Comprehensive S&P 500 Update

The S&P 500 has arrived at major trend line resistance (see chart). Will it relapse lower or climb above?

To answer this question, we’ll look at various indicators:

  • Investor sentiment
  • Market breadth & liquidity
  • Seasonality & cycles
  • Technical analysis

Investor sentiment – Obsession with Recession

The August 25 Profit Radar Report pointed out various bearish sentiment extremes – including that google searches for ‘recession’ spiked to the highest level since 2008 – and warned that stocks are likely to rally to flush out investors’ obsession with recession (for more details and chart go here: “Today’s stock market pessimism is a reliable sign of a stock market rebound“).

Barron’s rates iSPYETF as “trader with a good track record” and Investor’s Business Daily says: “When Simon says, the market listens.” Find out why Barron’s and IBD endorse Simon Maierhofer’s Profit Radar Report.

The >150-point rally since certainly alleviated recession fears and turned investors more bullish.

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against 6 longer-term sentiment gauges.

The second chart plots the S&P 500 against 4 shorter-term sentiment gauges.

Sentiment summary: Sentiment is not frothy enough where it eliminates the possibility of further gains, but it now is more of a headwind than tailwind and more likely to curb gains and cause a pullback.

Market Breadth & Liquidity

The S&P 500 reached new all-time highs on four of the last eight trading days (November 5 – 14). But, on six of the eight days, more stocks declined then advanced.

There’s weakness ’under the hood,’ and it caused a number of bearish divergences shown on the chart below.

Bearish divergences can be erased quickly, but while they exist, they reveal a measure of weakness often seen prior to pullbacks.

Seasonality & Cycles

In terms of seasonality, the S&P 500 has passed the riskiest period of the year. However, cycles do not agree with the bullish year-end seasonality.

Technical analysis

The chart below highlights all the levels highlighted by the recent Profit Radar Reports:

  • Blue trend line: Potential resistance, but move above will lead to test of purple trend line
  • Purple trend line: Potential resistance, but move above will unlock higher targets
  • Red trend line: Potential resistance, but move above allows for further gains.
    Although the yellow triangle formation cautions that a move above red trend line resistance will not last.

Initial target for any pullback will be the purple trend line. A break below the purple trend line is needed to get lower targets.

Summary

The S&P 500 is at red trend line resistance. A temporary move above (post triangle spike) seems likely, but the risk of a relapse and test of purple trend line support (at minimum) is high. A break back below red trend line resistance (assuming there will be a spike above it) is needed to signal a reversal.

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.

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

Finding an Edge in a Dull Stock Market

How to gain an edge:

A bear jumps out of a bush and starts chasing two hikers. They both start running for their lives, but then one of them stops to put on his running shoes. “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” says one hiker, the other one replies: “True, but I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only have to outrun you!”

What’s the point? The market is the composite opinion of all other investors. In essence, you beat ‘the market’ (aka the ‘bear’) by knowing more than your fellow investors (aka the other ‘hiker’). Knowledge is the edge.

I consistently follow dozes of different indicators, which fall into one of these four categories:

  • Supply & demand (liquidity)
  • Technical analysis
  • Investor sentiment
  • Seasonalities & cycles

When all or most indicators point in the same direction, there’s a good chance stocks will move in that very direction. I call this a high probability trade.

The last such signal occurred in December, when liquidity, sentiment, technicals and seasonality pointed higher. The bullish weight of evidence, at that time, was discussed in this article: Is the Bear Market Over?

Since then, the S&P 500 has gained more than 20%. How much further can stocks rally?

Investor Sentiment

Some sentiment gauges show elevated optimism, but considering the strong Q1 2019 performance, overall sentiment is surprisingly subdued. Shown below is a selection of six different sentiment indicators. None of them shows an extreme reading. Without extremes, sentiment doesn’t provide an edge. It is possible for stocks to move higher.

Technical analysis

Short-term: The S&P 500 is nearing over-bought and is facing mild resistance. The chart below highlights trend line resistance and horizontal volume resitance (volume by price not date) for the S&P 500 futures. Now doesn’t appear to be the time to chase price.

Longer-term: The trend is your friend, but the risk of being ‘un-friended’ exists, and it’s difficult to find low-risk entries in an market that’s driven by momentum, but on the edge of being over-extended.

Elliott Wave Theory, the most exotic tool in the technical analysis tool box, is up to interpretation and of little help (more details here).

Supply & demand

Liquidity continues to flow into US stocks. Uncertainty in the European Union and money on the sidelines in the US are a likely cause for the continued inflows. My favorite liquidity indicator suggested throughout 2016, 2017, and 2018 that new all-time highs will be reached, and that message continues to be the same.

Seasonality & cycles

Bullish mid-term election year seasonal forces, discussed here, appeared late, but they did show up.

Based on mid-term seasonality, more gains are likely, but general S&P 500 seasonality is entering a higher risk window.

Cycles are conflicting.

Summary

There are times when most indicators point in the same direction (as in December), making a directional forecast easy.

And there are also times when indicators are in conflict, such as now.

That doesn’t mean we are left entirely clueless. Based on the market’s pattern in early March, we expected the S&P 500 to see-saw across obvious resistance at 2,815 and secondary resistance at 2,830. The S&P spent two weeks doing just that. But in order to unlock lower targets, it would have had to break below 2,785, which it didn’t.

Periods of relative uncertainty are always frustrating, but two things should be kept in mind:

  1. It’s good to know when visibility is limited and act accordingly. Would you trust on Uber driver who’s speeding in the fog? Can you trust an analysts who’s ignorant of ,or over confident in periods of uncertainty? Knowing there is no edge, is an edge in itself.
  2. Periods of uncertainty always end!

And when certainty returns, the Profit Radar Report will be there.

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.

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

S&P 500 Update – Expect the Abnormal?

Last week the S&P 500 almost reached the year-end target (2,220) given by the Profit Radar Report back in January. What’s next?

The S&P 500 is up 130 points since the beginning of the month, S&P 500 futures soared as much as 183 points.

Stocks are overbought, and under normal circumstances there should be a noteworthy pullback. But there is reason to expect the abnormal.

When Abnormal Becomes Reality

The August 28 Profit Radar Report published an uber-bullish Elliott Wave Theory-based projection. The Profit Radar Report’s forecasts are always built on multiple indicators, and this bullish projection was confirmed by liquidity, long-term investor sentiment and bullish year-end seasonality.

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 excerpt below is longer than usual, but it explains why an ‘abnormally’ strong rally was likely to develop. From the August 28 Profit Radar Report:

The two main reasons we want to buy in the foreseeable future is:

1) The breadth thrust off the June low (July 4 PRR)
2) Bullish Elliott Wave Theory potential

We never rely unduly on any one single indicator. It is noteworthy however, that the three most likely Elliott Wave Theory (EWT) interpretations are all bullish. The degree of bullishness varies, but according to EWT, more gains are ahead. The question is not if, but how much and for how long.

The first chart below shows conceptually where the S&P 500 is at relative to the three most likely EWT options along with the odds for each scenario.

The second chart provides a more detailed (yet basic) outline/labeling of EWT counts #1 (45% probability – light green) and #2 (35% probability – dark green).

What we are focused on for now is the most likely scope of any pullback. The down side risk for #1 is larger (around S&P 2,130 – 2,070 – see light green square) than for #2 (around S&P 2,150 – 2,130 – see dark green square).

No further detail is shown for the most bullish option, #3 which would translate into a few more years of bull market. At this point, we discount #3 (20% probability) because some cycles point to prolonged weakness starting in H2 2017.

Summary: At this point we don’t know the scope of any pullback, but EWT and the June breadth thrust suggest that any weakness will be bought (perhaps even furiously)We consider the longer-term up side potential to be significantly larger than the down side risk.

The anticipated pullback drew the S&P 500 to 2,084 (right inside the first target zone). Stocks haven’t looked back since.

The November 13 Profit Radar Report added that: “The DJIA and Russell 2000 ended the week overbought, which normally will cause a pullback. However, if the S&P is truly in a wave 3 advance, stocks will continue to plow higher without much letup.”

Overbought, But No Bearish Divergences

Unless you’re already on the bus, a momentum driven market is one of the hardest markets to get in (like jumping onto a moving bus), because it rarely stops.

At some point momentum will halt (which is sometimes followed by a nasty correction), but the question is when? The chart suggests to watch support at 2,190 – 2,200 (if lucky, we may even see 2,170 – 2,150).

Waves 3 (according to EWT) are generally strong and relentless moves. Stocks appear to be in such a third wave advance.

Many investors consider EWT hocus-pocus, and I can understand way. I’ve seen many horrid EWT interpretations cost investors a ton of money.

That’s why the Profit Radar Report never relies on any one single indicator. As of right now, the weight of evidence (not just EWT) points towards higher prices (with or without prior pullback). We go where the indicators take us.

Back in January, when the S&P traded below 1,900, our year-end target of 2,220 seemed outrageously bullish. As it turns out, it actually may not have been bullish enough.

Continuous updates with actual buy/sell recommendation (which help balance down side risk with the risk of missing out on the up side) 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.

 

S&P 500 Threatening to Follow 2007 Topping Pattern

A few months ago, we found striking similarities between the 2015 S&P 500 chart and the 2011 and 2007 charts.

The 2011 analogy alerted us of a steep summer selloff followed by a choppy rally. Below is the 2011 comparison, first published on June 15:

The 2007 analogy suggested a recovery to new highs.

The initial comparison between 2015 and 2011 is available here: S&P 500: 2011 vs 2015

The initial comparison between 2015 and 2007 is available here: S&P 500: 2007 vs 2015

The 2011 ‘script’ (that’s what we called it, because it was so accurate) projected a break or test of the August S&P panic low (1,867), followed by a rally.

The 2007 analogy suggested a rally to new all-time highs.

The September 20 Profit Radar Report analyzed and compared both prior pre-election years (2007 and 2011) to 2015 and came up with the following conclusion: “Regardless [of whether 2007 or 2011 plays out], the S&P should come back up to test 2,040 (and likely higher) before the year is over.

In other words, it doesn’t really matter – with or without new low – the S&P 500 will rally. That’s exactly what happened.

Below are updated 2015 vs 2011 and 2015 vs 2007 charts, along with a bonus chart that shows why a 2007-like topping pattern is becoming more likely.

Following the initial August panic low, the S&P 500 decided to follow a hybrid template, as performance took ‘pages taken’ from the 2007 and 2011 books.

What’s Next?

In 2007 and 2011 the S&P digested gains in November, which is in harmony with general pre-election year seasonality.

Perhaps more important (think about the elephant in the room) is the fact that buying power is drying up, as it did in 2007.

The bonus chart above shows the subtle decline in buying power (as measured by my proprietary indicator called ‘secret sauce’ – click here for more details).

This kind of divergence, present now, also preceded the 2007, 2000 and 1987 market tops.

Based on buying power, a 2007-like outcome, where new highs are meet with a wave of selling, is becoming more likely.

For continued updates on what this bearish divergence means and out of the box S&P 500, gold and silver anaylsis, join 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.

 

Stock Market Liquidity is Drying Up

Money makes the world go round and vice versa.

We’ve all had a front seat watching the Federal Reserve pump up stocks with QE cash.

Money is like a lubricant. Lack of money, is like ‘sand in the works.’

For the first time since 2007, we are actually seeing signs of liquidity shrinkage.

A while ago I was wondering if there is enough strength behind the latest rally leg to drive stocks to new all-time highs. And if so, could stocks sustain trade above all-time highs?

To get the answer, I turned to the same indicator that foreshadowed the 1987, 2000 and 2007 market tops, and virtually ‘guaranteed’ new bull market highs after the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 correction. I call this powerful gauge ‘secret sauce’ (more later).

New All-time Highs?

Since the beginning of the 2009 bull market, the S&P 500 suffered five corrections of 9% or more (based on closing prices). The summer 2015 meltdown was the most recent one (-12.35% from high to low).

To gauge the longevity of the rally from the August 2015 panic low (S&P 1,867), we will be comparing the current rally with the rallies from the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 bottoms.

With four weeks of gains in the rear-view mirror, we can do just that. As of Friday, October 23, 2015, the S&P 500 recovered slightly more than a Fibonacci 78.6% (78.85%) of the prior losses. This will be our benchmark.

To gauge the strength of the various rallies from their original low, we need more than just a price chart. We need a pulse on internal strength, buying power and liquidity.

Price and internal strength go together like horsepower (or kilowatts) and battery life. You can only judge an electric cars capability once you know horsepower and battery life. The same is true for stocks. To make a decent assessment we need to get a good feel for price and internal strength.

As mentioned earlier, my preferred strength and liquidity indicator is ‘secret sauce.’ Why ‘secret sauce’ is so potent, and why it’s called secret sauce is discussed here.

Again, we will use ‘secret sauce’ to measure and compare the strength of the S&P 500 after having retraced about 78.8% of the losses that led to major lows in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

The chart below plots the S&P 500 against ‘secret sauce.’ The blue boxes start at the pre-correction high, and end at the 78.8% S&P retracement level.

As the ascending green lines indicate, there was a ton of liquidity behind the 2010, 2011 and 2012 rallies. “Secret sauce’ retraced 119.75 – 193.47% by the time the S&P retraced 78.8% of its losses. Not surprisingly, the bull market continued plowing higher thereafter.

The rally from the 2014 low was not quite as dynamic. Although it led to new all-time highs, this particular rally turned very choppy and eventually gave back all gains.

The table lists the exact details of each rally.

In one way, the rally from the August 2015 panic low is similar to the 2014 rally (‘secret sauce’ retraced barely 70% in 2014 and 2015).

However, unlike in 2014, secret sauce is flashing the same signals now as it did before the 1987, 2000 and 2007 market tops. More details here. S&P 500 Threatening to Follow 2007 Topping Pattern

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar ReportThe 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.

If you enjoy quality, hand-crafted research, >> Sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter

How Much is the Dow Worth in Real Currency

The Federal Reserve is devaluing the U.S. dollar. Contrary to popular belief that hasn’t resulted in outright or obvious inflation, but as the Gold Dow shows, it is eating away at the Dow’s value.

How do you define value and is value important today or is value just relative?

After all, as long as you buy low and sell high, the value of the underlying stock, index or ETF doesn’t matter, or does it?

If you buy the Dow (or Dow Diamonds – DIA) at 13,000 and sell at 14,000 you pocket a nice profit, but was it a good value buy?

Obviously profits are always right, but value often determines profits. At least that used to be the case before the Fed’s flooded the market with liquidity.

Old souls that remember the name Charles Dow and his saying “to know values is to know the market” may find the chart below of interest.

It measures the Dow in the only real currency – gold – that’s why I call it the Gold Dow.

The Dow in U.S. dollars is shown in black, the Gold Dow is shown in gold. At the 1999 Gold Dow peak, the Dow Jones was worth 42 ounces of gold. Today it’s barely worth 8 ounces.

The 81% drop in the Gold Dow is largely due to gold prices, which soared from 260 in 1999 to 1,600 and above.

Thus far the Dollar Dow has been able to resist the path of the Gold Dow. In fact, there’s been a divergence for most of the past decade, so this is not a short-term timing tool. Nevertheless, other valuation indicators suggest that the Dollar Dow will eventually follow the footsteps of its golden cousin.