This isn’t a prediction, just an observation and something to watch.   Another thing I’m watching closely is various measures of breadth. The most significant at the moment is the ratio between the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX). When it is below its 20 week moving average the market usually chops around (at the least). This is exactly what we’ve seen since it fell below the line in early February.   Another measure of breadth comes from the number of bullish stocks on the

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Ready for the Rally

Over the past few weeks, my core market health indicators improved significantly, with the exception of my measures of the economy. The strength seen suggests that the market wants to rally. Although my measures of trend and strength are still negative, they are on a trajectory to turn positive within a week or two.   One thing of note is that the current strength is coming from mega cap stocks. This isn’t a healthy condition. Normally, a healthy rally will have broad participation from the stocks in the S&P 500 Index (SPX). This isn’t happening. Look at the ratio between SPX equal weighted (SPXEW). It is still falling. Bulls want to see this ratio turn up if the market breaks higher.   Another sign of poor participation in the market comes from the percent of SPX stocks above their 200 day moving average. As SPX is approaching new highs, the percent of SPX stocks above their 200 dma is falling. This increases the risk that a breakout rally will be

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Measures of Strength and Economy Go Negative

Over the past week, some serious damage has been done to my core stock market health indicators. Most notably, the measures of the economy and market strength have gone negative. The changes the portfolio allocations as follows. Long / Cash portfolio: 60% long and 40% cash Long / Short portfolio: 80% long high beta stocks and 20% short the S&p 500 Index (or use an inverse etf like SH) Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long (since 11/11/2016)   As always, use your own risk tolerance and read on the market to guide your investment decisions.

 
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Bouncing Around

170210MarketHealth

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) finally broke out of its recent range and moved above 2300. That move didn’t bring a strong response from my core market health indicators. Instead, they bounced around this week. They’re all still positive, but some of them are showing weakness that could turn them negative without a continued rally. An example of an indicator that is barely holding on is the ratio between the SPX equal weight index (SPXEW) and SPX. When this indicator is below its 20 week moving average it tells us that money is moving into mega cap stocks (which is often a flight to safety). Healthy markets have broad based buying of the stocks in the S&P 500 Index. Right now, we’re seeing a slight increase, but not the strong move higher generally associated with big rallies.   Conclusion All the indicators are still positive, but could quickly move lower if the market doesn’t continue to rally. This is a time to keep a close eye on the market.

 
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Quality, Trend, and Strength Flagging

170203MarketHealth

Over the past week, all of my core market health indicators fell. Of most concern is the measures of market quality, trend, and strength. All of them are on a trajectory that could easily take them into negative territory with any further market weakness. But, for now, all of the categories are still positive so the portfolios are still 100% allocated to stocks.  

 
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Bounce Back

170127MarketHealth

All of my core market health indicator categories, with the exception of market quality, bounced back this week. With the upward momentum, the fears I had last week have been alleviated. Now, we’ve rallied to the 2300 level on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) that I mentioned last week as reistance. We want to see the  indicators hold up as the market shows some weakness at resistance.

 
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Measures of Trend and Strength Fall

170120MarketHealth

Over the past week, most of my core market health indicators fell, with the rest holding mostly flat. One thing of serious note is that the measures of trend fell sharply and the measures of strength are flagging. They are both falling fast enough that they could be negative by next week. One other thing that signals caution is Twitter sentiment for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). It is close to breaking a confirming uptrend line. If it happens, we should expect some consolidation. If the uptrend in sentiment holds, the upside will likely be limited to 2300 on SPX in the short term. The market will probably pause there for at least a day or two. Conclusion The market needs rally soon or we’re likely headed for a larger consolidation. It’s time to start paying attention.

 
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Back to Full Exposure

170113MarketHealth

Over the past week, all of my core market health indicators rose. Most notably, are my measures of market quality. This category of indicators went negative just two weeks ago, then flipped back to positive this week. Normally, the core indicators don’t whipsaw because they are attempting to catch intermediate term trends. In fact, there were only a handful of times in the last 16 years where a category went negative for only two weeks. This is the first occurrence of a category whipsawing without any of the other categories already in negative territory. With measures of market quality now positive the core portfolio allocations are as follows: Long / Cash portfolio: 100% long Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 100% long high beta stocks Volatility Hedged Portfolio: 100% long (since 11/11/2016)  

 
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Another Year of Whipsaws

170102DowTheoryLong

2015 was a year of intermediate term whipsaws. 2016 saw longer term indicators whipsawing. The longest term indicator I follow is Dow Theory. It looks for trends that last from one to three years (or longer). As a result, Dow Theory gives a lot of leeway to counter trend moves. It’s common to have a 10% or 15% correction during a long term bull market that doesn’t change Dow Theory’s long term trend. You can see some examples during the long term uptrend from mid 2009 to early 2016 in the chart below. Zooming in to the last few years, you can see what appeared to be a long term trend change according to Dow Theory. In August of 2015, both the industrials (DJIA) and the transports (DJTA) had large enough corrections to mark Dow Theory secondary lows. In December of that year, DJTA broke below its secondary low point and created a bearish non-confirmation in the indexes. In February 2016, DJTA broke its secondary low point. This created a

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