US Treasuries – The Next Bursting Bubble?

Question: I read somewhere that you compared US Treasuries to Tesla. Is that true? – Richard – Chicago, IL

Answer: Yes, I did. To understand why I compared 30-year Treasuries to TSLA, let me share my take on TSLA first.

I published the following analysis about TSLA in the February 8 Profit Radar Report:

It’s rare to see a mania big enough to create the ‘support bowl’ line, but TSLA managed to do it. The last big mania with a similar trajectory was bitcoin in November/December 2017. The last one in the automotive industry was VW in October 2008. Ironically, the rally in VW shares (from below 300 to above 1,000 in less then 2 months) was also driven by short sellers, spooked by Porsche taking control of VW. Within a couple months after its spike above 1,000, VW fell back below 100. 

The chart below allows for a comparison between TSLA and Volkswagen. Inserted in the upper right is a chart of bitcoin along with its corresponding ‘bowl’ support.”

Since then, TSLA fell from 969 to 361.

Knowing what happened to TSLA and what led up to TSLA’s fall explains why I compared 30-year Treasures und the iShares 20+ year Treasury ETF (TLT) to TSLA. The analysis below is from the March 8, Profit Radar Report:

30-year Treasury prices spiked more on Friday than the S&P 500 fell, and TLT was up almost twice as much as 30-year Treasury futures. 30-year Treasury futures are up another 2.5% tonight. Appears like a historic flight to safety, and quite likely sign of panic. It’s hard to apply rational analysis to a market that’s acting irrational. 

The stock market has shown that what goes up, comes back down, and it can do so very quickly. Odds are the same will happen to Treasuries sooner or later. 

In fact, the chart includes curved ‘bowl support,’ the same kind of support/pattern that the  showed for TSLA. Down side risk is very high, and aggressive traders may consider adding to shorts.”

Below is an updated chart for 30-year Treasury futures:

There is a support shelf at 167 – 164, which should cause a bounce, but as long as resistance around 178 holds, the trend is lower.

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.

How TLT ETF Unnecessarily Fooled S&P 500 Investors … and May Do So Again

Like detectives, investors are always searching for clues about the market’s next move. Unfortunately some clues turn out to be misleading. A false Treasury ETF (TLT) breakout just sent investors in the wrong direction … and may do so again.

I’m a big fan of ETFs, but when analyzing an asset class, the analysis should be based on the purest representation of that asset class.

A number of technical analysts spotted a bullish TLT breakout on March 27. TLT is the iShares 20+ Year Treasury ETF (NYSEArca: TLT).

On March 28 I published the article “Beware of False TLT Treasury ETF Breakout and S&P 500 Breakdown.”

TLT’s breakout appeared like a ‘fake out break out’ because the 30-year Treasury Futures (ZB), a purer representation of Treasuries, didn’t confirm the breakout.

The first two charts below (featured in the March 28 article) show the discrepancy between TLT and ZB.

In short, TLT is above resistance (green bubble), ZB is well below important double resistance.

The performance of 30-year Treasuries can be a powerful tell tale sign, as Treasuries often move in the opposite direction of the S&P 500.

A Treasury breakout would likely have coincided with an S&P 500 breakdown.

The third chart zooms in on 30-year Treasury futures (ZB) and highlights the performance since March 28 in blue.

We see that ZB was rejected by resistance, but more importantly, ZB is now trading right on top of short-term green trend line support (green arrow).

This means that it will probably takes a drop below support to unlock lower prices for ZB and higher prices for the S&P 500.

Just like 30-year Treasuries have found support, the S&P 500 is dealing with key resistance.

This S&P 500 resistance is revealed here and may well change the way you look at the S&P 500:

S&P 500 – Stuck Between Triple Top and Triple Bottom – What’s Next? (Article #4)

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.

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

Beware of False TLT Treasury ETF Breakout (and S&P 500 breakdown)

The long-term Treasury ETF (TLT) just saw a technical breakout above resistance. This is bullish for TLT (and bearish for stocks), but it may be a premature fake out. Here’s how to get confirmation for a real Treasury breakout.

A number of technical analysts believe to have identified a bullish technical breakout for the iShares 20+ Year Treasury ETF (NYSEArca: TLT).

The TLT Treasury ETF chart below highlights Thursday’s breakout (green bubble).

At first glance, TLT’s push above resistance qualifies as a breakout.


As great as ETFs are, I personally prefer to use the purest representation of an asset class as a foundation for my analysis. For long-term Treasuries, that’s the 30-year Treasury Futures (/ZB).

The 30-year Treasury Futures chart looks slightly different. Trade has not yet broken above resistance.


Both charts include all (trend line) support/resistance levels and how prices reacted (blue bubbles).

TLT has been more prone to false breakouts or breakdowns than futures.

This doesn’t mean 30-year Treasury futures won’t break out. Bullish TLT action may act as a magnet and pull prices higher. The prudent approach is to wait until futures confirm TLT (especially sinse TLT’s breakout didn’t occur on highly elevated volume).

The action of Treasuries may also provide important clues for the S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSPC). The S&P 500 has been stuck in a rut for all of 2014 and a Treasury breakout may coincide with an S&P 500 breakdown.

Just as Treasuries have to confirm a bullish breakout, the S&P 500 has yet to confirm a break down.

This following article features the messiest S&P 500 chart I’ve ever published. But ironically it may explain the stock market’s up-and down better than any other chart:

Short-Term S&P 500 Forecast

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.

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

What’s Next? Bull or Bear Market? Try Gorilla Market

Right or wrong? The QE bull market will last as long as the Federal Reserve keeps QE going. A majority of investors say ‘Yes,’ but a curiously sophisticated experiment and powerful data suggest a surprise outcome.

In 2004 Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University conducted a fascinating experiment.

If you want to be part of the experience take a minute (it literally only takes a minute) and watch this video before you continue reading.

To get the full effect, watch the video first and don’t read ahead.

If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s a quick summary:

Truth in Simplicity

The experiment is quite simple. There are two groups of three people each. One group is wearing black shirts, the other group white shirts.

The three people wearing black shirts are passing one ball to fellow black shirts; the ones wearing white shirts are doing the same. So there are six people, passing two balls.

The assignment is to watch how many times the players wearing white, pass the basketball.

It’s a simple assignment that requires some concentration and a clear mind.

The answer: The white shirts pass the ball 15 times.

But wait, there’s more. Many viewers get the number of passes right, but completely overlook a woman dressed in a gorilla suit. The gorilla walks slowly across the scene, stops to face the camera, and thumps her chest.

Half of the people watching the video did not see the gorilla. After watching the video for a second time, some of them refused to accept that they were looking at the same tape and thought it was a different version of the video.

“That’s nice, but what’s your point Simon?” Good question.

The Invisible 800-Pound Gorilla

The experiment was supposed to illustrate the phenomenon of unintentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness. This condition prevents people from perceiving things that are in plain sight (such as the bear markets of 2000 and 2008).

Much of the media has zeroed in on one singular cause for higher or lower prices. Sample headlines below:

Reuters: Wall Street climbs as GDP data eases fear of Fed pullback
Reuters: Brightening jobs picture may draw Fed closer to tapering
Reuters: Wall Street slips amid Fed caution

The media is busy ‘counting passes,’ or watching Bernanke’s every word and interpret even the slightest variation of terminology.

The Fed’s action is the only thing that matters, but amidst ‘counting passes,’ many overlook the gorilla.

Gorilla Sightings

It’s believed that a rising QE liquidity tide lifts all boats. This was impressively demonstrated in 2010 and 2011 when various asset classes and commodities reached all-time highs. It only conditionally applies to 2012 and 2013 though.

In 2011 gold and silver rallied to nominal all-time highs. Why?

  1. The Fed pumped money into the system (aka banks) and all that excess liquidity had to be invested somewhere, anywhere, including precious metals.
  2. Fear of inflation. Gold is known is the only real currency and inflation hedge. Silver rode gold’s coattail and became known as the poor-man’s gold. From 2008 – 2011 gold prices nearly tripled and silver went from $8.50 to $50/ounce.

Since its 2011 high, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSEArca: GLD) has fallen as much as 38.29% and the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) was down as much as 63.41%.

This doesn’t make (conventional) sense or does it. QE or the fear of inflation didn’t stop in 2011. In fact, QE (and the associated risk of inflation) is stronger than ever. Based on the above rationale, the gold and silvers meltdown is inconceivable and unexplainable.

The QE ‘Crown Jewel’

Initially QE was limited to government bonds or Treasury bonds. In other words, the Federal Reserve would buy Treasuries of various durations from banks and primary dealers with freshly printed money.

The effect was intentionally twofold:

  1. The Fed would pay top dollars to keep Treasury prices artificially inflated and interest rates low.
  2. The banks would have extra money to ‘play’ with and drive up asset prices, a process Mr. Bernanke dubbed the ‘wealth effect.’

With that thought in mind, take a look at the iShares 20+ year Treasury ETF (NYSEArca: TLT) chart above.

From the May peak to June trough TLT tumbled 14.56%, more than twice as much as the S&P 500 (7.52%).


The lessons are simple:

  1. QE doesn’t always work and can misfire badly.
  2. We don’t see every gorilla (or looming bear).

All this doesn’t mean that the market will crash tomorrow. In fact, the stock market doesn’t exhibit the tell tale signs of a major top right now and higher highs seem likely.

Unintentional blindness is real and often magnified by the herding effect. The investing crowd (or herd) is convinced that stocks will go up as long as the Fed feeds Wall Street.

The above charts suggests that we shouldn’t follow this assumption blindly.