What’s Next: New Highs or Lows?

Even just a quick glance at the S&P 500 chart reveals a tug-of-war between bulls and bears, buyers and sellers. Although there’ve been many – at time violent – swings, there’s been no net progress.

What will we see first, new highs or new lows? Here’s a look at various pieces of market research:

Long-term:

Hypervolatility – April 11, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

What a contrast: In 2017, the S&P 500 swung more than 1% on only 10 days. That’s measured from daily high to low, not open to close. In 2018, the S&P 500 had already 41 daily swings of more than 1%.

Below is a closer look at actual volatility, not the VIX. The first chart plots the S&P 500 against the daily percentage change measured from high to low (gray graph) along with a 20-day SMA of the daily percentage change (blue graph).

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In February, the daily swing range was nearly as big as in September 2015 and January 2016, which is when stocks bottomed. Back then, volatility came and went quickly (like the shape of a ‘V’). This time around, volatility is lingering longer.

The second chart provides a long-term perspective, which includes the 1974, 1987, 2002, 2007, and 2011 market lows. Back then, daily swings (20-day SMA) peaked around 4%, twice the current average of around 2%.

Based on positive liquidity (NYC a/d line) and the parallels to 2011, it’s unlikely that the daily swing range will double from 2% to 4% as stocks melt lower.

The main takeaway is that volatility extremes are usually seen towards market lows.”

Elliott Wave Theory (EWT) – February 11, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

For well over a year stocks have almost exclusively gone up, slow but steady. For the past two weeks, stocks have gone down quickly.

What’s next? The temptation (and trap) is to think two dimensional – up or down – since that’s most of what we’ve experienced lately. However, stocks could also go sideways for a period of time.

The weekly S&P 500 chart provides some long-term perspective. 1 – 2 – 3 is how we label the rally from the February 2016 low. Wave 3 (wave 5 of wave 3 to be exact) extended much higher than normal.

Based on EWT, wave 3 is followed by wave 4, which is where we are currently at. Waves 4 are generally choppy, range-bound, long-winded, unpredictable corrections that retrace ideally 38.2% of the preceding wave 3. The 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level is at 2,536 (reached on Friday).

In terms of price, wave 4 has already reached its down side target. In terms of time, wave 4 would be unusually short.”

Liquidity – April 18, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

On the bullish side of the ledger, we find that the NY Composite advance/decline line (and NYC OCO a/d line) made new all time highs. This follows the bullish divergence noted in the April 4 PRR.

Long-term summary:The weight of evidence suggests that this correction will be temporary and followed by new all-time highs. But how much longer will this correction last and how low can it go?

Short/Mid-term:

Breadth – May 2, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

As early as February 11, the Profit Radar Report expected a frustrating, drawn out correction like in 2011. There are many parallels between the 2011 and 2018 correction, but here is one difference:

In 2011, there were multiple strong up days (where more than 80% or 90% of stocks advanced – green lines), and strong down days (where more than 90% of stocks declined – red lines).

The strong down days exhausted sellers, and the strong up days indicated internal strength not yet reflected in price.

The 2018 correction is much different. There’ve been only two days that come close to be considered a 90% down day, and only one 80% up day.

To end this sideways range, it appears that either more 90% down days or 80%-90% up days (like in October 2011, see green arrow) are needed. Ideally we’d like to see both, first a bout of strong down days followed by strong up days.”

Seasonality, cycles, pattern – May 6, 9, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

Based on mid-term seasonality (blue graph, chart below), the S&P has a tendency to bottom between late June and late September. Cycles are fairly similar to seasonality at this time.

Year-to-date the S&P is down 0.38%. Since 1950, the S&P 500 showed at loss of 1% (but no more than 5% below 200-day SMA) after the first 4 months 17 other times.. 6 of those 17 instances occurred in mid-term election years (like 2018). The average full-year performance is shown below (average bottom: trading day #193).”

Summary:

The April 2 Profit Radar Report (when the S&P 500 closed at 2,582) stated that: “The S&P 500 has met the minimum criteria to consider this correction complete. There is, however, a difference between minimum and ideal.”

The S&P continues to be stuck in the ‘twilight zone between minimum and ideal.’

Short-term, the May 13 Profit Radar Report probably defined it best: “The S&P 500 broke above triangle resistance. Although we view this breakout with a fair amount of skepticism, we need to allow for higher prices while trade remains above 2,700. Due to the overbought condition, it is unlikely for the S&P to move above 2,750 early this week.”

Continued updates will be 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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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This is Probably the Most Important Seasonal Pattern of 2018

Seasonality is one of 4 key indicators we analyze (the other 3 are: Money flow, technicals, and investor sentiment). Out of many seasonal patterns, this is probably the most important one for all of 2018.

The 2018 S&P 500 Forecast (part of the Profit Radar Report) highlighted this seasonal pattern (and chart):

2018 is a mid-term year (based on the 4-year presidential election year cycle. Historically, stocks rally from the mid-year (2018) low to the pre-election year (2019) high (on average 50%). The average S&P 500 gain over the last 5 cycles was 36.8% (see chart for individual cycle gains).

Historically (going back to 1950), stocks fall about 20% into the mid-term (2018) low. The average S&P 500 loss from the preceding high to the mid-term low over the last 5 cycles was 18.41%. However, the 2002 loss was unusually large (34.54%). Excluding 2002, the average loss over the last 4 cycles was 14.38%.”

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.

From the January high to the February low, the S&P 500 lost as much as 12.26%.

This is close to the average loss of 14.38% mentioned above.

Based on this seasonal pattern, we should be looking for two developments:

  1. A buyable bottom
  2. A multi-month rally

Continuous updates will be 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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

S&P 500 Update: Top or Not?

The last S&P 500 update outlined why 2,500+/- has been our up side target for over a year.

Our view has been that S&P 2,500+/- is not the target for a major top, but it should lead to a 5-10% correction.

The August 7 Profit Radar Report zoomed in on 2,495 as short-term target (based on the ascending red trend line) and stated:

The S&P 500 ETF (SPY) closed at a new all-time high at the lowest volume of the year. The ideal scenario (and tempting setup to go short) would be a spike to 2,495+ followed by an intraday reversal.”

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Bussines Daily says “When Simon says, the market listens.

New Highs! Why?

On August 8, the S&P spiked to 2,490.87 and reversed lower. It initially looked like the 5-10% correction had started, but the August 13 Profit Radar Report warned that:

Odds for a bounce are high, and based on the wave structure, the likely up side target is 2,465 – 2,470. Purely based on the oversold condition however, the bounce could be stronger.”

The August 23 Profit Radar Report noted a bullish RSI divergence on the hourly chart, and stated:

Based on Elliott Wave Theory, this correction could even reach new all-time highs without violating any wave 4 guidelines. Whether this is the case remains to be seen, but it’s an option. Hourly RSI is fairly strong, therefore continued gains are easily possible.”

New Highs! Top or Not?

On Tuesday, the S&P surpassed the August 8 all-time high. In terms of Elliott Wave Theory, this high could be wave b of an ongoing wave 4 correction or wave 5 of wave 3, which would lead to the wave 4 correction (other options are possible, but those are the two most likely).

This article explains how and why Elliott Wave Theory has been such a valuable indicator.

The S&P 500 is nearing overbought, there is a bearish RSI divergence on the daily chart and seasonality is soon hitting a weak spot.

However, our reliable liquidity indicator (which has an incredible track record when it comes to sniffing out major tops) confirmed Tuesday’s new S&P highs.

Conclusion

The next inflection range spans from 2,500 – 2,540. Our working assumption is that the 5-10% correction will start then.

Our major market top indicators strongly suggests that the next correction will only be temporary and followed by new highs.

Continued analysis, with down side targets and buy/sell signals are provided 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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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Comprehensive S&P 500 Update

The latest S&P 500 all-time high clocked in at 2,440 as the S&P 500 continues to plow over bearish forecasts

Will the S&P 500 in particular, and stocks in general, continue to slog higher?

Here is our comprehensive forecast based on the “four stock market engines:”

  • Supply & demand (liquidity)
  • Technical analysis
  • Investor sentiment
  • Seasonalities and cycles

Supply & Demand

We first unveiled our favorite liquidity indicator in 2014. This indicator correctly foreshadowed the 1987, 2000 and 2007 market top and – aside from a timely caution signal in 2015 – persistently pointed towards continued bull market gains.

For readers of our free website, we’ve dubbed this indicator ‘secret sauce.’ Why, and how this indicator is used is explained here.

In short, major market tops have been preceded by bearish divergences (S&P 500 rallies to new all-time highs, secret sauce does not).

Throughout 2016 and 2017 however, there’ve only been bullish divergences (secret sauce rallies to new all-time highs, but the S&P 500 lags behind). The last four times this happened was on April 30, and April 9, 2017, September 22, and April 16, 2016 (see green arrows).

Each time the Profit Radar Report stated that: “[Secret sauce] is already at new highs. The S&P 500 will soon follow.”

Secret sauce just confirmed the latest S&P 500 high, which means a major market top is still many months away (this doesn’t mean we can’t see a correction though).

Technical Analysis

The most exotic ‘tool in the technical analysis box’ has also been the most accurate: Elliott Wave Theory. Therefore we will focus on Elliott Wave Theory for this update.

The charts below were initially published in the August 28, 2016, Profit Radar Report, and have been our roadmap ever since as the S&P moves toward 2,500.

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

We have made some minor adjustments recently, which place the S&P near the beginning of a more pronounced, choppy correction (see ‘we are here’ on top graph). This correction would be labeled as wave 4 (likely intermediate degree).

Despite rising prices, there has been a measure of internal weakness (see chart below). There have been no strong up days (90% days, where 90% or more of volume flows into advancing stocks). The percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA is also lagging.

This is compatible with a rally that’s nearing a (temporary) point of exhaustion.

Investor Sentiment

The chart below provides a long-term comparison between investor sentiment near the 2007 high and today.

In short, investors are not as euphoric about stocks today as they were in late 2007. Based on investor sentiment, stocks are not at a major market top.

In fact, stocks may still benefit from the pessimistic extremes seen in January/February 2016 (when the S&P traded below 1,900).

The January 29, 2016 Profit Radar Report stated that: “Sentiment turned pessimistic enough to become a bullish tailwind for the coming months.”

Seasonality & Cycles

Cycles project weakness later on in 2017 and seasonality is hitting a soft spot until September/October.

Conclusion

Once the S&P 500 reaches our up side target we will be looking for a more pronounced correction, but not the end of this bull market.

Continuous updates and actual buy sell recommendations (we haven’t had a losing trade since June 2015) are provided 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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

 

2017 Oil Forecast

Although volatile, 2016 was a good year for crude oil. The January 10, 2016 Profit Radar Report printed this outlook for 2016:

Sentiment is bearish (which should be positive for oil), but seasonality has a minor weak spot until early February. The overall setup for oil in 2016 looks positive, with a potential buy signal early February.”

Crude oil bottomed on February 11 at 26.05.

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Bussines Daily says “When Simon says, the market listens.”

For the second half of 2016 our indicators never really lined up to point in the same direction. There was no clear signal, which helps explains the choppy performance since the June high.

What are key indicators projecting for 2017?

Investor Sentiment

Commercial hedgers (the smart money) are betting on lower oil prices. In fact, hedgers are holding a record amount of short exposure.

The chart below was published in the January 11, 2017 Profit Radar Report. At the time, hedgers were short to the tune of 465,400 futures contracts (this has increased to 509, 138).

Nevertheless, the January 11, 2017 Profit Radar Report stated that: “As long as trade stays above 48 – 50, we will allow for higher prices.” Why?

Seasonality

Oil is one of those commodities with a very distinct seasonal pattern. Seasonality turns strongly bullish in February.

Tiebreaker: Technical Analysis

Investor sentiment suggests risk is rising while seasonality should buoy prices.

How do we reconcile this conflict between sentiment and seasonality?

Such conflicts often cause stalemates or relative trading ranges.

Based on Elliott Wave Theory, oil appears to be in a wave 4 rally (which retraces part of the 2014 – 2016 drop from 107 to 26.

Ideally wave 4 will extend higher (towards 60) before falling towards and below 26 in wave 5.

Here are the most liquid oil ETPs (Exchange Traded Products):

United States Oil Fund (USO)
iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil ETN (OIL)

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (SCO)
VelocityShares 3x Inverse Crude Oil ETN (DWTI)

Continued updates and trade recommendations will be 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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

The Biggest VIX Anomaly of the Year is Here

Since 1970, the S&P 500 has seen a ‘Santa Claus Rally’ (SCR) 73.9% of the time (SCR equals last five days of old year and first 2 days of new year).

Purely based on seasonality, there’s a good chance the S&P 500 will move higher in the coming days.

Due to the fairly predictable inverse correlation between the S&P 500 and the VIX, one would expect the VIX to move lower during the SCR period of the year.

However, that’s not the case. In fact, this is the biggest VIX anomaly of the year and is relected in VIX seasonality.

The December 27, 2015 Profit Radar Report observed this anomaly and stated:

On Thursday the VIX painted a potential reversal candle, which – combined with seasonality – will probably make it harder for the VIX to move much lower. Usually the mix moves in the opposite direction of stocks, however this inverse relationship tends to take a break from Christmas to New Years.”

During the 2015/16 SCR period, the VIX lost 24.21%.

We love shorting the VIX via the VelocityShares Inverse VIX ETN (XIV – here is why: The Spectacular VIX Tailwind Trade), that’s why this anomaly is so interesting.

In 2016, the Profit Radar Report recommended shorting the VIX (= buying XIV) twice for gains of 14.46% and 13.33%.

Various indicators go into a XIV buy signal, seasonality is one of them. Right now, seasonality is not in favor of buying XIV (even if the S&P 500 moves higher).

Continuous S&P 500/VIX updates with actual buy/sell recommendation 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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

 

Comprehensive S&P 500 Analysis Reveals Longevity of this Rally

The S&P 500 has soared almost 10% since Election Day. This move has been dubbed the Trump rally or Trump bump.

The media is quick to slap a label on an event (especially after the fact), but lest we forget that the media, analysts and pundits a) did not see a DJ Trump win and b) expected a market crash in the unlikely event of a DJ Trump win.

Key stock market indicators strongly suggested prior to the election that stocks would rally regardless of the election outcome (the four most powerful stock market indicators are discussed in detail here).

Here is what indicators said before the election, and what they are still telling us today:

Money Flow

The stock market is a supply and demand-based market place, that’s why money flow is one of the most important indicators. Falling demand will eventually be followed by falling prices and vice versa.

The September 25 Profit Radar Report published the chart below. The dark and light blue graphs make up our favorite money flow indicator (two versions of the same indicator). This indicator has correctly foreshadowed the 1987, 2000 and 2007 bear markets and projected higher prices since 2009 (except for a brief ‘caution’ signal in 2015). The indicator and its track record is discussed in detail here.

Out of respect for paying subscribers (who know the indicator’s real name), we will call this indicator ‘secret sauce.’

On September 22, the ‘secret sauce’ money flow indicator (blue graphs) rallied to new all-time highs even though the S&P 500 did not. This was to be longer-term bullish, because rising demand was to be followed by rising prices.

The percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA (purple graphs) did not confirm the new ‘secret sauce’ highs. This suggested short-term weakness.

The September 25 Profit Radar Report concluded the following: “Longer-term: We are still looking for the S&P 500 to reach our long-standing up side target around 2,300. Short-term: We are waiting whether the S&P will break below 2,119 prior to moving higher.”

Investor Sentiment

Investors have been predominantly bearish throughout this bull market. Based on bearish investor sentiment (bullish for stocks), we never wavered from our position that a major market top is not visible.

For example, the Profit Radar Report’s 2016 S&P 500 Forecast stated back in January that: “Investor sentiment near the May 2015 all-time highs was not as euphoric as at prior tops and not bullish enough for a major market top.”

The January 29 Profit Radar Report, however, pointed out bearish sentiment extremes (bullish for stocks) and noted that: “The pessimistic extremes were relieved enough to allow for another drop lower in the coming days. A drop lower is not required, but would be a good buying opportunity if it happens.”

The buying opportunity appeared in February, when the S&P 500 dropped into the low 1,800s.

The most recent comprehensive sentiment update (November 27 Profit Radar Report) compared current sentiment with the 2015 S&P 500 highs (see chart below).

The conclusion: “On average, investors today are still not as bullish as one would expect at a major market top. This allows for, and suggests, further gains in the months to come.”

Technical Analysis

The August 28 Profit Radar Report showed three uber-bullish forward projections (shown here) and stated that: “At this point we don’t know the scope of any pullback, but EWT and the June breadth thrust suggest that any weakness will be bought (perhaps even furiously). We consider the longer-term up side potential to be significantly larger than the down side risk.”

The June breadth thrust is discussed in detail here: 2016 Bear Market Risk is Zero Based on this Rare but Consistent Pattern

A detailed technical analysis and Elliott Wave Theory-based outlook is available here: S&P 500 Update – Expect the Abnormal (the ‘abnormal’ refers to continuous gains despite overbought conditions).

Seasonality

S&P 500 seasonality is bullish for the entire fourth quarter into the New Year.

Conclusion

All important indicators pointed higher before the election. The question was only how much of a pullback and how deep of a shakeout move we’ll get prior to the melt up. “The question therefore is not if stocks will rally, but when they will rally” was the conclusion shared in this MarketWatch article.

An indicator-based investment approach is superior to a news-based approach.

Using multiple credible and time-tested indicators further enhances results, especially when all indicators point in the same direction (such as before the election).

The image below illustrates how the odds of a winning trade are improved by a multi-indicator approach.

This doesn’t guarantee a profitable trade, but Profit Radar Report subscribers rarely ever find themselves on the wrong side of the trade.

Short-term, the market is overbought and over-loved and may pull back, but the bullish longer-term factors present months ago (aside from sentiment) remain valid.

Continuous updates with actual buy/sell recommendation 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 profile 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, and 24.52% in 2015.

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