Crowd Psychology: Bears Needed to Get Burned

The Profit Radar Report monitors dozens of indicators to compile a broad-based and educated forecast. All those indicators fall into one of the following four categories:

  • Supply & Demand (Liquidity)
  • Technical Analysis
  • Investor Sentiment (Crowd Psychology)
  • Seasonalities, Cycles & Patterns

The September 2 Profit Radar Report included a detailed analysis of investor sentiment (called the Sentiment Picture). Based on sentiment, the September 4 Profit Radar Report stated that: “A fakeout breakout would burn a lot of premature bears, and may be just what is needed to clear the air for another leg lower.”

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 a reprint of the entire Sentiment Picture:

August Sentiment Picture (Published September 2, 2019)

The July Sentiment Picture (published August 3) concluded that: “Short-term sentiment gauges are nearing a point where a bounce becomes likely. We’ve seen many bounces turn into spirited rallies (and this may happen again), but longer-term bullishness allows for additional losses after any bounce.”

The S&P 500 found a low the next day, but bounces (thus far) lacked escape velocity and remained within a trading range.

The following longer-term sentiment polls went from bullish to bearish (bearish considering how close the S&P 500 is to its recent all-time high):

  • National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM)
  • Investors Intelligence (II)
  • American Association for Individual Investors (AAII)

The dash green arrows highlight when any of the above-mentioned polls showed similar readings over the past 56 months. Most of them occurred near a significant low.

Since inception of the AAII poll, sentiment (as measured by the AAII bull/bear ratio) was as bearish when the S&P 500 was within 5% of a 52-week high 9 other time (the only such instance in the 21st century was in April 2005). The worst return was 1 month later (S&P 500 down 44% of the time), the best return was 3, 6, and 12 month later (S&P 500 up every time).

According to Lipper, investors yanked more than $40 billion from equity funds over the past weeks (that’s 0.3% of total equity assets) and 2% over the past year. This is the biggest exodus out of stocks since 2016 and nearly as pronounced as in 2002. This is not a short-term timing tool, but strongly suggest that a deeper correction would be a buying opportunity.

The sentiment-based conclusion made last month (“longer-term bullishness allows for additional losses after any bounce”) has become less likely.

A change of character would have to occur for stocks to fall further despite a number of bearish (bearish relative to how close the S&P 500 is to its all-time high) sentiment gauges.

Short-term sentiment indicators are neutral.

Continued updates, projections, buy/sell recommendations 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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S&P 500 – Are New Highs Sustainable?

The June 2 Profit Radar Report featured the chart below and stated that: “S&P 500 Futures are down some 15 points in Sunday night’s session and already reached their first target. Aggressive investors afraid of missing out on a bounce (which could turn into something more) may put some money to work.”

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.

Well, the bounce turning into a full fledged rally and it did so quickly. In the process the S&P 500 delivered some impressive price and breadth patterns along the way. For example:

Bullish Developments

  • Yesterday’s (Tuesday, June 4) rally was supported by exceptional breadth, with 81.48% of NYSE stocks advancing. In addition to Tuesday’s strength, Monday saw more stocks advancing (65.03%) despite a 6-point loss. This is generally a positive for stocks.” – June 5, Profit Radar Report
  • Sunday’s PRR showed the spike in new 52-week highs (116 for the S&P 500). Defensive sectors (like staples, utilities, and health care) saw about twice as many new highs as non defensive sectors. Some may interpret this as a bearish ‘risk off’ rally, but historically that’s not been the case.” – June 12, Profit Radar Report
  • Retail investors polled by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) are unusually bearish (below 30% bulls for 5 consecutive weeks). When this crowd has been this bearish during a bull market, the S&P 500 was higher 3 months later every time.” – June 16, Profit Radar Report
  • By one measure, hedge funds have the smallest exposure to equities since 2013. This is highly unusual considering that the S&P 500 is only 2% from its all-time high. Since 2009, when hedge funds were this bearish, the S&P 500 was higher 3 months later 90% of the time.” – June 16, Profit Radar Report
  • My favorite liquidity indicator reached new all-time highs this week. Since the beginning of this bull market in 2009, the NYC a/d line reached new all-time highs before the S&P 500 eight other times. On average, it took the S&P 45 days to reach a new high or all-time high (the 2007 all-time high was not exceeded until April 10, 2013). 1 year later, the S&P 500 was higher every time. 2, 3, 6 months later, the S&P was higher 7 out of 8 times.” – June 16, Profit Radar Report

Bearish Factors

The Elliott Wave Theory pattern is still not distinctly bullish. I published four different scenarios in the June 2 Profit Radar Report. The most bearish one was eliminated on June 5. Two of the three remaining ones projected new all-time highs, and the third allowed for new all-time highs.

Shown below is one of the 3 possible scenarios (published in the June 2 Profit Radar Report). The second one has a trajectory similar to this one, and the third one is much more bullish.

Short-term Factors

As the first chart shows, RSI-2 is over-bought and RSI-35 is lagging, so technical indicators allow for some short-term risk. The May all-time high should provide some resistance, but a rally towards and into 3,000 is possible.

I’ll be watching the next inflection zone to see if the bullish developments outlined above will overpower the lack of a clearly bullish Elliott Wave Theory pattern.

Continued updates and projections 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.

S&P 500 Update

Last week, the Profit Radar Report stated that: “We would be interested to buy if the S&P 500 drops below 2,810 and subsequently rallies back above 2,830. Although we don’t know how much the S&P would rally, we want to have some skin in the game.”

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.

Considering that the S&P closed at 2,891.31 last Friday, a buy limit at 2,810 seemed ridiculous, but Monday saw the S&P drop 90 points.

Here is why 2,810 was an important level to watch:

  • Long-term trend channel support (going back to 2009)

  • Short-term trend channel support

On Monday (May 13), S&P 500 Futures briefly dipped below and right away snapped back above the lower trend channel line (at 2,810, green arrow). This price pattern along with the bullish RSI-35 divergence suggested some kind of low was struck.

Based on Elliott Wave Theory, this bounce should run into trouble somewhere around 2,900.

Price and momentum studies are not nearly as bearish as Elliott Wave Theory, so stocks could also move higher than expected.

The elevated CBOE Equity Put/Call Ratio (5-day SMA currently at 0.76, see chart above) certainly allows for further up-side (readings above 0.7 are generally seen near lows).

Regardless of the longevity of this bounce, the reversal at the long-and short-term trend channels at 2,810 provided an opportunity to gain some exposure at low prices (our actual buying price ended up being 2,820.21), which is better than being tempted to chase price at higher and riskier levels.

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.

 

Finding an Edge in a Dull Stock Market

How to gain an edge:

A bear jumps out of a bush and starts chasing two hikers. They both start running for their lives, but then one of them stops to put on his running shoes. “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” says one hiker, the other one replies: “True, but I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only have to outrun you!”

What’s the point? The market is the composite opinion of all other investors. In essence, you beat ‘the market’ (aka the ‘bear’) by knowing more than your fellow investors (aka the other ‘hiker’). Knowledge is the edge.

I consistently follow dozes of different indicators, which fall into one of these four categories:

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

When all or most indicators point in the same direction, there’s a good chance stocks will move in that very direction. I call this a high probability trade.

The last such signal occurred in December, when liquidity, sentiment, technicals and seasonality pointed higher. The bullish weight of evidence, at that time, was discussed in this article: Is the Bear Market Over?

Since then, the S&P 500 has gained more than 20%. How much further can stocks rally?

Investor Sentiment

Some sentiment gauges show elevated optimism, but considering the strong Q1 2019 performance, overall sentiment is surprisingly subdued. Shown below is a selection of six different sentiment indicators. None of them shows an extreme reading. Without extremes, sentiment doesn’t provide an edge. It is possible for stocks to move higher.

Technical analysis

Short-term: The S&P 500 is nearing over-bought and is facing mild resistance. The chart below highlights trend line resistance and horizontal volume resitance (volume by price not date) for the S&P 500 futures. Now doesn’t appear to be the time to chase price.

Longer-term: The trend is your friend, but the risk of being ‘un-friended’ exists, and it’s difficult to find low-risk entries in an market that’s driven by momentum, but on the edge of being over-extended.

Elliott Wave Theory, the most exotic tool in the technical analysis tool box, is up to interpretation and of little help (more details here).

Supply & demand

Liquidity continues to flow into US stocks. Uncertainty in the European Union and money on the sidelines in the US are a likely cause for the continued inflows. My favorite liquidity indicator suggested throughout 2016, 2017, and 2018 that new all-time highs will be reached, and that message continues to be the same.

Seasonality & cycles

Bullish mid-term election year seasonal forces, discussed here, appeared late, but they did show up.

Based on mid-term seasonality, more gains are likely, but general S&P 500 seasonality is entering a higher risk window.

Cycles are conflicting.

Summary

There are times when most indicators point in the same direction (as in December), making a directional forecast easy.

And there are also times when indicators are in conflict, such as now.

That doesn’t mean we are left entirely clueless. Based on the market’s pattern in early March, we expected the S&P 500 to see-saw across obvious resistance at 2,815 and secondary resistance at 2,830. The S&P spent two weeks doing just that. But in order to unlock lower targets, it would have had to break below 2,785, which it didn’t.

Periods of relative uncertainty are always frustrating, but two things should be kept in mind:

  1. It’s good to know when visibility is limited and act accordingly. Would you trust on Uber driver who’s speeding in the fog? Can you trust an analysts who’s ignorant of ,or over confident in periods of uncertainty? Knowing there is no edge, is an edge in itself.
  2. Periods of uncertainty always end!

And when certainty returns, the Profit Radar Report will be there.

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.

US Treasury bonds and notes have been range bound for over six months.

There is reason to believe that Treasuries, especially 30-year Treasuries bonds, will soon break higher. Why?

Smart Money

Commercial hedgers – a group of traders considered the ‘smart money’ – are buying Treasuries across the bond curve in anticipation of higher prices.

The chart below shows commercial hedgers’ aggregate net exposure to 5, 10, 30-year Treasuries (blue graph).

As the green arrows show, hedgers’ bullish bets are generally vindicated by a period of rising prices.

Below is a list of ETFs likely to benefit from the bullish developments seen by commercial hedgers. Long-term maturities are more dynamic and subject to bigger price moves.

  • iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SHV)
  • iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SHY)
  • iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEI)
  • iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEF)
  • iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: TLT)

Seasonality

The green chart insert shows that seasonality is generally bullish for the remainder of the year.

A move above the red resistance lines is necessary to unlock an up side target of 129 – 133. This up side target is based on Fibonacci retracement levels (50% and 61.8%) and an open chart gap.

Sustained trade below 120 would put any rally on hold.

Above analysis was initially published in the August 26 Profit Radar Report. 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.

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, 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 Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

Treasury Prices and Yields Blindside the Masses – What’s Next?

Last month, 10-year yield above 3% was all the rage. Since then it has dropped more than 8%.

The April 25 Profit Radar Report commented as follows on 10-year yields:

The topic of 3%+ 10-year Treasury yields has captivated the media, and the media writes what retail investors are interested in. For example:

  • CNBC: Market is obsessed with 10-year yield
  • MarketWatch: Here’s why stock market investors are focused on a 3% 10-year yield
  • CNNMoney: Why everyone is stressing about the 10-year Treasury yield

This kind of fascination is usually reached towards the end of a trend. Commercial hedgers (smart money) are heavily betting on rising 10-year Treasury bond prices (bond prices are inversely correlated to yield, rising bond prices = falling yield).

The 10-year yield chart (TNX) doesn’t look healthy. RSI-2 is overbought, RSI-35 is diverging bearishly. This doesn’t mean TNX will have to drop tomorrow, but indicators suggest up side is very limited and down side risk elevated.”

The May 6 Profit Radar Report featured the chart below, which offers a more comprehensive look at 30-year Treasury prices (price and yield move in the opposite direction). Shown are:

  • Investor sentiment (commercial hedgers’ exposure – bottom panel)
  • Seasonality (blue chart insert at top right)
  • Elliott Wave Theory labels

The 3 most important Treasury indicators we watch (technicals, sentiment & seasonality) all suggested higher prices.

The iShares 20+ year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) shows how this buy signal played out.

Short-term, TLT is overbought (RSI-2), and susceptible to a pullback. But, RSI-35 confirmed this rally and suggests that any pullback will be followed by more gains.

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 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 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.