4 Iconic U.S. Stocks that Lost 49% While You Were Sleeping

Overnight, four iconic U.S. companies lost 49%. One of them, a reputable blue chip Dow component, wiped out four years worth of gains while investors were sleeping. What does this performance mean and can it be detected/avoided?

The biggest danger is one you are not aware of or can’t predict. For individual stock investors that’s gap down opens. Such overnight losses leave big chart gaps that often by-pass stop-loss orders.

October has been a particularly treacherous month as four iconic U.S. companies lost a combined 49% while shareholders were sleeping. Talk about a financial overnight coronary event.

In the night(s) from October 17 (Friday) to October 20, IBM (NYSE: IBM) lost 8.35% and wiped out four years of gains.

In the night from October 20 to 21, Coca Cola (NYSE: KO) lost 5.75%.

In the night from October 23 to 24, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) lost 9.10%.

In the night from October 15 to 16, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) lost 25.83%.

Is there a common trigger for all those coronary events?

Is it possible to detect and prevent owning stocks before an overnight collapse? 

The chart below shows IBM, KO, AMZN and NFLX side by side.

Trading volume spiked every time on the day of the coronary, but there was no consistent pattern the day before (which was the last day to get out in time).

A look at commonly used technical indicators – such as moving averages, MACD, RSI, percentR – also shows no consistent pattern.

Netflix and Amazon were unable to overcome their 20-day SMAs the days prior to the gap down, but Coca Cola ‘slept’ above the 20-day SMA the night before it fell out of bed.

Amazon triggered an MACD buy signal the day before it tumbled.

The only way to avoid individual meltdowns is to invest in baskets of stocks via ETFs or other index-based vehicles. The link below discusses which type of ETFs are best in this stage of a bull market.

The One Common Denominator

There is, however, one common denominator, indicated by the little telephone icon. All companies reported their earnings just before the big gap down (either after the close or before the bell).

Do Gap Downs Foreshadow a Major Market Top?

Excessive amounts of selling pressure are a reflection of investor psychology.

Gap ups on the way up are a vote of confidence; gap downs show that investors’ confidence is eroding.

Erosion of confidence is one of the tell tale signs of an aging bull market. This doesn’t mean the bull market is over, but it shows that investors are becoming more selective.

The number of outperforming stocks shrinks as more and more individual stocks fall into their very own bear market. In fact, currently 31% of all NYSE stocks are trading 20% or more below their highs.

In other words, a third of all stocks are already in their own individual bear market.

A historic analysis of major market tops puts this deterioration into perspective and shows how close (or far off) we are from a major market top. It also shows which sector is the best to invest in right now.

Here is a detailed look at the 3 stages of a dying bull market.

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013.

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

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S&P 500: 3 Reasons to Expect the May Blues … But Not Yet

Have you been infected yet by the media’s crash talk? Most major financial media outlets predict a correction or outright crash. There are reasons to be worried about the ‘May Blues’ (sell in May and go away), but there’s also reason not to worry, yet.

According to CNBC, Dr. Doom is worried about a crisis bigger than 2008, and so should you.

There truly are reasons to expect some weakness (aka the ‘May Blues’), but perhaps just not yet.

Why Look for May Blues

1. Seasonality: S&P 500 seasonality for midterm election years is bearish. Click here for S&P 500 seasonality chart.

2. The Nasdaq-100 may be carving out a head-and shoulders pattern.

3. Stock market breadth is deteriorating. A truly rising tide lifts all boats, this rally isn’t. Large caps are in, small caps are out.

The chart below plots the S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSPC) against the IWM:IWB ratio. The IWM ETF represents the small cap Russell 2000, the IWB ETF represents the large cap Russell 1000.

The IWM:IWB ratio shows small caps quickly erasing an 11-months performance advantage.

Although this is a reflection of fragmentation, it should be said that, historically, this disparity does not foreshadow major immediate weakness.

Why Look for May Blues … Later

Simply because the media is looking for a crash right now.

CNBC: “I’m worried about a crisis bigger than 2008: Dr Doom”
MarketWatch: “Risk of 20% correction highest until October”
Investors Business Daily: “Why investors expect to ‘sell in May and go away’”
CNBC: “Wells Fargo strategist presents scary chart”

Based on various cycles, technical indicators and seasonal patterns, the Profit Radar Report proposed a May high back in January when it published the 2014 Forecast.

This outlook continues to be valid, however, it has now become the crowded trade.

The market will likely find a way to shake out the weak and premature bears, and fool the herd (the May 4 Profit Radar Report outlined the most likely route of this head fake).

In terms of technicals, the S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) remains above important support and still within a chopping zone, obviously designed to hurt impatient investors. As long as this support holds, it’s dangerous to go short.

Even the weak Russell 2000 remains above an important support cluster (yes, more important than the 200-day SMA).

Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (S&P 500, Dow Jones, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013.

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

Gold – Why The ‘Safe Haven’ Metal Has Fallen Out of the Sky

On Thursday, gold prices tumbled to the lowest level since September 25, 2010. After a 33% slide, the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) – once the largest ETF in the universe – is officially in bear market territory. Why? Will it last?

Not everything that shines is gold and even the real stuff is worth much less today than yesterday, or any other day since September 2010.

Gold, the last honest asset and conscience of the financial world, reminds complacent investors of a time-tested but forgotten principle: What goes up must come down.

Gold’s fate has been a frequent topic of discussion in the Profit Radar Report. Ever since the April 16 low of $1,321/oz, the Profit Radar Report has been expecting a new low in the 1,250 – 1,300 range.

One reason to look for new lows came from a basic but reliable indicator – RSI (Relative Strength Index). There was no bullish RSI divergence at the April 16 low.

Weeks of sideways trading allowed RSI to reset and hold up much better than prices. A bullish RSI divergence is now in place (see chart).

The CBOE Gold ETF Volatility Index (GVZ) also suggested a new low. GVZ basically is a VIX or ‘fear barometer’ for the Gold ETF (GLD).

The chart below plots the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) against the CBOE Gold ETF Volatility Index (GVZ) and provides an update to the chart featured in the April 16 Profit Radar Report.

The December 2011 bottom was accompanied by, what I call, a volatility divergence. Volatility at the initial September 2011 low was much higher than at the December 2011 low.

Volatility divergences are not unique to the gold market. In fact, similar volatility divergences helped me identify major stock market lows in March 2009, October 2011 and June 2012.

Yesterday’s new low for GLD and gold prices was accompanied by such a volatility divergence.

Setup For a Buy Signal

Based on technical indicators, the conditions are in place for a low. Investor sentiment is extremely bearish, which is conducive for higher gold prices.

However, we need to remember that gold has been in a 10-year bull market and therefore should not overvalue the current sentiment extremes. The fact that gold prices haven’t been able to get off the mat in weeks, despite bearish sentiment extremes, suggests that gold has entered a new environment – it used to be called a bear market.

Regardless, we expect some sort of a gold bottom in the 1,250 – 1,300 range with the potential for a powerful bounce. The conditions are right to start fishing a bottom, but there’s no reason to be careless. Lower price targets are still possible.

The focus of the Profit Radar Report will be on finding low-risk buy levels that gives us all the benefits of a nice rally without any of the pain of being wrong or too early.

Weekly ETF SPY: China ETF At Support – Buying Opportunity?

After breaking out, the FXI China ETF has consolidated and come back to test support. Is FXI’s return to support a buying opportunity or a warning sign? Technical indicators suggest an ultimately bullish solution.

China has been an ongoing theme here at iSPYETF.com. The October 11, 2012 article  “Contrarian Investment Idea: China ETF Looks so Bad, is it a Buy?” recommended to buy iShares FTSE China 25 ETF (FXI) with a breakout above 36.50.

Since then FXI rallied as much as 15% and just recently pulled back to test trend line support (see first chart).

Make the ETF SPY work for You  >> Sign up for the FREE iSPYETF Newsletter to receive the Weekly ETF SPY Pick

Over the long-term, Chinese stocks have a lot more up side potential and buy-and hold investors might be better off simply holding on to a long China position.

If you are interested in short-term profit management, the bold green trend line is of interest. This trend line has acted as support since September 2011. FXI’s up trend is alive and well as long as prices remain above it.

However, the trend line is ascending at a trajectory steep enough to validate an eventual break below. Additional support is provided by the horizontal green line around 38.

The second chart provides common Fibonacci retracement levels and additional longer-term support resistance levels. Based on Fibonacci’s wisdom, 39.92 is a support/resistance level to be watched as well.

Bottom line, as long as prices remain above 38 +/- the trend for FXI is up.

Technical Analysis – The Most Unique S&P Candle Stick Pattern Ever?

Candle formations are one of the more comical technical indicators, but comical doesn’t mean ineffective. Here are two takeaways from one of the most unique SPY candle formations ever.

Market analysts and market forecasters can’t be picky or biased. You can’t cherry pick data to support a bias. The tail doesn’t wag the dog and any forecast needs to be data driven.

A ton of data and indicators go into each Profit Radar Report update. There are different sentiment measures, various seasonalities and cycles and a wide variety of technical indicators.

Candle formations are one of the technical indicators I look at. I don’t follow them religiously, but they often add weight to the message conveyed by other indicators.

Anatomy of a Candle

Let’s review the anatomy of a candle before we look at a never before seen candle formation for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).

The image below shows the main components of a candle: Open/close price, body, upper/lower shadow (also called wig) and the trading range (green or yellow, depending on up or down day).

The Only SPY Triple Outside Day

On Wednesday, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF or SPY opened below the low of the past three days and closed above the high of the past three days. This is called a triple outside day and has never happened before (see chart below).

That’s a curious factoid, but has it any directional implications? It just might. There have been seven double outside days. Each of them led to positive performance of the next couple of weeks.

Trading volume also picked up on Wednesday. Elevated volume increases the message of any candle formation, which suggests that this rally is not yet over.

A recent article here on iSPYETF.com (Nov. 19: Is it Time to Buy Apple Again?) referred to a reversal candle for AAPL at 506 and concluded that: “Prices are likely to move higher” (Apple traded as high as 595 since).

The November 18 Profit Radar Report spotted a similar reversal candle in combination with a bullish engulfing pattern (see image above) in the S&P 500 and stated that: “the immediate down trend is exhausted and stocks are ready to bounce.” The S&P is up as much as 80 points since. This bounce will continue and quite possible morph into a sizeable rally as long as prices remain above support.

Before we snub our noses at funny sounding candle formations, we should remember that they just called an 80-point (S&P 500) turn around.

Simon Maierhofer shares his market analysis and points out high probability, low risk buy/sell recommendations via the Profit Radar Report. Click here for a free trial to Simon’s Profit Radar Report.