Are Stocks Quietly Deteriorating or Revving up for More Gains?

Every major market index has been marching to the beat of their own drum.

The Nasdaq-100 just slid to the lowest level since May 18, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) set a new all-time (intraday) high just on Monday. The S&P 500 is about a percent below its all-time high.

Some reason that there’s no longer enough liquidity to buoy the whole market.

This begs the question, if all this range bound churning is a sign of internal deterioration (and the ‘inevitable’ drop) or if stocks are just taking a breather and revving up for the next spurt higher?

KISS – Bottom Line

The May 29, 2017 Profit Radar Report already observed this: “There are times when indicators line up and we discuss (high) probabilities, and there are times when indicators conflict, and we are forced to discuss possibilities. Unfortunately the later is the case right now.

Each of the major indexes is tracing out a different EWT pattern, breadth measures, seasonality and investor sentiment do not offer a clear message. Therefore we are reduced to dealing with possibilities.

The weight of evidence suggests that in the not so distant future stocks will run into some trouble. The up side target for the S&P 500 is 2,450 – 2,530. The S&P 500, Russell 2000, DJIA and Nasdaq-100 are all overbought, but above short-term support. As long as this support holds, more gains are likely.”

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.

Not Exciting, but Effective

Ever since we’ve been watching support (which has been at 2,420 for the S&P 500) as stocks have gone nowhere. It should be noted that the 2,420 support level is becoming too obvious and therefore less important. The June 25 Profit Radar Report stated that: “A move below 2,420 (especially 2,400) would increase the odds that a multi-week/month top is in.”

Watching support (and resistance) is not the most exciting approach to market forecasting, but there are times where it’s best to realize there are no clear signals (such as in May), and simply wait for the market to offer the next actionable clue.

This approach protects against overtrading or the anxiety associated with a non-performing (or worse, losing) trade. In short, it provides a measure of peace of mind, a rare commodity in this market.

Summary

Mid-and long-term, our comprehensive S&P 500 forecast remains on track.

Short-term, we are waiting if the S&P pushes deeper into the 2,450 – 2,530 target zone, or if the June 19 high at 2,454 was the beginning of a more protracted (but temporary correction).

Whichever direction the market breaks, it will eventually be reversed. Ideally, we are looking to sell the rips (above 2,454 if we get it) and buy the eventual dip (although this dip may last longer than many expect).

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.

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Party Over for Nasdaq QQQ, AAPL, AMZN?

Tech stocks have been on fire before hitting an ‘air pocket’ last week. Is the current dip the end of the tech party or a buying opportunity?

After pointing out Fibonacci resistance (for QQQ) at 143.75, the May 31 Profit Radar Report noted that: “The Nasdaq-100 painted a bearish reversal candle today. Every red candle high (since October 2013) saw lower prices at some point over the next 1-2 weeks.”

Seven days after the May 31 bearish reversal candle, the Nasdaq suffered a monster reversal candle. Volume (for QQQ) soared to a 2017 record. The June 9 ‘red stick’ erased 10 days of gains.

On that day, more than one third of the 100 QQQ ETF components suffered a buying climax (where a stock rallies to a new 52-week high, but ends down for the week). Buying climaxes are generally a sign of distribution and indicate that stocks are moving from strong to weak hands.

Similar buying climaxes in 2010, 2014, and 2015 led to noteworthy pullbacks.

The problem with extreme ‘air pocket’ days (like June 9) is that they almost instantly create an oversold condition, and the propensity for a bounce.

Next support for QQQ is at 137.20 – 135.70. Resistance is around 141. Support may cause another bounce, but risk of further losses remains elevated as long as QQQ is below 141.

AAPL

Due to its humungous market cap, AAPL is Wall Streets’ VIP and MVP stock. More often than not, if AAPL sneezes, the S&P 500, Nasdaq and at times DJIA will catch a cold.

Based on the long-term black trend channel(s), we determined that up side for AAPL (and indexes like the S&P 500 and Nasdaq) was limited after hitting 155 in May.

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Support worth watching is around 140 and 135.

AMZN

The May 29 Profit Radar Report stated: “AMZN almost cracked the 1,000 mark, which more than anything is a psychological ‘resistance’ level. Cycles project a severe drop for AMZN. Last time this happened (late 2015), AMZN reacted late, but ultimately dropped around 30%. Although more gains are possible, late buyers will probably end up regretting their decision.”

Since May 29, AMZN gained as much as 2%, but subsequently dropped as much as 8.8%, before finding support around 925 (green line). 925 and support near the black trend channel deserve to be watched. It would take a move above 991 to unlock the potential for new highs.

Summary

Based on our research, we don’t expect to see a major market top at this time, but QQQ, AAPL and AMZN are likely to enter a period of consolidation and quite possible some ‘shake out’ moves designed to shake out weak hands.

The Profit Radar Report’s goal is to simplify investing decisions, avoid big losses and spot high probability, low-risk trades. The Profit Radar Report hasn’t suffered a losing trade since June 2015.

A comprehensive analysis for the S&P 500 is available here: Comprehensive 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 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.

 

S&P 500 Update

This article was published on June 1, 2017 at 9:00am PST on iSPYETF.com

15 points in 12 weeks. That about sums up the S&P 500 ‘progress’ since March 1.

The March 21 Profit Radar Report warned that: “In terms of Elliott Wave Theory, the March 1 high (2,400.98) is a wave 3 high. This means we are in a wave 4 correction. Waves 4 are the most choppy, and unpredictable of all waves. The coming months will likely test investors patience.”

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.

Predicting a ‘go nowhere’ market is no fun, but it helps set expectations and limits frustration.

Even within trading ranges, there are brief bursts where the market telegraphs its next move.

For example: The May 7 Profit Radar Report featured this chart with 3 projections (based on Elliott Wave Theory).

Each option (green, dark blue, and light blue) projected a pullback around S&P 2,410 in mid-May followed by a renewed rally. The pullback happened on May 16, a day after the S&P hit 2,406.

Although this pullback failed to hit our buy trigger (which was set a bit lower), buyers stepped in as anticipated. The S&P has moved as high as 2,419 and is currently held back by trend channel resistance (see chart below).

The rally from the May 18 low at 2,353 seems to support the green Elliott Wave Theory-based projection. If that’s the case, the S&P will continue to move higher.

Although Elliott Wave Theory has been very accurate in recent years (it projected the February 2016 low and the ‘Trump rally’), there are reasons (i.e. lake of breadth, bearish divergences, ATR – see vertical red lines in chart above) to take this bullish Elliott Wave projection with a grain of salt.

Therefore it’s best to play the next moves step-by-step. A move above black trend channel resistance is required to unlock the next up side target (red trend line resistance around 2,430).

A move below 2,400 and 2,380 on the other hand, would seriously rattle the immediate bullish potential.

The longer-term outlook shared in the August 28 Profit Radar Report remains valid.

Continuous 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.

 

This ETF Flaw Caused Subscribers a 30% Loss, But we Fought Back

I am about to share the worst trade of my carrier with you. It cost me a fair amount of sleep (and probably cost me a number of subscribers, who must have thought Simon is quite the moron).

Here is the sad tale of a good trade hijacked by an ETF flaw (fortunately there’s a happy ending).

The Setup

Earlier this year, in mid-January, we saw a number of VIX extremes, such as highly elevated SKEW readings (SKEW measures ‘black swan’ risk), near-record SKEW/VIX ratio readings and the highest ever long exposure of commercial VIX traders (smart money). The charts below, published by the Proift Radar Report in January, illustrate the extremes.

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.

Statistically, those conditions led to an average VIX spike of 22% over the next month every time (even a week later the VIX was higher 85% of the time).

The biggest problem (which we were well aware of) was the lack of a suitable trading vehicle for long VIX exposure. Yes, there is VXX, but it suffers from contango (we have often successfully shorted the VIX via XIV, which puts contango in our favor, more about XIV below).

What is Contango?

Below is a brief explanation of contango (taken from an August 2014 report):

The VIX quoted in-day-to-day life is the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spot price (today’s VIX price). However, the futures used to create ETPs like the iPath S&P 500 Short-Term VIX Futures ETN (VXX) are based on the future VIX price, which is almost always more expensive than the spot price. Over time the more expensive VIX futures decline in value, eventually converging with the spot price at expiration.

The chart below compares the current spot price with various futures prices. The difference between the spot price (12.20) and the September futures (13.45) is 9.84%. In other words, it will take a 9.84% move in the VIX to neutralize the time decay between the spot and September futures price.

As time goes by, ETF providers are forced to continuously replace expiring futures with new (more expensive) futures (this process is called ‘rolling over’). The further away the futures expiration date, the bigger the time premium. This time premium and resulting value decay is called contango.

Contango vs the Setup

Despite contango, the VIX buy signal seemed strong enough to deliver a net gain (a 20% short-term VIX spike tends to translate into a 5-7% VXX gain). We were looking for a short-term VIX spike, before a multi-week S&P 500 rally.

On January 23, we pulled the trigger and bought a very small amount of VXX at 20.60. A week later, the VIX traded higher, and a month later, the VIX traded higher. The VIX even spiked 22% (as expected) a number of times, but VXX contango persistently eroded VXX.

VXX by-passed the short-term VIX spike, and then, as anticipated, the stock market continued higher (which kept the VIX depressed). Nevertheless, we expected a period of choppy trading (volatility) to start in February/March.

On March 1, the S&P 500 topped, and has basically been range bound since.

On March 23, it was obvious that the VIX would fall again before the next window for a S&P 500 correction arrived. We bought XIV to hedge VXX, which turned out to be a great move.

The Next Window

The window to unwind this unfortunate VIX trade finally arrived this week. The May 14 Profit Radar Report stated that: “We are still looking to sell XIV and double up on VXX at S&P 2,407. Aggressive traders may elect to short the S&P around 2,410.”

Unfortunately there was another blow. The S&P 500 missed our trigger level for XIV and VXX (2,407) by one point (on Tuesday, March 16). The S&P gapped lower the next morning (by 17 points), robbing us of the best opportunity to unwind this trade.

We took the second-best opportunity. The March 17 intraday Profit Radar Report recommended to sell XIV at 77.40, and double up on VXX at 14.45. We closed XIV for a profit of 12.17% and bought VXX at 14.45.

The next morning (Thursday, March 18) we closed our entire VXX trade at 15.97. The VXX portion bought on January 23 accrued a 22.47% loss, the VXX portion bought on May 17 ended with a 10.51% gain. The 11.96% loss was offset by the 12.17% XIV gain.

At the end, we closed this unfortunate trade combo with a tiny 0.21% gain.

Lessons Learned

Patience and impeccable timing (at the end) rescued this trade, but in hindsight, the best worst trade is one not taken.

Contango needs to be respected. In the past, we traded XIV six times (XIV benefits from contango). All six XIV trades were profitable (12.17%, 14.46%, 13.33%, 7.57%, 15.70%, 4.49%). It’s better to focus on XIV (falling VIX) than VXX (rising VIX), especially in a bull market.

Although we knew that the VIX would fall mid-term, we bet on a short-term rise. It’s not smart to bet against the larger trend.

With the VXX trade closed at a miniscule profit, we keep our streak of no losing trade (since June 2015) alive.

The Profit Radar Report provides about 20 specific trade setups per year.

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.

 

How Alarming is the 23-year VIX Low?

According to Barron’s, the VIX is flashing a stock market warning. Barron’s is not alone. If you threw a water balloon in a room filled with analysts, odds are you’ll hit someone who’s bearish stocks because of the VIX.

Facts Trump Opinions

VIX readings below 10 are rare. There’ve only been 9 other ones since the VIX’s inception in 1993. None of them led to stock market crashes (click here for detailed analysis).

Some claim that the 2000 and 2007 market tops were preceded by a low VIX, but that’s one of the biggest misconceptions on Wall Street.

This special report, published by the Profit Radar Report on June 16, 2014, showed why the VIX was TOO LOW for a major market top back then (and still is today).

VIX Seasonality

VIX seasonality supports overall lower readings until the major seasonal low in early July.

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.

VIX-based Indicators

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against the VIX, VIX/VXV ratio, CBOE equity put/call ratio, and contango.

The VIX/VXV ratio gauges fear of short-term volatility (30-day, VIX) compared to longer-term volatility (90-days, VXV). Readings above 1 happen when investors are more concerned about the short-term than longer-term.

This occurs near stock market lows and has been a very reliable buy signal. The April 16 Profit Radar Report noted the VIX-sell signal highlighted in green (VIX is down 39% since).

On Monday, the VIX/VXV ratio was 0.776. Readings below 0.76 happen when investors are more concerned about the longer-term than the short-term.

Although a potential warning sign, the VIX buy signal (<0.77) has not been as accurate as the VIX sell signal (>1.0).

The CBOE equity put/call ratio and contango are showing a measure of bearish (for stocks) potential, but have plenty room to become more extreme.

S&P 500 Outlook

The April 11 Profit Radar Report published the chart below along with the following forecast: “As long as trade remains above 2,330, we are still looking for higher prices. The chart below outlines two potential up side targets (2,365 – 2,375 and 2,380 – 2,410).” The upside target was revised to 2,405 – 2,410 on April 26 (more detailed outlook available here).

The S&P is now just below 2,410. It remains to be seen whether bears will take a stand, but if they do, it should be around 2,410 (which would result in a VIX spike).

Continued analysis for the S&P 500, VIX and other asset classes is 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 – Churning for a Burning?

The S&P 500 reached our minimum down side target and rallied strongly. Is this rally for real or are stocks just ‘churning for another burning’?

Bullish Signals

This week’s rally is credited to the French election, but a series of solid buy signals triggered days before the news from France.

The CBOE equity put/call ratio signaled a S&P 500 rally.

Contango and the VIX/VXV ratio signal a VIX decline.

The chart below – which plots the S&P 500 against the VIX, VIX/VXV ratio, CBOE equity put/call ratio, and contango – was published in the April 16 PRR along with the following commentary:

The VIX/VXV ratio, equity put/call ratio and contango are at multi-month extremes.It appears like the amount of sellers left (needed to drive prices lower) is rather limited. The weight of evidence strongly suggests that we should focus on the upcoming buying opportunity, not on how much more down side may or may not be left.”

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.

The same Profit Radar Report also highlighted positive seasonality (see below).

Bearish Caveat

This bounce is in sync with seasonality and various buy signals, but will it last?

The April 9 PRR featured the yellow projection shown below. According to this scenario (based on Elliott Wave Theory), the S&P would reverse above 2,390 and fall to new lows (2,320 or below).

The S&P 500 is above 2,390 and has entered a price zone where a relapse becomes possible.

We will be watching various breadth, money flow, sentiment and technical indicators to determine whether this rally will stop here or not.

Continuous 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.