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Adding Exposure Amid Weak Breadth

161202MarketHealth

Over the past week, my core market health indicators continued to bounce around with some moving up and others falling. Most notably, my core measures of risk moved above zero. This changes the core portfolio allocations as follows: Long / Short Hedged portfolio: 100% long high beta stocks Long / Cash portfolio: 100% long Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% Long (since 11/11/2016) Another thing of note this week is that my measures of trend are now in overbought territory. This occurred as my measures of market quality fell. It’s not a situation I like to see happen. This adds some doubt to the current market, but some of the other measures I watch are simply showing normal bullish rotation. So the question is, bullish rotation or the start of a larger decline? We’ll have to wait and see. Another thing that is somewhat concerning is that measures of breadth suffered more than expected this week. Take a look at the percent of stocks in the S&P 500 Index above their 200

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Danger Signs

161028MarketHealth

Over the past week, my core market health indicators collapsed. They are all moving quickly toward zero. Most notably, is my core measures of risk. They are very close to going negative. In addition to my core measures, breadth measures are starting to warn as well. The bullish percent index (BPSPX), which tracks the percent of stocks in the S&P 500 Index (SPX) that have bullish point and figure charts, has fallen below 60%. When this occurs the odds of a 10% decline (from current levels) increases substantially. Especially if my market risk indicator signals. Currently, two of four components of that indicator are warning. However, the other two are a long way away from a signal. I suspect it would take a quick fall through 2100 on SPX to create a warning. Another breadth indicator that is warning is the percent of stocks in SPX that are below their 200 day moving average. It is also below 60%. I’m sure you’ve all noticed that small cap stocks have broken

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Broad Participation

160819NYAD

It’s been a while since I highlighted some breadth indicators so here we go. First is the NYSE Advance / Decline line (NYAD). All I can say is Wow! NYAD is telling us that small cap stocks were the place to be coming out of the February low. Comparing the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW) against the S&P 500 (SPX) shows us how big cap stocks have performed against mega cap stocks. The move out of the February low showed widespread buying of big cap stocks, while mega caps lagged. This was a rotation out of the safety trade. Then we got a bit of consolidation in SPX as investors took some profit in big caps and re-allocated it to mega caps. Now it looks like the market is getting ready to run again, fueled by big caps. The percent of SPX stocks above their 200 day moving average (SPX200) shows the same picture as SPXEW. Widespread buying of big caps, followed by some consolidation, then renewed widespread buying.

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Chart Repair

160520spxbp

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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Bottom Falling Out

Published on July 22, 2015 by in Market Comments
150722NyseHighsLows

I’m starting to see signs that market participants are abandoning their losers and pressing their shorts. When this occurs near all time highs it often means some pain is ahead for the major indexes. Here are some charts that serve as examples. First is NYSE New Highs / Lows. New lows have now risen above the point when the S&P 500 Index (SPX) was making lows in early July and last December. This indicates market participants aren’t bottom fishing. Instead, they’re abandoning positions that are causing too much pain. Another point of interest in this chart is that NYSE didn’t recover much from both June and July lows. This type of divergence from SPX is troubling. The Russell 2000 Index (RUT) and Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJIA) are also showing negative divergences from SPX. Next is a chart that compares a short of the S&P 500 Index (SH) and an actively managed bear fund (HDGE). SH has fallen to new lows while HDGE is holding up. This indicates that traders

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Thinning Market Trying to Recover

150717MarketHealth

Over the past week most of my core market health indicators improved. However, none of them moved enough to change the core portfolio allocations. This is a little discouraging given the fact that the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has rallied sharply. The overall picture I’m seeing is a thinning market that is trying to recover. Which is in line with a modest hedge or a moderate amount of cash for a cautious investor. Aggressive investors would be more comfortable riding out dips unless they are accompanied by high risk (Volatility Hedge). Below are the current allocations. Long / Cash portfolio: Long 60% – Cash 40% Long / Short portfolio: Long 80% – Short 20% Volatility Hedge: 100% Long The percent of stocks in SPX that are above their 200 day moving average has recovered from 50% back to 60%. This is a small positive sign that indicates some value buying is occurring (rather than dumping stocks as they break below their 200 dma). Unfortunately, the market has 15% fewer bullish

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Decision Time

150710MarketHealth

We end this week in a critical situation. My core indicators were all damaged during the high volatility moves both up and down this week. Core measures of risk and trend have now gone negative. The measures of the economy are close to going negative and market quality and strength aren’t far behind. As a result the core portfolios are raising cash and or adding a hedge. The new core allocations are as follows. Long / Cash: 60% Long and 40% Cash Long / Short: 80% Long stocks I believe will out perform in an uptrend — 20% short the S&P 500 Index (SPX) My market risk indicator hasn’t signaled yet so the volatility hedge will remain 100% Long. So, what’s an investor to do? Follow the core portfolios or the volatility hedged portfolio? The answer lies in your risk tolerance. The volatility hedged portfolio is designed to ride out most dips in the market and only hedge when the odds for a steep decline rise. The core portfolios are

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Weak Breadth Increases Market Risk

Published on June 30, 2015 by in Market Comments
150630nyad

Over the past few days various measures of breadth have show quite a bit of weakness. As I noted in this post, large market declines come when breadth is already weak. With such weak readings the odds have increased that this decline will be 10% or more. Below are some breadth examples. First is NYSE Advance/Declines. They led the current decline in the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Small caps are especially sensitive to this condition. Next is the Bullish Percent Index (BPSPX). It currently has less than 60% of the stocks in SPX with bullish point and figure charts. This indicates a significant number of stocks in down trends. Last is the percent of stocks in SPX that are below their 200 day moving average. Nearly 50% of SPX stocks are below their 200 dma. With all three measures of breadth showing significant weakness, a signal from my market risk indicator should be taken seriously.

 
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Core Indicators Healthy But Risk Rising

150626MarketHealth

Over the past week the market has dipped a bit, but for the most part my core market health indicators have held steady. The one exception is my measures of risk. They have risen a bit and once again two of the four components of my market risk indicator are warning. The other two are a long way away so at the moment this appears to be just another short term dip in a long term uptrend. All of our portfolios are still 100% long. There’s been a lot of talk about the transports (DJTA) this week and the implications of their downtrend. If you look at the decline in a longer term context you can see that DJTA’s downtrend has only retraced about 20% of the rally out of its last secondary low. A “normal” decline in a bull market can decline more than 50% or even 67% of a move from a secondary low and still be healthy. With the industrials (DJIA) only a few percent away from

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Currency Concerns

150619spxew

Since the low in October 2014 the market has largely been reacting to the strength or weakness in the dollar. This isn’t a common condition. Usually the market reacts to other macro factors or events, but the quick moves in currencies over the past several months has investors worried about the impact of a strong dollar on earnings of multinational (or mega cap) companies. But, as the dollar has fallen over the past three months investors have started a rotation back to the mega caps. You can see this rotation by comparing the S&P 500 Index (SPX) to SPX equal weighted. When the ratio is rising it shows money moving into the smaller stocks in SPX. When the ratio is falling it shows money moving into the largest companies in SPX (mega caps). I consider a rising ratio a sign of broad participation in the market. A falling ratio can often mean a flight to safety, but currently I suspect it is simply relief from the falling dollar rather than

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