$SPX $SPY – walking the edge of the long-term cliff…

As we end another month and the first half of the year, I thought I’d take a quick look at a long-term monthly of chart of the SPX/SPY, the S&P 500 index and its primary ETF.

Someone (probably the great trader, Linda Raschke) once said if the short term is confusing in the stock market just back to a longer term view and all will become clear.

So what is clear in the here and now?

The bull market is still in progress (see chart below) although that progress has been stalled for this year to date.

The current upswing is completing a three-month rally so a sell-off could come any day now.

The technical indicators MACD and CCI are lagging, setting up as in the past (see the red rectangles on the chart) for a possible sell-off. But at the moment the pattern this time is not complete.

If the SPX had closed lower this month than it closed last month and its volume finished higher than its volume last month, I’d have to say the sell-off is likely right now. But that didn’t happen.

Obviously, the market in general is walking along a cliff (see the blue trend lines)… But until it falls off that doesn’t matter.

So is it going higher? I hate to but I have to shrug on that. Could be but with that cliff edge so close better to be be alert, and best to put in place some protections like trailing stops on any long-term investments.

Buying this? Okay, it remains a bull after all. But, me thinks, only for the short-term while standing every day next to the exit door. If the market charges higher, the short term will have you in, and if it goes screaming lower the short term will take you out.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming the second biggest mountain in the stock market range

Great article and charts from Visual Capitalist:

VISUALIZING THE LONGEST BULL MARKETS IN THE MODERN ERA

If this current bull market can hold for two more months, it will become the longest bull market in the modern era, topping the dot-come bubble.

Uh, did I slip and say “bubble”?

The question, as always, is what comes next and when.

What comes next is obvious – what goes up also goes down. The “when” is the tricky part but it would seem the when is getting closer by the day. I find it hard to believe in percentage gain it can top the dot-com mania but it is possible. If it does, it’s likely the higher it goes, the farther it falls.

One of the most famous quotes in investing history is from Bernard Baruch: “I made my money by selling too soon.”

Might want to keep Baruch in mind as each market pundit, each brokerage analyst, each brokerage, continues to say invest now, invest for the long term, while staring at the second highest mountain in the great rocky stock market range.

(click on link or this chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – $TWTR leads latest swing with 33% gain

Been on vacation from this blog for awhile but am back now and will try to be more diligent in posting here.

Now, as it turns out, appears to be an appropriate time to return since latest swing trade on the long-term breath signal will close officially on the open tomorrow. This swing began on the open of the market on 5/31, twelve trading days ago.

In the bellwether stocks (see chart panel below), as of the close Friday, TWTR led the stocks I consider to be bellwethers in this bull market with a 33.2% gain, followed by TSLA up 24.1% and BIDU up 12.6%. Twelve trading days – I’ve said it before but it bulls repeating…this is what swing trading is all about. The position in stocks will be in cash waiting for another swing to begin.

Should be noted, the 3X-leveraged ETF, TQQQ, which tracks the Nasdaq and makes general swing trading easier, is up 12.1% for the trade. FNGU, an 3X-leveraged ETN trading based on the NYSE FANG stock index, is up 33% (remarkably it was relatively small volume).

In addition to TWTR, TSLA, and NFLX, the bellwether stock list also has AMZN, NVDA, GOOGL, BIDU, BABA, FB, and AAPL. The gains for the up swing just ending are in the white flags on the lower right of the charts below. That is a calculation per $100K traded in each position in order to get both a dollar-earned and a percentage gain. Note AAPL is the laggard on the list, up less than one percent for the swing, $800 on $100K. Another example from the charts – NFLX is also up double-digits, 10.7%, $10,690 for the swing.

As for the general market, the sell signal for tomorrow’s open has come most likely because this rally — which longer term price-wise began in early May — is up a lot, overbought and tired.

I would not be surprised, however, by another bounce since short-term breadth has been declining for six consecutive days. Most likely that signals the bounce, at least a feeble one, before a bigger down swing, but if one if particularly bearish after this run up it could signal a hard down thrust this week before the bounce.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

#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)

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).

(click on the chart for larger view)

#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.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – $SPY ready to break up out of its box?

All through the market’s recent wild ups and downs, short-term breadth, measured by the McClellan Oscillator, has continued to work its way higher with each market plunge and recovery.

Now the all-important long-term breadth has also turned positive.

This is very bullish.

And yet, price has to yet to break of its nearly two weeks of consolidation – see the box on the chart below. With today’s general-market surge it is once again challenging the top of its range and appears poised to break through to higher highs. Tomorrow could be key. If SPY breaks out, it will no doubt take the rest of the market with it. The first objective would be that red trend line across the tops of the recent pullback.

Whether this is a resumption of the bull market or just a short-term swing in a bear being born is still a question. If SPY fails to climb out of its box, it could go all way down again and possible turn that box into the bull’s coffin. There are plenty of doubts this bull can keep going but for now the fight is on the upside.

Those rising green circles, marking the lows above the lows on the upper graph below, are a telling prelude to a strong up swing (see their history on the chart) and right now the bulls have the benefit of the doubt.

It is time to be long to be long and to buy stocks on dips until it isn’t anymore.

(click on the chart for larger view)

$DBX – An IPO easy to buy at the right price…

When a hot IPO is launched, as was the case with Dropbox (DBX) yesterday, the headlines are usually how much it leaped over it initial offer price. That is a worthless commentary. Unless one is on some broker’s favored clientele list, it is impossible to have the stock and to be able to sell it on that leap.

So what to do?

With IPOs this is actually one of the easiest decisions in stock trading. Simply note the high price and the low price on day one of the IPO. Those are the lines in the sand.

Buy on a close above the high of the first with a stop loss below the high of the first day. With DBX that buy is a close above 31.60. If the stock drops back below that number, take the loss (likely small) and forego the anxiety of being locked into a foolish IPO buy made on whatever day. If it rallies from there, it could trend up and become a longer-term investment.

#SwingTrading – 3x Leverage for the short-term swings

If one is a swing trader in ETFs 3x-Leverage is the name of the game.

For example, the currently short-term breadth indicator I follow gave a swing buy signal last Thursday for Friday’s open and the market exploded to the upside Friday. While the Dow and the SPX stalled out today, the Nasdaq put on another up day, actually the seventh in a row. The same short-term breadth signal that gave the buy for Friday morning has now given a sell for tomorrow’s open.

I will not be surprised if tomorrow the entire market takes a dip, likely just a dip, not a tumble.

The sells on the ETFs are on tomorrow’s open but, in the face of today’s heads-up on the sell signal, let’s take a look at how the leveraged ETFs done and why they are the name of the game in short-term index and sector ETF trading.

Take a look at the charts below. The white flags on the lower left are the gains on the swings so far this year (longs only) and the white flags on the lower right are the current gains. Both numbers are calculated on buying $100k on each trade in order to not only give a dollar amount but also to correlate with the percentage gain.

We’re talking a mere two-day bullish trade, and TQQQ (the Nasdaq) is leading the indexes, up 5%, while SOXL (semiconductors), up 7.6%, among the sector ETFs, leads TECL (tech) up 4.5% and LABU (biotechs) up 4.3%.

Two days. Not a bad trade if one chose to close on the close today. Regardless, because of the signal, they all will be cashed in on the open tomorrow.

Consider for a moment the three charts in the column on the right of the panel. The top two are 3x-leveraged financial ETFs — FAS (big banks) and DPST (regional banks) – and the one in the lower right corner, NAIL, is a 3x-leveraged EFT for home building stocks. NAIL, down year-to-date, had a nice move on this swing, up 6.7%, but note where it is in relation to the two financial ETFs above… This is housing lagging the banks, particularly the regional-bank stocks.

I bring this up because of history — the action in those sectors looks a lot like, almost identical in fact, to how they looked in 2007.

With that I leave this post. As far as swing trading goes, will be in cash tomorrow.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#SwingTrading – the top stocks on the nifty-50 list

Just revised and sorted the stocks on my nifty-50-stock list – a powerful group they are!

I’m just going to feature the top 12 here because they are just too many moving too much. On the charts below the keys are the white flags on the lower right and lower left of each chart. On the lower right are the closed gains based on the 10 swing trades so far year-to-date and on the lower left are current open trade results using the short-term breadth signal as the trigger for the buys and sells.

Each trade is a $100K stock buy (so the cash in the flag is also the percentage return). For instance, QNST on the upper left of the chart panel is up 55.6% on trades marked up this year and the current open trade is up another 5.4%. VCEL, just below QNST on the chart panel, is up 66.5% on closed trades and down 2.1% on the open trade. And so on, and so on across the charts…

The stock trading here is entirely a market-timed swing system based on the basic idea that most stocks move with the movements of the general market. It is purely technical and what each company does is largely irrelevant. The measure of each stock is how well it tracks and how big it moves in accordance with each market swing.

Needless to say these and many more stocks are doing very well as the bull market so far continues.

(click on the charts for a larger view)