Monday, November 12, 2018

Assessing the odds of a US-China agreement

In the past week, a number of readers have expressed the conviction that US-China trade tensions are likely to ease in the near future at the upcoming Trump-Xi meeting, which will occur at the sidelines of the G20 meeting November 30-December  Bloomberg reported that American farmers are so hopeful that they are storing significant amounts of their soy crop for future sale. What are the odds that will happen?

Certainly, there are some signs of a thaw. The strength of the USD Index indicates that there is more room for CNYUSD to decline further. But the PBOC dropped a pledge to allow the market to play a larger role in setting the exchange rate in its latest quarterly monetary report, which is a signal that the central bank is prepared to intervene to cushion yuan weakness.


While the steps taken by the PBOC is a useful start, here are the challenges facing an agreement on a trade deal.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Insiders are buying, should you jump into stocks?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"



My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Bearish*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.


Insiders are buying
Regular readers will know that I have been sounding cautionary technical warnings because of a negative monthly RSI divergence and a MACD sell signal for US equities. This combination has been uncanny in the past at warning of major market tops.


On the other hand, the latest report from Open Insider shows that corporate insiders, who are known as "smart investors", have been buying the latest dip. Historically, sales (red line) exceed buys (blue line) by a significant margin. A funny thing happened during the latest correction. Sales dried up, and buys exceeded sales, which is an indication that insiders are showing confidence in the share price outlook of their own companies.


How can we square the circle of these two contradictory signals? Should investors be buying or selling equities?

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bullish or bearish? What's your time horizon?

Mid-week market update: The midterm election performed roughly as expected. The Democrats regained control of the House, and the Republicans held the Senate and even made some gains. Is this bullish or bearish for equities? It depends on your time frame.

Here is my outlook from a strictly chartist's viewpoint, starting with the long-term to the short-term.

From a very long-term perspective, the negative monthly RSI divergence and MACD sell signal is too worrisome to be ignored. These conditions suggest that the market is making a broad-based top.


The full post can be found at our new site here.

Monday, November 5, 2018

How fat tails could mean fat profits

The CBOE Short-Term Volatility Index (VXST) measures volatility over a 9-days. In effect, it's the 9-day VIX, which measures 1-month volatility.


VXST closed at 21.17 last week. indicating that the market expects an annualized volatility of 21.17% over the next 9-days. When I translate that to a weekly volatility by taking the 52nd root (52 weeks in a year), it comes to 1.1%. That figure seems low for several reasons. First, the SPX rose 2.4% last week and its low to high range was 5.9%. The midterm elections on Tuesday could pose an unknown event risk. As well, we have an FOMC meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, which could also shake up markets.

The higher than normal probability of disruptive events creates fat tails for market returns. Fat tails could mean fat profits for traders.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Was the market swoon made in China?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"




My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Bearish*
  • Trading model: Bullish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.


A made in China selloff?
There is a family joke in our household that Santa Claus doesn't live at the North Pole, but in China. That's because everything he bring says "Made in China".

There have been many explanations for the recent market swoon, such as rising rates, earnings disappointment, or earnings growth deceleration from the fading effects of the tax cuts, and so on. John Authers, who is now at Bloomberg, pointed out that the recent sell-off may have been made in China.
Volatility returned to U.S. stocks again Monday afternoon. This is still, I think, largely about forced sellers as speculators such as hedge funds get used to the reality of having to operate with less leverage. But it would be wise to note that there is obviously a Chinese component to this. Since 2016, the more a company was exposed to China, the better it had done. But that has all changed in recent weeks, and those companies are doing worse.

It's starting to look that way. After Trump tweeted about his "good conversation" with Xi Jinping, and Bloomberg reported that he asked his cabinet to draft a possible deal with China (what have they been doing all along?), global markets went full risk-on Thursday night. Stock prices reversed themselves Friday after White House officials denied that there were any cabinet preparations for a trade plan with China. The market partially recovered when Trump contradicted his staff and stated that he thinks the US will reach a trade deal with China.

If the Made in China thesis is correct, investors need to adjust the macro, fundamental, and technical analytical framework from a purely domestic focus to one more global in nature. This week, I explore the underpinnings of this hypothesis, and the steps to take should it be correct.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tricks or treats for equities?

Mid-week market update: Will investors get tricks or treats this Halloween?


Here is the good news. The sentiment backdrop was sufficiently washed-out for a reflex rally to occur. For some perspective, I refer readers to Helene Meisler's recent Real Money article:
Long time readers know I am not known for my sunny disposition when it comes to markets. I am a contrarian; when we're going up, I look for what can take us down and when we're going down I look for what can reverse us back up.

But it struck me when I took the mute off the television on Monday how really bearish everyone was. All of a sudden no one is interested in buying the dip. No one is even interesting in "picking." All of a sudden everyone is talking about at least a revisit of the February lows or more.

Remember when there were targets on the upside of 3,000 or 3,200? Now I see 2,300 or 2,200 coming out. We might get there but I find it fascinating that many of the new found bears all of a sudden want to buy the market lower.
SentimenTrader also observed that flows into inverse Rydex mutual funds have gone off the charts, and such readings have tilted heavily bullish historically.


Here is the bad news. Despite the two-day snapback rally, my models have flashed two long-term sell signals.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Contrarian ideas for a relief rally

There are good reasons to believe the market is poised for an oversold rally. As I pointed out in my last post (see How this Bear could be wrong: Exploring the bull case), the SPX is testing a key uptrend line that began in the market bottom of 2009. Initial trend line tests rarely fail, which is supportive of the bounce scenario. In addition, the market is exhibiting oversold conditions on both the 5-week RSI (top panel), and the NYSE McClellan Summation Index (NYSI, bottom panel). Such conditions have resolved themselves with relief rallies, outside of major bear legs. Even the initial downlegs of the 2007-08 bear market saw oversold rallies after the market reached such oversold conditions.


Here are a few contrarian suggestions of beaten up investment themes for an oversold rally, should it occur on a sustainable basis.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

How this Bear could be wrong: Exploring the bull case

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"


My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Neutral*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.


How I could become bullish
Three weeks ago, I explored the likelihood of a recession in 2020 and concluded that while my panel of recession indicators were not bright red, they were flickering (see A recession in 2020?).

I have been increasingly cautious about the equity outlook since August (see 10 or more technical reasons to be cautious on stocks and The macro risks that keep me awake at night). My call for caution has been correct so far. The latest update from John Butters of FactSet shows that the market is not responding to good news during Q3 earnings season. Stocks that beat expectations saw their prices fall at a level that was last seen in 2011. This is all occurring when the EPS and sales beat rates are either average or slightly average compared to their 5-year averages.


The negative stock price response to EPS beats cannot be attributable to a negative overall tone to the market. As the chart below shows, companies that have beaten expectations performed slightly worse than ones that reported in-line, while companies that disappointed were punished.




Here is what's bothering me. A recent Bloomberg article indicated that two-thirds of business economists expect a recession by the end of 2020. .A 2020 recession is becoming the consensus call, and being in the consensus makes me highly uncomfortable. While I recognize that recessions have historically been bull market killers, what if the consensus is wrong?

Here are some possibilities that could turn me bullish. While I remain cautious on stocks and these do not represent my base case scenarios, any of these outcomes could make me more constructive on equities.

The full post can be found at our new site here.


Thursday, October 25, 2018

How short-sellers can get hurt in a bear market

This is a cautionary tale about the importance of return objectives and risk control. Regular readers know that while my trading model has not be perfect, it has been quite good for swing trading purposes.



So far in the month of October, my main trading account is up 7.1%, while the SPY is -7.1%. I don't write this to brag, but to illustrate a point. A secondary account that trades the exact same signals, but uses a more aggressive leverage ratio, underperformed at 5.2%.

This brings up my point about defining return objectives and risk control.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Defensive and Value leadership = Bear market?

Mid-week market update: I am publishing my mid-week market update early in light of the recent market volatility.

I use the Relative Rotation Graphs, or RRG charts, as the primary tool for the analysis of sector and style leadership. As an explanation, RRG charts are a way of depicting the changes in leadership in different groups, such as sectors, countries or regions, or market factors. The charts are organized into four quadrants. The typical group rotation pattern occurs in a clockwise fashion. Leading groups (top right) deteriorate to weakening groups (bottom right), which then rotates to lagging groups (bottom left), which changes to improving groups (top left), and finally completes the cycle by improving to leading groups (top right) again.

RRG analysis through a style, or factor, lens. Growth styles have been weak and they are located in the bottom half of the chart. By contrast, value styles such as dividend growth, high quality, large cap value are ascendant.



The RRG chart through a sector rotation lens tells a similar story. High beta sectors, such as technology, communication services, and consumer discretionary stocks are in the bottom half, indicating weakness. By contrast, defensive sectors such as healthcare, utilities and consumer staples are strong.


This kind of market action can be interpreted in two ways. On one hand, it is not unusual to see defensive sectors become the sector leaders during a market pullback. Once the bulls regain their footing, the high beta sectors can regain their footing and lead the market upwards again. On the other hand, the emergence of defensive and value leadership can be a signal of a regime shift where the bears are slowly taking control of the tape.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The brewing storm in Asia

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"


My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.


The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Neutral*
  • Trading model: Bullish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.


Looking for the risk in the wrong places?
Waiting for China to report its Q3 GDP growth used to be not very suspenseful. Is it going to be 6.7%, which was the last report, or will they allow it to fall to 6.6%, which is the market expectation? As it turned out, Q3 GDP came in at 6.5%, which was below market expectations, and a possible signal of acute weakness in the Chinese economy.



Notwithstanding the highly manipulated economic statistics coming from China, I have been monitoring the real-time signal of the China rebalancing theme using my long New (consumer) China ETF and short Old (finance and infrastructure) China ETF pairs for quite some time. The two pairs consist of long Invesco Golden Dragon China (PBJ) and short iShares China (FXI), and long Global X China Consumer ETF (CHIQ) and short Global X China Financial ETF (CHIQ). As the chart below shows, New (consumer) China has been dramatically underperforming Old (finance and infrastructure) China.



To add insult to injury, Old China is also performing badly on an absolute basis. Last week, I outlined a number of disparate real-time bearish tripwires (see A correction, or the start of a bear market?). Most of the indicators focused on either US or global macro factors. One was the share of major Chinese property developers because property prices are sensitive barometers of financial stress, and rising financial stress would be especially important in light of the high degree of leverage in the Chinese financial system.

The share prices of Chinese property developers are weakening, and in some cases breaking down technically. When I focused on US indicators, I may have been looking for risk in all the wrong places.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Is there any more pop after the drop?

Mid-week market update: Is there any more "pop" after last week's drop? The market certainly had a big rally yesterday, and it is not unusual to see a pause the day after a big move.



Here are the bull and bear cases.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Tops are processes: Here's why

I received a ton of comments after yesterday's post (see A correction, or the start of a bear market?), probably because of the tumultuous nature of last week's market action. Readers pointed out a number of buy and sell signals that I had missed in yesterday's post and asked me to comment on them. (Rather than email me directly, I encourage everyone to put their comments in the comments section rather so that the rest of the community can see them.)

The bullish and bearish signals are not necessarily contradictory, as they operate in different time frames. I believe that they reinforce my conviction that the market is undergoing a long-term top. Tops are processes. Stock prices don`t go straight down when the market tops out. The most recent break was just a warning.

Even if you are bearish, I reiterate my view that the markets are too oversold to meltdown from current levels. Rob Hanna of Quantifiable Edges found that market bounces that begin on a Friday tend to be the most reliably bullish.



Here is the other feedback that I received which makes me believe that the US equity market is in the process of making a top.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A correction, or the start of a bear market?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"


My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.



The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Neutral*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.


Where's the bottom?
When the market selloff began last Wednesday, Callum Thomas conducted an (unscientific) Twitter poll asking if this is a correction, the start of a bear market, or just market noise. The overwhelming response favored a correction, which is contrarian bearish from a sentiment viewpoint.



Regular readers know that I have become increasingly cautious on the outlook for US equities since August (see 10 or more technical reasons to be cautious on stocks and Red sky in the morning). Now that the major US averages have begun to show signs of technical breakdowns, it is time to ask, "Is this just a correction, or the start of a bear market?"

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Things you don't see at market bottoms: Booming confidence edition

The last time I published a post in a series of "things you don't see at market bottoms" based on US based investor enthusiasm was in June. Sufficient signs have emerged again for another edition.

As a reminder, it is said that while bottoms are events, but tops are processes. Translated, markets bottom out when panic sets in, and therefore they can be more easily identifiable. By contrast, market tops form when a series of conditions come together, but not necessarily all at the same time. My experience has shown that overly bullish sentiment should be viewed as a condition indicator, and not a market timing tool.

Past editions of this series include:
I reiterate my belief that excessively bullish sentiment may not signal the top of the equity market, but investors should be aware of the risks of an environment in which sentiment has become increasingly frothy.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Has the correction bottomed? What`s next?

Mid-week market update: Is the correction over? At least my inner trader had been positioned for market weakness. Subscribers who had been following my inner trader, you know that we issued real-time alerts to buy the market on September 12, 2018 and flipped short on September 21, 2018. (You can subscribe here if you haven't done so).



Where's the bottom?

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

More cracks appear in the New Fragile Five

Recessions serve to unwind the excesses of the past expansion cycle. While the immediate odds of a US recession is still relatively low right now (see A recession in 2020?), and there are few excesses in the economy, the problems are found outside US borders. This time, most of the excessive private debt accumulation has occurred in China, and Canada.

I wrote about the New Fragile Five last March. Loomis Sayles made the case for these countries to be the New Fragile Five, which includes Canada, based on unsustainable real estate bubbles:
Cracks are starting to appear in five highly leveraged economies: Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. For several years following the global financial crisis, these five countries all shared a common theme—a multi-year housing boom, fueled by low interest rates, which resulted in very elevated levels of household debt.

This boom is starting to dissipate in all five markets. House prices have largely reversed course, be it slowing appreciation or outright decline. Moreover, this is occurring even as interest rates remain at or near record lows and labor markets continue to be robust. Importantly, this is a correction that many thought could not occur given the otherwise strong economic growth backdrop in these countries. But we take a long-term view of house prices, and began highlighting affordability problems in these markets several years ago.

Signs are growing that those property bubbles are popping.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A recession in 2020?

Preface: Explaining our market timing models
We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.

The Trend Model is an asset allocation model which applies trend following principles based on the inputs of global stock and commodity price. This model has a shorter time horizon and tends to turn over about 4-6 times a year. In essence, it seeks to answer the question, "Is the trend in the global economy expansion (bullish) or contraction (bearish)?"


My inner trader uses the trading component of the Trend Model to look for changes in the direction of the main Trend Model signal. A bullish Trend Model signal that gets less bullish is a trading "sell" signal. Conversely, a bearish Trend Model signal that gets less bearish is a trading "buy" signal. The history of actual out-of-sample (not backtested) signals of the trading model are shown by the arrows in the chart below. The turnover rate of the trading model is high, and it has varied between 150% to 200% per month.

Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts are updated weekly here. The hypothetical trading record of the trading model of the real-time alerts that began in March 2016 is shown below.


The latest signals of each model are as follows:
  • Ultimate market timing model: Buy equities*
  • Trend Model signal: Neutral*
  • Trading model: Bearish*
* The performance chart and model readings have been delayed by a week out of respect to our paying subscribers.

Update schedule: I generally update model readings on my site on weekends and tweet mid-week observations at @humblestudent. Subscribers receive real-time alerts of trading model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the those email alerts is shown here.


The 2020 recession consensus call
In the past few months, there has been a cacophony of voices calling for a recession or significant slowdown in 2020, such as Ben Bernanke (via Bloomberg), and Ray Dalio (via Business Insider). Bloomberg reported that two-thirds of business economists expect a recession by the end of 2020.

To be sure, the American economy is exhibiting behavior consistent with a late cycle expansion. Estimates of the output gap show that both the US and developed economies are running at, or above capacity, which are usually signs that a recession is just around the corner.


How close is the American economy to a recession? I answer that question using the long-leading indicator methodology outlined by New Deal democrat (NDD) in 2015. These indicators are designed to spot a recession about a year in advance, and they are broadly categorized into three groups (my words, not his):
  • The consumer or household sector
  • The corporate sector
  • Monetary conditions
I would add the disclaimer that while the analytical framework comes from NDD, the interpretation of the output is entirely mine.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Style and factor analysis reveals the challenges for bulls and bears

Mid-week market update: The Dow has made another record high. Most technical analysts would interpret such a development bullishly as there is nothing more bullish than a stock or index making a new all-time high. However, there is the nagging problem of poor breadth.

In the past few weeks, I have been warning about the precarious technical condition of the stock market. On Monday, I wrote about the narrowing Bollinger Band of the VIX Index, which is a sign of complacency, and the pattern of declining new highs on both NYSE and NASDAQ stocks even as the market advanced to all-time highs (see The calm before the storm?). The negative breadth divergence has gotten so that that it has prompted analysts like SentimenTrader to point out the ominous historical parallels with the Tech Bubble top.


He also highlighted the historical record of poor breadth when the DJIA made a new high.



Rather than obsess endless about the negative breadth divergence, I examined performance market cap, style, or factor, rotation. The analysis yielded some surprising answers, and laid out the challenges for the bulls and bears.

The full post can be found at our new site here.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The calm before the storm?

Notwithstanding today's NAFTA USMCA driven reflex rally today, one puzzle to this market is the remarkable level of complacency in the face of potential market moving events, such as a trade war.

From a technical perspective, complacency can be seen through the historically low level of weekly Bollinger Band on the VIX Index, which has foreshadowed volatility spikes (h/t Andrew Thrasher). The chart below depicts the 10-year history of this indicator. While the sample size is small (N=5), four of the five past instances have seen market corrections (red vertical lines). The only exception occurred when the stock market had already weakened. When combined with episodes of low levels of NYSE and NASDAQ new highs, which is the case today, the outlook is particularly worrisome.


The full post can be found at our new site here.