As I suspected last weekend, the market was poised to move to new highs. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is there this morning. One of the charts we’ve been following is VIX vs. VXV. It has been below .9 most of the week and looks like it’ll give an official all clear signal tomorrow. I’ll do a full update of our core indicators tomorrow and highlight other general market indicators over the weekend.
Last week I mentioned that the nature of the bounce would tell us if we’re headed to new highs or seeing a failed rally. As of this week we’re on track to see new highs…if Russia and Ukraine will just cooperate. The underlying indicators I watch are improving enough to support a move to new highs, but the fear of a larger war in Ukraine is putting a drag on the bounce. As a result, risk is the most important indicator to watch at the moment. Even with world tension our market risk indicator backed away from a warning last week. Now only one of its four components is warning (and it has turned back up). Our core measures of risk continue to signal all clear. Fear of risk is moving the right direction and should support the market in the absence of bad news. The ratio between VIX and VXV improved last week, but still couldn’t get back below .9 to signal the rally should continue. It was below
I’m starting to see some positive signs that the dip is behind us. First is Elder Impulse for the S&P 500 Index (SPX). It has a tiny blue bar for the week. If it can hold or move to green by Friday it will be a very good sign. Next is the ratio between VIX and VXV. If fell below .9 today. It needs to hold below that level for the rest of the week to signal the worst is behind us. The next two hurdles to cross are from price on SPX. The 50 day exponential moving average is where the market closed today and the 50 day simple moving average is near 1955. In addition, the most tweeted levels for the market are near the 1955 area. If those two levels are surpassed then the odds will favor an advance to the all time highs.
It’s looking like the market is ready for a bounce. The nature of any bounce will tell us whether we should expect new highs or if the rally will fail. Here are some of the critical charts I’ll be watching over the next week or two. A chart I show often when the market is starting a move lower is the ratio between near term volatility (VIX) and mid term volatility (VXV). Spikes in this ratio show immediate fear is greater than longer term fear. They are usually associated with an event or a sudden recognition of danger by many market participants. When the market bounces out of a short term low this ratio can help us determine if near term fear is subsiding or lingering. Over the next few weeks we want to see it fall below .9 to give the all clear signal. If it can’t move below that level the odds favor more downside ahead. This indicator couldn’t clear the warning two weeks ago and signaled that
It’s probably too early to break out this chart, but I thought I’d show it anyway. Usually when the market falls steeply over a few days then consolidates for several days it is only the half way point of the move. Today it looks like we fell out of the consolidation range. As a result, my back of the napkin math targets roughly 1860 on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) as the next stop for this move. You’ll note that during 2013 the pattern failed a couple of times. The failures are similar to many other indicators in 2013. Nothing that predicted lower prices worked. If the market is starting to turn over then I expect to see indicators like this pattern start working again.
Over the course of this year I’ve been consistent in repeating that I didn’t think the market could suffer a correction unless breadth broke down. Even though many other indicators have warned on and off this year, breadth has held strong. This week the picture changed a bit. First let’s look at the breadth indicator that warned first. The ratio between the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW) and the S&P 500 (SPX) warned in early July when it broke below its 20 week moving average. It turned back up this week but as a result of large caps selling faster than small caps. When a ratio turns up I like it to result from upturns in the numerator and denominator so this upturn isn’t exactly positive. The NYSE Advance/Decline line (NYAD) is currently experiencing its largest decline in a year. This indicator shows that since the first of July there has been broad based selling as more stocks are declining than advancing. Other declines in the market this year
Over the last week most of our market health indicators fell slightly, but didn’t suffer enough damage to make any changes to our core portfolios. Our measures of risk showed a large amount of concern from market participants, but didn’t fall below the zero line. Our Market Risk Indicator has two of the four components warning. The other two components moved rapidly toward signaling yesterday, but have backed off a bit today. As a result, our risk indicator shouldn’t warn today unless the market falls sharply in the last hour. One interesting thing of note is that our risk indicator almost never signals without at least one of our core indicators warning as well. The only instance since 2000 was on 9/19/2008. With modest strength in our core indicators and no risk signal our portfolios will remain 100% long for at least another week. Any changes next will will almost certainly be a result of a continued decline that triggers our risk indicators. Below is a chart with our current health
Today didn’t do much damage to our core indicators, however, two of the four components of our Market Risk Indicator are warning. A third component is very close to warning and it won’t take much to trigger it. The fourth component is further away and will take a sharp down day like today to make it warn. I just wanted to give you warning that there may be changes to the core portfolios tomorrow (Friday). I’ll update the site and post to Twitter and StockTwits by 3 PM Eastern what our allocations will be going into the close. IF the risk indicator signals the hedged portfolio will go 50% long and use the other 50% to hedge with a mid term or dynamic volatility instrument like (VXZ, XVZ, or VIXM). If you don’t like volatility ETFs then a managed short fund like HDGE is an alternative. For those of you who use put options the strategy would be to stay 100% long, but cover your complete portfolio with intermediate term
The Elder Impulse indicator now has four blue bars. In the past this condition has usually preceded a down turn. This is one more ancillary indicator that is stalling. Remember, tops are a process and we usually see indicators fall one at a time until they reach critical mass and cause the market to fall. We’re still a long way away from any warning from the totality of indicators I watch, but every day it seems one more caution sign appears. It’s time to make a list of stocks you wouldn’t want to hold during a down trend…and think about other methods to hedge your portfolio. The NYSE Advance/Decline (NYAD) line is painting the largest divergence in nearly a year, but still isn’t at a critical level. As I’ve stated many times before, I don’t think the market can suffer a substantial decline unless breadth breaks down. Keep an eye on NYAD, stocks above their 200 dma, and the bullish index.
The trend that started two or three weeks ago where our core indicators moved up and ancillary indicators fell continues again this week. Below are updates to some of the things I’m watching without much commentary. You can view this post for an explanation. I use the ratio between VIX and VXV to signal “all clear” when it falls back below .9 after a choppy of falling market. It couldn’t quite get there this week. Large caps are still outperforming small caps…rotation to safety starting? Junk bonds (JNK) are still under performing high quality bonds (LQD)…risk off. The individual stocks I’ve been watching for clues to a direction are starting to diverge. Market participants are becoming more selective in the momentum names which caused a decline early in the year. Here are some examples. Twitter (TWTR) is still in a holding pattern and hasn’t decided which way it wants to go. Baidu (BIDU) is breaking higher. 3D Systems (DDD) looks like it’s breaking down.