Last week, I highlighted the ratio between the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX). In that post I mentioned that a move below its 20 week moving average usually means a choppy market as money moves out of large cap stocks and into mega caps. This week, the ratio recovered. That suggests that SPX will make another attempt at a new high. Keep an eye on this indicator because a move back below the line should signal a failure and suggest we’re headed back to a choppy market at the least. My core market health indicators bounced around a bit, but my measures of market strength and quality fell further. This isn’t a good sign during a small consolidation. I prefer to see them strengthen. Conclusion Weakness in my core indicators, but strength in the ratio between SPXEW and SPX. It feels like the market wants to make another attempt at new highs, but doesn’t have the technical underpinnings to succeed.
Over the past few weeks the market has shown some rotation out of big cap stocks and into mega cap stocks. When this occurs it generally causes choppy sideways consolidation, at the least, or a short term top with a modest consolidation (5% to 15%). I like to use a dip below the 20 week moving average in the ratio between the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW) and the S&P 500 index (SPX) as a warning sign. This week, we’ve got that warning so we should expect a choppy market ahead. Only time will tell if this is normal rotation or a flight to safety so keep an eye on this indicator over the next few weeks. My core market health indicators showed weakness this week too, with the exception of market quality. It managed to improve which is a minor hint that the rotation we’re seeing is more likely profit taking and re-positioning rather than a flight to quality/safety. Conclusion It looks like we should expect some choppy
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.
Over the past week the majority of my core market health indicators improved. Most notably is the market strength category. It has finally pushed above zero, resulting in a change to the core portfolios. The new allocations are as follows. Long / Cash portfolio: 80% long and 20% cash Long / Short portfolio: 90% long high beta stocks and 10% short Volatility Hedged portfolio: 100% long (since 7/1/2016) In early July, I highlighted some problems with leadership in the market. Most of those problems have been resolved. As you know, I’ve been watching the ratio between the Nasdaq 100 (NDX) and the S&P 500 (SPX). It made a good break higher two weeks ago and is currently fueling the rally as NDX plays catch up to SPX. One thing that hasn’t fully resolved itself is the ratio between the S&P 500 Equal Weight index (SPXEW) and SPX. The current rally has this ratio moving sideways, which shows lackluster participation from the “smaller” big cap stocks in SPX. If the ratio
Over the past couple of months, I’ve highlighted some encouraging signs that had accompanied price strength in the market. Unfortunately, most of those signs of strength haven’t persisted as the market is moving close to all time highs. First lets look at the Bullish Percent Index (BPSPX). It finally got above the 2015 highs in March and April of this year, but the subsequent consolidation in the market did serious damage to this indicator. It is still below 60% which is a big drag on the market (and adds the risk of a big decline). Basically, a lot of point and figure charts turned bearish during the last consolidation and haven’t righted themselves. Next is small caps stocks compared to big caps. They have lagged during the last rally. I like to see them lead as a sign of investors taking risk in their portfolios. Money flowed into mega cap stocks faster than big cap stocks during the last rally too. Another poor sign for a sustained rally. It looks
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
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
Over the past week the non-confirmation in Dow Theory between the industrials (DJIA) and the transports (DJTA) widened. Both indexes have been painting a line for over two months. Now both indexes have broken out of their lines. The problem is DJIA broke upward and DJTA broke down. This creates a non-confirmation that warns of a possible long term trend change in the near future (next several months…remember Dow Theory is about the very long term trend). Until this non-confirmation clears with the transports moving to new highs (and of course the industrials too) investors should be cautious about adding new long positions. On the other hand, if DJIA breaks the lower boundary of its range along with the transports then it will add a larger warning that the long term trend might be changing. Any low created after a break lower from the range in both indexes will create a new secondary low that will be the trigger point of a change from a bullish trend to a bearish
Here are a couple more things showing up that are small warning signs. First is the ratio between the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW) and the S&P 500 (SPX). It is close to breaking below its 20 week moving average. The S&P 500 index is weighted by market capitalization so the larger stocks have more influence on its movement. SPXEW is weighted equally so a ratio between SPXEW and SPX will show money moving between large cap and mega cap stocks (because SPX is made up of large and mega caps). When the ratio moves down it indicates money moving into mega caps. Possibly from a flight to safety, but is most likely market participants buying companies with global exposure in reaction to recent dollar weakness. A move below the 20 week moving average often results in a choppy market for a few weeks due to the rotation. Another thing that is a bit concerning is the NYSE Advance / Decline line (NYAD). Since the lows in October NYAD
I often talk about watching market internals during a rally out of a dip for signs that confirm the run. Indicators that are derived from price are mostly showing confirmation, but many other market internals are lagging price. This lag is causing negative divergences that often accompany intermediate to long term market tops. With those divergences in place it’s now time to watch internals during the next dip. Here are a few things I’m watching. First is the percent of stocks in the S&P 500 Index (SPX) that are above their 200 day moving average. Currently about 77% are above their 200 dma. This is a healthy number, but below the readings of the last two years due to the damage done on the last dip. About 10% of the stocks in SPX did not recover their 200 dma after being pushed below in October. If this trend continues on subsequent dips it will provide warning of a longer term top being put in place. If it can hold above