5 Tempting High Reward S&P 500 Sector ETF Setups

If you like team sports, you know that a team may win even though some of its players had a bad day, or vice versa.

Just as a team is made up of individual players, the S&P 500 is comprised of individual sectors. Not all sectors perform at the same level at the same time, in fact, some may boom while others bust.

Here is a look at some sector ETF setups (boom and bust, ripe and stale):

Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV)

The April 17 Profit Radar Report noted that the following about XLV:

The health care sector represented by XLV has taken a beating, too. XLV dropped to the lowest level since January 4, and sentiment has become extremely bearish. Purely based on sentiment, when there was so much pessimism, XLV has rallied over the next month 90% of the time, with an average gain of 5%. Seasonality is positive for the next month as well.

Aside from the green bar, there’s no ‘must hold’ support level, but RSI-2 is over-sold. We are committing a small amount to buying XLV below 86.”

We bought XLV when it dipped below 86 on April 18, and sold XLV when it became over-bought and reached the 5% average gain threshold at 90.50 and May 6.

XLV is now in neutral territory, and the setup has become stale.

Real Estate Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLRE)

The April 14 Profit Radar Report featured the chart below and stated:

The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) looks interesting. 3 support and resistance levels meet up to form resistance at 36.80 on Wednesday. Price is wedging higher with a small bearish divergence. Based on the wedge, the down side risk is significant if price fails to hold support. For now, we will go short if XLRE moves above 36.85 and subsequently drops below 36.50.”

Unfortunately XLRE missed my sell limited by 15 cents. After a sizeable drop, XLRE bounced from support, but a break below that support (around 35) is likely to unlock the next down side target. The potential down side risk could be significant, partially because XLRE’s sector ‘cousin’ may be in trouble.

SPDR S&P 500 Homebuilders ETF (XHB)

The May 5 Profit Radar Report pointed out that: “The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) is wedging higher, and close to wedge resistance and general resistance with a bearish RSI-35 divergence. In terms of seasonality, May and June are the worst months for XHB. We will short XHB if it spikes above 41.80 and subsequently moves below 41.70 (stop-loss at day’s high). Considering futures, XHB may open lower tomorrow, and we may consider to go short on a drop below 40.70.

XHB fell below lower wedge support, which unlocks significant down side potential. RSI-2 is near over-sold, and a bounce is possible. In fact, any bounce that gets close to the broken purple trend line (such a re-test of previously broken support is often a ‘kiss good-bye’) would be another low-risk set up to go short.

Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU)

March 27 Profit Radar Report:

The utility sector (represented by XLU) rallied to new all-time highs with more than 80% of its components at a 52-week high..

In addition, XLU was rejected by trend line resistance. Additional trend channel resistance is around 59.50. Support is around 58.20 and 57.20. There was a bearish RSI-35 divergence on the daily chart.

Based on technicals and statistics, shorting XLU has high odds of being profitable. Unfortunately XLU seasonality is very bullish for March/April. 

XLU could move a bit higher, but we will leg into a short position now (and will probably add more if it moves higher). There is no good inverse utility ETF, so we will short XLU above 58.40.”

XLU is making slow down side progress, but it’s not been able to move below support around 57 – 56.75. A move below support could unlock further down side, but immediate down side may be limited due to a near over-sold RSI-2.

PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX)

The PHLX Semiconductor Index is often the ‘MVP’ that drives the ‘team’ to more gains (or vice versa). SOX is at a convergence of support (black trend channel and green trend line). If bulls are going to make a stand, it would be here. If not, the next stop is around 1,440.

Continued sector and stock market analysis 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.

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Sector ‘Heat Map’ Shows Cooling Appetite for Risk

Every bull market has a certain life expectancy. Nobody knows how long this bull will live, but a look at the S&P 500 industry sector ‘heat map’ shows ‘graying around the temples’ as investors rotate out of higher risk industries.

A rising tide lifts all boats. This sounds cliché, but was certainly true in 2013.

The first chart below shows the Q4 2013 performance of the nine S&P 500 sector ETFs. Those nine ETFs are:

  • Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLI)
  • Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLK)
  • Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLY)
  • Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLB)
  • Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLF)
  • Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLV)
  • Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLP)
  • Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLE)
  • Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLU)
    The ETFs are sorted based on Q4 2013 performance.

More risky, high beta sectors (red colors) like technology and consumer discretionary were red hot in the last quarter of 2013.

‘Orphan & widow’ sectors (green colors) like utilities and consumer staples lagged behind higher risk sectors.

The first chart is a snapshot of a healthy overall market. No wonder the S&P 500 ended 2013 on a high note.

The second chart shows that the tide turned in 2014. Conservative sectors are now swimming on top, while high octane sectors have sunk to the bottom of the performance chart.

This doesn’t mean the bull market is over, but the distribution of colors illustrates that investors have lost their appetite for risk (for now).

Like graying around the temples, this rotation out of risk reminds us of an aging bull market.

It’s not yet time to order the coffin, but indicators like this do warn of the potential for a deeper correction.

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.