#GOLD stocks prove there is always a bear market somewhere

This what a bear market and an outright crash looks like.

Gold and its sector stocks, after a long steady decline, went into free fall about four trading days ago and continued down virtually across the board today.

See the chart panel below for a random selection of the stocks.

Like all stocks, when the bear growls, these gold stocks can go down forever, but there were a couple of signs that the fall might be slowing in that two of the biggies – NEM and ABX — at least fell slower today (see the NEM chart below for an example).

A bounce may be due right about now for a quick scalp on the long side before any more decline. After drops like these this week, it will not surprise me if short-sellers want to log some profits for the weekend. Watch the open tomorrow for a trigger and keep a tight stop.

It must be said more downside will come with this much momentum in place. Shorting the bounce, if and whenever it comes, may be the better strategy for swing traders. The sector will be in its own bear market until it isn’t anymore and it’s going to have to base for sometime before it ever sees a bull again.

However, for the longer term, gold has had value for centuries and will again. Those who like to bottom fish and hold forever, or at least until the metals shine bright again, might start to carefully and patiently bait their lines.

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$BID And $TIF – What do the rich folk do?

They buy stocks, and spend money on all sorts of luxuries – second, third, fourth houses, paintings, baubles, antiquities… Just about anything that can be had at auction or in blue boxes.

And when they quit… Let’s just say they pull the BID (see charts below).

As bellwethers of the future market action BID (Sotheby’s) and TIF (Tiffany’s) are always worth watching. The timing is not precise but when they are long and strong the bull market is strong also but when they fall they tend to fall ahead of time. BID particularly.

Just bringing this up since I happened to notice BID seems to have had quite a sell-off lately, and it appears TIF could follow with a lot of downside space to drop into.

Just a cautionary note to remind anyone used to bull-market stock moves that whatever goes up can also go down.

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#MarketTiming – a surge that falters…

A couple of weeks ago as long-term breadth turned up in the midst of an on-going bull market suggested that the bellwether stocks that have so long mattered would move up again.

That didn’t happen.

My “bellwethers” are TSLA, NFLX, AMZN, GOOGL, TWTR, BIDU, AAPL, FB, NVDA, BABA.

Long-term breadth turned down the next day and scattered the bellwether cluster — some up, some down, some going huh, what’s happening. Four days later they again tried to rally (see the chart panel below) but Friday they were hit harder than ever. With exception now of AMZN, they are all falling apart, led by the 20% disaster in FB and now the equivalent in TWTR. This usually does not happen in bull markets.

Chart by chart they look vulnerable to more decline. If they follow through to the down side this coming week, one will have to question if this is still a bull market or is the bear market beginning to emerge.

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#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…

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Declining Margin Debt – the bullish scenario

Margin debt, money borrowed to leverage the market, has for now topped and is in decline. Before the top in February it had reached levels far beyond the surges in 2000 and 2007, which could be an ominous indication of what is to come when and if margin debt continues to unravel.

See the chart below and the charts in the link.

Does the fact that it is coming down as major players try to ease out of their leveraged positions mean the market, measured by the S&P 500 stock index (SPX), has also topped? For the time being it would appear it has but history would say that’s not necessarily so.

MARGIN DEBT AND THE MARKET

From the link:

“The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today’s dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. At the 1997 start date, we were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the start of the Tech Bubble that shaped investor sentiment during the second half of the decade. The astonishing surge in leverage in late 1999 peaked in March 2000, the same month that the S&P 500 hit its all-time daily high, although the highest monthly close for that year was five months later in August. A similar surge began in 2006, peaking in July 2007, three months before the market peak.”

Simply put, that would mean there is at least another new high coming in the new few months (the summer rally?) before any significant bearish behavior in the stocks.

The heads up is to say those highs, if they come, will be opportunities to sell, or at least tighten stops on long-term investments. A second look at the chart shows that the SPX, coming off highs in margin debt, declines close to 50%. Those were real bear markets. The next one could be worse. Regardless, no matter how low it goes, it is best to be avoided.

There are two possibilities it could be somewhat different this time. One, margin debt itself could surge to another new high along with a strong months-long market rally (see the jingle-jangle in 2015 on the chart); or two, the top is already in and the next leg down (given how astronomically high the margin debt is beyond 2000 and 2007) could be a dead bull dropping right out of the sky (they can not fly forever).

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#BankStocks – as GS and DB tumble…

It is on my my mind that we’re seeing 2007 all over again in the financial sector stocks.

During the pullback in the SPX since January, housing stocks and the bank stocks have been breaking support and beginning to “stair-step” down (see the chart below), led to the a possible 2008 cellar by DB and now with GS (a bellwether, no less) following suit.

The rest of those I follow – JPM, BAC, WFC, USB – are sitting right on support. It the market takes another hard hit (like tomorrow?), they could all be in solid downtrends.

Needless to say, as the banks and the general market tend to feed on each other in up trends, they can also eat other alive to the downside too.

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#HousingStocks – Remembering 2008…

At the advent of the 2008 bear market, the housing stocks died first, then the banks came apart, and then everything…

So witness $TOL $DHI $HOV $KBH $LEN $MDC $NVR $PHM and then ponder the banks and then ponder…

Not much more to say except to paraphrase Yogi Berra again: “It’s beginning to look like deja vu all over again.”

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#BellwetherStocks – ten bull flags still flying…

The general market took a hit today just when it appeared it could break out of its consolidation at recent lows.

All of this may be on news – Trump proposing a possible trade war with China, stewing over the Mueller investigation into everything from his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, to the crimes arising from his hush-money payoffs to a porn star and Playboy playmate, to his sons’ threatening reprisals for any foreign government not doing their bidding, to allegations everywhere of corruption, self-dealing and maybe even money laundering; and now he’s rattling missiles at Syria (which is to say, at the Russian military).

Is there an Archduke Ferdinand anywhere in Syria?

There was a time when the one thing almost certain in the stock market was that the market did not like uncertainty.

Well, Trump has been the poster boy for uncertainty since the election and yet, remarkably, the market has ignored that, focusing instead on the Republican tax cut and the ripping away of every sane and insane regulation there is. But it’s beginning to look as if it is not quite ignoring his inconsistency and incompetence anymore. Last year it was hard to get the market to go down. Now it’s hard to get it to go up.

Okay, enough of that. What about right now?

This is an update of this POST ON APRIL 5TH.

The top in place in January may have ushered in a bear market (which is my overall bias) but right now the market is trying to bounce, and maybe even rally.

Today was a setback in that effort and every day seems precarious but I want to point to my twelve bellwether stocks. Despite last Friday’s bloodbath and today’s drop, they have all held firm. In fact, ten of the stocks have bull flags (see the chart panel below). My bellwether stocks are: TSLA, NFLX, AMZN, BID, TWTR, BIDU, AAPL, GS, FB, NVDA, FSLR, BABA. All twelve are in the black from the beginning of this bounce on open of April 4th.

TSLA is leading the bounce up 17.8% , followed by NFLX up 10.%, TWTR up 9.2% and now FB, with Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress, up 9.1%.

As bellwethers these stocks are, so far, saying this market is going to have another surge to the upside soon. Probably by Friday (unless the news gets in the way).

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#MarketTiming – Plunge to a climax low?

The general market seriously tanked today – Dow down 724 points, SPX down 68, the Nasdaq Composite down 178.

And it was an across-the-board slaughter as every one of the nine sector ETFs I follow slammed into sell signals, with eight of the nine now oversold on the close.

The all-important long-term breadth indicator – the McClellan Summation index — is on its fourth day down, making it obvious which side of the market to be on, but even more telling is that this is a wind down that began nearly two weeks ago on the first day down from the bounce top on March 12th (see the chart below).

There is a lot of stuff going on that could have led to this drop — Trump, Trump’s tariff plans, Trump’s saber rattling, Trump’s staff members bailing as fast as they can, the Trump chaos (we have a sitting President in litigation with a porn star and so far she and he lawyer are kicking his and his lawyer’s butt), uncertainties springing up everywhere; and the Fed is raising interest rates.

All that is taking a toll of course but this a market that has been moving up too far and too fast so the last two weeks were at some time inevitable.

Is this a bear market? Still hard to tell. The VIX, which measures volatility, is above 20, which is the territory for a correction in a bull market, but it is for the second time this year flirting with the 25-level (it closed at 23.34 today), and that is the door to a bear market. If the SPY (SPX) takes out February low either right now or after a bounce without a significant rally, a bear’s growl may, for sure, be heard.

The trouble with bear markets is by the time everyone feels enough pain to panic they are over. I suspect if this becomes a bear market that pain is going to last a lot longer than anyone believes.

But back to today. So was this drop enough downside to make a climax low. Probably not but it could lead to another quick bounce. Given that there are now pretty defined resistance trend lines in place (see the chart), this next bounce might be worth trading but it is not likely to do anything more than produce another selling for shorting opportunity.

Regardless, this is a market that after two weeks down is oversold everywhere. Four times in the last seven days, my nifty-50 stock list has had 40 or more stocks on sells, which usually indicates the bottom of a swing or the beginning of a bottom. CNN Finance’s “Fear and Greed” index is at an “extreme fear” level (at 9…it can’t go below zero), which longer-term is usually buy territory. As noted above all of the sector ETFs, as well as the index ETFs I follow like TQQQ, UPRO and TNA, are also oversold.

All in all, time for another bounce…

Except this time, maybe a crash into a climax bottom tomorrow and Monday instead (an echo of 1987)…

SWING TRADING SIGNALS:

LONG-TERM BREADTH: Sell (Day 4).

PRICE: Sell. (Day 2).
SHORT-TERM BREADTH: Sell. (Day 1).
VOLATILITY: Sell, (Day 1).

CONTEXT:

SPY CLOSE – 263.67
QQQ CLOSE – 162.8
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: 9, falling, extreme fear level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 8 Buys; 3 Overbought, 24 Oversold, 1 new buys today, 13 new sells.

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The world according to $UVXY

The chart below says it all.

The bid is at 25.  For the past year, that has been the level that has reaped enormous rewards for swing traders.  And now the 3x-leveraged ETF is once again heading there.

It will not surprise me if the market rally from February 12th ends on UVXY 25.

(right click on the chart for a larger view)

UVXY_2016-03-14_1206