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Market Risk Warning

160624MarketHealth

Just a quick note, my Market Risk Indicator is warning today. As a result, the portfolio allocations are now as follows: Volatility Hedged portfolio: 50% long and 50% hedged with mid term volatility (and ETF/ETN similar to VXZ) Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 50% long high beta stocks and 50% hedged with mid term volatility Long / Cash portfolio: 100% cash I suspect it will take a couple of weeks to see what the fallout of Brexit will be. Until the market has less risk the portfolios will remain hedged or in cash. FYI, the market risk warning takes precedence over my core market health indicators.

 
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Market Risk Rising

160617MarketHealth

This past week has seen a significant increase in my stock market risk indicator components. Currently, two of the four components are warning, however, three components warned at times during the week. The fourth component still has a bit of room before creating a market risk signal. With the market so close to all time highs it is odd behavior to see market participants so skittish. The behavior I’m seeing in the indicator components is similar to the action during the dip in mid June 2011. This isn’t a prediction of any decline to come, merely a heads up to let you know that a warning could come quickly if the market continues to fall. Risk is rising, but we don’t have a warning yet so there is no change to the Volatility Hedged portfolio. It remains 100% long. My core market health indicators are still suffering damage as the market dips. Most significantly, my measures of trend could go negative over the next few weeks if the market can’t

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Leadership

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One thing I like to see during market rallies is strong leadership from three areas of the market at the same time; big cap stocks, small cap stocks (RUT), and the Nasdaq 100 (NDX). For big cap leadership, I like to see broad participation from a majority of stocks in the S&P 500 index (SPX). One way to measure large cap breadth is from indicators like the Bullish Percent Index or percent of stocks above their 200 day moving average. A few weeks ago, I highlighted their recent strength. Another way to measures large cap breadth is by comparing mega cap stocks to large cap stocks. I do this by comparing the S&P 500 Equal Weight index (SPXEW) against SPX. Long time readers know that I use a dip below the 20 week moving average in the SPXEW v. SPX ratio as a warning sign that some chop is ahead (and possibly danger). When this occurs it signals that money is rotating out of big cap stocks and into mega

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What People Are Watching

Published on May 30, 2016 by in Market Comments
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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a lot of blog posts and Twitter charts highlighting the bull flag on a S&P 500 Index (SPX) daily chart. This week the bull flag was broken to the upside. The flag itself is important, but is made more important by the notice of a lot of market participants. Remember, what makes technical analysis a powerful tool isn’t just the patterns themselves… it’s the number of people and the amount of money that act on the pattern. The chart I’ve been watching and believe is more significant is the weekly bull flag on SPX. Of course, no one is talking about it so it’s probably irrelevant. Anyway, what I’m seeing on this chart is a nice clean break above the weekly bull flag and then a successful retest of the upper trend line. This last chart is probably the most important. It represents price targets tweeted by traders for SPX. Most people are tweeting 2100 and 2110-2115. That doesn’t represent a lot

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Chart Repair

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The rally out of the February lows has repaired a lot of charts. If you look at the bullish percent index (BPSPX) the last rally brought the percent of bullish point and figure charts in the S&P 500 Index (SPX) to nearly 80%. That level is higher than BPSPX achieved during all of 2015. This is an encouraging sign for the market as a whole because it gives BPSPX plenty of room to consolidate before getting below the 60% level. Long time readers know that I use readings below the 60% level to indicate increased risk (big market declines occur when breadth is already weak). So as long as BPSPX stays above 60% this indicator will remain bullish. Another indication of chart repair comes from the percent of stocks in SPX that are above their 200 day moving average. This indicator is back to the 2015 level again. It has also improved substantially from the levels of the August 2015 to November 2015 rally (which had price peaking above the

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Mixed Messages

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The market is exhibiting behavior that we often see during times of indecision. Price is swinging in a large range and at the same time intermediate and long term indicators are giving mixed messages. Take a look at how compressed the the Y axis is on a point and figure chart for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). This clearly shows the sideways range of the past two years along with with multiple changes in the short to intermediate term trend (over the past year). The current trend is up and will stay that way as long as SPX stays above 2020… which coincidentally is about where the 200 day moving average is. The next set of mixed messages comes from a weekly chart of SPX. Weekly RSI is trying to turn down near normal bear market peak levels, while at the same time MACD is moving above levels associated with bear markets. Monthly momentum and MACD are mostly exhibiting bear market behavior. MACD is a little stronger than we normally

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Measures of Trend Positive

160422MarketHealth

Over the past week all of my core market health indicators improved. Most notably are my measures of trend, which went positive. Measures of market strength almost made it into the green, but missed it by a fraction. I suspect that category will be positive next week (even with a bit of consolidation in the market). With measures of trend moving from negative to positive it changes the core portfolio allocations as follows: Long / Cash portfolio: 60% long and 40% cash Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 80% long high beta stocks or ETFs and 20% short the S&P 500 Index Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long (since 3/4/16) The chart below shows allocations changes over the past year. Green lines represent adding long exposure, yellow represents reducing exposure or adding a SPX short as a hedge, red lines represent aggressive hedging with volatility. It’s been a rocky road where we get aggressively hedged in a steep decline then the market makes a low shortly after without accelerating to the downside.

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Dow Theory Update

Published on April 13, 2016 by in Dow Theory
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed about 10 points below its last secondary high point today. The transports (DJTA) are still about 4% away from their last secondary high. If both indexes can close above those levels in the coming weeks the bear will be dead. If the bear market is going to continue I’d guess we’ll see a non-confirmation of the bear that looks something like DJIA closing above 17,918, but not reaching new highs. While at the same time DJTA won’t be able to make it above 8302. Keep an eye on DJIA and DJTA over the next few weeks because they’ll give clues to the long term trend. Another chart I’ve been watching is the S&P 500 Index (SPX) daily. It’s rallied back to its downtrend line. If it can close above that level for a few days then I suspect that we’re going on to new all time highs. Looking at a weekly chart of SPX, one could argue that we’re merely painting a bull

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Roll Over or Rally Hard?

Published on April 6, 2016 by in Market Comments
160406spxRSI

Several weekly and monthly indicators for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are getting to levels that generally mark the top of bear market rallies. We’re sitting right at the point where the market will likely roll over or start an extremely sharp rally. First look at the weekly chart for SPX. RSI is just below 60. This level if broken to the upside will be a good sign that we’re headed for a rally. If it turns down from here the bear market should resume. MACD is also right below zero, the level that usually constrains price during bear markets. On the monthly chart for SPX momentum is back to the 100 level. If it can break through it will be another sign that the market is going to move higher. MACD on the monthly chart is trying to turn up. If it can turn up it will add weight to the rally argument. Another chart that indicates we’re at an inflection point comes from Trade Followers Twitter sentiment. It

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Identifying the Long Term Trend

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As most of you know, I believe the market is currently in a long term down trend. However, I’m starting to see things that put the bear market in doubt… which should be a really good sign that we’re still in a down trend — because bear market rallies create enough doubt to suck people in. Back to the point, take a look at the chart below. It is a point and figure chart of the S&P 500 Index (SPX). This chart shows an intermediate or short term up trend within the confines of a longer term downtrend. But a closer look at the short scale indicates a long term sideways range. It will take a break of the range to add clarity to the pattern. A daily chart of SPX has a fairly clear downtrend channel. This indicates a new bear market is underway. We have to consider the current rally as a bear market rally until the upper bound of the trend channel is broken. If that channel

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