S&P 500 Update – Refocus on What Matters

Brexit! What Brexit? The Brexit reaction doesn’t even register on the monthly S&P 500 chart. ‘A tempest in the teapot’ as the British would say. This is yet another example why we do not focus (and sometimes ignore) news events.

The Brexit vote did cause undeniable ripple effects, but only temporarily. It’s time to tune out the noise and stop using Brexit as excuse or cause for everything that happens.

As the headlines below show, Brexit can’t be savior and scapegoat at the same time:

  • Morningstar: Stocks Climb as Investors Shake off Brexit Concerns
  • MarketWatch: US Stocks Open Lower as Brexit-Inspired Selloff Continues
  • MarketWatch: Dow Ends up 270 Points as Brexit Fears Abate
  • Morningstar: Stocks fall as Brexit Worries Resurface

Chart Analysis

The June 19 Profit Radar Report expected a temporary drop to 2,002 – 1,928 followed by a resumption of the rally. The ideal down side target was 1,970 – 1,925 (original chart is available here).

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record.” Click here for Barron’s assessment of the Profit Radar Report.

The structure of the post-Brexit selloff confirmed that the decline would turn out to be temporary. In a section titled “Chart Gaps and Major Market Tops” the June 26 Profit Radar Report noted open chart gaps and stated the following:

Following a tumultuous night, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) opened Friday 3.42% lower than Thursday’s close (see chart). Since the inception of SPY (1/22/1993), there’ve only been 7 bigger gap down opens, and a total of 11 opening gaps with losses in excess of 3%. Five days later, the S&P traded higher 10 out of 11 times with an average post gap gain of 4.96%.

One of the reasons we continuously anticipated new all-time highs in recent years were open chart gaps left near the top. This is again the case now. There are open gaps at 2,104.57 and 2,117.96”

On June 27, the S&P fell as low as 1,991.68. This was in the general target zone, but short of our ideal target zone at 1,970 – 1,925. Nevertheless, the June 27 Profit Radar Report stated that: “two separate price patterns suggest a bounce is brewing.”

Initially, we anticipated this bounce to be choppy and relapse into the ideal 1,970 – 1,925 zone, but as the June 29 Profit Radar Report brought out, “this bounce has been stronger (in terms of breadth) than it was ‘supposed’ to be. Preliminary data suggests that the S&P may be experiencing a breadth thrust similar to what we saw in mid-February (see February 21 PRR). Based on the strong kick off from Monday’s low, we must consider the possibility that a more lasting low is already in.”

The February kickoff analysis, originally published in the February 21 Profit Radar Report, is available here: 2016 Bear Market Risk is Zero Based on this Rare but Consistent Pattern

Summary

Last week’s kickoff rally suggested a short-term digestive lull (with initial support near 2,070) followed by higher prices eventually. However, we never put all our eggs in our basket. No matter how compelling last week’s breadth thrust is, we are waiting for price to meet our parameters (buy triggers) before going long.

Until this happens, we may see more choppiness, and even more down side (although unlikely). 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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Bears Get Another Shot at Taking Stocks Down

The last S&P 500 updates highlighted support around 2,040 and why the S&P is likely to seesaw across this support to fool investors (S&P 500 Abuses Popular Pattern to Fool Investors).

Following the faux break below 2,040, the May 22 Profit Radar Report observed that: “Stocks delivered the fakeout move we anticipated. The recovery from Thursday’s low was strong enough to lead to further gains. A move beyond 2,066 could lead to 2,085+/-.”

Barron’s rates the iSPYETF as a “trader with a good track record.” Click here for Barron’s assessment of the Profit Radar Report.

The S&P obviously surpassed the initial up side target, and is now near the next resistance cluster, which gives the bears another shot at taking control.

The chart below shows a number of interesting developments:

  1. The S&P is following a pattern similar to May – July, and November – December, 2015 (blue boxes).
  2. The S&P reached the upper Bollinger Band for the first time since its April high.
  3. The S&P is overbought based on 2-day RSI (see vertical red lines).
  4. The CBOE Equity Put/Call Ratio dropped to 0.51, the lowest reading since July 30, 2015 (not shown).

None of the above patterns guarantee a break down, but they show that risk is rising. Rising risk translates into opportunity for bears.

Misconceptions

According to two CNBC headlines, June is a dangerous month for stocks:

  • May 31, 2016: “June is the worst month for markets” – CNBC
  • June 1, 2016: “This should have you worried about stocks in June” – CNBC

This is only half the truth however. June is also the S&P’s best month during election years.

The percentage of bullish investors polled by Investors Intelligence (II) jumped from 35.40% to 45.40%, one of the biggest one-week increases in 30 years.

At first glance, this appears to be bearish from a contrarian point of view, but history says it isn’t.

Similar optimism surges (as long as the percentage of bullish investors stayed below 50%) led to positive returns two months later 12 of 14 times (according to SentimenTrader).

Summary

Courtesy of the latest rally near overhead resistance, bears get another shot at taking control. In fact, there are two possible reversal zones.

Although odds favor (near-term) bearish bets, not all indicators point towards a deep correction. Therefore, precise trade execution and risk management are important to protect against a possible shakeout move.

Continued S&P 500 analysis 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.

 

This VIX Trick is Stumbling Investors

On August 24, the VIX briefly soared to 53.29, I was getting ready to leave for Europe that day, but saw the action on my phone and thought: “Boy, wish I had the time to figure out a good VIX short.”

I even wrote in the August 24 Profit Radar Report update that: “Today’s VIX high (53.29) will likely stand for a while. Buying XIV (inverse VIX ETN) is tempting, but the issue with XIV is that we may not have the benefit of contango right now, but the drag of backwardation.”

An explanation of contango and backwardation (along with the best seasonal VIX signal) is available here (last two paragraphs).

In short, backwardation is a condition that either increases XIV or SVXY losses or erodes XIV and SVXY gains while the VIX trades above 20 – 25.

The chart below plots the CBOE VIX against the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX ETN (NYSEArca: XIV). Another inverse VIX vehicle is the ProShares Short VIX ETF (NYSEArca: SVXY).

Although the VIX retreated more than 50% since August 24, XIV is up ‘only’ ~10% (SVXY is up ~8%).

Welcome to the power of backwardation.

Understanding contango and backwardation is vital for VIX investors.

Just as backwardation is hurting XIV and SVXY right now, contango will likely benefit them later on this year.

The VIX seasonality chart offers strong clues when the next good setup will be. This is the same VIX seasonality chart that triggered a buy signal in early July.

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.

Investors are Record Neutral on Stocks

The latest American Association for Individual Investors (AAII) poll showed that 49.79% of investors are neither bullish nor bearish.

This is the highest neutral reading since June 2003.

Considering that the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) is trading at all-time highs, that’s quite remarkable. Is this bullish or bearish?

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against the percentage of neutral AAII investors, and marks similar prior readings.

It’s always tough to stuff a few decades of history into one chart, but extreme levels of apathy are usually shown after some sort of correction.

The AAII poll is one of the more noisy sentiment indicators, and I never put too much weight on it.

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When viewed in isolation, and considering that the percentage of bullish investors is also at a 2-year low, the AAII poll results are more bullish than bearish.

Three similarly unusual sentiment readings in early May prompted the May 10 Profit Radar Report to make this comment: “The above-mentioned sentiment readings are contrary to seasonality and breadth. Nevertheless, they increase the odds of a breakout to new highs.”

The S&P 500 attained three consecutive all-time (intraday) highs since. New highs appear to have been needed to flush out premature bears (again).

Although there may be more ‘flushing’ to do, other indicators suggest risk is rising.

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.

Surprising Bearish Sentiment Extremes are Popping Up

Stocks have been trading in a tight range near all-time highs, but an increasing number of investors wouldn’t want to touch stocks even with a ten-foot pole.

This is somewhat unusual, but is it bullish for stocks?

Here are three sentiment gauges worth noting, and how to make sense of them:

  1. The percentage of retail investors polled by the American Association for Individual Investors (AAII) has shriveled to the lowest reading since April 2013.

    The chart below plots the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) against the % of bullish investors. The red lines mark similar levels, and how such readings affected the S&P 500.

  2. The four biggest index ETFs – S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY), Nasdaq QQQ ETF (Nasdaq: QQQ), iShares Russell 2000 (NYSEArca: IWM), Dow Jones Diamonds (NYSEArca: DIA) – suffered $16 billion worth of withdrawals in April, one of the worst months (for index providers) on record.
  3. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) commitment of traders (COT) report, the ‘smart money’ has reduced short equity exposure while ‘dumb money’ is selling stocks.

When viewed in isolation, the above-mentioned sentiment developments are bullish for stocks. However, they are contradicting the bearish message conveyed by seasonality and market breadth.

For now, we probably shouldn’t blow such bearish sentiment messages out of proportion. Stocks are still stuck in a range, and the contradiction between indicators may just perpetuate the range, or stretch it.

I would watch S&P 2,118 as line in the sand. A break above 2,118 would likely reel in buyers. Although it may not be long before ‘buyers remorse’ sets in again.

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.

 

Under the Hood is more Strength than the S&P 500 Chart Shows

If you own stocks, this is a good new / bad news scenario.

On one hand, U.S. stocks are stronger than the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) chart suggests. On the other hand, stocks are (or were) overbought, at least based on this indicator.

Here are the details:

The percentage of NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA nearly matched their previous highs last week, while the S&P 500 stayed below its prior highs.

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The potential implications are two-fold:

  1. The buying pressure behind the latest rally leg is actually stronger than the S&P 500 chart suggests.
  2. The % of NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA reached an overbought reading. Prior such instances either saw stocks struggle to move higher or correct.

Based on technical analysis, investors should watch last weeks high – 2,111.91 for the S&P 500. Trade below allows for further weakness, trade above would translate into further up side (at least temporarily).

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.

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Is the Russell 2000 Forming a Bearish Wedge?

The Russell 2000 sports an interesting chart.

Here is what Wednesday’s (April 15) Profit Radar Report observed:

The Russell 2000 rallied to a new all-time high today. The chart shows a wedge, which is generally considered a bearish formation. RSI did not confirm today’s high and MACD is barely positive (blue bubble). The 2-day RSI is short-term overbought at 96. The Russell 2000 also touched the upper Bollinger Band today.

History suggests a pullback, sooner or later. Aggressive investors may short the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) or Russell 2000 (NYSEArca: IWM) against today’s high.”

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Well, the Russell 2000 pullback happened sooner rather than later.

However, the Russell 2000 is still within the rising wedge formation (and above wedge support). There are two ways to draw wedge support (solid and dashed green line).

Notice also the open chart gap created by today’s massive gap down. Such chart gaps have a tendency to be closed – sooner or later.

In summary, while today’s drop comes at the right time to start the initial validation process of the bearish rising wedge, the Russell 2000 still needs a break below support (on increased volume) to unlock the potential for much lower targets.

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.

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