$SPY – six days up into a black candle

Does the market pause here, pull back, or continue to rally?

My bias going into Friday is a pause, possibly going into a pull back.

But, thanks to SPY rising six days in a row, putting a black candle on the price chart and an inside day today (see the chart below), it’s going to be easy to see the next move, either up or down. Every black candle, which I simply define as a day in which the close is higher than the day before and lower than its open, is a clear sign of indecision in the market and an inside day is a further indication of indecision. The indecision obviously is resolved above the high or below the low of the black candle day. It’s that simple.

At the moment, the key numbers on SPY are 287.76 at the high and 285.75 at the low.

Of course it takes a down day to start a decline and SPY, at six days up, has not had one but the Nasdaq Comp, after five days up in a row, was down slightly today and there were eighteen sell signals today on my nifty-50 stock list, CNN’s Fear and Greed Index is overbought in the greed zone… All of which contribute to my bias.

On the other hand, long-term breadth (NYSI) continues to rise, short-term breadth (NYMO) also is positive so it’s likely, when and if it comes, the dip will be more of a pause than a deep pullback.

In the meantime, it might be time for swing traders to tighten stops to lock in profits. It’s been a good upside run this week with TQQQ up 3.8%, TNA, up 3.1% and UPRO up 2.5% at today’s close.

Among the bellwether stocks FB is up 4.9 %, FSLR up 3.9%; AAPL lagging but up 2.1% (watching for a short soon); remarkably WYNN is up 13.1% and AMD up 10.4% and GS up 4.2% and BAC up 4.5% at today’s close. All of these are four day trades from the market-timing buy signal on the open Monday.

(click on the chart for larger view)

$SPY – Up, up, up…

After muddling around for nearly two weeks in a sideways-to-down consolidation, SPY and the rest of market appears now to want to go up, up, up.

Friday, the most important triggers all lined up as buy signals – short-term breadth, long-term breadth, and price. In addition, the VIX also is in line, and happens to be below 15 which is bull-market territory.

These are signals that repeat again and again in the market.

First, a low above a low pattern on the short-term breadth, measured by the McClellan Oscillator (the NYMO, see the green circles on the chart below), then an upturn in long-term breadth, measured by the McClellan Summation index (the NYSI, see the green vertical line on the chart for Friday), followed by a a follow-through in price (which appears to happening in the futures for Monday).

And oftentimes, when all of these bullish signals are in play, they result in a 10-to-14 week upswing in the market from the bottom on the NYMO (three weeks ago). If so, this rally could easily go to what they say — “sell in May and go away…”. And that could challenge the all-the highs.

I still think this is a major bear-market rally but in the meantime it’s buy and hold the swing and buy the dips when and if they come, until further notice.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#Stocks – Recent IPOs for the long term

This is a reminder that this is the easiest trade in the market and a followup to recent IPOs bought for the long term as per this strategy:

Buying IPOs For Dummies

The high and low of the stock’s price on its first day of trading creates the levels at which to buy and sell. The basic strategy is to buy on a close above the high of its IPO day, using either that price or the low of the first day as the stop loss to protect capital.

Presumably, investors in IPOs want to buy and hold for the long term.

Below, are the charts of a selection of IPOs since February — GOSS, SOLY, TCRR, FHL, SWAV — that have signaled buys and continue to advance or at least hold firm. As a group, they happen to be up 18% in less than two months, led by SOLY up 59% and GOSS 19% individually.

Every time an IPO is launched, like the much anticipated upcoming ones for Lyft and Uber, it’s just a matter of paying attention to the first day’s price levels to make the trade. There is a lot of hype around each launch but one must have the discipline to wait for the stock to reveal its likely long-term direction. Some of these stocks go straight down from day one (a lot actually) but the stock of every major company in market history eventually made a move above the high of its IPO day and many of those never looked back.

With persistence, experience and discipline, it is the easiest and safest way to invest for the long term in the market.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – from bearish to bullish to bearish again…

On Monday, this blog posted that this stock market at this juncture is —

TRICKY, TRICKY, TRICKY.

No kidding.

At that point, for Monday, the market, according to many technical indicators, was poised to sell off, ending the splendid rally from December. But then it didn’t sell off.

Instead, yesterday, it gave a tentative, but likely, indication it was going to continue to go up into a typical bull-market cycle advance, and today on the opening gap and with its pre-lunch follow-through from the open, it appeared the snorting gods were in their heaven and all was right with bull world.

Then, during the day a quick slide took everything negative. Not by much, hardly enough to notice on daily charts at the end of the day, but it was enough to turn long-term breadth negative again (see the dots on the chart below), which makes being long the market dangerous and while short-term breadth did peek above the zero line for a day a look back looks pretty bearish (the yellow line on the chart below) with highs below highs generally all the way back to the beginning of the rally.

Tricky.

I’ve long said this is the rally to make everyone believe a bear market did not begin in September of last year, that the bull market from as far back as Obama’s first term was resuming and continuing and it may still be (it sure looked like it yesterday), but it will not surprise me if a benign dip like today turns into a raging grizzly while the buy-and-holders sitting at The Palm or at Smith & Wollensky are wondering why the steaks are taking so long.

For today I’m posting my “Black Candle” chart. Black candles shows up when an index or ETF or stock or whatever one’s trading closes higher than the day before (usually on a gap) but lower than its open. There are candlestick names for these kind of chart patterns but just plain “black” is fine with me.

Today, notably, we had black candles on SPY (below) and TQQQ, and remarkably on FNGU (the leveraged ETF for the FANG stocks). They don’t always signal tops of swings, although I can’t think of anything else that comes as close (see examples on SPY below), but they are alerts. They do signal sudden indecision. And they are useful markers, pretty much as simple as it gets — go long above the high of the black candle, go short below the low of the black candle as the indecision gives way to a direction either up or down.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Bulls doing what they needed to do

What they needed to do was to push the market up some more.

In the process, the all important long-term breadth (the NYSI) has turned positive to go along with the short-term breadth (the NYMO) and price indicators with SPY finally edging above its 280/282 resistance (see the charts below).

That would suggest more advance to come. The upturn in the NYSI is buy signal for tomorrow’s open

But maybe not without a dip first, a “turnaround Tuesday”?

There are shaky signs that remain in this tricky time in the market. It’s kind of scary to jump in now with the market already up essentially six days in a row, both the Russell and the Dow at at the moment lagging the Nasdaq and the SPX as if not all the generals are as yet on the battlefield. My nifty-50 stock list has 29 stocks on buys and has been declining since last week, even slipping again today from 31 on buys Friday. CNN’s Fear and Greed Index is at a “greed” level and still working on divergence trailing the market’s up move these last six days.

Still, at this point there is no choice other than to be long until further notice.

Given that the NYMO/NYSI is positive and also has a cycle that usually runs ten to fourteen weeks (the sell down ending six trading days ago was in the 10th week) breadth could launch the market into rally into say…May…and maybe making a new high along the way.

I’ve been asked to explain what’s on the the triptych of stock charts below. They are an illustration of what I talk about over and over again as I try over and over again to simplify, simplify, simplify.

The top part is whatever is being traded on the signals. In this case TQQQ. Could be AAPL, GE, NFLX, options, whatever. The middle part is NYMO and NYSI. The next lower part is obviously SPY. Also use the Nasdaq composite here on other charts. And finally the bottom part is the profit reading, set for $100,000 in order to easily see the percentage move. The white flag on the lower left is the booked profit percentage on the signal year to date. The white flag on the lower right is the current profits if the signal is in play.

The chart on the left is the short-term breadth signal for March, in the middle is a pure price signal for March, and on the right is the long-term breadth chart, YTD (it is set to go long again tomorrow).

Remember this is day trading and swing trading, no long-term buy and hold in my world (far too risky).

(click on the charts for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – tricky, tricky, tricky…

So the market did not go down Friday as expected here.

And it may have switched gears to rally some more to the upside.

While long-term breadth, as measured by the McClellan Summation Index ($NYSI), continues to decline, short-term breadth ($NYMO) turned up Friday with a low above a low on its chart (see the green circle on the charts below). In bullish times, that is an aggressive traders buy signal. In bearish times, not so much.

Now if the Summation Index turns up, which it needs to do in short order (like Monday…), it could be the start of several weeks of rally. And if it doesn’t, and the low above low on the NYMO is canceled out, which seldom happens in bull markets but is common in bear markets, we will again, immediately be looking at a likely down swing again. One that could be big.

A lot hinged on Friday’s market action and now more may hinge on Monday’s.

The the first chart on the left below is based on the long-term breadth signal year to day. Because of this monster rally that ended at the end of February, TQQQ, the leveraged ETF for the Nasdaq is up 48% for the year. It is flat now but will go long if the NYSI turns up. TQQQ on the center chart is riding the short-term breadth signal and is currently up 14% for the year. It will go long on tomorrow’s open (Monday’s open). The chart on the right is a purely a price-base signal (I say “buy the yellow, sell the blue”). It has booked 3.1% profits and is currently up 5.1% on this latest on-going upswing.

If the market rallies tomorrow again, it is likely all three will be long at the same time. That is truly bullish.

IF not, then it won’t be bullish. As I said, much hinges on Monday for now. Tricky, Tricky, Tricky.

(click on the chart panel for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – “a gift for the bears”…

I expect the market to go down tomorrow.

Really? Why?

Long-term breadth, as measured by the McClellan Summation Index (the $NYSI) is declining, and today short-term breadth, as measured by the McClellan Oscillator (the $NYMO) turned down after basically a four-day bounce in the market, but more importantly, timing-wise, this NYMO pattern is more than the usual turn down.

In this case it is a “high below a high below the zero line.”

And whenever this happens I believe it is a gift for the bears.

Take a look at the blue vertical lines on the chart below, which mark each time this pattern has repeated in the past six months. Focus on what happens next. It is always what happens next in the market that matters — not many indicators are consistent as this one – a sell off every time and usually hard downs the next day (tomorrow).

In addition, the SPX and Nasdaq Comp both clicked down today (to state the simply obvious, every dip or swing or slide or whatever the market wants to do to the downside has to begin with one down day), and VIX, after four days down, clicked up, giving its own first-day sell signal. Furthermore, my nifty-50 stock list which has 41 stocks on sells a week ago Wednesday rallied to 42 on buys yesterday before clicking down to 39 on buys today. CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed Index” is at a “greed” level trying to diverge with the rally highs. AAPL, by far the most important stock in the market and one capable of triggering a sell off all by itself, gaped up today on top of a five consecutive days up, but then sold off below its open (putting a black candle of indecision at a high on its chart).

But more important than any of that in my expectation is high below the high below the zero line, the gift for the bears, a gift in bull markets let alone in what may now be a bear market.

Okay, what if it doesn’t sell down? Well, that will be particularly bullish and I’ll take that up when and if it goes that way. As Trader Vic Sperandeo would say “if the market doesn’t do what’s expected, it usually does the opposite twice as much.”

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#DayTrading Stock Options – Puts

The quote from this link three days ago continues to be my prevailing opinion on the market action for stock options:

#DayTrading Stock Options in the Fool’s Game

With the all-important long-term breadth now declining, stock options trading has shifted to the puts.

Long-term breadth turned down on 2/28 triggering sells, and bearish swing context for the general market from the open of 3/1. Despite the blip up Friday, market direction remains most likely to be down.

In additions, short-term breadth turned down today in negative territory, and prices across the indexes reversed a gap up on the day.

Hence, going long puts. See posts below for more discussion on criteria for the trades.

Today, the big four bellwether stocks I’m using for this options strategy — AAPL, BABA, NFLX, TSLA (see charts below) — racked up a 57.4% gain for the $10k committed to the trades ($5,341).

Still, for the record, today’s gain merely brings the week’s total so far to breakeven. Although the market turned negative with long-term breadth turning down, the rollover to the downside has been slow, and has just begun to register in the options day trading.

In general, the market could bounce here. There is news tomorrow – the employment numbers — and the trading going into he rollover was so tight the market is getting overbought rather quickly on the pull back. None of that matters to this day-trading strategy, which opens each day some time (and only sometimes) after each open and always is closed on each close. On an overall positive day it’s likely the buy signals in the puts will not trigger.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – today’s “gasp” in the slow rollover…

Yesterday in this link below it was suggested that there might soon be a collective market gasp as the fierce bear-market rally might becoming to an end, possibly as soon as today:

$SPY – the slow roll over?

The rollover didn’t show up all that much today in the indexes but if the leverage ETFs across the most prominent sectors are any indication (see the illustration below), this could be the start of something big for the bears.

Besides the solid gains in these leveraged ETFs (see percentage change column on the chart below), 42 of the stocks in my nifty-50 stock list were in the red. That was mass selling, a veritable blood bath on the day. SPY puts in or at or near the money on the open, expiring today, were up a minimum of 93% from today’s open (the 279 put was up 243%, showing there is nothing “slow” about a rollover on an expiration day).

In addition, CNN’s Fear And Greed Index appears to have topped again at an extreme greed level and turned down (see the SPY chart below). And the VIX has edged up above 15 again, a key level in the ebb and flow between bull and in this case more importantly bear markets.

Again, as it was coming into today, the market looks primed for more down side. As long as the breadth indicators (NYMO/NYSI) are negative, shorts are in play.

(click on charts below for a larger view)

(click on the chart for a larger view of SPY in relation to CNN’s Fear And Greed)

$SPY – the slow roll over?

Given how sprightly the rally since December has been it’s hard to call a top. Actually it’s hard to call a top anytime but bear-market rallies are especially tricky.

Weeks ago it was suggested here this would be the rally to make everyone one believe the bull market has resumed, and it has been that kind of rally.

There is famous, familiar chart of investor emotions in the market (see below) that shows the various stages of market emotions from despair to euphoria and back again (see below). It’s worthwhile review that chart every so often and ask one’s self how am I feeling now. This is especially true for long-term holders and retirees who have their savings tied up in the market.

Looking at the chart below I would suggest we are at the “Return to Normal” stage. For any swing trader who played the upswing this has been a fantastic rally. For investors it’s been a big sigh of relief.

But… There are signs now that sigh may be about to become a gasp.

Long-term breadth, as measured by the McClellan Summation Index, the most important indicator of mass market psychology, turned bearish four days ago after several warnings from the declining highs on the McClellan Oscillator itself. My nifty-50 stock list has failed to get overbought since the rally’s kick-off’s first few days. While the indexes have worked higher, the stocks have rotated and paused and in some cases fallen under the surface (take a look at the rollover in the banking sector).

Weed stocks lead again (check out CRON up 87% on the YTD summation index run up or GWPH up 71%). While there’s a growth logic to the marijuana sector, that’s still just as crazy as the dot-com bubble of yesteryear.

Despite all those warnings until prices follow internals and drop with conviction (which could happen any day now, even tomorrow), and the VIX jumps back above 15 (it closed at 14.74 today), the sell off may not happen, and if the SPX, or in this case the SPY run up past the resistance at recent highs, it might go to all time highs before the bear market resumes.

Doubt that but we’ll see.

(click on the chart for a larger view)