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Slow Markets into the (U.S.) Holiday November 23, 2019

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Nov. 22, 2019 – I continue to be a little on the cautious side, mainly because of the run up we’ve had and more than a few “non-price” indicators turning negative.  As an example, the amount of money flowing into Money Market funds has significantly increased and market breath is declining.  The number of stocks hitting new lows are about the same as hitting new highs for the year.  I note the market Sentiment indicator below is also negative.

So what’s a market technician to do?  Since prices are going higher as noted by the market indexes, one should follow the trend noting that it is a “stock pickers” market.  Not everything is doing well.  BTW, money and volume flow indictors (above) are still OK.  The near term support level on the NASDAQ Composite Index is at 8441 (a pause level) and the next lowest is at 8325 (a level for a modest correction).  Economic and trade news is driving the market now; corporate earnings are mostly out of the way.

Looking at the stocks in the broad S&P 1500 Index we see the following:

% of Stocks in Accumulation or Distribution –Generally fairly balanced between the 3 levels; usually a healthy sign.

% of Stocks with Price Strength –Here a little different story.  More red than green, but far more yellow.  This gets back to “non price” market internals.

Short Term Sector Strength is in the table below –

Heath Care / Pharma and Financials are leading the pack, with Technology stocks a little behind.  But note government bonds making a rise too, and Utilities.  Hummm, a play towards defense perhaps.

Next week in the U.S. is a slow one going into the Thanksgiving holiday.  I’d expect low volume, but also note that late last week had low volume as well.  An early “drop” on the holiday or a “Lack of Demand” (i.e. buying)?  We may have to wait for the week after to find out.  Until then  watch what sectors are increasing in strength and which are weaker.

Wishing all in the U.S. a Happy Thanksgiving.  Take Care.       ……….. Tom ……….

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

Direction Still Up: Clouds Forming? November 16, 2019

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Nov. 15, 2019 – Make no mistake, the direction of the US markets remain “Up”, but . . . . storm clouds may be forming.  Two signs of that are the percent of “Smart & Dumb money” (from SentimentTrader. Com) and my own sentiment composite (top pane, chart below).  The difference between “Smart & Dumb Money” is fairly high indicator of where market tops happen.  That does not mean “all Hell is breaking loose”, but it does raise the caution flag.  The “big guys” are cautious.

Note just how far & fast this market has come in the 6 weeks.  Due for a change or at least a pause?  I’m certainly thinking that is a strong possibility.  It’s just natural.  I also note that price action “Price Strength” is back to Neutral.  Time to Sell?  No, but not a great time to buy either.  Let’s continue to monitor the reaction of the market to any news, whether it be earnings, geo-political or the like.  That will be a clue.  Trade news is going to be a key item here.  Right now we’re being whip-sawed back and forth on that front.  There is a big incentive to inflate these market over the next year (i.e. election); watch the big picture carefully.  (click on chart to enlarge)

Short term, here’s where the sector action is:

That’s about it for now.  I’m in there with significant positions, but getting more uncomfortable as this market pushes higher.  Watch volume spikes on big move days.  Also be aware of “Lack of Demand” (low volume), especially over multiple days.

Have a good week.    ………… Tom  ………..

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

Continuation Higher November 8, 2019

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Nov. 8, 2019 – What’s there not to like?  The market gapped up higher on Monday and pretty much stayed in a narrow range most of this week.  Ignoring the impeachment and on again – off again China trade news.  So for now, I’ve just got to stay in this market even though I’m not entirely comfortable with it.

The chart above shows all positive indicators; not much else to say.  (click on chart to enlarge it)  Let’s take a look at the stocks in the very broad S&P 1500 Index below.

Price Strength –

Over 50% above their 20 day moving average, so strong price movement for most stocks in the index.

Accumulation (buying) & Distribution (selling) –

(Again) over 50% of the stocks indicating Accumulation of shares.  Maybe a little over done, so a pause is not out of the question here.

Sector Strength –

The Technology sectors continue to lead this market higher in the near term.

So the bottom line is this market continues higher until something forces investors to get nervous and sell.  We’ve come up a fair amount and survived (most) of the 3rd qtr. earnings.  The seasonality is generally good for the rest of the year, so got to go with the flow.  When changes comes, I’ve got a feeling it will come very quickly.  Hopefully the stair step higher will continue in the mean time.

Have a good week.      …….. Tom  ……..

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

New High . . What’s The Problem ? November 2, 2019

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Nov. 1, 2019 – OK, the markets are at / near all time highs so what is there to worry about?  Maybe nothing, but then again maybe there is at least some concern.  I’m changing the perspective and the time frame of the regular chart of the NASDAQ Composite Index (below).  The daily bars show us one thing but weekly bars can provide us with a different perspective.

I’m taking a liberal view of what a “top” is on this chart so bare with me.  The chart goes back about 17 months and the area over a year ago (mid Sept., 2018) is labeled “1”.  Thereafter we see labels at the swing highs / peaks of 2, 3 and 4.  Each time the market gets near the current level it has pulled back, and sometimes very quickly and significantly.  Presently many of the indicators are positive, thus indicating strength and continued prices moving higher.

Now I’m not saying that the market has to correct and head lower, it’s just that we’re once again at / near an inflection point.  I am currently “long” this market because in the short term it is headed higher as far as we know.  From a historical perspective one could have gone to Cash over a year ago and not missed much, and actually come out ahead.  The question to ask is what makes this top, top #4, different?  Or perhaps we’re in a very broad trading range and need to be quick on our feet to make any type of head way.

In any case we will have a much better idea within a few weeks.  Either the markets will continue to trend high after this current breakout, or it will confirm a “shake out” of the last buyers “holding the bag”.  I’ve read where the big institutions are very reluctant to buy into this market at these levels. The point being that we are closer to the top, than we are to the bottom.  It’s been a while since the trend bottom; an unusually long period.  I feel it’s a good time to be nimble and extra careful because the next minor correction could be more than that.  Let’s watch the bar action and confirm them with volume.  Signs of a rush to the exits are wide range down bars on high volume.

In the mean time here’s a table of short term sector strength –

Have a good week.      ………  Tom  ………..

Market Improving, but . . . . October 19, 2019

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Oct. 18, 2019 – This week we saw a market improvement by breaking the 8062 level, but then stall out at 8172, which is close to a previous swing high (note on the chart below “failure”).  This stall can be considered very normal and merely a pause at a significant level before regaining momentum.  Or, it could be a “double top” which is bearish.  Volume did pick up a little on Friday but we didn’t see a wholesale exodus out of stocks.

What we’ll do is carefully watch for either signs of strength or weakness in the coming week and take our ques from that.  These signs will be where the closing price is in relation to the bar range (either top or bottom) and whether volume increases on those bars (buying or selling pressure).  A close below a previous swing low would confirm bearishness, and a close above a high would be bullish. (click on chart to enlarge)

What I do find curious is the sudden change in sector strength late in this past week. (see table below)  Recall that the Tech sectors (Technology, Semiconductors, “the Q’s”, etc.) were right near the top of the list; refer to the table in last weeks posting.  And now look at how far they have dropped in just a few days.  They’ve been replaced by more defensive sectors (Banks, Telecom, Wireless, etc.).  Are traders getting cautious?  Possibly, but this table is geared to short term strength, thus it can turn around quickly (i.e. made for trading).

I haven’t shown the “percent of stocks in the S&P 1500 Index” pie charts for awhile, so let’s see what they show –

Price Strength-Nothing very remarkable as nearly half the stocks in the index are above their 20 day moving average.

 

 

Accumulation/Distribution-

This pie chart shows a little more tentative strength.  “Normal” would be roughly 1/3 of the stocks in each of the three categories.  Too much green or red would indicate “over bought” or “oversold” conditions within the broad overall trend.  A big chunk of yellow / neutral shows indecision.

That about it for now.  I’m going to be especially observant next week for signs of strength or weakness.  Right now I am “cautiously long” with still some Cash to invest IF conditions continue to improve; but I always want to know where the exit door is located.  🙂  Have a good week.   …….. Tom  ………

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

Hopeful, but Not Great October 12, 2019

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Oct. 10, 2019 – This will be short since I’m “on the road”.  The gap up on Friday was “hopeful”, but the close was very weak (Not Great), hence the price action did not confirm that a new up trend had begun.  For this reason I think it’s wise to go slow until the structure of this market improves.  No need to be a hero in here.

It sure would be nice to see a solid close above the 8062 level on the NASDAQ Composite Index.  Volume is picking up but the “Money Flow” indicator shows that a lot of selling was done and so far has not been over come with buying.  Once again “news” has driven the market and if things don’t “pan out” with trade negotiations, the market could revert back lower.  Until we see some earnings coming across the wire from the end of the 3rd quarter, we will likely not be on solid footing.  I am not convinced that the all clear sign has been given just yet.

The sector table is below.  I note that Technology is the most optimistic of the sectors.  Not surprising since that area got hit hard during the last down swing.

I am slowly taking small position in here; the light hedge has been removed.  Have a good and cautious week.   ………….  Tom  ……………….

Not Much Buying Demand October 5, 2019

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Oct. 4, 2019 –  A pretty dismal week with a blip up on Friday.  The problem is the volume on Friday was very low, i.e. “No Demand”.  Looks like a simple short covering rally to me.  We are very close to the last swing low and the moment of truth is near.  Does this level hold (7663 support) or do we break down even lower.  It’s mixed and could be resolved via a news item.  But the US economy is slowing and with it corporate earnings.  The market is looking for stability and a good reason to rally back to the previous high.  With BREXIT and Impeachment looming in the background that doesn’t look all that great.  In addition, “price action” remains weak & “in the noise” without a clear direction.  (see last week for a description or in the “publications” page)

The market likes the idea of lower interest rates, but that usually means things are not that good and the economy needs help.  A double edged sword so to speak.

When you see government bonds, Utilities and Real Estate as strong sectors you know that (in the short term) things are not that great.  Here’s the table below:

Not much more to say.  I’m heavy in Cash with a light hedge on as insurance.  Have a good week.     ………… Tom …………

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

Short Term: Stuck in the Middle; Long Term: Down ? August 16, 2019

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Aug. 16, 2019  A quick look at the chart below shows the market in a trading range / consolidation between 8041 and 7643 (green & red dashed lines).  Major damage was done during the latest drop and once again volatility has returned.  In my opinion this volatility is being driven in a major way by “algo” / computer trading, as once a move starts we see volume coming into the markets to amplify it (in either direction).  The computer programs basically “dog pile” into and out of the market.  It’s something we have to live with, and the way to look at it is what has happened over the past 5-10 days and not just the last 2 or 3.  (click on chart to enlarge)


Market Sentiment, Volume and Money Flow indicators remain Bearish.  The short term Price Strength is Neutral.  The question is are we in a consolidation / base building phase or just a pause?  Until the price closes with a break in either direction we won’t know.  But my “guess” is we have more room below than we do above at these levels.  All that’s needed is a news item (like China trade or Iraq) and away we go; and go quickly.  That quick response makes managing a portfolio a lot harder.  But there is an old saying, “It’s better to be out wishing you were in, than in wishing you were out !”.

I remain in a fairly hedged out / cash neutral status for now.  A look below to the sector strength table shows why.  The majority of the top sectors are defensive (China being the exception).  Not exactly an endorsement for a strong, growing equity market right now.


So, not much else to say except try to keep some powder dry and if things get worse, I may go slightly short (net overall).  Watch the daily volume and what the price bar does on those high or low volume days.  Direction wise, but also the spread of the bar and where it closes within the range.  Is the volume being absorbed or is it pushing price in a direction easily?  These will be the clues on who is doing what.  So far the big holders have not liquidated much, but if they do, we’ll see it and act accordingly.

Have a good week.  ………….  Tom  …………..

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

Market Neutral August 10, 2019

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Aug. 9, 2019 –  After the fall comes the moment of truth.  Is this “buy the drips” (which has worked many times before) or the start of something more substantial?  No one knows for sure, but we do know that “algos” (algorithmic trading) accentuates just about any move of more than 1% in a day, either up or down.  Damage was done via the large chuck of volume traded last week, so we’ll have to see IF buying comes back.  The last couple of days look like short covering rallies.

My key levels are 8041; a close above this would put me into CASH and sell my bear fund insurance.  And 7643; a close below that would have me add to my bear fund insurance and consider exiting a few more stocks.  Other indicators remain “bearish” due to the volumes that were traded on the down bars.

Looking at the broad S&P 1500 stocks and how they are fairing-

Price Strength:Weakness far exceeds strength.  Pretty much what is expected right now.

Accumulation/Distribution:A fairly even distribution of Accumulation (buying), Distribution (selling) and Neutral percentages of stock.  Thus not wholesale selling and more characteristic of a minor correction or a congestion of prices going forward.

Sector Strength:

The more defensive sectors remain at the top of the sector strength table.  It just seems that this market remains “on edge”, looking for direction.  Most of the earnings are now in and has been a few great and poor ones.  What concerns this market is the future and the future looks like a continuation of a trade war and geo-political  turmoil (red N. Korea, Iran, Brixit, slowing and lethargic world economies.  This is the time to be very selective and more short term focused; IMHO.

Have a good week.    ……… Tom ……..

Back to Caution August 3, 2019

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Aug. 2, 2019 – Just 2 short weeks ago I titled this blog as “Caution”.  Then the market went to new highs; go figure.  And this past week, in just 3 days we’ve seen that cautious position pan out.  All it took was the FED to “only” reduce short term rates by .25% instead of the much hoped for .50%. And then a Trump tweet on tariffs put the icing on the preverbal cake.  I remember the old quote that “strong markets sluff off bad news, while weak ones quickly react”.   What I find strange is that we’re a little over half way through earnings for the 2nd quarter and they have been generally pretty good.  It must be nerves about the future.

 

In any case we blew through the early warning “3 bar reversal” level at 8771.  I note that volume picked up during the price drop but not to panic levels.  My inclination is that we’ll approach the next level down at 7812 for a shallow but quick correction.  Looks like the big guys “sold at retail” and are looking to “reload at wholesale” prices.  When we start to see strength returning in the Technology and Internet sectors that will likely be the bell weather that strength is returning overall.

Let’s look at the very broad S&P 1500 stocks to see how much damage was done:

Price Strength – Accumulation/Distribution – 

No doubt that the percentage of stocks in the index has taken a hit with over half below their 20 day moving average or very close to it.  The number in Accumulation or Distribution is much more even, leading me to think that this is likely a “normal” correction.

Short term sector strength is listed below:

No surprise to see Bonds and Defensive sectors showing the most strength.

I have lightened up on stocks that were showing weakness greater than the market and have reduced sector holdings.  Since news is driving this market one must not get to confident that everything will return to previous highs.  We may just flop around in a narrow range until after Labor Day.  And so we go “Back to Caution” for the time being.

Have a good week.  ………..  Tom  ………..

Price chart by MetaStock; pie chart & table by http://www.HighGrowthStock.com. Used with permission.

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