Why Stocks are Crashing

The S&P 500 lost as much as 229 points or 10.92% in three days. The Nasdaq lost as much as 763 points or 16.77% over the same three days.

Wow. To be honest, I did not see that one coming, at least not as intense.

However, there were tell tale signs – a writing on the wall – that a big selloff is a real possibility. There was no reason for us to own stocks.

Here are three factors that caused (or certainly contributed) to this 3-day meltdown, and what they mean going forward:

‘Bad Breadth’

We have looked at the market’s internal deterioration (‘bad breadth’) many times in recent weeks (the last time was here).

The July 19 Profit Radar Report published this chart and warning (the S&P closed at 2,126 that day):

Although investors are buying, the surge in demand (appearance of buyers) has not been commensurate to the surge in price. The percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA graph shows that investors are very selective right now. Only 41% of NYSE stocks are above their 50-day SMA, compared to 71% in April and 61% the last time the S&P was near 2,130 (late May). There’s a short-term bearish divergence, as the S&P 500 moved higher on Friday, but the percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA lower.”

Mutual Fund Cash Levels

The August 2 Profit Radar Report looked at mutual fund cash levels and noted the following: “One of the bigger worries could be mutual fund cash levels, which just dropped to 3.2%, an all-time low. If a large number of investors decide to sell, fund managers will be forced to sell fund holdings, which has the potential to turn into a chain reaction.”

Elliott Wave Theory

Elliott Wave Theory. Some love it, others hate it. I’ve found that there are times where EWT is very helpful, if interpreted correctly.

The August 16 Profit Radar Report said this about the bearish potential of EWT:

A break below 2,052 may indicate a wave 3 lower.”

What is a wave 3? The third wave of an Elliott Wave pattern is always the most powerful one. It generally goes further than expected.

What’s Next?

Elliott Wave Theory may hold the most clues about what’s next for stocks. Based on the intensity of this selloff, it is likely to turn into a 5 wave decline with a more lasting low in October, similar to 2011. Here is how things looked and turned out in 2011.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

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Gold Seasonality Projects Higher Gold Prices

As far as indicators go, gold seasonality has been on fire.

Gold seasonality projected a top in late January. The January 25 Profit Radar Report warned that: “Gold seasonality is starting to turn sour.”

From January 22 – July 24, gold prices tumbled 17.8%.

The July 19 Profit Radar Report pointed out that: “Seasonality will turn strongly bullish in early August.”

Gold and gold ETFs already soared 6.9% since the August 6 seasonal gold low.

The gold seasonality chart projects further gold gains until early October. This, by the way, does not mean that there won’t be any pullbacks.

Meticulously hand-crafted seasonality charts for all major asset classes are available to subscribers of the Profit Radar Report.

Gold seasonality is only one indicator, but it wasn’t the only indicator suggesting a gold rally. The July 21 article “Gold Looks so Bad, it Might Actually be Good” highlights 3 bullish gold development.

Technical analysis also suggested that a tradable bottom was formed on July 24.

The July 26 Profit Radar Report published the chart below (including the yellow projection) and stated the following: “The daily bar chart shows a bullish reversal candle at Friday’s low. Friday’s intraday reversal satisfies the basic requirements for a tradeable low. As long as Friday’s low (1,075.60) holds, odds favor higher prices with a target above 1,300. We will buy a small amount of gold on a move above 1,100. The equivalent level for SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEArca: GLD is around 105.50.”

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

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Long-term Commodity Analysis

Commodities have become a focal point, usually as scapegoat or precursor of bad things to come.

Most major commodities (including oil, gold, silver, copper, lumber and grains) have collapsed.

Many believe this is reflective of a weakening economy. I won’t enter this debate, but rather offer a look at a long-term, broad commodity chart.

Shown below is the CRB Reuters/Jefferies Commodity Index.

This index consists of 19 commodities: aluminum, cocoa, coffee, copper, corn, cotton, crude oil, gold, heating oil, lean hogs, live cattle, natural gas, nickel, orange juice, silver, soybeans, sugar, unleaded gas and wheat.

There are two main support areas. The index is threatening to break below the first one, and currently trading about 10% above the second one.

More down side is still possible and picking a buttom is like catching a falling knife, but the closer trade gets to support, the higher the odds of a bounce.

Although the corresponding commodity ETF – the PowerShares DB Commodity Tracking ETF (NYSEArca: DBC) – hasn’t been around as long as the CRB Reuters/Jefferies Commodity Index, it too is nearing support.

A chart showing the surprising correlation between commodities and the S&P 500 is available here: Commodities vs S&P 500

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

 

Deep Tissue S&P 500 Analysis

A rip current is a powerful, fast-moving flow of water running from the beach back to the open ocean. About 80% of lifeguard rescues are related to rip currents, and about 150 people are killed by rip currents every year (just in the US).

Lifeguards and experienced swimmers/surfers can detect rip currents, and know what to do, but they are invisible to novice swimmers.

The stock market is full of rip currents, that’s why some investors sink (often because they don’t think) and others swim.

Here are some of the cross currents lurking beneath the surface.

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against the percentage of NYSE and S&P 500 stocks below their 50-day SMA, and my favorite indicator (I call it ‘secret sauce’).

Secret Sauce Warning Signal

Secret sauce is an incredibly potent indicator, and is the most important ‘bull market health meter’ I’ve found.

Up until April 2015, secret sauce has been giving the ‘all clear’ signal, meaning that higher highs were still to come (it never triggered a ‘danger’ signal from 2009 – 2015). That’s not the case anymore.

In fact, currently secret sauce is showing the same warning signals it flashed before the 1987, 2000 and 2007 bear markets.

A detailed description of secret sauce and how it works is available here: The Missing Ingredient for a Major Bull Market Top

Rip Current Warning

The percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA has been declining since 2012/2013, but the lag accelerated in April.

Large cap stocks are holding up much better than the rest of the market. How so?

48.8% of S&P 500 stocks are above their 50-day SMA, but only 33.5% of NYSE stocks. The NYSE Composite is comprised of some 3,500 issues, including (and predominantly) small and mid cap stocks. The S&P 500 consists of the 500 largest U.S. corporations.

A quick glance at the Russell 2000 chart, which just dropped to new lows, confirms the lagging performance of small caps.

Small cap underperformance is one of the 3 stages of a dying bull market (click here for the anatomy (3 stages) of a dying bull market).

Market breadth is warning that the stock market is trying to drag investors into open waters.

The percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA is not yet at rock bottom levels, so there is more down side risk.

However, some investor sentiment measures are showing a high degree of pessimisms (which tends to be positive for stocks).

Bottom line, there is risk, but it seems to be somewhat limited, and will only be triggered by a drop below support (click here for key S&P 500 support).

I would love to see a correction. The deeper the correction, the better the buy signal for a final hurray rally.

If the S&P 500 doesn’t bounce soon, despite some excessively bearish sentiment readings, it could be a warning sign that a short-term break down is near.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

 

Gold Swings from Long-term Over-hated to Short-term Over-bought

Gold was over-hated just a few weeks ago. The July 21 article “Gold Looks So Bad, it Might Actually be Good” observed the following:

  • Gold is having another bad year, and most ‘pros’ are looking for even more losses:
  • “Gold teeters near five-year low after ‘bear raid’, more losses expected” – Reuters
  • “3 Trends that are burying gold prices” – CBS News
  • “Why gold is falling and won’t get up again” – MarketWatch
  • “The one chart that shows that gold may not be as safe as you think” – The Independent

Every gold bear should know that the market has a nasty habit: It likes to fool the crowded trade.

Based on the above headlines, short gold is the crowded trade.”

Click here to view the chart that suggested a gold rally was due.

This week, gold gained as much as 3% (gold rallied as much as 5% from the July low).

However, sentiment has quickly swung from long-term over-hated to short-term overbought.

Yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) Profit Radar Report stated that:

Gold popped this week and is short-term overbought against resistance. Due to the extreme pessimism, gold may shrug off the overbought condition better than normal, but the vertical gray lines suggest a pullback.”

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The following chart went along with yesterday’s PRR update:

Based on sentiment and seasonality, the gold rally should continue for a while longer, once this pullback is complete. A drop below 1,100 would caution of a relapse to new lows.

Continuous gold analysis is provided by the Profit Radar Report.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

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Equity Put/Call Ratio Near Multi-Year High

On Friday, the equity put/call ratio rose to the second highest reading in years. This means that option traders are loading up on put protection, an indication of unusual fear (consider that the S&P 500 is within two percent of its all-time high).

Sunday’s Profit Radar Report update featured the chart below and stated the following:

The S&P 500 is in the middle of its trading range, just above the 200-day SMA. The equity put/call ratio (5-day SMA) is near one of the highest readings in years (0.78). This has lead to gains, or at minimum limited down side in the past. Based on sentiment (in particular the equity put/call ratio), it is hard to believe that stocks will drop hard. A bounce is more likely.”

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar ReportThe Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

Tell Tale Signs from the Dow Jones Averages

Sunday’s Profit Radar Report featured the following charts and analysis for the Dow Jones Averages:

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI):

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) appears to offer the most clues at this moment. The weekly bar chart shows double support (trend line and prior September high) right around 17,350 – 17,300. The 20-month SMA is at 17,198. This is not must hold support, but it’s a general zone worth watching for a potential bounce.”

Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJT):

The Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJT) broke above double trend line resistance (green circle) on July 29, but didn’t produce the ‘escape velocity’ needed to continue moving higher. In fact, the DJT has now returned to its original breakout trend line (blue circle). This kind of back test often serves of launch pad for the next spike. We’ve seen a few failures of a similar launch pad lately, but this is still one of the more reliable technical patterns.”

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Summary:

We don’t want to ignore some credible indicators pointing towards a correction, but based on sentiment (in particular the equity put/call ratio), it is hard to believe that stocks will drop hard. A bounce is more likely.”

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar ReportThe Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013 and 17.59% in 2014.

Follow Simon on Twitter @ iSPYETF or sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.