S&P 500 Update

On March 26, the Profit Radar Report published the projection below and stated: “We anticipate a recovery towards 3,000 (for the S&P 500) over the next couple months and quite possibly new all-time highs in 2020.”

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Less then two month later, the S&P 500 reached and exceeded 3,000. Are new all-time highs next?

To answer this question, we will take a chronological look at many indicators and studies published (in the Profit Radar Report) over the past couple of months.

April 6, 2020 Profit Radar Report

90.43% of NYSE-traded stocks closed higher for the day. We have seen large clusters of 80% or 90% ‘all or nothing’ days (where 80% or 90% of NYSE-traded stocks and/or volume occur to the up or down side). This too is rare, and has been longer-term bullish (S&P 500 traded higher 6 and 12 months later 90% of the time).”

April 7, 2020 Profit Radar Report

It took the S&P 500 just 11 days to retrace more than a Fibonacci 38.2% of the previous losses. This is a very quick retracement. Since 1970, there were only 5 other times where the S&P retraced more than 34% that quickly. The chart below shows the forward performance of those 5 times along with the average. As you can see, returns were rock solid.” Note: Chart below was updated to include price action until May 27.

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April 12, 2020 Profit Radar Report

More than 90% of volume went into advancing stocks on 2 days last week (April 6: 91.87%, April 8: 93.13%). This is rare and usually significant. The chart below plots the forward performance of the 6 other times when there were more than 2 90% up volume days in a 3-day period within 1 month of a 52-week low.

April 19, 2020 Profit Radar Report

Historically, rising stocks despite falling earnings are not unusual. Since 1970, there were 8 other earnings seasons following a 30% drop in the S&P 500. The chart below shows the 1-year forward performance of every instance along with the average forward performance.

April 19, 2020 Profit Radar Report 

The March and April PRRs included a ton of data points and studies analyzing the market from all sorts of different angles. Most of the studies and projections pointed to a signifiant rally with a minimum target of 2,900 – 3,000 … and potentially new all-time highs later in 2020.

The S&P 500 has almost reached the ‘first phase’ of our forecast (2,900 – 3,000). While the up side has become more risky, price may continue to move higher as long as the S&P does not fall below support at 2,730 – 2,700.”

May 3, 2020 Profit Radar Report

The April 11 Profit Radar Report fiirst remarked on the strength of this rally, which implied further gains. Below is an updated look at the same chart, which shows that even the strongest rallies from a 52-week low started to take a pause right about 29 days after the low was struck.”

Summary

In late April the S&P 500 got very close to our up side target and I was looking for a pullback. This pullback was more shallow than expected. Instead of providing a better buying opportunity at even lower prices, it sparked another rally leg.

The S&P 500 is now trading above the upper Bollinger Band with RSI-2 nearing short-term over-bought. RSI-35 on the other hand continues to confirm new price highs.

Short-term, this leaves the S&P 500 in ‘melt up’ mode. Usually it does not pay to chase an over-bought market (in fact the risk of a nasty pullback is high), but this could be one of those rare times where stocks defy the odds and grind higher.

At some point, however, there should be a pullback. The weight of evidence suggests that any pullback will be a buying opportunity (minimum target: open chart gap at 3,328.45).

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.

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S&P 500 Update – Panic in Context

In response to the relentless Q4 2019 rally in stocks, I created the Risk/Reward Heat Map (RRHM) to objectively asses upcoming risk  (and reward) based on literally hundreds of indicators and historic precedents. RRHM methodology is explained here.

Below is the very first RRHM, published in the December 25, 2019 Profit Radar Report:

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The red bars projected significant risk, and the market delivered much more risk then even anticipated by the RRHM.

In fact, the market decline is unlike any other we’ve seen before. Below is an excerpt from the March 10 Profit Radar Report, which puts the recent panic into context.

* * * * * March 10, 2020 Profit Radar Report * * * * *

97.70% of NYSE-traded stocks ended down yesterday, the 2nd worst 90%+ down day since 1970. Below is the comple list of 95%+ down days:

  • 08/08/2011: 98.73%
  • 03/09/2020: 97.70%
  • 10/19/1987: 95.98%
  • 10/09/1979: 95.56%
  • 08/04/2011: 95.56%
  • 09/29/2008: 95.11%
  • 08/24/2015: 95.05%

Chart #1 outlines the above dates in ‘big picture’ context (dashed blue lines).

Chart #2 provides thumbnail performance for each instance (highlighted in blue). There were two 95%+ days in 2011.

53.04% of NYSE-traded stocks closed at 52-week lows yesterday. Since 1970, there have only been 10 other days where more than half of all stocks sat at 52-week lows (5 of them in 2008).

Chart #3 shows those instances in ‘big picture’ context (dashed blue lines).

Chart #4 provides thumbnail performance for each instance (highlighted in blue). There were 5 instances in 2008, 3 in 1970, and 2 in 1987. 50%+ lows have come in clusters, does this mean we should expect another 50%+ reading before this correction is over?

The S&P 500 lost 7.60% yesterday, it’s 4th biggest daily loss. Since 1970, the S&P lost more than 7% only on 3 other days:

10/13/2008: 11.58%

10/28/2008: 10.79%

10/21/1987: 9.10%

Chart # 5 below provides big picture context for the top 4 daily % losses.

The more extremes this market delivers, the smaller the list of precedents becomes. 2008 and 1987 are two of the few time periods that come up fairly consistent in our list of precedents.

The 1 – 3 month forward performance for the above studies was positive 55-75% of the time. If we were to exclude the 2008 instances, the forward performance would turn positive 90%+ of the time.

1987 was a brief but nasty ‘rip the bandage off’ type of a decline.

2008 was a long and persistent decline that plowed past the initial extremes seen.

Despite today’s strong gains, it doesn’t look like more than 80% of NYSE-traded stocks closed higher. NYSE-up volume, on the other hand, may have delivered a small breadth thrust (we’ll determine tomorrow after final numbers are in).

The S&P 500 bounced from support around 2,740, but was not able to overcome resistance around 2,860. Based on the cluster of 50%+ NYSE low days in the past, it would not be a first to see another 50%+ NYSE low day.

* * * * * END – March 10, 2020 Profit Radar Report * * * * *

Today may deliver another 50%+ down day, which may spark a sizable rally. Long-term trend line support for the S&P 500 is just below 2,500.

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.

S&P 500 Update – Was Risk Flushed Out?

The last S&P 500 update introduced the risk/reward heat map (RRHM), which projected increased risk in January/February (see image below). How exactly the RRHM is produced is discussed here: Risk Reward Heat Map Methodology

The January 15 Profit Radar Report warned that: “Based on our risk/reward heat map, we are approaching a period of increased risk with an initial emphasis on late January.”

Just 4 days later, stocks suffered the biggest pullback since October 2019.

The pullback stopped on February 3, which makes the analysis from the February 2 Profit Radar Report (republished below) all the more interesting:

                                        * * * * *  February 3, Profit Radar Report * * * * *

“Based on preliminary data, 82.85% of NYSE-traded stocks ended Friday lower, the biggest down day since August 8, 2019. The chart below shows various breadth gauges. The bottom graph reflects down days. A cluster of down days (80% or 90%) tends to reflect selling exhaustion and is usually seen near bottoms, so we’ll be keeping an eye on that.

We’ve seen two 80%+/- down days already, so one could argue there’s already a measure of exhaustion.

Almost all of our short-term sentiment gauges perked up nicely and are already showing minor extremes. In times past, readings of similar degree have been enough to mark a bottom. Since we’ve seen some significant optimism extremes at the top, it is quite possible we need some more significant pessimism extremes. This, however, is not required.

The S&P 500 closed right on the green support trend line, which could be considered the minimum down side target for this pullback. Due to the sentiment extremes at the top and our RRHM, we would like to see lower prices, with 3,190 being the next and 3,130 +/- a more ideal down side target.”

                                      * * * * *  End February 3, Profit Radar Report * * * * *

The S&P 500 spiked 110 point this week. The chart below shows the resistance (red) and support (green) levels mentioned in the February 3 Profit Radar Report.

The S&P tagged the minimum down side target, which was based on a trend line going back to 2016. The S&P failed to reach the ideal target, which was based on a trend line going back to 2007, and would have reflected a more proportional correction.

Resistance is still at 3,336. A break above 3,336 would allow for a move to next resistance, but the CBOE equity put/call ratio is getting dangerously low once again, and the RRHM suggests we may not be out of the woods yet.

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.

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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.

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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.

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At Lowest Level of 2015, Breadth Gauge Shows Interesting Twist

Bad breath stinks (literally), so does bad breadth.

The stock market’s had bad breadth since late April, and gains are wilting.

One breadth measure I’ve been watching is the percentage of (NYSE) stocks above their 50-day SMA.

The May 31 Profit Radar Report showed that the percentage of stocks above their 50-day SMA did not confirm the latest S&P 500 highs and warned that:

Negative divergences like this tend to draw stocks lower. This doesn’t have to happen immediately, but this particular divergence has lasted longer than any other in the last years, and is likely to turn into a drag eventually. “

The chart below shows when and how the market started to tire (red line).

Corrections don’t always happen immediately, but 6 of the last 8 corrections (since 2014) were preceded by such a divergence.

The % of stocks below their 50-day SMA has dropped to the lowest level of 2015, which makes for an interesting twist.

As the green lines show, when too many stocks drop below their 50-day SMA, the S&P 500 rallied every single time in 2015.

This cautions against turning too bearish. How stocks react around current levels may give an indication if we’re still in the ‘one step up, one step down’ market, or if a deeper correction will develop.

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.

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I Spy … An Intriguing NYSE Composite Chart

Perhaps the most fascinating chart right now is that of the NYSE Composite. It features two developments worth exploring:

  1. Island reversal
  2. Bearish wedge

The NYSE Composite includes all stocks listed on the NYSE, about 1,900. Unlike the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) or Dow Jones (NYSEArca: DIA), the NYSE Composite actually reached a new all-time high on Thursday.

The new all-time high was short-lived and followed by a massive gap down the next morning.

Island Reversal

This gap lower created an island reversal. Some analysts consider island reversals indicative of a major trend change, but the Technical Analysis book by Edwards and Magee describes it as follows:

“The island pattern is not in itself of major significance, in the sense of denoting a long-term top or bottom, but it does as a rule send prices back for a complete retracement of the minor move which preceded it.”

It’s probably up to debate where the last minor move started, but at Friday’s low the NYSE Composite already touched minor support.

In addition, as Sunday’s Profit Radar Report pointed out, there’s an open chart gap, and the post-2009 bull market has filled every chart gap.

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Open gaps are like unfinished business, and with the gap closed this morning, the NYSE Composite doesn’t ‘have to’ move any higher.

Bearish Wedge

In fact, the NYSE Composite has formed a potentially bearish wedge formation (bold trend lines). It takes a break below the green trend line to activate lower targets, but last weeks island reversal throw-over top may be an early indication of an upcoming correction.

Trade Setup

Last week’s all-time high is important for the short term, and going short against it presents a low-risk trade setup with a favorable risk/reward ratio.

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.

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Simon Says: This May Be The Only Bearish Looking Broad Market Index Chart

Aside from the autumn colors, everything is green on Wall Street. Stocks are up almost everywhere you look. There is only one broad market index that could reasonably be interpreted as being bearish.

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are at new (all-time) highs, and it takes a permabear or nit-picky glass half empty kind of a person to find anything alarming in those charts.

Perhaps the most bearish looking chart is that of the NYSE Composite Index (NYA). The NYA measures the performance of all common stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). There are currently 1867. The iShares NYC Composite ETF (NYSEArca: NYC) replicates the performance of the NYA.

Unlike the Dow Jones and S&P 500, the NYA also includes small cap stocks, which explains why the NYA is lagging.

In fact, the NYA chart gives hope to all those who missed the latest rally. Why?

The NYA is bumping up against a serious resistance cluster made up of:

  1. 78.6% Fibonacci resistance
  2. Trend line resistance
  3. Prior support shelf

In addition, (bearish) Elliott Wave aficionados may be quick to point out that the NYA’s decline from the September high to the October low could be counted as five waves.  Such a 5-wave move would suggest at least one more leg lower.

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The overall strength of the “October blast” rally suggests that NYA will eventually surpass this resistance cluster. But if NYA is going to pull back and fill some of the open chart gaps, right about now (or at 10,850 – 10,900) seems like an appropriate time to do so.

The Dow Jones is also about to run into the same resistance level that caused the September correction.

Solid resistance levels, like the ones shown above, increase the risk of a pullback, but obviously don’t guarantee said pullback. Higher targets are unlocked if the NYA and Dow Jones sustain trade above resistance.

A detailed forecast for the remainder of the year – based on an analysis of seasonality, sentiment, technical indicators and historical patterns – is available in the November 2 Profit Radar Report.

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.

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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).

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The Hindenburg Omen is Back! Will it Stick This Time?

Dogs that bark don’t bite. Like a barking dog, the Hindenburg Omen’s market crash signals have been notoriously off. However, there is one statistical signal that may restore the bruised signal’s reputation and credibility of the latest signal.

The Hindenburg Omen had its glory days (2007), but more recently it’s become famous for notorious misfires.

Despite many hyped up Omen sightings in recent years, the Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI) and S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSPC) are trading near all-time highs while the VIX is hovering near historic lows.

But (and this could turn out to be a big but), I stumbled upon a statistical nuance that may restore the bruised indicator’s image.

Hindenburg Omen Crash Course

Here’s a quick nutshell definition in case you’re not familiar with the Hindenburg Omen (HO).

The HO is a combination of technical factors that attempt to measure the health of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ^NYA). The Omen triggers if a particular number of NYSE-traded issues hit new highs and new lows.

The Omen’s ‘claim to fame’ is its ability to signal a stock market crash (or at least the increased probability of a crash). Over the decades there’ve been some amazing hits and misses.

Hindenburg Omen is Back

The latest rally leg has brought a whole cluster of Omens in its wake. Omen clusters (not just scattered signals) appear to be the key to the signal’s reliability (or lack thereof).

An Omen here or there may get the media’s attention, but it doesn’t consistently phase stocks. However – this observation may restore the Omen’s credibility – a cluster of a dozen or so Omens in a 50-day period, tends to be bearish for stocks.

We are seeing such an Omen cluster right now. The chart below plots the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) against the most recent ‘Dozen-Omen-Cluster’ sightings. They occurred in January/February 2000, March/April 2006 and July/August 2013.

The chart looks somewhat ominous, but does this mean that stocks will crash and burn tomorrow?

No, even when correct, the effect of the Omen doesn’t have to be instantaneous.

Nevertheless, the Omen is yet another indicator that cautions of a looming market top.

With stocks near all-time highs and momentum slowing, now is certainly the time to keep our eyes peeled for unwanted bearish surprises. In fact, a drop below key support will likely trigger a wave of selling and lower prices.

Where is key support? Must hold support is shown in this article: The S&P 500 is Revealing Must Hold Support.