Is the ‘Bear Market’ Already Over?

On December 24, 2018, the S&P 500 closed at 2,351.10. Much of the financial media pronounced a bear market that very day:

  • CNBC: We are Now in a Bear Market – December 24, 2018
  • Yahoo! Finance: S&P 500 Enters Bear Market: December 24, 2018
  • Investors Business Daily: S&P 500 Enters Bear Market – December 24, 2018
  • Motley Fool: Here’s Why the S&P 500 Plunged into a Bear Market – December 27, 2018

As the chart below shows, Google searches for ‘bear market’ also soared to an all-time high.

The entire bear market discussion is superfluous in my humble opinion. I explained why in the December 19 Profit Radar Report:

“‘Bull market’ and ‘bear market’ is a status like ‘online’ or ‘offline.’ Just because someone is offline today, doesn’t mean they can’t be online tomorrow. As any momentary snapshot status, the bull/bear market status is not predictive of future events.

In fact, statistically, most bear markets end after the S&P 500 declines 16%. The red graph below shows the average path of the past 10 bear markets (as defined by Ned Davis Research). The S&P has almost reached the maximum down side of the average bear market.”

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Business Daily says: “When Simon says, the market listens.” Find out why Barron’s and IBD endorse Simon Maierhofer’s Profit Radar Report.

Below is an updated version of the chart published in the December 19, PRR.

Even though the S&P overshot to the down side, and now to the up side, it is following the average bear market trajectory … if one considers this a bear market.

Also note how the S&P bounced from support shown in the first chart.

Is this Bear Market Already Over?

Breadth thrust says: Yes.

On December 26, and January 4, 87% and 90% of NYSE-traded stocks advanced. Since 1985, there have been 5 other times when >85% of NYSE-traded stocks advanced within a 2-week period. Those 5 times are listed below. To the right of each date is a thumbnail chart, which shows how the S&P 500 performed over the next 6 month.

  • In 1987, and 2016 the S&P retested the initial panic low.
  • In 2009 and 2011, the S&P took off to the up side.
  • The 2008 thrust was followed by a rally, but ultimately failed.

Divergences say: No.

Divergences, bullish or bearish, are a helpful forecasting tool. Why?

Prior to a major market turn, market internals tend to divergence from price. If there is no divergence, the odds of a major turn are lower.

For example: At the January 2018 top, the S&P 500 and RSI-35 peaked on the same day. The January 31, 2018 Profit Radar Report stated that: “There was no RSI-35 divergence at Friday’s high. This very likely means that Friday’s high will eventually be exceeded.”

That’s what happened. But, there was a bearish divergence at the September 2018 high, which means new highs are no longer guaranteed.

More importantly, there was no bullish divergence at the December low. This doesn’t mean stocks can’t reach new highs, but due to the bearish divergence at the September 2018 top and the lack of bullish divergence at the December 2018 bottom, the odds of new all-time highs are reduced.

Conflict

Unfortunately there is a conflict between two pretty reliable indicators/studies. The breadth thrust suggests new highs, while divergences (or lack thereof) suggest new lows.

Tie-breaker

The S&P reached the black trend channel, which has been my up side target. The channel has acted as support/resistance numerous times over the past year, and may do so again. A re-test of previously broken support has ‘last kiss good bye’ potential.

Unfortunately that matter is complicated by the fact that the popular 50-day SMA (blue line) coincides with the hand-crafted trend channel. The market likes to see-saw popular SMAs to fool the masses.

The 2-hour chart provides some more details: Yesterday, the S&P 500 broke above the gray trend channel (blue circle). While above that trend channel, trade may continue higher (note the potenial triangle outlined by the purple lines, or diagonal outlined by the blue lines).

However, the larger black trend channel near 2,625 may end this rally leg (perhaps with some see-saw, courtesy of the 50-day SMA). A break back below the gray trend channel should usher in a 100+ point correction, possibly even a re-test or break of the December low.

Continued updates are available via the Profit Radar Report.

Simon Maierhofer is the founder of iSPYETF and the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. Barron’s rated iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record” (click here for Barron’s evaluation 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, 17.59% in 2014, 24.52% in 2015, 52.26% in 2016, and 23.39% in 2017.

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

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How to Predict a Market Crash

Although I warned of an environment where the risk of a meltdown is high (wave 3 down, based on Elliott Wave Theory), I can’t claim credit for predicting the December crash.

Because of my multi-indicator approach to market forecasting, and profound concern for my subscriber’s portfolio’s, I rarely ever make absolute one-directional predictions based on only one indicator.

Absolute Predictions

There are plenty of absolute and unequivocal predictions out there. Such ‘hit or miss’ or ‘all or nothing’ bets are great when they work out (and like gambling, sometimes they do), but cause excruciating pain when they don’t.

Below are a few examples of recent all or nothing predictions:

December 6: “The last great buying opportunity of the decade is here!”

December 10: “Keep cool! S&P 500 & Nasdaq holding above lows. Signal is bullish!”

December 19: “ All structural criteria is in place to create a POWERFUL 1-2 week rally”

My favorite: May 14, 2018 (and virtually every day since 2011): “I think it likely that the rally is ending today” (red arrows added to show implications of wave 2 top, and subsequent wave 3 decline)

I found in my research that the only folks who ‘predicted’ the December meltdown, are those we’ve been spewing doom and gloom for years (even a broken clock is right twice a day).

My Promise

My intent is not to discredit the above services, but to highlight the flaws of tunnel vision research. That is, research based on only one indicator or one methodology.

Before publishing the Profit Radar Report (many, many years ago), I lost a lot of money by trusting one single indicator (which at the time had a good track record). Back then, I took off my ‘research blinders,’ and vowed to expand my research horizon.

Better Diversification

Diversification is a popular term in the investment world, and it’s almost exclusively linked to asset allocation. But what about research diversification?

Just as a diversified portfolio smoothes out individual boom and bust cycles, research diversifcation eliminates the ‘hit or miss’ performance tied to any one single indicator.

Multi-indicator Approach

My goal is to distill and compress the message of various indicators (such as: investor sentiment, money flow, breadth, technical analysis, price patterns, seasonality, etc.) into the most likely path going forward, the direction suggested by the weight of evidence.

For example, on October 28, when the S&P 500 first fell into the 2,600s, I published the weight-of-evidence-based projection (yellow lines) along with the below commentary via the Profit Radar Report:

The biggest potential ‘fat pitch’ trades are to go short above 2,830 (red box) or buy at the second low (green box).”

The yellow lines projected a move from 2,600 to ~2,850, followed by a drop to ~2,400.

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Business Daily says: “When Simon says, the market listens.” Find out why Barron’s and IBD endorse Simon Maierhofer’s Profit Radar Report.

Crash Environment Alert

Starting on December 9, I warned subscribers that a wave 3 crash is a possibility. For example, the December 9 Profit Radar Report stated that:

Based on Elliott Wave Theory, the S&P 500 could be 1) nearing the exhaustion point of this down leg, or 2) be in a strong and sustained wave 3 lower. Scenario #2 seems more likely.”

The December 17 Profit Radar Report reiterated the following:

Based on Elliott Wave Theory, both options discussed on December 9:

1) Washout decline with target of 2,550 – 2,500 (or 2,478 as per Sunday’s PRR)

2) Accelerating wave 3 lower (which could erase another 10% fairly quickly)
are still alive
.”

In case you are new to Ellliott Wave Theory (one of the many indicators of the multi-indicator approach), here is a description of a wave 3:

Wave 3 is the longest and most powerful of all Elliott Waves. Wave 3 continues to move higher (or lower) despite overbought (or oversold) momentum and sentiment readings. A common target for wave 3 is a Fibonacci 1.618 of wave 1 (which currently is 2,269 for the S&P 500).

Pros and Cons

One ‘drawback’ of the multi-indicator approach is that you will rarely hear a flashy ‘all or nothing’ call.

The benefit is that you will rarely be on the losing end of such a call. The multi-indicator approach does however, outline when the risk of a crash or the potential of a spike is elevated.

And perhaps most importantly, there are times when nearly all indicators point in the same direction to form a potent and very reliable buy/sell signal (such as in March 2009, October 2011, February 2016).

Based on what I’m seeing right now, it seems like we are nearing such a signal.

The latest S&P 500 forecast is available here: Short-term S&P 500 Update

Simon Maierhofer is the founder of iSPYETF and the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. Barron’s rated iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record” (click here for Barron’s evaluation 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, 17.59% in 2014, 24.52% in 2015, 52.26% in 2016, and 23.39% in 2017.

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

Short-term S&P 500 Update

2018 has been a year of extremes. The year started with stocks becoming extremely over-bought, and ended with stocks getting extremely over-sold.

In fact, 2018 hosted the worst December performance since 1931.

The December 23 Profit Radar Report stated that:

We are likely in an environment where pessimism can become even more extreme, but those extremes can cause violent 1 – 5 day spikes. In terms of seasonality, a Santa Clause Rally (last 5 days of 2018, and first 2 days of 2019), occurs 73.5% of the time (since 1970). The odds of a multi-day rally – within a longer down trend – are elevated.”

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Business Daily says: “When Simon says, the market listens.” Find out why Barron’s and IBD endorse Simon Maierhofer’s Profit Radar Report.

Over the next two days, the S&P 500 dropped to 2,347 (the lowest level since May 2017), and thereafter jolted 5% higher, in a single day.

How does this rally (up to 174 points in 3 days) fit into the larger picture?

The DJIA already reached its ideal down side target (21,700, which is where wave 3 or c equals 1.618 x wave 1 or a).

The S&P 500 has not yet reached its ideal down side target (2,269, which is where wave 3 or c equals 1.618 x wave 1 or a). However, the S&P bounced from 2,349, where wave 3 or c equals 1.382 x wave 1 or a).

In other words, we are dealing with a measure of conflict:

  • The DJIA already reached it’s down side target, the S&P 500 did not.
  • Sentiment at the December 26 low was extremely compressed, which allows for a larger bounce.

How do we resolve the conflict?

The December 30 Profit Radar Report published the chart below, which illustrates the ideal outcome, along with the following commentary:

The S&P 500 has not reached the 161.8% Fibonacci projection level (2,269), which as a common down side target for waves 3. Unless the S&P closes above Friday’s high (2,520), we assume that we’ll see new lows.”

The above path is still in harmony with the outlook published in the October 28, 2018 Profit Radar Report, which projected (yellow lines, chart below) a rally from 2,600 to 2,850 (in October/November) followed by a drop to about 2,400 thereafter.

Obviously there has been much flux and volatility, and trading this market comes with a fair amount of risk.

But, where there’s risk, there is usually opportunity, and if the S&P follows our path, hits our down side target while over-sold and with bullish divergences, we will want to buy.

Continued updates are available via the Profit Radar Report.

Simon Maierhofer is the founder of iSPYETF and the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. Barron’s rated iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record” (click here for Barron’s evaluation 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, 17.59% in 2014, 24.52% in 2015, 52.26% in 2016, and 23.39% in 2017.

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