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Getting Ugly

160205MarketHealth

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

160201spxWeekly

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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Make or Break for the Long Term Trend

160116MarketRisk

I’m seeing several signs that we’re at an inflection point for the long term trend of the market (meaning years). It has been uptrending since 2009 and it looks like it’s make or break time for the bull. Here are some of the things I’m seeing that indicate the market must rally very soon or the long term trend will be down and a new bear market has begun. First is my market risk indicator, which is an intermediate term indicator, has just signaled. Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see that it signals at inflection points. It generally warns very near the low or just as the market is generating downside momentum. This indicator suggests that more excitement (either up or down) is close. Next we have Dow Theory. It is only a few percentage points away from signaling a long term bear market. This indicator marks very long term trends in the market. When both indexes break their secondary lows it tells us that the

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Core Portfolios Fully Hedged or All Cash

160108MarketHealth

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

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Bull Markets Die Hard

Dow Theory non-confirmation

When a big decline occurs on a single day it’s a good time to step back and look at how much damage was done to the intermediate and long term time frames. Yesterday’s market action was pretty horrific for a single day. It was enough to cause all of my core indicator categories to go negative. As you know, I wait until Friday before making any portfolio allocation changes, but the damage done yesterday will be hard to overcome. That means it is likely that the intermediate term trend is down (or that we could see another month or so of decline). The long term trend, however, is still in question. Here are a few charts that show both good an bad signs for the longer term trend. First is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial and Transportation averages (DJIA and DJTA). While the transports have clearly broken down and signaled a Dow Theory non-confirmation, the industrials are still well within the bounds of a “normal” consolidation of the

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Year of Whipsaws

Portfolio Allocation Changes

2015 was a year of whipsaws for the core portfolios. Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see the allocation changes throughout the year. Green lines represent adding exposure, yellow reducing exposure (or adding a hedge), and red represents a market risk warning. The core portfolios added exposure early in the year only to reduce it just before the August drop. It was nice to sleep at night during the turbulence, but it didn’t help the portfolios much because we then added exposure just before the market started to dip again. If you were holding small caps the changes were more painful than if your portfolio was closer to Nasdaq or the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Overall, the portfolios did as expected in a flat year for the market. Without a direction, whipsaws are expected. The important thing to notice on the chart is that the core portfolios were 100% in cash or 50% long and 50% short just before the decline in August. In contrast, my market

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Tipping Point

151218markethealth

The chart of my core market health indicators says it all. Weak economy and every other category near zero. This week my measures of trend fell into negative territory, while the other categories are barely hanging on. It appears that the 2020 area on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is a tipping point. The market needs to bounce here or I suspect the rest of the categories will fall below zero next week. Due to the negative reading from measures of trend, the core portfolio allocations change this week. Here are the new allocations: Long / Cash portfolio: 60% long and 40% cash Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 80% long high beta stocks and 20% short the S&P 500 Index (or use the ETF SH) Currently, two of the four components of my market risk indicator are warning. A third is waffling and could warn at any moment. The fourth is well away from a signal, but a sharp sell off would probably take it negative too, which would bring

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Market Health Holds Steady

151204MarketHealth

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

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Odds Favor New Highs

151120MarketHealth

I’m seeing several signs that suggest the market is getting ready to make a breakout to new all time highs. Over the past few weeks my core indicators didn’t deteriorate much as the market consolidated. This week they all strengthened with the exception of the economy category. Most notable is that my measures of market quality moved back above zero again. That changes the core portfolio allocations. The current allocations are below: Long / Cash portfolio: 80% long and 20% cash Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 90% long high beta stocks and 10% short the S&P 500 Index (or the ETF SH) Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long (since 10/9/15) One thing I’m seeing that suggests we’re headed to new highs is the Trade Followers sentiment indicator which is calculated from the text of tweets about the S&P 500 Index. 7 day momentum is turning up from a level that has historically been an oversold level during bullish trends. These upturns are generally associated with a resumption of the uptrend in

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Consolidation

151113spx

Over the past week all of my core market health indicators fell. However, they’re holding up relatively well considering the price destruction in the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Even the sharp decline of the past two days isn’t doing serious damage. As a result, this looks like consolidation of the steep rally that started in late September rather than the start of a new down trend. Things can change, but for now it looks like normal profit taking after a strong rally. Two of four components of my market risk indicator are currently warning, but the other two are quite far away from a warning. This is in contrast to the panic that occurred the last time SPX fell below 2040. Currently, I judge market risk as moderate. The core portfolio allocations remain unchanged this week. They have a small hedge or 40% cash. The volatility hedged portfolio is still 100% long.

 
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