US Stocks: 5 Intriguing Charts, 1 Conclusion

Here is a look at the 5 (in my humble opinion) most intriguing and important charts right now. As you will notice, not all charts point in the same direction. Nevertheless, I will conclude with a weight of evidence-based conclusion.

1) S&P 500 Tug of War

The July 15 Profit Radar Report introduced subscribers to a massively bullish S&P 500 chart pattern with an up side target of 3,000+.

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 chart insert shows price since July 15. Thus far, triangle support has held, the pattern has not been invalidated, but also not confirmed.

Short-term, as brought out by the August 8 Profit Radar Report, sellers have a window of opportunity due to triple resistance around 2,860.

2) Nasdaq Resistance

The Nasdaq-100 QQQ is up against double resistance comprised of the red trend line and a Fibonacci projection level going back to its 2002 low. As long as resistance holds, bears have a window of opportunity to take QQQ lower.

3) Bear’s Best Friend

All major indexes (S&P 500, Dow Jones, Nasdaq, Russell 2000) have been dancing to the beat of their own drum.

For a broader assessment of US stock’s health, some look at the NY Composite (NYC), which includes some 2000 stocks.

The NYC thus far only retraced 61.8% of the decline from the January high. 61.8 is a Fibonacci number, in fact, it is the ideal retracement of a counter trend rally, a dead cat bounce. That’s what makes the NYC “bear’s best friend” right now.

A look under the hood however, reveals two important facts:

  • More stocks have been advancing than declining (blue graph)
  • The ratio of advancing stocks has slowed significantly (gray graph)

Based on the NYC advance/decline line and ratio, the most likely outcome is short-term weakness followed by longer-term strength.

4) VIX

The August 1 Profit Radar Report published the chart below, which plots the VIX against hedgers’ (smart money) exposure and seasonality. Based on those factors, a spike to 17 (red trend line) seemed likely.

This week, the VIX spiked from 10.17 to 15.02, a 47% move. Higher readings are still possible.

5) Doom-and-Gloom Hurray

Investors loved doom-and-gloom stories a couple weeks ago. I took a screenshot of most popular MarketWatch articles on July 31. The top two were:

  • Prepare for the biggest stock-market selloff in months, Morgan Stanley warns
  • This ‘prophet of doom’ predicts stock market will plunge more than 50%

Admittedly that’s anecdotal evidence, but heavily bearish investors tend to get burnt first. The early August rally did just that.

Conclusion

If you want to be bullish, there’s plenty of data to support your view.

If you want to be bearish, there’s plenty of data to support your view, too.

Looking at the data objectively, my conclusion (based on the weight of evidence) is that short-term weakness will provide at least one more buying opportunity.

Weakness may not materialize if the S&P 500, Nasdaq, NY Composite move above their respective resistance levels.

Support levels, up side targets and continuous updates are available in the Profit Radar Report.

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.

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, 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 Newsletter to get actionable ETF trade ideas delivered for free.

Advertisements

What’s Next: New Highs or Lows?

Even just a quick glance at the S&P 500 chart reveals a tug-of-war between bulls and bears, buyers and sellers. Although there’ve been many – at time violent – swings, there’s been no net progress.

What will we see first, new highs or new lows? Here’s a look at various pieces of market research:

Long-term:

Hypervolatility – April 11, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

What a contrast: In 2017, the S&P 500 swung more than 1% on only 10 days. That’s measured from daily high to low, not open to close. In 2018, the S&P 500 had already 41 daily swings of more than 1%.

Below is a closer look at actual volatility, not the VIX. The first chart plots the S&P 500 against the daily percentage change measured from high to low (gray graph) along with a 20-day SMA of the daily percentage change (blue graph).

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.

In February, the daily swing range was nearly as big as in September 2015 and January 2016, which is when stocks bottomed. Back then, volatility came and went quickly (like the shape of a ‘V’). This time around, volatility is lingering longer.

The second chart provides a long-term perspective, which includes the 1974, 1987, 2002, 2007, and 2011 market lows. Back then, daily swings (20-day SMA) peaked around 4%, twice the current average of around 2%.

Based on positive liquidity (NYC a/d line) and the parallels to 2011, it’s unlikely that the daily swing range will double from 2% to 4% as stocks melt lower.

The main takeaway is that volatility extremes are usually seen towards market lows.”

Elliott Wave Theory (EWT) – February 11, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

For well over a year stocks have almost exclusively gone up, slow but steady. For the past two weeks, stocks have gone down quickly.

What’s next? The temptation (and trap) is to think two dimensional – up or down – since that’s most of what we’ve experienced lately. However, stocks could also go sideways for a period of time.

The weekly S&P 500 chart provides some long-term perspective. 1 – 2 – 3 is how we label the rally from the February 2016 low. Wave 3 (wave 5 of wave 3 to be exact) extended much higher than normal.

Based on EWT, wave 3 is followed by wave 4, which is where we are currently at. Waves 4 are generally choppy, range-bound, long-winded, unpredictable corrections that retrace ideally 38.2% of the preceding wave 3. The 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level is at 2,536 (reached on Friday).

In terms of price, wave 4 has already reached its down side target. In terms of time, wave 4 would be unusually short.”

Liquidity – April 18, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

On the bullish side of the ledger, we find that the NY Composite advance/decline line (and NYC OCO a/d line) made new all time highs. This follows the bullish divergence noted in the April 4 PRR.

Long-term summary:The weight of evidence suggests that this correction will be temporary and followed by new all-time highs. But how much longer will this correction last and how low can it go?

Short/Mid-term:

Breadth – May 2, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

As early as February 11, the Profit Radar Report expected a frustrating, drawn out correction like in 2011. There are many parallels between the 2011 and 2018 correction, but here is one difference:

In 2011, there were multiple strong up days (where more than 80% or 90% of stocks advanced – green lines), and strong down days (where more than 90% of stocks declined – red lines).

The strong down days exhausted sellers, and the strong up days indicated internal strength not yet reflected in price.

The 2018 correction is much different. There’ve been only two days that come close to be considered a 90% down day, and only one 80% up day.

To end this sideways range, it appears that either more 90% down days or 80%-90% up days (like in October 2011, see green arrow) are needed. Ideally we’d like to see both, first a bout of strong down days followed by strong up days.”

Seasonality, cycles, pattern – May 6, 9, 2018 Profit Radar Report:

Based on mid-term seasonality (blue graph, chart below), the S&P has a tendency to bottom between late June and late September. Cycles are fairly similar to seasonality at this time.

Year-to-date the S&P is down 0.38%. Since 1950, the S&P 500 showed at loss of 1% (but no more than 5% below 200-day SMA) after the first 4 months 17 other times.. 6 of those 17 instances occurred in mid-term election years (like 2018). The average full-year performance is shown below (average bottom: trading day #193).”

Summary:

The April 2 Profit Radar Report (when the S&P 500 closed at 2,582) stated that: “The S&P 500 has met the minimum criteria to consider this correction complete. There is, however, a difference between minimum and ideal.”

The S&P continues to be stuck in the ‘twilight zone between minimum and ideal.’

Short-term, the May 13 Profit Radar Report probably defined it best: “The S&P 500 broke above triangle resistance. Although we view this breakout with a fair amount of skepticism, we need to allow for higher prices while trade remains above 2,700. Due to the overbought condition, it is unlikely for the S&P to move above 2,750 early this week.”

Continued updates will be 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.

Is Big Tech Underperformance Bearish for Stocks?

Large cap technology stocks – the notorious US stock market ‘alpha male’ – is trailing behind.

The chart below plots the Nasdaq-100 (represented by the QQQ ETF – right graph) against the S&P 500 and NYSE Composite.

QQQ has been stuck in neutral, while the S&P 500 and NYSE move ahead in second and third gear.

What does this mean for the stock market in general?

We’ve probably been conditioned to believe that large tech underperformance is bad for the broad market. And over the short-term (1-4 weeks), historical performance numbers support this conclusion.

Over the long-term (3-12 months) however, large tech underperformance is actually positive for the overall market. How come?

There are probably several plausible explanations, here is mine:

‘Bullish Ointment’

Since the very beginning of this rally, the Profit Radar Report pointed out the remarkable strength of the post February 11 meltup:

February 17 PRR: “The rally of last Thursday’s low at 1,810 has been very strong. Historically, this kind of ‘escape velocity’ can potentially carry stocks higher for months.”

February 21 PRR: “From February 12 – 17, the S&P 500 gained more than 1.5% a day for three days in a row. Since 1970, this has happened only eight other times. One year later, the S&P 500 traded higher every time, with an average gain of 19.16%.”

March 20, PRR: “Although the S&P 500 is still 3.16% below its November 3, 2015 intraday high at 2,116.48 (and 4% below its all-time high), the NY Composite a/d line already surpassed its November 3, 2015 high. While the S&P retraced only 78.6% of its prior losses, the NYC a/d line already retraced 117.83%. This data suggests that the rally from the February 11, 2016 low is stronger than the rallies from the September 2015 and October 2014 lows.”

A strong rally is like the proverbial tide that lifts all boats. Unlike other rallies in 2014 and 2015, which were more selective, this rally is actually ‘lifting all boats.’

The NYSE Composite Index consists of some 1,900 stocks (large, mid, small-cap stocks). The Nasdaq-100 of only 100 large cap tech stocks.

The fact that the NYSE Composite started to outperform the QQQs shows that liquidity is penetrating all corners of the market. That’s a good long-term sign.

Fly in the Ointment

However, there is a bearish fly in the bullish ointment. The second chart plots the S&P 500 against the percentage of S&P 500 and NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA.

The percentage of NYSE stocks above their 50-day SMA has been stronger than the percentage of S&P 500 stocks, which confirms the strength of the broader, more diversified NYSE composite.

As of Wednesday’s close, the percentage of NYSE stocks failed to confirm the new S&P 500 (and NYSE Composite) recovery highs (short red line). The percentage of S&P 500 stocks above their 50-day SMA has been lagging since March 30 (longer red line).

All the strong breadth reading throughout this rally confirmed our February 11 buy signal.

Although we anticipated a temporary pullback, the April 3 Profit Radar Report stated that a break below 2,040 is needed as the first step towards confirming further weakness.

Staying above support, combined with the long-term bullish developments registered in recent weeks/months has buoyed the S&P 500 higher (the rally from the February low looks like a micro copy of the 2013 rally).

Unless the bearish divergences mentioned above are erased, the S&P 500 is nearing another inflection zone that may rebuff stocks for a little while.

Continued updates are available via the Profit Radar Report. Barron’s graded iSPYETF (and the Profit Radar Report) a “trader with a good track record.”

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.

 

Why are Stocks Down Despite Bullish Seasonality?

In terms of seasonality, December is the strongest month of the year. Nevertheless, the S&P 500 is down almost 2% since its December 1st pop. Why?

One reason is buyers’ fatigue.

The December 6 Profit Radar Report featured the following analysis:

The S&P 500 rallied 2.01% on Friday. Since the beginning of 2011, the S&P 500 gained more than 2% on 21 days. On average, 2171 stocks advanced (based on NYSE advancers/decliners) on those days. On Friday, only 953 stocks advanced. In other words, breadth behind Friday’s gain was dismal. The chart below lists all 2%+ S&P 500 gains since 2011 and the accompanying NYSE advance number (inversed for easier viewing).

Our various gauges of internal strength show additional weakening since the December 1 spike high. This is in harmony with the notion that the 2009 bull market is losing steam, but conflicts with bullish seasonality into Q1/Q2 2016.”

Seasonality still suggests further gains, but based on market breadth (or lack thereof), risk management is becoming more important.

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

There are Not Enough Bearish Divergences for A Major Market Top

There are run of the mill divergence indicators – such as RSI – and there are more intricate and lesser-known divergence indicators. An examination shows that the lesser-known are much better forward looking gauges. Here is one:

Bearish divergences are often just that for the market – bearish.

Right now there is a bearish divergence between RSI and the S&P 500, but is this divergence enough to mark a major market top?

To find out we will take a look at the recent track record of RSI and the track record of two very reliable divergence indicators.

RSI in Technical ‘Purgatory’

The S&P 500 chart below shows that RSI (I use a 35-period RSI) has not confirmed the S&P 500’s latest all-time high. In fact, considering the strength of the rally, the RSI lag is quite blatant.

RSI used to be a valuable and often used tool in my technical analysis toolkit. I used bearish RSI divergences to warn of the 2010 and 2011 corrections and bullish RSI divergences to pinpoint the October 2011 and June 2012 lows.

However, in 2013 RSI hasn’t been of much use. The S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSPC) chart below shows that not a single S&P 500 high (green lines) or low (red lines) was accompanied by a RSI divergence.

The RSI high for the year occurred on January 29 (yellow line), but January 29 didn’t mark any meaningful high and neither did any of the subsequent high watermarks in April, May, August, September or October.

What about the November High?

This year’s track record doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the predictive qualities of RSI. Along with the VIX (NYSEArca: VXX), which hasn’t worked as a contrarian indicator in well over a year, RSI is in technical ‘purgatory.’

The ‘Reliable Duo’

A more reliable breadth and breadth divergence gauge is the NY Composite Advance/Decline (A/D) line.

This week’s new S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) and Dow Jones all-time highs were not confirmed by the NY Composite A/D line – a bearish divergence.

A similar bearish divergence accompanied the August high, which led to a temporary decline.

Here is the wrinkle though.

The NY Composite encompasses all the issues traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). A little over half of the NYSE traded issues are categorized as non-operating companies, which includes closed-end bond funds, preferred stocks, foreign stocks and ADRs.

Most of those non-operating companies are interest-rate sensitive closed end-bond funds and preferred stocks.

Rising interest rates, such as we’ve seen lately, artificially depresses the NY Composite A/D line, which explains the current bearish divergence.

To get a more genuine A/D line one must strip the NY Composite A/D line of all non-operating companies.

The ex-non-operating NY Composite A/D line did confirm the May, August and September highs and continually pointed towards new highs.

The ex-non-operating NY Composite A/D line nearly confirmed Monday’s S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) and Dow Jones all-time highs.

In summary, a closer look at historically reliable breadth measures suggests that stocks are in for a temporary correction (depth yet to be determined) followed by another rally leg. Continuous updates on the NY Composite A/D and ex-non-operation A/D line is provided via the Profit Radar Report.

Ironically the message of one of the most solid gauges in the business is confirmed by one of the most curious and non-scientific ‘indicators’ around. But don’t be fooled, although non-scientific, this indicator worked well earlier in 2013 and should not be ignored.

Click here for a fun, but worthwhile thumbnail analysis of this curious indicator and it’s meaning for the S&P 500.

Can a Watched Bubble Burst?

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.