S&P 500: Short-and Long-term Risk vs Reward Analysis

it happened again: The S&P 500 erased a month worth of gains in just 3 days. Being aware of the up side potential compared to down side risk is always a good idea, but especially now.

Let’s objectively assess bullish and bearish factors to determine up side potential vs down side risk for the short-and long-term.

Up Side Potential – Short-term

The October 20 Profit Radar Report published the S&P 500 futures chart below and stated that: “A close above 3,002 (blue triangle) could eventually lead as high as 3,187.75 (3,167.74 for S&P 500).

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The S&P 500 came within 12 points of this target and then dropped 84 points in 3 days (as projected, see last chart of this article). Based on the above projection, near-term up side potential is limited.

Up Side Potential – Longer-term

On November 25, the VIX closed below 12 for the first time in 3 months. Over the past 20 years, this has happened 8 other times. 1 year later the S&P 500 traded higher every time (the blue lines below highlight the instances since 2013).

On November 25, the Russell 2000 reached a new 52-week highefor the fist time in a year. Over the past 20 years, this happened 5 other times. 1 year later, R2K traded higher 4 of 5 times.

For the first time since August 2018, the monthly MACD histogram for the NY Composite crossed above 0. The blue lines below highlight times when the MACD histogram exceeded 0 for the first time in a year. This signal was rare (only 6 times since 1980) and always followed by gains 1 year later (on average 16%).

Short-term Down Side Risk – Short-term

The November 24 PRR mentioned that VIX hedgers held a record amount of VIX positions and warned: “The last two times this happened, the VIX spiked and S&P 500 took a nasty spill.”

From November 27 – December 3, the VIX soared as much as 50%. This may have satisfied the need for a VIX spike already, but more could still be to come.

Longer-term Down Side Risk

The November 20 PRR noted that: “Unlike stocks, junk bonds have been trending lower. The chart below plots the S&P 500 against the SPDR High Yield Bond ETF (JNK). The blue boxes highlight other periods where JNK trended lower while the S&P trended higher. It usually and eventually led to stock market pullbacks of various degrees.”

It is difficult to put a time-frame on this ‘setup’ as the bearish divergence could be followed by weakness sooner or later.

Conclusion

When compiling my forecasts I look for ‘signal clusters.’ Those are times when indicators and studies coherently suggest a specific performance over a certain time frame.

Right now, a cluster of bullish studies suggests that stocks will be higher about 1 year from today.

Another cluster of indicators projects lower prices over the next 3 month. This cluster, however, is in conflict with the strong momentum market we’ve seen since early October.

In short, the weight of evidence suggests that pullbacks over the next 3 month are an opportunity to buy.

The yellow projection below, published in the December 1 Profit Radar Report, outlined a path in harmony with a number of indicators.

As you can see, the projection correctly captured the decline from 3,150 to below 3,100. Another rally to the high is quite possible and – if all goes according ‘to plan’ – should be followed by another pullback, potentially a much deeper, but also temporary one.

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.

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Comprehensive S&P 500 Update

The S&P 500 has arrived at major trend line resistance (see chart). Will it relapse lower or climb above?

To answer this question, we’ll look at various indicators:

  • Investor sentiment
  • Market breadth & liquidity
  • Seasonality & cycles
  • Technical analysis

Investor sentiment – Obsession with Recession

The August 25 Profit Radar Report pointed out various bearish sentiment extremes – including that google searches for ‘recession’ spiked to the highest level since 2008 – and warned that stocks are likely to rally to flush out investors’ obsession with recession (for more details and chart go here: “Today’s stock market pessimism is a reliable sign of a stock market rebound“).

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.

The >150-point rally since certainly alleviated recession fears and turned investors more bullish.

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against 6 longer-term sentiment gauges.

The second chart plots the S&P 500 against 4 shorter-term sentiment gauges.

Sentiment summary: Sentiment is not frothy enough where it eliminates the possibility of further gains, but it now is more of a headwind than tailwind and more likely to curb gains and cause a pullback.

Market Breadth & Liquidity

The S&P 500 reached new all-time highs on four of the last eight trading days (November 5 – 14). But, on six of the eight days, more stocks declined then advanced.

There’s weakness ’under the hood,’ and it caused a number of bearish divergences shown on the chart below.

Bearish divergences can be erased quickly, but while they exist, they reveal a measure of weakness often seen prior to pullbacks.

Seasonality & Cycles

In terms of seasonality, the S&P 500 has passed the riskiest period of the year. However, cycles do not agree with the bullish year-end seasonality.

Technical analysis

The chart below highlights all the levels highlighted by the recent Profit Radar Reports:

  • Blue trend line: Potential resistance, but move above will lead to test of purple trend line
  • Purple trend line: Potential resistance, but move above will unlock higher targets
  • Red trend line: Potential resistance, but move above allows for further gains.
    Although the yellow triangle formation cautions that a move above red trend line resistance will not last.

Initial target for any pullback will be the purple trend line. A break below the purple trend line is needed to get lower targets.

Summary

The S&P 500 is at red trend line resistance. A temporary move above (post triangle spike) seems likely, but the risk of a relapse and test of purple trend line support (at minimum) is high. A break back below red trend line resistance (assuming there will be a spike above it) is needed to signal a reversal.

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.

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Can the S&P 500 Suffer Another ‘Air Pocket Decline?’

The last S&P 500 update highlighted the bearish implications of trend line resistance and the ominous VIX wedge.

I reiterated the importance of this trend line in the July 28 Profit Radar Report when stating that: “We are looking at many indicators, but the purple trend line – boring as it may seem – is probably more helpful than other gauges at this point.”

The S&P 500 fell over 200 points after tagging purple trend line resistance (see ‘before and after’ charts below).

Obviously, the purple trend line worked, but will the S&P 500 tumble another few hundred points as implied by the expanding triangle pattern (wave E shown on left)?

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Here are a few other facts and indicators to help gauge the odds:

New Lows

On Monday, 249 NYSE-traded stocks fell to new 52-week lows. This is the highest reading of 2019. In fact, it’s very unusual for such high 52-week low numbers to occur so soon after the S&P 500 was at an all-time high. The blue lines in the chart below show other times when 52-week lows spiked above 240 when the S&P was within 10 trading days of a 52-week high. It wasn’t a good sign for stocks.

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Technicals

The S&P 500 is back above trend line resistance (now again support, tomorrow around 2,905). As long as trade remains above this green trend line, the rally can continue higher.

Next resistance is at 2,950 – 2,985.

Island Reversals

The term island reversal is often associated with tops but can also mark bottoms. It simple donates a number of candles at a price extreme separated by two gaps.

As outlined by the blue oval, the S&P 500 just staged an island reversal to the up side.

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As indicated by the blue lines below, similar island reversals occurred in August 2,015, December 2015, February 2016 and June 2016. The short-term performance was mixed, but long-term performance was positive.

Breadth

Monday’s Profit Radar Report stated that: “Today’s drop saw 87.87% of all stocks declining. This tends to be indicative of at least short-term lows. A bounce is likely.

The developing bounce delivered an 83.45% up day (83.45% of NYSE-traded stocks advanced) Thursday. The green lines in the chart below show that this has been positive 3 of the last 5 times it happened.

Summary

Purple trend line resistance has been validated by the S&Ps 200-point drop. It’s rare for indicators to foretell are massive drop, but the evidence allows for a continuous decline.

The S&P 500 will have to stay below resistance (2,985) and fall to new lows to start validating the bearish implications of the expanding triangle pattern discussed here.

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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5 ‘Keep it Simple’ Stock Charts and 1 Bearish Constellation

The rally from the June 3 low has created many bullish price and breadth patterns and studies (5 of them are discussed here). The market has followed through on them thus far.

However, the short-term Elliott Wave structure does not look bullish, and the long-term projection published in the June 2 Profit Radar Report (shown here) points to a serious speed bump.

In short, there is a measure of conflict between indicators. When that happens, I like to go back to the basics and keep it simple.

Resistance

The DJIA shows probably the most important resistance range to watch: around 27,300.

Support

The S&P 500 shows some important support levels to watch: around 2,910 and 2,875.

Short-term Trend Channel

The June 23 Profit Radar Report used this chart to simplify the short-term: “A break below channel support would unlock a pullback. The wave labels show the most bearish EWT-based option. It’s not ideal, but it seems more likely than other options.”

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.

Trend channel support failed the next day and unlocked the biggest pullback of June. It is possible to count the decline from June 21 as 5 waves, which cautions that the trend may have changed from up to down.

Leader Fatigue

The rally from the June low has been led by defensive sectors like consumer staples. Contrary to popular belief, such (defensive-led) rallies are statistically not doomed to fail.

However, the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) carved out a pattern with a lot of bearish potential. I recommended to go short at 59.07 on June 13. The stop-loss is now set at breakeven, which allows us to ‘play with house money.’

Overlap

Small cap stocks represented by the Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) are lagging. In fact, IWM fell below the June 5 high. If one wanted to count the June rally as 5 waves, June 5 would be wave 1, but yesterday price dropped below the June 5 high. This creates a bearish (wave 4 / wave 1) overlap (blue arrow) that’s not allowed and voids a short-term bullish Elliott Wave count.

Bearish Constellation

Not only small caps are lagging. The transportation and banking sector are too (see chart below).

Only two other times (July 1990 and July 1998) has there been such a big divergence between the S&P 500 and small caps, transportation, and banking. This is a small sample size, but it led to a rocky and negative performance over the next quarter.

Conclusion

Even during times where there is conflict among indicators, going back to the basics provides some general guidance.

It will take a sustained move above resistance to unlock higher targets, and a break below support to unlock lower targets.

Another big but temporary drop would certainly clear up the structure and provide a lot more certainty, but we’ll let the above levels indicate whether it will happen.

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.

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 – Big Fake or Little Fake?

As mentioned in the last S&P 500 update we were looking for stocks to continue lower into the next target/inflection zone, which was around 2,740 (May 29 Profit Radar Report: “We expect 2,740 – 2,720 to be reached. From there, a larger bounce may develop.”).

Sunday’s (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.

This bounce happened, and it happened quickly and honestly stronger than I expected.

Big Fake or Little Fake?

Now the question is: Will stocks relapse or continue to new all-time highs?

The chart below shows that the S&P 500 fell as low as 2,728.81 on Monday. This drop closed the open chart gap at 2,744.13 and tagged Fibonacci target at 2,739.45, where wave c = wave a (a common target for waves c). The open chart gap at 2,851.11 is the next up side target (I wrote about the power of chart gaps here last week).

In terms of breadth, this week’s market action was bullish. Despite Monday’s 6-point drop, 65.03% of NYSE stocks advanced (strength ‘under the hood’), and on Tuesday, 81.48% of NYSE stocks advanced.

The horizontal blue line helps us determine other times when more than 80% of stocks advanced. In general it’s been a positive (green lines), but there’ve been false signals as well (May 16, red line and October 16, 2018, not shown).

So Tuesday’s strong up day is positive, but not an infallible buy signal.

I still prefer for this rally to relapse. The question is how high it will rally and relapse (big fake, or little fake). The June 2 Profit Radar Report outlined the 4 most likely paths going forward. One was already eliminated by this week’s action. That leaves three. Continued updates, projections, and 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.

 

S&P 500 – The Ideal Path

The S&P 500 has been following the yellow projection published in the May 13 Profit Radar Report. The original projection along with updated price is shown below, the original May 13 Profit Radar Report update is available here.

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.

KISS

Moving forward, here is a very simple approach: Lase week, the S&P 500 broke below long-term black trend channel support. This support is now resistance (around 2,830). Additional resistance is provided by last week’s low (2,801).

While below 2,801 – 2,830 we are looking for more weakness.

A move above resistance could unlock a rally to about 2,900, which would likely be an excellent opportunity to go short.

Longer-term Projection

The projection below was published in the April 28 Profit Radar Report. It shows two different paths:

  1. Black labels: Wave B of 4 ended at May 1 high. Wave C of 4 is now underway. Ultimate Wave C target is around the December 2018 low. Once complete, wave 5 will carry the S&P to new highs.
  1. Outlined in purple is an expanding triangle formation (this formation looks better in the DJIA, but is projected using the S&P 500), where the May decline is wave E. Completion of wave E will be followed by new highs. It’s important to note that wave E does not have to drop as low as illustrated.

Regardless of the final path, here are two key takeaways:

  1. For now the down side risk is potentially significant
  2. Price and momentum studies strongly suggest that – once this correction is over – stocks will rally to new all-time highs.

Summary

While below resistance, we are looking for new lows. Once the S&P 500 reaches our next down side target (and inflection point), we’ll gauge how big of a bounce may develop.

Down side targets, bounce potential, and any curveballs 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 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.