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.

Will the Dow’s Record Streak End with a Bang?

On Monday, February 27, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) recorded its 12th consecutive up day. This is the second longest such streak since 1930 (the longest run was 13 days in January 1987).

The S&P 500 hasn’t dropped more than 1% a day for 104 trading days.

The record gains haven’t gone unnoticed. Many sentiment indicators are in uber-bullish (bearish for stocks territory).

The investment advisors and newsletter-writing colleagues polled by Investors Intelligence are more bullish (63.10%) now than at any other time since 1987. This tumultuous span includes the 2000 tech bubble and the 2007 leverage bubble tops.

The Relative Strength Index (RSI-14) finished February above 70 on the daily, weekly and monthly chart.

However, trading volume has been suspiciously low. Despite solid gains, less than 40% of NYSE volume has been flowing into advancing stocks.

History’s Most Important Lesson

Record optimism and strong gains on low volume … anyone with a bearish disposition could (ab)use those facts to paint a pretty bearish picture.

However, history cautions against that.

Several times throughout the post-2009 bull market – and most recently on December 14, 2016 – the Profit Radar Report pointed out that historically stocks rarely ever top on peak momentum.

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 February all-time highs occurred on peak momentum.

The green vertical lines (chart below) mark previous peak momentum (based on RSI-35) highs. None of them market major tops.

The blue lines mark strong rallies to new all-time highs on low volume (less than 40% of NYSE volume flowing into advancing stocks).

Most of those instances were followed by corrective pullbacks, but nothing worse.

Expect the Abnormal

Sometimes stocks simply push the envelope and plow higher than anyone thought possible (the S&P 500 already surpassed the 2017 year-end targets analysts set in December).

The August 28, 2016 Profit Radar Report outlined why to expect such ‘abnormal’ gains.

1) Bullish breadth thrust off the February and June 2016 lows

2) Bullish Elliot Wave Theory patterns

Although the risk of a temporary pullback is increasing, the body of evidence points towards further gains in the months to come.

The historic Dow Jones winning streak is unlikely to be followed by a “thud”.  Any correction should be viewed as a buying opportunity.

Visual forward projections (published back in August, but still valid today) and up side targets are available here: S&P 500 Update – Expect the Abnormal. In fact, the up side targets given in August have been reached. Now what? Here is the latest update: S&P 500 Reaches Up Side Target – Now What?

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.

 

Did the Dow Jones Just Invalidate the Ominous Rounding Top Formation?

There’s been a lot of talk about a super bearish long-term formation called a rounding top.

The bearish rounding top interpreation has been circulating for months, but particularly gathered steam near the January/February lows, when even more market pundits jumped on the already crowded bear market wagon.

Below is just one of many rounding top articles. This one was featured in Barron’s on March 2, 2016. It points out two bearish patterns:

  1. Rounding top
  2. Low trading volume

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Rounding Top – R.I.P.?

The Profit Radar Report never even mentioned the rounding top pattern in its analysis, for two reasons:

  1. Everyone was talking about it. The market likes to surprise investors not fulfill their expectations.
  2. According to many ‘pros’, a rounding top sent stocks into a tailspin in 2000 and 2007. It would have been highly unlikely for the market to deliver the same pattern three times in a row.

Contrary to this bearish doom-and-gloom pattern, the February 11 Profit Radar Report recommended to buy and issued an up side target of 2,040 (S&P 500).

What’s the status of the rounding top pattern?

The chart below shows that the Dow Jones Industrials Average (DJIA) moved above the rounding top resistance.

On March 19, Chip Anderson with Stockcharts.com declared the rounding top pattern R.I.P.

Low Volume Doesn’t Matter

The Barron’s article mentioned the bearish implications of low trading volume.

Technical analysis 101 teaches that low volume rallies are doomed to fail, but the fact is that every single rally leg since the 2009 market low has been on low volume.

My analysis published here on MarketWatch shows that low trading volume is basically meaningless. In fact, as the article shows, volume patterns actually helped us predict some of the mini-meltups that ultimately carried the S&P 500 above 2,040.

More Important than the Rounding Top

More pertinent than the rounding top resistance is the red trend line resistance that connects all recent DJIA spikes.

Furthermore, prior to yesterday’s small loss, the DJIA logged seven consecutive daily gains. This rally pushed every single DJIA component above its 10, 20 and 50-day SMA.

Historically, this is a sign of long-term strength, but tends to result in short-term weakness (to digest the overbought condition). In summary, there’s reason to expect a pullback, but such weakness may be more temporary than many anticipate.

Continuous stock market 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, 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.

Dow Jones Component Reshuffle is Bearish for Stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is about to undergo the most significant changes in a decade. The featured chart shows that S&P Dow Jones Indexes usually gets the timing of its changes wrong. Furthermore, the ‘New Dow’ will be subject to the whims of the most vulnerable sector of the US economy.

Good-bye Hewlett-Packard, Bank of America, and Alcoa. Hello Nike, Goldman Sachs, and Visa.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is undergoing its most dramatic facelift in a decade and will morph into a much more financial sector focused average. The changes will go into effect September 20, 2013.

I see the following risks short and long-term:

Short-term Reshuffling Risks

In recent years reshuffling components was followed by temporary corrections. The weekly DJIA chart below chronicles changes and the effect on the Dow since February 2008 (there was no change from November 2005 – February 2008).

The short-term performance immediately following the shuffle was generally negative, although the losses were limited. Long-term was in line with random.

Long-term Reshuffling Risks

S&P Dow Jones Indexes, a subsidy of McGraw-Hill (which is also the parent company of Standard & Poor’s and J.D. Power and Associates), dropped one financial name (BofA) from the mighty Dow and added two (Goldman Sachs and Visa).

But the exposure to financials is more significant than even the two for one swith suggests. Why?

The Dow Jones (NYSEArca: DIA) is a price-weighted gauge, that’s why it’s called an average not an index. Price-weighted simply means that the stock with the biggest price tag carries the most weight. Currently that’s IBM. At $190 a share IBM accounts for 9.43% of the DJIA and is the unquestioned VIP (Chevron, the ‘runner up,’ trades at $123).

Soon to be deleted Bank of America trades at $14.50 and accounts for 0.74% of the index (keep in mind that the index has only 30 components). That means that BAC would have to move 13 times as much as IBM to match IBM’s effect on the average.

Currently financials are the fifth biggest sector of the DJIA and account for only 11.39%. Here’s where it gets interesting:

Visa trades at $186 and Goldman Sachs at $165. The top three holdings of the Dow Jones will be IBM, Visa and Goldman Sachs. Based on a quick thumbnail assessment, financials will soon be the biggest sub-sector of the Dow with an allocation around 25%.

We shouldn’t forget that the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLF) and SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEArca: KBE) lost 85% from 2007 to 2009, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY), which was down ‘only’ 57%.

So the heavy financial weighting of the Dow can be a negative.

In fact, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson mentioned in a guest contribution for a German finance and economy newspaper that he fears yet another financial ‘firestorm’ (firestorm is the term he used).

According to Paulson the financial sector is quite vulnerable. This article explains in detail the problem Paulson warns of: Hank Paulson Warns of Another Financial Crisis.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report.

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What The Dow’s Big Red Reversal Candle Means

On Monday the Dow spiked within 120 points of a new all-time high before falling hard. In fact, Monday’s red candle engulfs all of the 21 previous candles. However, the bearish candle is in conflict with bullish short-term indicators.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reversed trends with an exclamation mark on Monday. After spiking to a new recovery high, the DJIA (corresponding ETF: Dow Diamonds – DIA) fell to a 21-day low.

A chart simply and elegantly displays a ‘bad day’ like this with a big red candle. This one red candle engulfs the 21 previous candles (shaded gray box).

This red candle high is also called a reversal candle. Candles like it tend to mark trend reversals. In this case from up to down. This doesn’t mean the Dow can’t and won’t eventually move higher (short-term bullish developments discussed below), but it cautions of lower lows ahead.

Two other facts enhance the message of this red candle. The high occurred right against a parallel channel anchored by the June/November 2012 lows and September 2012 high.

Perhaps even more importantly, the Dow stalled and reversed just before its all-time high water mark at 14,198.10. The Dow’s all-time high is huge resistance.

The February 18 Profit Radar Report referred to the all-time high resistance: “Next week has a bearish seasonal bias. With its all-time high just ahead, the Dow has a well-defined resistance level for a short trade. Aggressive investors may short the Dow close to its 2007 high with a stop-loss at 14,200.”

At the Profit Radar Report we call this kind of a trade a low-risk trade. Why? Because we were only 200 points or 1.5% away from the stop-loss level.

One Swallow Doesn’t Make a Summer

But one swallow doesn’t make a summer one one red candle doesn’t make a bear market. After two 90% down days (February 20, 25) stocks were likely to rally. That’s why Monday’s (February 25) Profit Radar Report recommended to cover short positions at S&P 1,491.

In addition the VIX triggered a sell signal (buy signal for stocks) yesterday. Although I think that stocks will slide to a lower low, it will take a break below support or a spike to resistance to place a possible short bet. Important short-term support/resistance levels are outlined in the Profit Radar Report.

IBM – The Dow’s Alpha Stock is on the Verge of Breaking Down

IBM is the Dow’s biggest powerhouse and one of the most important companies for the U.S. stock market. The blue chip has shot up 300% in four years and is sitting just above important support. A breakdown here could have far reaching ripple effects.

IBM is an “alpha stock.” Like an alpha dog or alpha male, alpha stocks lead the pack.

What makes IBM an alpha stock? There is IBM’s storied history and $217 billion market cap, but what ultimately makes it a leader is the 11.28% weighting it carries in the Dow Jones Industrials Average and Dow Jones Industrials Average ETF, also called Dow Diamonds (DIA). IBM is also the fifth largest component of the S&P 500 SPDR (SPY).

Unlike other indexes, the DJIA is price weighted, the pricier the stock, the heavier it’s weighted in the average. IBM trades at 190 and influences the Dow’s movements more than any other stock.

Only two other companies are as influential (or more influential) as IBM: Apple and Exxon Mobil. We know that Apple’s 30% haircut put the entire U.S. stock market in a funk, so what’s IBM’s message?

Long-Term Technical Outlook

IBM lost about 10% over the past three months. This sounds like a lot, but when put in context with a long-term chart, it’s no more than a drop in the bucket. Since November 2008, IBM soared from 69.50 to 211.79, a 303% increase.

The first quantitative easing (QE) intervention also commenced in November 2008, but surely any correlation between the two is purely coincidental. Regardless of the cause, the down side potential for a blue chip stock that’s tripled in four years is much greater than 10%.

Short-Term Technical Outlook

The short-term chart shows IBM toying with long-term (green trend line) and short-term support (black channel). A break below 190 would trigger a sell signal (stop-loss just above 192) with a possible short-term target of 177 – 182.

To me, the structure of the decline since the October high suggests that prices ultimately want to head lower. Trade above 190 allows for limited near-term strength, but only a move above 198 (channel rising) would unlock more bullish potential. A drop below 190, on the other hand, could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.


Simon Maierhofer shares his market analysis and points out high probability, low risk buy/sell recommendations via the Profit Radar Report. Click here for a free trial to Simon’s Profit Radar Report.

Will the Persistently Wrong Dow Theory Sell Signal Finally Come True?

No other technical indicator has been around as long as the Dow Theory. Dow Theory started out more as an economic theory, which Charles Dow published in the Wall Street Journal around the turn of the 20th century.

Dow’s theory focused on two key economic sectors: manufacturing (industrials) and transportation. If goods were being produced and moving through the economy, it should show up in the price action of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJT). A strong economy would buoy both averages.

The corresponding ETFs for the DJIA and DJT are the SPDR Dow Jones Diamonds (DIA) and SPDR Dow Jones Transportation Average (IYT).

Despite a rather decent century long track record, the Dow Theory sell signal has been dead wrong for well over a year. Why is that, and will the sell signal finally kick in late September/October?

The chart below plots the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) against the Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJT). There are a number of bearish divergences, but none of them have hindered the DJIA from breaking to new recovery highs.

The Dow’s trend is clearly up while the Transport’s trend is clearly down. The Dow is above resistance while the Transport is below support. Something’s gotta give, will the Dow break down or the DJT catch up?

Historical Performance & Seasonality

An examination of the historical significance of the current divergences doesn’t reveal a bearish bias. In fact, the performance of the Dow has been positive after instances where the Dow traded close to a 52-week high, while the DJT was nearly 10% below its 52-week high.

October is also the beginning of a historically favorable season for the Transports (perhaps due to the upcoming holidays). However, the week after September triple witching and October in general, has a bearish bias for the Dow Industrials.

Technicals

As if the bearish divergence wasn’t enough, the DJIA is now above resistance. The DJT is below support. Technically it will take a move above what’s now resistance to unlock more bullish potential for the Transports, but historical performance and seasonality suggest the risk for Transports is limited. Exactly the opposite is true for the Dow Industrials.

Intangibles

QE3 is here and the massive inflow of liquidity tends to buoy all asset classes including oil. High oil prices in turn cut into the profit margin of transportation companies like FedEx, UPS, Union Pacific, etc.

FedEx has already cut its fiscal 2013 forecast. Chief Financial Officer Alan Graf blamed weak global economic conditions. But that’s old news and already priced into the Transports recent slide.

It is obvious that the Transports refuse to confirm the Dow’s rosy picture, but the bearish omen hasn’t hurt the Dow’s performance either.

I follow and respect Dow Theory, but have learned not to be dogmatic about any one single indicator. The Dow Theory sell signal will be right eventually, but the weight of evidence of technicals, seasonality, and sentiment suggests some weakness for stocks over the near-term followed by year-end strength.

Simon Maierhofer shares his market analysis and points out high probability, low risk buy/sell recommendations via the Profit Radar Report. Click here for a free trial to Simon’s Profit Radar Report.