Are Treasury Bonds Carving out a Major Top?

The multi-decade Treasury bond bull market reached another all-time high in July.

The June 12 Profit Radar Report put 30-year Treasuries bonds on our ‘major market top watch list’ when it published the chart below and stated:

30-year Treasury futures climbed to a new all-time closing high while commercial hedgers (smart money) have racked up record short exposure. Seasonality is about to hit a weak spot. Bearish RSI divergences exist on various time frames. We will be looking for an opportunity to short 30-year Treasuries.”

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.

It took a little while for this trade to ‘ripen,’ but the July 27 Profit Radar Report featured this recommendation:

The July 17 PRR stated that: ‘30-year Treasuries may bounce a bit to perhaps give us a second bite at the cherry.’ This bounce materialized this week, and Treasuries reached one of two targets (173’27 and 175’10) that should lead to a down side reversal.

We will leg into this short 30-year Treasury trade with half a position. Investors can short via futures, short TLT or buy the Short 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBF). We will likely deploy the second half of this trade if Treasuries rally into the second target.”

Treasuries never rallied to the second bounce target, but instead started stair stepping lower.

We closed the short Treasuries position when trade first touched the 200-day SMA on September 13.

Treasuries started to rally shortly thereafter. This rally brings Treasuries to an inflection point.

Inflection Point

From the July high to the September low, Treasuries seem to have traced out 3 waves (according to Elliott Wave Theory – EWT).

Based on EWT, a 3-wave move is a counter trend move, while a 5-wave move usually marks are trend change (or trend continuation in other cases).

This means that the bounce from the September low is either:

  • Wave 4 followed by a wave 5 decline to new lows. This would suggest that the July high is a major top (red number labels).
  • The beginning of another rally leg following a complete 3-wave correction (green arrow).

If the rally from the September low is a wave 4, it should stop near the red resistance line or the black trend channel. Some may argue that the rally has gone too far already to be considered a wave 4 bounce.

While this doesn’t remove all ambiguity, the wave counts give traders some helpful directional clues, such as:

  • Going short is risky while trade remains above the September low
  • Buyers should dial back risk on a drop below the September low
  • A move above 170 and 171 should lead to more gains

The Profit Radar Report monitors dozens of indicators to identify low-risk or high probability setups for various asset classes.

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.

 

Advertisements

Is this Bull Market Circling the Drain?

Bill Gross just wrote that the bull market supercycle for stocks and bonds is approaching an end. Gross has made similar warnings before and acknowledges they were premature.

Eventually Mr. Gross will be right, but when?

Here are two indicators that have kept us on the right side of the trade for years.

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against the percentage of NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA, and a liquidity gauge I call ‘secret sauce’ (actual name available to subscribers of the Profit Radar Report).

‘Secret sauce’ is an incredibly reliable long-term major market top indicator. It essentially measures liquidity and demand. All recent major market tops (1987, 2000, 2007) were foreshadowed by a down turn in the ‘secret sauce’ indicator. Throughout 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, ‘secret sauce’ has been pointing higher.

On average, ‘secret sauce’ starts turning south about six months before the final S&P 500 high. The recent S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) high was confirmed by ‘secret sauce,’ so the final top still seems months away (more details about ‘secret sauce’ is available here: Is the S&P 500 Carving Out a Major Market Top?).

The percentage of NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA is a shorter-term measure of market breadth.

Although the S&P 500 is settled withing 0.2% of its all-time closing high yesterday, there were only 59.8% of NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA, compared to 71.7% on April 15.

Never Miss a Beat! >> Sign up for the FREE iSPYETF e-Newsletter

This condition of internal weakness doesn’t prevent further gains – in fact I’d love to see another flameout spike – it suggests that this rally is not sustainable.

Based on this set of indicators – which I consider quite reliable – there should be a correction followed by another rally to new highs.

Continuous updates will be available via the Profit Radar Report.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher 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 and 17.59% in 2014.

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

Never Miss a Beat! >> Sign up for the FREE iSPYETF e-Newsletter

Most Important Number in Finance is Slipping Out of the Fed’s Control

The Federal Reserve is the most powerful financial institution in the world and yet it is like the emperor without clothes. Ironically, the very force the Federal Reserve is most afraid of may be the only thing to save the Treasury.

Mirror mirror on the wall, what is the most powerful financial institution of them all?

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and pretty much all other markets seem to dance to the tune of the QE rhythm … and yet the Federal Reserve resembles the vain king portrayed in Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” How so?

Rogue Interest Rates

The chart below shows the Federal Reserve’s monetary base sandwiched by the S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSCP) and the inverted 10-year Treasury Yield (Chicago Options: ^TNX).

The purpose of the chart is to show QE’s effect (or lack thereof) on stocks (represented by the S&P 500) and bonds (represented by the 10-year Treasury yield).

The 10-year Treasury yield has been inverted to express the correlation better.

I’ll leave the big picture interpretation of the chart up to the reader, but I have to address the elephant in the room.

Since the Federal Reserve stepped up its bond buying in January, the 10-year yield hasn’t responded as it ‘should’ and that’s very odd (the chart below shows the actual 10-year yield performance along with forecasts provided by the Profit Radar Report).

As of December 5, 2013, the Federal Reserve literally owns 12% of all U.S. Treasury securities and by some estimates 30% of 10-year Treasuries.

Icahn More Powerful Than Fed?

The Federal Reserve basically keeps jumping into the Treasury liquidity pool without even making a splash. If Carl Icahn can allegedly drive up Apple shares (with a 0.5% stake), why can’t the Fed manipulate interest rates at will?  This is just one of the many phenomena that makes investing interesting and keeps the financial media in business.

Conclusion

We do know why the Fed wants low interest rates. Rising yields translate into higher mortgage rates, and a drag on real estate prices. Eventually higher yields make Treasury Bonds (NYSEArca: IEF) a more attractive investment compared to the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) and stocks in general.

Ironically, what the Fed is trying to avoid (higher yields) may be the only force to save the U.S. Treasury. How can the Federal Reserve ever unload its ginormous Treasury position without the help of rising interest rates?

The emperor without clothes maintained his dignity (at least in his mind) as long as everyone pretended to admire his imaginary outfit. Perhaps a market wide realization that the Federal Reserve isn’t as powerful as it seems may ‘undress the scam.’

Regardless, the Fed’s exit from bonds would likely be at the expense of stocks, a market the Federal Reserve has been able to manipulate more effectively than bonds.

The Federal Reserve owns 12 – 30% of the U.S. Treasury market, but how much of the U.S. stock market has the Federal Reserve financed?

This stunning thought is explored here: Federal Reserve ‘Financed’ XX% of all U.S. Stock Purchases

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (stocks, 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. We are accountable for our work, because we track every recommendation (see track record below).

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

Most Important Number in Finance is Slipping Out of the Fed’s Control

The Federal Reserve is the most powerful financial institution in the world and yet it is like the emperor without clothes. Ironically, the very force the Federal Reserve is most afraid of may be the only thing to save the Treasury.

Mirror mirror on the wall, what is the most powerful financial institution of them all?

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and pretty much all other markets seem to dance to the tune of the QE rhythm … and yet the Federal Reserve resembles the vain king portrayed in Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” How so?

Rogue Interest Rates

The chart below shows the Federal Reserve’s monetary base sandwiched by the S&P 500 and the inverted 10-year Treasury Yield (Chicago Options: ^TNX).

The purpose of the chart is to show QE’s effect (or lack thereof) on stocks (represented by the S&P 500) and bonds (represented by the 10-year Treasury yield).

The 10-year Treasury yield has been inverted to express the correlation better.

I’ll leave the big picture interpretation of the chart up to the reader, but I have to address the elephant in the room.

Since the Federal Reserve stepped up its bond buying in January, the 10-year yield hasn’t responded as it ‘should’ and that’s very odd (the chart below shows the actual 10-year yield performance along with forecasts provided by the Profit Radar Report).

As of December 5, 2013, the Federal Reserve literally owns 12% of all U.S. Treasury securities and by some estimates 30% of 10-year Treasuries.

Icahn More Powerful Than Fed?

The Federal Reserve basically keeps jumping into the Treasury liquidity pool without even making a splash. If Carl Icahn can allegedly drive up Apple shares (with a 0.5% stake), why can’t the Fed manipulate interest rates at will?  This is just one of the many phenomena that makes investing interesting and keeps the financial media in business.

Conclusion

We do know why the Fed wants low interest rates. Rising yields translate into higher mortgage rates, and a drag on real estate prices. Eventually higher yields make Treasury Bonds (NYSEArca: IEF) a more attractive investment compared to the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) and stocks in general.

Ironically, what the Fed is trying to avoid (higher yields) may be the only force to save the U.S. Treasury. How can the Federal Reserve ever unload its ginormous Treasury position without the help of rising interest rates?

The emperor without clothes maintained his dignity (at least in his mind) as long as everyone pretended to admire his imaginary outfit. Perhaps a market wide realization that the Federal Reserve isn’t as powerful as it seems may ‘undress the scam.’

Regardless, the Fed’s exit from bonds would likely be at the expense of stocks, a market the Federal Reserve has been able to manipulate more effectively than bonds.

The Federal Reserve owns 12 – 30% of the U.S. Treasury market, but how much of the U.S. stock market has the Federal Reserve financed?

This stunning thought is explored here: Federal Reserve ‘Financed’ XX% of all U.S. Stock Purchases

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar ReportThe Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (stocks, 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. We are accountable for our work, because we track every recommendation (see track record below).

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

Bond / S&P 500 Ratio Suggests Bonds Are Undervalued

Boring or exciting, tortoise or hare, bonds or stocks? There are different ways to figure out when to overweigh stocks over bonds or vice versa. This indicator shows the value of bonds relative to the S&P 500 Index.

Boring or exciting, tortoise or hare, bonds or stocks?

A low interest rate environment generally favors stocks as investors flee from fixed-income vehicles into higher-octane stocks.

This has been a winning strategy. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) is up 25%, compared to a 3% loss for the iShares Barclays 7 – 10 year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEF).

However, one indicator suggests that 10-year Treasury bonds are about to catch a bid.

The indicator is the ratio between the S&P 500 Index (SNP: ^GSPC) and the iShares Barclays 7 – 10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF).

The chart below plots IEF against the S&P 500 : IEF ratio.

The red arrows highlight extremes in the S&P 500 : IEF ratio. More often than not an extreme in the ratio has coincided with lows for IEF and Treasury bonds in general, which includes the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury ETF (NYSEArca: TLT).

The S&P 500 ETF : IEF ratio as a bullish indicator for Treasury Bonds however, is in conflict with our technical analysis for the 10-year Treasury Note yield.

The longer-term trajectory for the 10-year rate seems to be up.

The second chart of the 10-year Treasury Note yield (Chicago Options: ^TNX) shows that yields have broken above a short-term resistance trend line, which seems to put yields on track to surpass their September high (see chart annotations for previous Profit Radar Report analysis).

In an ideal world all indicators always point in the same direction, but when is market analysis ever ideal? It even takes some hindsight to pinpoint actual ratio extremes highlighted above.

The indicators may be telling us that there’s some short-term weakness for bond yields followed by a period of rising 10- year yields (with a target above 3%).

Does the S&P 500 : IEF ratio also apply to the S&P 500 Index?

A chart that plots the S&P 500 against the S&P 500 : IEF ratio can be found here. Although the chart isn’t failproof, it sends a message that shouldn’t be ignored. View S&P 500 vs S&P 500 : IEF ratio chart here.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report uses technical analysis, dozens of investor sentiment gauges, seasonal patterns and a healthy portion of common sense to spot low-risk, high probability trades (see track record below).

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

 

Stock/Bond Ratio Shows ‘Bullish Confidence Breakout’

Stocks are up and so are bonds. That’s unusual because the ‘risk on’ and ‘risk off’ trade usually alternate not coexist. There’s a battle going on and the featured chart shows who’s winning the tug of war between fear and confidence.

To some degree investing is always a battle between confidence and fear. Confident investors buy stocks, fearful investors buy bonds.

As of late, schizophrenia seems to have entered the investment world. Investors are buying both bonds and stocks. What does that mean?

The first chart shows that stocks and bonds have been moving higher in tandem. We use the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) as proxy for stocks and the iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury ETF (IEF) as proxy for bonds.

The kind of ‘hand-in-hand’ performance is unusual for two inversely related asset classes. To break the fear/confidence tie, it may help to take a look at the performance of stocks relative to bonds – the SPY:IEF ratio.

When the ratio is rising, stocks are in higher demand relative to bonds and when the ratio is falling bonds are in higher demand relative to stocks.

The second chart plots SPY against the SPY:IEF ratio (SPY divided by IEF). Here are the three key points:

  • The SPY:IEF ratio has struggled to overcome resistance, but today shows an intraday bullish breakout.
  • Some caution is warranted as previous SPY:IEF readings around 1.45 appeared near price highs for stocks.

 

Using the SPY:IEF ratio as a barometer for stocks we can draw the following conclusions:

  • If today’s bullish breakout holds, the SPY:IEF ratio points towards higher prices
  • The ratio is in danger territory. Stop-loss levels should be used to manage the increasing risk of long positions