$SPY – Is the bouncing cat dead?

The general market has bounced from its low last Thursday.

The actual buy signal was issued on the market’s short-term breadth indicator for Monday’s open three trading days ago. In that time the 3x-leveraged ETF, TQQQ (the Nasdaq) is up 5.8% (the Nasdaq), UPRO (the S&P) is up 5.1% and TNA (the Russell small caps) is up 8.8%.

All this is fine and dandy in reaction to last week’s fast, severe sell-off.

Now the question rises: Is this a classic “dead-cat bounce”?

In stock market terms, as defined by Investopedia, “a dead cat bounce is a temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or a bear market that is followed by the continuation of the downtrend.”

Despite these last three days, the overall market hasn’t been able as yet to turn the all-important long-term measure breadth (the NYSI, the McClellan Summation Index) up, and today its short-term component (the NYMO) clicked down.

How many times have we see that before — the market pops out of a deep drop and the NYMO turns down in negative territory.

Dead cat? In addition the SPY ends today in a dreaded doji (see the chart below). Dead cat? Sure looks like it. If so, the market’s current recovery will roll over in short order…probably tomorrow. Maybe Friday (or maybe Friday too).

However, this is all could be (and probably is) a positive sign for swing-trading bulls. Since last week’s lows my nifty-50 stock list has moved from 40 stocks on sell signals (usually the bottom or the beginning of the bottom of a swing) to all 50 on buys yesterday. They clicked down slightly today (another sign of the cat) but the last time all this happened was March 5th at the end of the three-day bounce out of the March low. The cat that died that day gave rise in the end to the spring rally. If this bounce dies now, it very well could result in a bottom for a trading rally.

Such a rally may be, in the fullness of time, the last of this bull market and an opportunity for buy-and-holders to lighten up or to raise protective stops before the real bear growls, but it could also be a stock rally that rises all the way to the end of the year.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY – Market breadth takes a toll on a “Big Wednesday”

In surfing lore, there is the myth of “Big Wednesday.”

The myth was immortalized in the 1978 cult film “Big Wednesday,” written and directed by John Milius, who also wrote such movies as “Jeremiah Johnson”, “The Wind and the Lion” and “Apocalypse Now.” It was Milius’ contention elite surfers cannot acquire true greatness, legendary greatness, until they face and overcome the great waves, the legendary waves that rise and surge and rage along the California coast from out of almost nowhere. No one know why they come or when they come but as the movie puts it: “They always come on Wednesdays.” Maybe what Milius had to say about surfers should also be applied to market traders and investors.

Today was a big Wednesday in the stock market.

The Dow was down more than 800 points, the Nasdaq more than 300, the SPY nearly 100 points. Big moves out of, I guess one could say, flat surf on Tuesday.

Actually this was no real surprise.

There have been signs everywhere. The general market indexes have been rising in price to all time new highs for the past month in defiance of long-term breadth as measured by the McClellan Summation Index, the $NYSI (see the declining red dots on chart below). That was rather amazing to watch, particularly the way the NYSI kept falling day after day despite the lingering bullishness on the indexes, and in the end, as always, the NYSI took its toll.

In a head-to-head battle between price and market breadth (the sum of all stocks rising and falling) it may be hard to tell when the battle will end but it will end with breadth winning every time.

Long-term breadth is the most effective indicator of mass market psychology there is.

Even as market appeared to be rising on a few tech stocks alone — AMZN, FB, NFLX, NVDA, GOOGL and most notably AAPL — breadth was saying the bottom was falling out. When those stocks began to crumble (look up charts of FB, NFLX…), this day became all but inevitable.

Signs everywhere. Besides the obvious relentlessness of the NYSI, the economy-sensitive housing stock have been falling for months with the banks beginning to tumble with them (many of the banks broke major price supports today just like in 2007-2008); news low began to outpace new highs in late September and accelerated on October 4th (which also happened in 2007-2008); there were also rare whispers under the surface like the day the Dow made a new high while more than 50% of the SPX stocks were below their 50-day moving averages (last seen at the exact market top in 2007).

So is this the beginning finally of the bear market to come that is just as inevitable? Don’t know yet. The market can plunge farther now (as I write this it is in overnight futures trading); it could even crash. But it won’t be a bear market for sure until it rallies and that rally fails below the previous highs in the price of the major indexes.

I seldom have anything to say about fundamentals, since the technical trumps the fundamental every time, but probably I should mention when one considers what comes next, the here-and-now is a bull market that is ten years old, interest rates are rising, unemployment is at its lowest level in forever, margin debt in stocks is near its high and at an astronomical level; there has been a tulip craze in crypto-currencies, a mania in block-chains, and the strongest sector in the market right now is the weed patch, marijuana stocks.

If this is the death of the bull and the birth of a bear, everything I’ve just mentioned will not be with us much longer.

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#MarginDebt – a sign of quiet desperation?

I gotta say, as a day trader, I’m beginning to wonder if this is the most bearish bull market ever – gap it up overnight with futures, sell it down all day.

I suspect this could be a sign some big boys are desperately trying to slip out of the market without anyone noticing, but what do I know about such machinations?

Needless to say, margin debt is at astronomical levels in comparison to 2000 and 2007. Since the chart below was published for August, the SPX has gone to a new high in September. We will not be able to see what margin debt has done at the same time since the data going into the chart calculation is assembled monthly (why is that?). But even if it goes to a new high also (a sure sign of continuing greed), it will only mean the bull market has more time to rise but also at an ever more risky height from which to fall.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Bitcoin and its buddies on the blockchain

If ever there was a bubble that was obvious it was Bitcoin and its buddies – the other cryptocurrencies and finally the blockchain stock mania that lasted what…a week or so?

Every time someone would pump Bitcoin or whatever other Oreocoin someone dreamed up the night before last, I’d ask “Can you buy a snickers bar with that?” I suppose you can somewhere but I’ve yet to find anyone who has.

I thought this pseudo money would crash when it was reported that New Orleans lap dancers were having bar codes tattooed onto their breasts to be able to accept crypto-scans as tips.

Then along came the blockchain stocks (see the wild charts below), which is to say companies like Kodak (KODK) changing its name and tripling overnight, or Riot Blockchain (RIOT) which looked as if it was the brain child of two or three guys smoking weed in Colorado who became multi-millionaires almost as a drugged-out joke. Everyone tells me cryptos may go bye-bye but blockchain technology, stringing together each and every financial transaction, is here to stay. Of course, a million computers all over world grabbing and archiving when someone (say, in Latvia) finally gets to buy a snickers with a Bitcoin.

How much electricity goes into that single candy bar?

And of course, as history would have it (always), the obvious became utterly obvious when it all finally crashed.

These is just a nutty time, typical end-of-a-bull-market craziness. Keep that “end-of” in mind. It takes a while and it’s virtually impossible to pick a market top of significance but bit by bit the history of how it happens keeps showing up. AAPL hit a $1trillon market cap probably because the company has enough cash on hand to buy that prize for itself. Then AMZN hit $1trillion too – for one day.

One of these bellwether stocks — AAPL, AMZN, FB, good heavens GS –is going to take a tumble that matters and actually follow through to the downside while no one is really paying attention.

When that happens a bear will be here. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe today.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Time for a “Turnaround Tuesday”?

There’s an old cliche in the stock market that says after a down Monday, the market turns back up Tuesday.

Everything was up a bit today except the Dow but…

David Bergstrom writing at the excellent “See It Market” website back in June, 2017, (see this link: TUESDAYS MARKET CLICHE OR TRADING EDGE?) added a wriggle to the criteria for a Tuesday Turnaround.

The idea is that the market tends to reverse a Monday selloff or down day with a strong rally on Tuesday hence the name “Turnaround Tuesday”. If this is the case then we can test this idea and add a simple edge to our arsenal.

First, let’s define our “Turnaround”. If Monday’s Close is below Monday’s open then Tuesday should – based on our theory – show positive performance across the stock indexes. On the other hand, Tuesdays following a neutral or positive Monday (close > open) should fare only about randomly or without a strong trading edge.

In the charts below, you can see equity curves for Tuesday trading across the major stock indexes. The first chart follows an up Monday, while the second chart follows a down Monday – or our “Turnaround Tuesday” performance. The blue line represents the S&P 500 futures since 2002.


The charts he presented are these:

Quite impressive Tuesday performance as per his setup.

So what about now?

If one hasn’t guessed, Bergstrom’s set-up for tomorrow is in play. Today’s major indexes, represented by SPY, QQQ, and IWM all closed below their respective opening prices. So if he is right, tomorrow should be up, and possibly it could be the beginning the next market upswing to new highs.

In that latter regard, I will add my own indicators. While the all-important long-term breadth is down, short-term breadth (measured by the McClellan Oscillator), after a series of highs below highs, plunged into oversold Friday (see chart below) and turned up today.

In addition, my nifty-50 stock list saw 40 or more stocks on sell signals two and three days ago, which is usually the bottom of a swing or in this case the beginning of the bottom. There are now 28 on buy signals with 15 triggering buys signals today — the stocks are turning, which often happens before the indexes.

Also, the Nasdaq composite declined coming into today’s little bounce four days in a row. In bull markets that’s about all the steady decline one can expect. This is only the third time it has happened in this very bullish year in the Nasdaq and each time has marked the bottom of the downswing.

Reiterating: tomorrow, Turnaround Tuesday, the market will likely bounce and it could be the beginning of a rally back to new highs.

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

$AMZN – a leader stumbles?

What if AMZN, after all the hoopla, only spends one day at a $1Trillion market cap?

As noted back on July 1, halfway through this year, in this link:

THE MARKET WALKS THE EDGE OF A LONG-TERM CLIFF

If a leading stock like AMZN stumbles…how mean will a reversion to the mean be? The stock’s 50-day moving average is nearly 150 points below today’s close (see chart below). Hard to believe in this the oldest of bull markets can end but a serious decline always begins with just one day down.

AMZN and AAPL have been the leaders. They both have had moves that resemble blow offs on this last upswing. Not often stocks as big as these run up 25% virtually out of nothing more than a buying panic. Now if AMZN follows today’s decline with more down to come, how long can AAPL alone hold up the market?

Just speculating here on a bit of market timing since it’s damn near impossible to call a market top, but more and more signs appear and one of these days one or the other of the signs will be telling.

Bear markets can come out of the blue. Out of the fog of complacency. Just when everyone believes the leading stocks and the bull itself can go up forever, they and it won’t.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Summing up profits on a 10-day upswing

How important is long-term breadth to the swing trader?

It is a trigger to get into the trade and an answer to one of the most difficult questions in market timing and stock trading — When to get out?

Measured here by the McClellan Summation Index ($NYSI), this latest upswing began on the open of of 8/20 and closed on the open today, a 10-trading-day swing. See the indicator in the center band of the charts below).

On the swing, the 3xleveraged ETFs made solid gains for the 10 trading days: TQQQ up 8.6%, TNA up 5.7%, UPRO up 3.7%, FNGU 11.5%, SOXL 19.7%, FAS 2.8%, LABU 18.8%, ERX 4.6%. There were no losses in the group.

On the swing, among my “bellwether stocks” AAPL racked up a 4.9% gain, AMZN gained 7.3%, NVDA 15.9%, NFLX 14.3%, TWTR 5.6%. But there were also losers – TSLA down 2.1% , GOOGL down .9%, BABA 4.4%. BIDU 2.4% and FB down 2.5%. The entire basket was up 1.98%.

The top-ten stocks in my nifty-fifty list coming into the swing outperformed both of the above stock baskets with CRC up 38.4%, TNDM up 36%, PVAC up 4.8%, RGNX up 13.2%, WTI 15.1%, ARWR 4.6%, I up 2.9%, HLG 4.6%, TLRD 7.7% and the only loser in the group was MDGL down 3%. The nifty-fifty stock basket for the swing gained 12.48%.

How important is long-term breadth for the swing trader?

The “When to get out?” was today’s open for everything (market timing). As of the moment of this writing all of the symbols mentioned above are down with the exception of MDGL, the only loser in the nifty-fifty basket (that, I believe, is the market giving a wink to traders just for the fun of it).

Except for the fact we are still in a bull market, today’s breadth sell could have been a short. For aggressive traders, it was.

A main path to the “persistence, experience and discipline” it takes to be a successful trader is the trigger-in one is comfortable with and the trigger-out one is willing to accept without question.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY – Can Orange Become The New Black Swan?

Four days up in a row for SPY and TNA while the Nasdaq, long the leader, now lags…

At the close of the day forty-one of the stocks on my nifty-50 stock list ended in the buy column with fourteen overbought.

Short-term breadth was up again but is now in overbought territory. Usually it takes time to unwind that even when it turns down.

Long-term breadth has been rising now for just three days, giving worthwhile advances in most everything — 40 out of the 50 stock on my list advanced today, and 41 or the 50 are positive on this three-day upswing. It should be noted if long-term breadth turns down now it will put in a fairly serious divergence with the SPY new high (see chart below).

Which bring us to the news?

I don’t ever trade the news but just taking in some market perspective one wonders if something is going to come along and blindside the complacency of this bull advance? Like the odd VIX spike today. Like AAPL gone crazy and possibly running out of buyers besides AAPL itself. Like some sector gone so frothy so fast it signals irrational exuberance has crossed over into insane exuberance (see the pot stocks in the post below).

Or like two of those closest to the jabbering President of the United States suddenly going down coincidentally on the same day, one with a guilty plea and flip, and the other found guilty on 80 criminal counts that could get him 80 years in prison. Trump claims always to be the best, be the greatest, know more than anyone else, likes setting records…how boastful can he be when his administration racks up more convictions than any other, including the Nixon administration?

What’s it mean to the market? As I write this, I see futures are down, with the Dow futures reversing the day. This bull market has been able over and over again to erase the overnight falls in futures. What if this time it doesn’t?

I guess then we might be able one day to look back and say: “Whattaya know…Orange
was the new black…SWAN!”

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#SwingTrading – Up, down, sideways, sideways sideways…

It appears the market could go up tomorrow.

“Could go up”, I say that hesitantly because for end-of-the day swing traders like me, this has been a rather confounding week. On Monday, all of my swing signals (based on price, breadth, volatility) were on sells for Tuesday – Tuesday the intraday market went up. At the end of the day Tuesday all of the signals were on buys for Wednesday – Wednesday the intraday went down. At the close Wednesday, all of the signals were again on sells – today the market went up a lot.

Well, in SPY’s case it went back up into the Monday’s price range – in other words, sideways, sideways, sideways…

Although long-term breadth has not turned up, the low above a low in short-term breadth (see the circle on the upper portion of the chart below) usually will bring a bounce. That should happen tomorrow. And if long-term breadth turns up with it, the entire market could rally for a couple of weeks at least, which would be just fine and dandy.

If the market manages to put a final confounding candle on the cake tomorrow with a hard down day then…okay, I’ll say it, then we will have another indication a sizable bear may be stirring in its cave.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$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.

(click on the charts for a larger view)