#MarketTiming – $SPY ready for a Santa Claus Rally?

I’ve always been confused at what constitutes as”Santa Claus” or Christmas rally mainly because in bullish years, most years, the market rallies into Christmas and right on up into January so it’s hard to tell what is distinctive about Christmas itself.

This obviously is not one of those years.

SPY has come into Christmas in a free fall, eight consecutive days down (see the chart below), fueled by bad news (the usual Trump stuff) but mostly from being so ridiculously overbought and speculative something had to give. It is down now 20%, which makes this an “official” bear market.

My last post here was December 4th, 20 days ago. There has been no need to give a general-market update since the unraveling of margin debt has ruled this slam down and will likely keep doing so as the bear market continues its decline for some time to come.

So what about a Santa Claus Rally now?

Given the difference this year from so many others, I decided to seek out a simple definition of the possible phenomenon, went to Investopedia, Seeking Alpha, The Street, and eventually to Wikipedia which pretty much summed up all the others had to say:

A Santa Claus rally is a rise in stock prices in the month of December, generally seen over the final week of trading prior to the new year. It is a type of calendar effect.

There is no generally accepted explanation for the phenomenon. The rally is sometimes attributed to increased investor purchases in anticipation of the January effect, an injection of additional funds into the market, and to additional trades which must, for accounting and tax reasons, be completed by the end of the year. Other reasons for the rally may be fund managers “window dressing” their holdings with stocks that have performed well, and the domination of the market by less prudent retail traders as bigger institutional investors leave for December vacations.

The Santa Claus rally is also known as the “December Effect” and was first recorded by Yale Hirsch in his Stock Traders Almanac in 1972. An average rally of 1.3% has been noted during the last five trading days of December for the NYSE since 1950. December is typically also characterized by highest average returns, and is higher more often than other months.

The failure of the Santa Claus rally to materialize typically portends a poor economic outlook for the coming year; a lack of the rally has often served as harbinger of flat or bearish market trends in the succeeding year.

That last line in the quote is probably giving already-battered bulls further heart palpitations but let’s consider how oversold this market is and the chances of a rally coming.

Short-term breadth (the McClellan Oscillator) is near a level last seen at the February low this year and down four days in a row (four is a magic number) and at a level which usually generates at least a violent bounce if not an ultimate bottom of a down swing. My nifty-50-stock list has had 40 or more stocks on sells for two days now (48 on Friday, 43 yesterday, an uptick) — another sign, if not of the bottom of a down swing, or at least the beginning of a bottom. The VIX, solidly in bear-market territory above 25 has been screaming up for seven straight days. In standard deviations of average declines SPY is down more than has been seen in at least a year (I keep track of only a year). CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed” index is at two!

I guess what I’m saying is this market is down so far so fast it is bound to bounce any day, any minute… If short term breadth had clicked up Monday with the market at new lows I’d be more confident Santa is here with more than a lump of coal for the bulls, but one can not have everything, even at Christmastime.

I am a bear, and as recorded in these posts, have been pretty much from the top this year. With sector by sector falling apart, and stocks all over the place in bear-markets of their own, and the pot stocks becoming the leading sector at the end, it was rather obvious the bull was about to stumble and die.

But in the spirit of Christmas, let’s give bulls a bit of relief.

The last time I ventured a guess as to high an upswing might go, I suggested the 281 neighborhood (see the chart below) I’m not good at that kind of guessing but luckily nailed that one as SPY hit a high at 280.40 before ending the run around a closing 279. So I’ll venture another guess. If this is a fierce, multi-day run up into early January, in other words a “Santa Claus Rally”, it could get to the 250 neighborhood (see the chart) with 255 to 260 as formidable resistance beyond that.

(But, bulls, don’t let this bit of relief become a beacon of false hope, this will be, if it does come, another rally to sell.)

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$LVS $WYNN – “No one knows how to bankrupt casinos like I do.”

I made up the quote in the headline on this post but I’d bet the first thought of everyone — EVERYONE — who read it was Donald Trump said that?!

He might as well have (maybe he has sometime in his daily incoherence). Before he got into the money laundering business with the Russian Oligarchs, he owned casinos in Atlantic City. They all went broke.

He doesn’t own any gambling palaces anymore but it appears as President he’d like to help bankrupt those of his friends as well, like a hobby on the side. Both Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn are big Trump supports. Or at least they have been. Looking at what’s happening to the shares of their companies, one wonders if they still are. If they are, what’s the matter with them?

This probably has to do with the way Trump has managed to get the Chinese to quit playing games of chance but who knows? Maybe it’s just his “golden touch” in casinos is contagious? Or maybe, a more obviously, it might be, as much as fools wants to tout the supposed merits of a businessman in the White House, every fool needs to remember the last one was Herbert Hoover.

The worst is likely not over for LVS and WYNN, and the down staircases like these here (see the charts below) are likely going to get built soon in a lot of other stocks, and a lot of market sectors (even now take a glance at housing stocks and bank stocks and place bets).

(click on the charts for a larger view)

$CWX – What a difference a day makes

Corrections Corporation of American back in the growth business?

(right click on chart for a larger image)

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FIRST THEY CAME

First they came …” is a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis‘ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility.

The best-known versions of the speech are the poems that began circulating by the 1950s.[1] The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many poetic versions of the speech:[2]

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

 

 

#Banks – Someone said there’s a rally?

Since February 12th the stock market has been rallying strongly.

So what’s with these guys?

And to top it off, Bloomberg had an article this morning on CEO compensation at the biggest banks.  Now we know where all the QE went.

(click on image for a larger view)

Banks_2016-03-17_0844

 

$XLF – Deja vu all over again

Not to make too much of this but…

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest U.S. residential mortgage lender and a major lender to the energy industry, reported a slight dip in quarterly profit on Friday as it set aside more money to cover bad loans to oil and gas companies.

Walls Fargo – whose latest balance sheet showed it had replaced Citigroup Inc as the third-largest U.S. bank – managed to increase revenue from mortgage banking for the first time in three quarters in the three months ended Dec. 31.

But its exposure to energy loans meant provisions for credit losses jumped by about $346 million from a year earlier to $831 million. Of the increase, about $159 million was mainly for oil and gas loans.

In the fourth quarter alone, the bank’s wholesale division set aside $90 million more for bad loans than in the third quarter, primarily for loans to energy companies.

And it has been reported the bank has as much as $17 billion in outstanding loans to energy companies.  Wells Fargo is already admitting bad loans to energy but what about the rest of the big banks? Given the tumble in energy and its various companies (especially frackers) one has to wonder how much the sector is running on credit from the major banks (one suspects a lot), and how many of those loans are in jeopardy of default.

For the “deja vu all over again” (as Yogi would put it) see charts below:

Back in 2007, prior to the free fall of the financial sector into the crisis of 2008, the housing sector (ITB), so important in bank lending, was falling apart for a full five months while the financial sector continued to make new highs, until both sectors crashed in lockstep.

(right click on chart for a larger image)

housing_20072016-01-15_1750

This time around the energy sector (XLE) has been falling for 10 months while stocks in the banking sector continued to make new highs.   Both sectors are now both in sync…and going down…

How far?  No telling, but there is some historical precedent for sector divergences such as these.

(right click on chart for a larger image)

Energy_2016_2016-01-15_1750

 

 

 

#Solar Stocks shine again

Every month or so I’ve written about renewable energy, particularly solar stocks.  Since is been a month since I’ve written about anything here, I thought I’d start up again with this old favorite.

The bottom line in stock selection is “when in doubt buy renewable energy.”

As I’ve said before (back in August, see blog post below):

Always a good sector to buy with any market rally, solar may be the best chance to rack up a 50% gain in the next couple of months.  Longer-term, no matter how volatile, it is a growth sector and preferable in the future to investing in fossil fuel stocks of any kind, particularly better than coal.

As it turned out I may have underestimated the sector.

Witness this past month in solar stocks (right click to view a larger  image):

solar_2015-12-18_0932

 

 

$GPRO and $FIT – a tale of two “Gadget Stocks”

GoPro Inc. (GPRO) and Fitbit Inc. (FIT) sell gadgets, a versatile moving camera and mount, and a wrist fitness monitor respectively.

Not much to say about these equities that is not obvious now and was obvious from the start — they have limited product lines that appeal to niche consumers who will buy fast and quit buying as quickly. Never fails that the stocks like these run up in a hurry on what is essentially a fad and fade as soon as the fad wears off and/or the market is saturated.

Which is why, once again, market timing and technical analysis prove their worth in profiting from both runs up and sells down.

With my latest short-term market-timing signal to sell the market and short stocks from the open of November 5th, GPRO has a short profit of 8.7 percent and FIT a short profit of 15.2 percent as of the close today.  With the market oversold it is time to either tighten stops to protect profits or just take the money and run.

Should be noted that GPRO has been in a hard selloff of more than 50 percent since August and longer term shows no sign of stopping that decline.  FIT is just coming back into its IPO day, a level it better hold or it’ll soon look like GPRO longer term.

(click on chart for larger image)

Gadgets2015-11-12_1257

$REM – A Possible Triple-Bottom At Support with a 14.83% Yield

The question for REM, the iShares Mortgage Real Estate Capped ETF, is it at a triple-bottom support or on a pause in an obvious down trend before a plummet into oblivion?

But the real question may be — is the technically over-sold condition in REM a sign that all the bad news from the Federal Reserve’s upcoming anticipated interest-rate hike already in the stock?  Hard to tell, it is already down eight percent for the year.  That may be enough.

The stock, which closed today at $9.91, has a yearly range from $12.69 to $9.76.

The triple-bottom at $9.76 is only a possibility since it always takes a confirming rally to complete the technical formation.  That clearly has not happened…yet.

Almost needless to say, the ETF’s current 14.83 yield (as of Oct 31, according to Yahoo Finance) is compelling.

And, at this point the good news for traders, and for long-term investors who refuse to look at red ink each day no matter what the yield, is the stop loss, if the down trend is bound to continue, is nearby.  Quite frankly I, for one, do not want to be here if this possible triple-bottom at 9.75 gets taken out (after all this could also be, technically speaking, a massive descending triangle with lots of downside left…gulp!).

(click on image for a larger chart)

REM_2015-11-10_1438

A Tale Of Three Biotechs – $SRPT $INSY $RTRX

11/4/2015

A pure technical play for day and swing traders.

Serepta Therapeutic (SRPT), Insys Therapeutics (INSY) and Retrophin, Inc. (RTRX) are three of the many biotech stocks to have had substantial tumbles since the bloom went off this leading sector with the advent of fall.

Each stock is in a down trend with with SRPT up 23.6 percent on its latest longer-term short signal, INSY up 22.7 percent short, and RTRX up 38.6 percent short, all of this in the midst of a screaming market rally.

It the market wavers (and it looks as if it is beginning to), it is likely these three stocks are about to take another step down and give traders a chance to scalp profits or to have another opportunity to get on the overall down trend..

All three of these health-care equities managed to move no more than sideways during the latest market rally becoming short-term overbought.  Each have now have given individual sell signals.

These are shorts on tomorrow’s open with initial stops at yesterdays highs.

If the market, which is wildly overextended, comes down on top of them, I’m looking for all three to challenge if not break their recent lows.  For SRPT that’s around 24, for INSY approximately 22, and for RTRX 17.20.

(click on chart for a larger view)

bioteches_2015-11-04_1434