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.

 

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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.

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

 

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.

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

 

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.

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

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.

 

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.