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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
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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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Is the Bear Market Over?

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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

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Market Risk Clears

160304MarketHealth

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

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Breadth from Twitter Stream Diverging from Traditional Indicators

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FYI, I did a post at Trade Followers over the weekend that highlights some traditional technical analysis indicators that are still saying we’re in a bear market. However, the Trade Followers market breadth indicator has just gone positive. The breath indicator is probably flashing a whipsaw signal because I suspect it has an inherent bullish bias. You can read more here.

 
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Getting Ugly

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It’s getting ugly for my core market health indicators. My measures of market quality, trend, and strength are all in oversold territory. During bull markets, oversold conditions generally result in a resumption of an uptrend. Unfortunately, I suspect we’re at the beginning of a long term bear market so oversold conditions should now result in more price destruction before a rally can ensue. Here are a few charts that suggest we’re likely resuming the down trend. First is a point and figure chart of the S&P 500 Index (SPX). It now has a bearish reversal during an intermediate term down trend. Next is a weekly chart of SPX Elder Impulse. It has turned red after a short term rally that couldn’t produce a green bar. Conclusion It’s ugly out there. We’re likely in a bear market. Dow Theory hasn’t signaled yet, but many other indicators are toppling one by one. As a result, bear market rules apply as I interpret charts and indicators… which are currently suggesting a resumption of

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Bear Market Signs

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Although Dow Theory hasn’t confirmed a bear market yet, a lot of other S&P 500 Index (SPX) indicators are starting to show bear market behavior. I’ve mentioned before that monthly MACD and Momentum are starting to look like we’re in a bear market. In addition, the long term timing indicator at Trade Followers (breadth between bullish and bearish stocks) is signalling that we’re in a long term down trend. Now it appears that weekly MACD and RSI for SPX are starting to show strong signs that we’re in a bear market. Notice on the chart below that during bear markets RSI spends most if its time below 50 with peaks in the 55 to 60 area. That has been the case for RSI since the May peak. MACD is also showing the same type of weak behavior. During short term rallies in long term down trends MACD is usually constrained by the zero line. The last rally barely moved MACD above zero and it is now well below that level.

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