#HousingStocks and the three little bears…

It is nearly impossible to call a market top before it becomes obvious it has already happened but the housing stocks have come closest in the past to doing it.

Which is why I keep an eye on LEN, KBH, DHI, MDC, NVR, TOL, PHM AND TOL. If all is not quite well with the market (and the economy for that matter), they are often the first to show the strain.

As far back as December of last year I posted an entry here at what I suspected might the first warning sign:

Gonna Huff and Puff and Blow Your House Down

And again in early February of this year, as the SPY began to break down, being led by the housing sector, I posted a warning here to also watch the banking stocks:

Housing stocks – the tails that wag the banking dogs

And finally this last April 24th, another post looking back at the history of these tell-tale stocks:

Housing stocks – Remembering 2008

Which bring us to today.

The ten-year bond rate went through 3% for the first time since 2011, with no sign of turning back, and it appears (obviously) the housing sector did not like it (see the chart panel below).

In 2007, this sector had a long sideways to up move after the initial hard break that had all the stock pundits (on CNBC and elsewhere) proclaiming the market pull back was over. The banks were even making new highs at the time (they are not now).

Then the plunge began into 2008.

The hard break in this sector this year has many of these same housing stocks down 20% already. And they have moved generally sideways — some with a downward bias — since mid-February before today’s four and five percent drops as it appears they are breaking down from their months-long consolidations just like last time.

On the chart panel below, see LEN, DHI, TOL and HOV particularly.

Is this the sign the bears have noticed this Goldilocks bull market has been eating their porridge and sleeping in their bed for far too long? There is a chance they are about to chase her out of the house running for her life into the deep dark forest of the time to come. And if so, the banking stocks will scurry after…

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$KBE – Are these banks or the walking dead?

Long-term market breadth has been rising for nine days.  That usually takes most stocks in the same direction.  After all, if a stock isn’t rallying when it has the entire market on its side, when is it going to rally?

So, consider the banking sector…

JPM, BAC, GS, WFC, DB, KBE (the ETF for the sector) are all falling while breadth is positive (see the rising green in the middle of each chart below), and now all of these stocks have broken support falling out of their respective consolidations (see the blue boxes on the charts below).

Don’t those boxes look a lot like coffins?  So is this out of the coffin and into the grave like “out of the frying pan and into the fire”?

Enough fiddling around.

If you’re a bull this is not a sector you want to see lagging, let along falling apart.  So here’s the heads-up, they’re likely going down.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

 

 

$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