#SwingTrading – “Buy when the market tells you…”

Kennedy Gammage, the late great market timer, used to say “Buy when the market tells you, sell when the stock tells you.”

He could just as easily said “buy when the market tells you AND when the stock tells you.”

That is what this story is about.

Mr. Gammage’s market tools were the McClellan Oscillator ($NYMO) and the McClellan Sumation Index ($NYSI). The NYMO is a short term market-breadth indicator based on the New York Stock Exchange Advance/Decline line, and the NYSI is its longer-term brother.

Taken together, they are the clearest indication of mass market psychology which is to say: market direction, up or down.

When the NYMO and NYSI rise, it is time to buy stocks, ETFs, calls, futures, whatever money-maker one likes best.

That is the market telling you to buy…simple as that, and do not argue.

Now throw in my nifty-50-stock list (see its own story below) as it moves, again and again, from oversold to overbought and back again.

Each time there are 40 or more of the 50 stocks on sells, it’s time to sit up and take notice since that is the number that most often signals either the bottom or the beginning of a bottom on each down swing.

Once 40 more sells have registered on the list, it is time to take note of the NYMO to get market direction to trigger the buy, or if longer-term breadth, measured by the NYSI, is rising when 40 or more sells register on the list that is to time as they say in the market to “buy the dip” in an on-going up trend.

This is what market timing and swing trading are all about and the returns can be both rapid and remarkable.

#MarketTiming swing bottoms with 40 plus sells on the #Nifty50StockList

Again and again, my nifty-50 stock list moves from oversold to overbought and back again to oversold like an ever spinning wheel within the market’s spinning wheel…

And each time there are 40 or more of the 50 stocks on sells, it’s time to sit up and take notice since that is the number that most often signals either the bottom or the beginning of a bottom on each down swing.

I first posted about this strategy in November of 2015, one of the first entries on this blog.

Nothing has changed.

Usually it just takes one day of 40 sells, sometimes two days, to set up the bottom of a swing. Should be noted if it goes more than two days that’s is a warning that something bigger may be in the offing (last time that happened was the start of the Covid-19 bear plunge this year).

This is just an FYI, but it is what market timing and swing trading are all about.

The results can be quite remarkable, in leveraged ETFs like TQQQ, TNA, leveraged sector ETFs like SOXL, FNGU, and, of course, hot individual stocks.

The buy signal is the open of the first day after the Nifty50StockList ceases to have 40 or more stocks on sells. Stops are at whatever price level on whatever is bought based on each trader’s risk tolerance.

On the chart below the 40-plus sells are marked with purple paint bars.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$UVXY – a slow walk to its next explosion…

The fuse has been lit all that’s left is for the blast to blast.

ON August 10 I gave another heads up to look over at UVXY before it takes off, maybe to the stratosphere…again.

See this link: $UVXY – lighting a fuse for its next explosion…

In the link it was pointed out that UVXY – like other VIX derivatives – had again worked itself into a falling-wedge pattern.

The last time that happened was in January. In February, after a slow walk out of the wedge it suddenly rose nearly to 140 from 11 – FROM ELEVEN TO NEARLY ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY! That explosion was fueled by the worldwide pandemic and, in the U.S. particularly, by the utter incompetence of Trump and his administration to deal with it.

I have no idea what is going to drive it now, although the Trump disaster continues unabated, but UVXY has again walked out of a falling wedge and is slowly walking toward whatever it is (see the chart below).

Maybe it will be reality setting in that an economy — that has been masked by a exuberant market rally fed by FED pumping and a few big tech stocks like AAPL, AMZN, MSFT, FB — more or less sucks.

Much, much more than less.

So many sectors – airlines, movies theaters, cruise ships, BANKS, now even fossil-fuel stocks like XOM, CVX, BP – after the initial bounce off the March lows have been going sideways for months and are now poised to drop off cliffs the market has built for them.

UVXY showed a hard run up off its low today. That could mean it’s done with slow walking. Or maybe not.

Regardless, it likely won’t be much longer until it explodes to the upside, and when it does, it will be fast and across the rest of the market it will take no prisoners.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#StockTrading – $NIO and its #DarvasBox

The basis of everything in the stock market is simplicity.

That’s hard to tell when there are thousands of opinions and indicators and time frames and derivatives flying around all the time. There must be a thousand videos on YouTube giving lessons in stock and option trading and now there’s also cryptocurrency too. There are brokerage programs and financial advisors and television commentators and TV guests galore. The mind boggles with all the information available, with all the noise, with all the complications.

But it all comes down to one simple fact – whatever it is, it either goes up or it goes down.

Even then, the question arises when is going to do one or the other?

So let me reminisce moment. I had a Twitter exchange recently with the excellent market-timing advisor, Brian Shannon, in which I had the opportunity to recall a conversation I had years and years ago in the parking lot of Cal. State University Northridge with the great market wizard, Willian O’Neil. He was just getting Investors Business Daily off the ground (that’ll tell you how many years ago it was) and was promoting it everywhere. That day at the university as he was leaving his presentation it turned out his car was parked next to mine. We had a nice chat about how useful his paper was, about his CANSLIM method of stock picking, his approach to timing the market particularly, and, as Hemingway used to say, how the weather was.

I asked him as he was trying to slip into his car to leave, what books and people influenced him when he started out. He paused, then with a sly smile and a twinkle in his eye, said “the Darvas book is awfully good.” The Nicolas Darvas book is “How I Made $2,000,000 In The Stock Market.” He made the money in the 1950s and published the book in 1960.

The book is a classic.

Darvas was one half of a renowned dance act that toured constantly and often gave ballroom-dancing demonstrations on cruise ships. The market was a sideline and since he couldn’t pay all that much attention to it while he was away, he would study the stock tables in Barrons and the Wall Street Journal to find stocks in sideways consolidations. He would then draw a box around the consolidation and He would give his broker instructions to buy the stock if the price came out of the top of the box and use the bottom of the box as a stop-loss level.

His stock investing system is simplicity itself. So simple, I’m sure there are those who go “What? It can’t be that easy.” Yes, it can.

Darvas turned his $10,000 savings into $2,000,000 in an 18-month period. As Bill O’Neil said “the Davas book is awfully good.” After I first read it, I realized that the sly smile and twinkle O’Neil gave me that day was him giving away his own stock-market secret – his CANSLIM methodology has Darvas written all over it.

Enough with the reminiscence, enough with the history. Dravas wrote that book 60 years ago.

What about now?

Nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed.

Let’s take NIO, the Chinese electric-vehicle TSLA wanna-be. See the chart below with the Dravas Boxes on each price consolidation since this year’s March low. NIO first came out of a Darvas Box at $3.20, then another at 4.17, then another at 7,91, and finally today again, on high volume, at 17.84 with no Darvas stops hit during its entire climb. Simplicity itself.

Of course, all of these boxes in NIO’s uptrend are in retrospect unless one happened to be focused on the stock and were watching for it to make its moves. That’s the past but notice is hereby given – NIO popped out of its box again today to 17.87 on a significant rise in volume. That makes it a buy on the open tomorrow. A tight stop would be the top line it just crossed at 16.44, and the stop Darvas would use would be the bottom of the box at around 10.5.

Stops are always determined by each individual’s risk tolerance but if the stops don’t get hit, NIO is an investment for the long term from this moment on.

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

Oh, and by the way:

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

$UVXY – lighting a fuse for its next explosion…

File this under “history repeating slash history rhyming.”

The last time I posted a VIX ETF heads up was January 14TH ($TVIX – Just a heads up…), when TVIX was 40ish and UVXY was 10 something. Both, at the time of that post, were down eight days in a row in a falling wedge pattern, like UVXY is now (see the chart below).

I suggested at that time that whatever buy trigger came along it was going to come along soon and those leveraged ETFs were going to explode.

Three days later they popped nicely, not spectacularly but nicely, then backed off to retest the lows into early February. Then there was a another buy, triggered by a down turn in the NYSI, the longer-term breadth measure of the McClellan Oscillator, on February 19th.

And the VIX ETFs exploded.

UVXY went from under 11 to as high as 135. In two weeks. TVIX, which rocketed from 40 to a 1000, is no longer with us, having killed itself with success…well, extreme volatility.

The blast was driven by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. It started slow but with President Trump’s incompetence and his totally botching of this country’s response to the virus (calling it a “hoax”), it ran the major indexes down 36% in a few weeks.

The market has rallied back to the previous highs with Congress putting out a two-trillion-dollar stimulus that once again helped Wall Street but not much on Main Street, and with the Federal Reserve throwing money onto the market like gasoline on a bonfire.

Truly, it has been a market rally led by tech and irrational exuberance. Remarkably, the banks have been relative laggards in the rally, never a good sign for the market longer term.

So what now?

As yet, the market has not come to terms with how severely the economy has been damaged with double-digit unemployment, with a possible waves of evictions, with thirty/forty million people out of work, with relative consumer buying power in the shitter, with small businesses failing all over the place (YELP predicts sixty percent of restaurants will not recover). And now schools likely will not be able to fully open.

Even now the Trump Administration doesn’t have the slightest idea what to do, and Republican Senators are dickering with each other, holding up the Democratic rescue plan. Trump has returned to the coronavirus briefing podium to spout his lies and ignorance. Trump’s big botch goes on while the rest of the world has shown to varying degrees what should have been done.

Five million Americans have been infected and 170,000 have died (with both those numbers still rising fast). As the rest of the world continues to make progress against the pandemic (New Zealand has not had a new case now for 100 days), the United States, governed by not much more than an orangutan, continues to be a mind-boggling catastrophe.

What now? What now?!

This is just another heads up…like last time:

Watch UVXY. It will tell, and there will be money to be made there. It’s setting up another explosion. After these eight days down in a row it could come tomorrow or two weeks from now but it’s likely the fuse has been lit.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming three tweets today from a yawn to the scream

THE YAWN TO THE SCREAM

END OF THE DAY

(CLICK ON THE CHARTS FOR A LARGER VIEW)

#MarketTiming – looking for a swing leg up…

Nearly every night for past two weeks, the overnight index futures have been trying to mount another leg up for the market from the March 23rd bottom, and nearly every day the bears try to knock it back down.

Actually that’s typical – as J.P. is reputed to have said famously: “The market will fluctuate.”

As a day and swing trader I’m just sitting on the edge of my desk chair waiting to see which way to go.

Technically speaking, the SPY chart is showing an island reversal for the recent spectacular bounce off the market low.

That is bearish.

In addition the chart patterns I watch most closely — the NYSI and NYMO — are decidedly bearish. After getting wildly and rapidly overbought on the bounce, they have retreated with both highs below highs on the NYMO and a drop below the zero line on the NYSI. In bullish times it usually take three or four NYMO highs below highs to stop a rally. In bearish times it may take but one and several lows above lows to mount one. So far that has been true again (see the NYMO/NYSI line in the middle of the first chart below).

Long term investors, if they are in this market below current price levels, are losing time (at least a year, maybe as much as Trump’s entire term). If they are in at higher price levels they are truly trapped, losing time and losing money.

Regardless, I keep hearing both groups wishing and hoping — and pleading for — more bounce, either to cut paper losses or to get out.

So what’s next?

Having said all the bearish stuff, let’s take a look at the a couple short-term rally possibilities.

The NYMO, despite the current bearish pattern, just did something that is normal in bullish times and is at least a glimmer for a another leg up. It has dipped to the zero line three weeks (15 trading days) from its low. Three to four weeks into is normal for a twelve to fourteen week McClellan Oscillator cycle; it happens all the time in bull markets. Could this be a hint this is the week to try for more upside? A bit of relief, a surge of hope for the bulls? Maybe.

In addition, every day I tabulate all the stocks on my nifty-fifty stock list as to whether they are on buys, buys-overbought, sells, sells-oversold. Have been doing that for years, and it is a list that talks.

See the histogram on the second chart below for reference.

I’ve said before any time 40 or more of those stocks are on sells that is either the bottom of a swing or the beginning of the bottom of the swing. On the chart below, that tallies as 30 or more (stocks on buys minus stocks on sells). The red box mark each time this has happened.

During bull markets, when the nifty-fifty start up again, they either lead or confirm the next up swing. But since February that has not been case. No need to guess why that is so. Whenever a reliable indicator has a change in behavior, it screams there is SOMETHING BIGGER GOING ON HERE! My stock list is one among several technical indicators that have just announced the bear is out of his cave (and he’s given the world a vicious virus besides).

But…like the glimmer on the NYMO, there is a glimmer here also. The stocks on sells has been under forty for three days (there is no four days on this chart), and for the past two of those days it’s been slowing slogging its way higher.

Monday will be important but I’m going guess… The market is going to pop and take a leg up for at least a couple days this week.

Needless to say, I could be totally wrong about this since I am arguing against the NYMO and NYSI at the moment, the two most important measures of market psychology there is.

If so…well…it will be a short…again.

(CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A LARGER VIEW)

(CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A LARGER VIEW)

Reading history on the #MarginDebt chart

For anyone who pays attention to FINRA margin debt this market crash was no surprise.

If there was anything surprising about what is now 30% plunge in the SPX, it was that it took so long to happen.

I had a clear warning here as far back as six months ago in this post:

Margin Debt – setting up a S&P 50% plunge?

Now all I can say is anyone who was not paying close attention to margin debt or was disregarding its warning was asking to get their stock profits ripped apart.

Once margin debt starts down, it feeds on itself with margin calls leading to stock sales and more margin calls leading to more stocks sales with each jolting decline in the market. And besides the profits lost, there is time lost, sometimes a lot of time lost, before the market can even begin to recover.

If we take a look at the history on the chart below it’s pretty obvious the divergences between margin-debt and price of the SPX foretells the market sell-offs. In 2000 and in 2008 margin debt dropped down (the black boxes on the chart) while each time the market went higher for a few months before plummeting. Again these last six months (another lower black box lower than the previous peak), history repeated.

Granted it’s hard to believe as the market keeps going up and up the bull will ever end — earnings seemed good, the Fed was on board, Trump was bragging on Twitter at each new high — but long-term investors could not ask for a better advance notice it was their time to sell or at least tighten their stop-loss levels to preserve capital. All this market needed was one small trigger for the full unwinding of margin debt to usher in a bear market, instead it got a big one. But if it hadn’t been the Covid-19 pandemic, it would have been something else.

Now that the bear market has begun, margin debt is indicating it is not done yet.

History says, like in 2000 and 2008/2009, the S&P500 is going down around 50% before this bear market is finished. If history repeats again, there is another 20 or so percent more downside to go.

Margin debt during this long bull market went higher than either 2000 and 2007 so there’s no telling how that’s going to play out. From its 2019 peak it has a lot farther to fall – and if the news keeps getting worse — since the US, thanks to a lying President and his incompetent Federal administration is getting a late start on coming to grips with the pandemic it’s possible it could be more than 50%.

If the dire damage being done to the economy is not mitigated sufficiently by a Congress that was supposed to have a stimulus package out last week and hasn’t managed get one done yet or if the stimulus is too small or if it’s aimed at the wrong people, we could be looking beyond a historical 50-percent decline to something more like 1932.

You ask me, we’re at a point when we need a Franklin Roosevelt in the White House and instead we’re still stuck with worse than a Herbert Hoover.

But as history shows on the chart, whatever the final decline is to be, it’s likely it won’t be until after a big bounce any a week, any day, any minute now.

This market is massively oversold and it’s a positive sign that governors and mayors, allied with scientists and health-care providers across the country, have taken over the front-line fight against the pandemic as Washington goes on dithering.

The trouble with the margin-debt numbers is they are reported a month late so one pretty much has to guess, based the price action during the month, where the debt level might be in the current month. While we can see the SPX crash here in March on the chart, the margin debt line is only up to date through February. I would assume from the current price action in March it’s now a lot lower, probably akin to that drop in 2008 marked by the black vertical line.

If so, we may be closer to a bear-market bottom (six months or so) than the pattern in 2000 (which took about three years).

Regardless, the bounce, which could be spectacular, is not going to be a resumption of the bull underwater long-term holders are hoping for. More likely it’s going to be a bull to be slaughtered so severely by the next bear move no one, as despair sets in, will be looking to buy any stocks.

In despair is when a new bull market can be born.

But I could be wrong. It could be different this time. Uh, huh…

(CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A LARGER VIEW)

Reading history on the #VIX chart…

Ah, yes, I remember it well… In fact I’ll never forget…

I began investing in the stock market in September of 1987. My wife was having our second child that month. I figured I had to make some financial provisions for the future. I was beginning to make some extra money so I put our savings into the stock market. I bought stock in Compaq and Intel. The stocks were roaring up and continued to rise. I was a very happy young father.

Then about four weeks later on October 19th, the market crashed. In a panic I sold all the stock. That was on the Tuesday after Monday’s crash. That time was in so much chaos it wasn’t until Saturday before I got the fills to learn we had no savings left.

I didn’t tell my wife. She was busy with our newborn. I had a job so we had money coming in. I didn’t want to worry her. But I was virtually catatonic for weeks, until Dec 4th, 1987 (coincidentally our anniversary), when the market made a successful retest of the crash lows.

That was the day I learned what matters most in trading the market – no matter what happens, it’s all happened before.

History, history, history.

There is the famous curse, usually attributed to George Santayana, that “he who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” In the stock market it’s the opposite – “he who learns from history is is blessed to repeat it.”

Which brings us to the VIX, the Volatility Index.

The mass psychology of the market – because money is always at stake – is either in some degree of fear or some degree of greed with both emotions filtered by time.

While history serves as context, the VIX measures the market endless wheeling back and forth between fear and greed. The index itself runs opposite the other major indexes, the S&P500 (the SPX), Dow Jones Industrial Averasge, the Nasdaq Composite…in other words, it runs opposite the market.

When the VIX is low the market is in a bull market, and most stocks are rising, virtually all stocks, and when it is high (as it is now), the market is a bear market, and stocks go down, virtually all stocks.

But the VIX says more than the obvious.

Right now because we’ve just finished a very long bull market there is a lot of belief that the recent stock crash is just a temporary drop and prices will soon be hurtling upwards to new highs.

And yet…right now the VIX says “not so fast.”

Consider the chart below showing the VIX with a monthly chart of the SPX.

I’ve outlined the effect of the VIX on the general market.

First, let me say what I consider the key levels on the VIX itself. Under 15, the market is in a steady advance, a bull market. At 25, the market is in a normal “correction” and the price will soon continue to climb. But if the VIX rises through 25 convincingly and vaults past 40, it ia a bear market. At that point the VIX will have to convincingly fall back through 25 before stocks can in general begin to move up again.

On the chart the red vertical rectangles mark the periods in which the VIX last went through 40 and dropped again below 25. In the 2008 bear market it took eight months before prices began to rise again. Although it doesn’t show here on a monthly chart, a weekly chart of 2010 has the VIX also above 40 (marked by the red circle on this chart) when it took five months for the prices to rise again. In 2012, it took four months for prices to rise gain.

These are measures of time.

I am suggesting this is the time it’s going to take for the current bear market to subside so prices can rise again in a steady climb. Months at best, and even then only for those not holding long term. This crash has caused a lot of damage and a lot of stock holders are trapped at higher levels (the entire advance from the day Trump was inaugurated as President has been erased). William O’Neil of Investor Daily called this “overhead supply,” meaning those holding stock above current prices will be looking for bounces to get out so going forward is going to be a choppy ride and it’s going to take time to work off the effects of the bear.

To say nothing of the fact there are very few signs the market has, as yet, quit falling.

Still, there’s more…

By my reckoning the VIX is also a calendar. The market always has a bullish bias (this is America after all!) but there are months and even years lost along the way.

The shaded blocks on chart below illustrate the time it takes for prices, once the bear market has begun, to regain their former highs. For instance if one invested in the market at the top in mid-2007, it would have taken more than five years to breakeven; in the 2015/2016 and 2018/2019 corrections approximately a year each to regain the losses, or move sideways to new highs.

When the bull is going strong, everyone forgets it takes just one down day for a bear market to begin. Of course, until it’s later and one can look back, no one can know which down day, like February 20th this year, is THE DAY.

Which is also why since December 4th, 1987, as a day and swing trader, and having learned the market’s history, I sell, every time, on the first day down.

(CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A LARGER VIEW)

$SPY – Up, up, up…and KERPLUNK?

Just got back from a week in New Orleans so if my head feels a bit thick, don’t blame me, blame the Nawlins’ food, drink, the music.

W.C. Fields once said: “I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted.” New Orleans is a perfect city to not do the wastin.’

Anyway, the market after a break of its December/January uptrend line, took another shot and manage another high on SPY (among other index ETFs) last week but dropped back down below the January high (332.95) to close at 332.20 Friday.

Not such a big deal except the NYMO after the rally off a double-bottom earlier in the week (see the white line with the red dots on the chart below) fell with the price weakness to turn the all important NYSI (longer-term breadth) negative.

That’s an automate sell on its own but there’s maybe more…

In his book “Methods of a Wall Street Master,” Trader Vic Sperandeo says determining the trend is a simple as 1-2-3. One is the break of the trend line, which happened on the gap down from 1/24 to 1/27 (see the chart); two is the attempt to resume the recent trend that fails, which may have just happened; three is a fall back to through the low after the trend line break.

Since “three” hasn’t happened yet, there’s a chance, and maybe even the likelihood, the pattern here is just a pause before more advance but…

But Trader Vic Sperandeo’s has more. His most classic set up for aggressive traders is right here, right now. He calls it “2B”, as in “2B or Not 2B, that’s where the money is made.” The fade off the old high on Friday is the 2B, as pretty as can be (see the chart).

This a short.

And it is made all the better by the stop being close by at the old high at 334.20.

That simple. And if it follows through, without stopping out, it could be a great big KERPLUNK right at an all time high.

P.S. There’s also a bearish full moon today for those who put some store in such lunar signs.

(click on the chart for a larger view)
and