Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Can stocks avoid the seasonal swoon?

Mid-week market update: Evidence of a negative seasonal pattern has been circulating on the internet for the S&P 500. As one of many examples, LPL Financial pointed out that the S&P 500 has typically topped out in early August and slides into late September.


While past performance is no guarantee of future returns, will 2021 repeat the past seasonal pattern? Can the stock market avoid negative seasonality?

Here are the bull and bear cases. The full post can be found here.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

A whiff of rotation in the air

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 Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model that 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. The performance and full details of a model portfolio based on the out-of-sample signals of the Trend Model can be found here.


My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the email alerts is 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: Bullish*
  • Trading model: Neutral*
* 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 those email alerts is shown here.

Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.


Unanswered questions
As the S&P 500 advanced to fresh highs despite widespread evidence of negative RSI and breadth divergences, the market faces a number of unanswered questions that may be indicative of possible impending leadership rotation.



How the market resolves those questions will be clues to the next major leg for stock prices.

The full post can be found here.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Sector review: Balanced leadership and rotation

It`s time for another periodic review of sector leadership. For the purposes of analyzing changes in leadership, 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.

The latest RRG chart shows growth sectors (technology, communication services) and selected defensive sectors (consumer staples, healthcare, REITs) in the top half of the chart, indicating leadership positions. Value and cyclical sectors are the laggards in the bottom half.


While the RRG snapshot is technically correct. A more detailed factor and sector review reveal a more nuanced picture of the market`s leadership evolution.

The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The remarkably resilient stock market

The Chinese markets panicked on the news of government crackdowns on technology and education companies. As well, Beijing has been working to restrict the flow of credit to property developers in order to stabilize real estate prices. In reaction, foreigners have been panic selling Chinese tech on high volume.


Despite all of this carnage, the S&P 500 has been remarkably resilient.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Another chance to buy the panic

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 Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model that 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. The performance and full details of a model portfolio based on the out-of-sample signals of the Trend Model can be found here.


My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the email alerts is 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: Bullish*
  • 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 those email alerts is shown here.

Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.


A magazine cover buy signal?
Investors and traders who stepped up and bought into the market panic last Monday profited handsomely when stock prices staged a relief rally. Another panic opportunity may be presenting itself, this time in the energy sector.

Historically, The Economist magazine covers have been excellent contrarian market signals (see What a bond market rally could mean for your investments). The Economist may have done it again this week with a focus on the global warming effects of heat waves in North American and floods in Germany.


Notwithstanding the public policy issues, which are beyond my pay grade, here is what it could mean for selected energy equities.

The full post can be found here.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

What you should and shouldn't worry about

The S&P 500 took fright last Monday and skidded -1.6% after falling -0.8% the previous Friday. Talking heads attributed the decline to worries about the rising incidence of the Delta variant around the world.


Fears over the Delta variant slowing economic growth are overblown. However, there are two other key risks that equity investors should be watching.

The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The anatomy of an air pocket

Mid-week market update: I could tell that a panic bottom was near on Monday when how many people had lost their minds when the S&P 500 fell -3.7% from its intraday all-time high, both from my social media feed and emails (see A sudden risk-off panic). The S&P 500 rallied impressively on Tuesday to fill Monday's downside gap, and today's follow-up was equally constructive.


Despite the market's recovery, the bulls aren't out of the woods and downside risks remain. Here's why.

The full post can be found here.

Monday, July 19, 2021

A sudden risk-off panic

The markets opened with a risk-off tone overnight in Asia, The selloff continued in Europe, and now it is in North America. The talking heads on television have attributed the weakness to COVIE-19 jitters over the spread of the Delta variant.

Panic is starting to set in as the S&P 500 approaches a test of its 50 dma. The term structure of the VIX futures curve is starting to invert. The 9-day VIX is now above the 1-month VIX (bottom panel), though the 3-month VIX remains above the 1-month VIX. 


Coincidentally, I also received this morning several emails raising concerns about the stock market. I would argue instead that this is not a time to abandon long positions. Instead, the market weakness represents an opportunity to tactically add to long positions.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

A glass half full, or empty?

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 Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model that 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. The performance and full details of a model portfolio based on the out-of-sample signals of the Trend Model can be found here.


My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the email alerts is 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: Bullish*
  • Trading model: Neutral*
* 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 those email alerts is shown here.

Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.


Easy to be bearish
As a chartist, it's easy to be bearish. After all, the market is experiencing numerous negative breadth divergences. 


Beneath the surface, however, the technical narrative can better be described a "glass half full, or half empty" dilemma.

The full post can be found here.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

How to engineer inflation

Both the June CPI and PPI came in hot and well ahead of expectations. There was the inevitable debate about the transitory nature of the price increases. Looking longer-term, however, the conventional models for explaining inflation have been unsatisfactory. 

Notwithstanding the numerous failures by Japanese policymakers, consider the US as another example. Let's begin with fiscal policy. It is said that deficit spending would lead to currency devaluation and inflation in the manner of the Weimar Republic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The blue line represents federal government deficits as a percentage of GDP. Deficits began to balloon in the early 1980`s with the Reagan Revolution and continued during the Bush I era. Did inflation (purple line) explode upward?

Monetary policy had its own failure. Monetarist Theory, as popularized by Milton Friedman, was another model that backtested well but failed out of the box. Friedman postulated that the PQ=MV, where the Price X Quantity of goods and services (or GDP) = Money Supply X (Monetary) Velocity. Friedman theorized that, over the long run, monetary velocity is stable, and therefore money supply growth determines inflation. All central banks had to do was to control money growth in order to control inflation.

It worked until about 1980. Monetary velocity had been stable until about then. Money growth didn't generate inflation because monetary velocity fluctuated wildly. Growth in money supply, as measured by M1, was often matched by declines in velocity. The Fed could engineer money growth and inject liquidity into the financial system without creating inflation.


In the face of the apparent failure of these conventional models, I offer an alternative vision of inflation and discuss the implications for investors.

The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

High expectations for earnings season

Mid-week market update: As the market enters into Q2 earnings season, FactSet reported that consensus estimates are calling for an astounding 63.3% YoY EPS growth.


While that growth estimate appears to be a high bar, investors have to keep in mind the low base effect. As well, the historical record shows that actual growth has tended to exceed estimates. In other words, the bears shouldn't count on earnings disappointment as a catalyst for a price downdraft.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Respect the uptrend

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 Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model that 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. The performance and full details of a model portfolio based on the out-of-sample signals of the Trend Model can be found here.


My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the email alerts is 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: Bullish*
  • Trading model: Neutral*
* 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 those email alerts is shown here.

Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.


Brace for minor bumpiness
It finally happened. After all of the warnings about negative breadth divergences, it looks like the S&P 500 took a pause from the upper Bollinger Band ride that I identified last week.



While the stock market may experience some minor bumpiness, investors should nevertheless respect the market's uptrend and expect any pullback to be relatively shallow.

The full post can be found here.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Seven reasons to fade the growth scare

It is astonishing to see the market narrative shift in the space of only a few months from "inflation is coming" to a growth scare. In late March, the 10-year Treasury yield topped at over 1.7% and the 2s10s yield curve was steepening. Today, the 10-year has decisively broken support and the yield curve is flattening, indicating fears of slowing economic growth.


In late May, I forecasted bond market price strength and called for a counter-trend rally in growth stocks (see What a bond market rally could mean for your investments) but the latest move in both yields and growth appear exhaustive. As evidence of the change in psychology, Bloomberg reported that put option premiums over calls on the 10-Year Treasury Note have vanished. Traders are now paying more for call options than put options.


Here are seven reasons why investors should fade the growth scare.

The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

U-S-A! U-S-A! But for how long?

Mid-week market update: The US markets have surged recently relative to global equity markets, as measured by MSCI All-Country World Index (ACWI). Developed markets (EAFE) and emerging markets (EM) have weakened on a relative basis.


How long can this last? The S&P 500 is testing an important resistance level that could lead to an all-time relative high for US stocks. The renewal of US leadership has coincided with a display of strength of growth over value.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

The resiliency of the S&P 500

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 Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model that 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. The performance and full details of a model portfolio based on the out-of-sample signals of the Trend Model can be found here.


My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the email alerts is 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: Bullish*
  • Trading model: Neutral*
* 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 those email alerts is shown here.

Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.


An upper BB ride
Despite all of the warnings about negative breadth, the S&P 500 has been undergoing a ride along its upper Bollinger Band while exibiting a "good" overbought condition.


While conventional technical analysis would view episodes of negative breadth divergences as bearish, there are good reasons for the bullish resilience of the S&P 500.

The full post can be found here.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

How to navigate the mid-cycle expansion

It's been over a year since the stock market bottom at the height of the Pandemic Panic. The market consensus has evolved from an early cycle recovery to a mid-cycle expansion, as evidenced by the BoA Global Fund Manager Survey.


What that means for investors? Here are the key questions we focus on:
  • What's the outlook for the S&P 500?
  • What will be the market leadership?
  • What's the outlook for commodities, Treasury yields, and the USD?
The full post can be found here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Why the stock market isn't going to crash

Mid-week market update: I've had a number of questions from readers about the warnings of imminent market declines from SentimenTrader. In this post, Jason Goepfert's headline was "This Led to Declines Every Time in the Past 93 Years". He highlighted the market's poor breadth, as measured by the percentage of stocks above their 50 dma.
Going back to the mid-1920's, there have only been a handful of dates with breaks like this. It happened in 1929, 1959, 1963, 1972, 1998, and 1999, and all of them ended up preceding losses in stocks.

Relax, the market isn't going to crash. Here's why.

The full post can be found here.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Bitcoin's existential threat

I have been asked to comment on Bitcoin. On a short-term basis, BTC is testing support while exhibiting a positive RSI divergence. That's the good news.



The bad news is BTC and other cryptocurrencies are facing an existential threat.

The full post can be found here.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Measuring the effects of the Fed's reversal

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 Asset Allocation Model is an asset allocation model that 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. The performance and full details of a model portfolio based on the out-of-sample signals of the Trend Model can be found here.



My inner trader uses a trading model, which is a blend of price momentum (is the Trend Model becoming more bullish, or bearish?) and overbought/oversold extremes (don't buy if the trend is overbought, and vice versa). Subscribers receive real-time alerts of model changes, and a hypothetical trading record of the email alerts is 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: Bullish*
  • Trading model: Neutral*
* 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 those email alerts is shown here.

Subscribers can access the latest signal in real-time here.


The Fed's hawkish pivot and reversal
In the wake of the Fed's unexpected hawkish message, the markets adopted a risk-off tone the week of the FOMC meeting. As Fed officials walked back the aggressuve rhetoric, both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 resumed their advance and climbed to all-time highs.


Beneath the surface, however, there was some unfinished business as the internal rotation sparked by the FOMC meeting hasn't unwound itself. Let's take a more detailed look.

The full post can be found here.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Fed's next challenge: Wage pressure

Stock markets were rattled by the Fed's hawkish tone in the wake of the FOMC meeting. Markets took a risk-off tone, but Jerome Powell walked back some of the hawkishness during his Congressional testimony the following week. The Fed Chair stuck to his familiar refrain that inflation is transitory, dismissed the idea of 1970s-style inflation as “very, very unlikely”, and unemployment is transitory but labor markets need continued support.


In response, the markets rebounded and prices largely made in round-trip in pricing in most asset classes. But in order for the markets to continue accept the Fed's narrative, the next challenge for the Fed is cost-push inflation in the form of wage pressure. This will become more apparent with the release of the June Employment Report in the coming week.

The full post can be found here.