Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The contrarian message from rotation analysis

Mid-week market update: Occasionally, it is useful to step back and view the market through a different prism. I was reviewing the RRG charts of sector, region, and factor, and I found that they are all telling a similar story.

First, let's start with a primer. Relative Rotation Graphs, or 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 sector rotation chart shows that financial stocks and cyclical stocks (energy, industrials, materials) are the leading groups, but they are weakening. By contrast, defensive sectors are starting to improve from the lagging quadrant to improving. In particular, the upgrade of interest sensitive utilities from lagging to improving quadrant is consistent with the nascent counter-trend rally seen in the bond market.

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