The 15 Most Read Posts in 2014

As it seems many of us say at the end of each December, that year sure went by fast! In 2014 I wrote 108 blog posts (excluding this one!) and shared countless more charts and thoughts on Twitter and StockTwits. I’ve truly enjoyed connecting with many new traders and learning new things from all of you. As we close the book on another great year, here are the 15 most read posts in 2014:

1. Where Are We In the Business Cycle?

2. Being ‘Oversold’ or ‘Overbought’ Is Often Not Good Enough

3. The Best Traders in The World Miss Trades

4. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 7/21/2014

5. Dr. Copper Has Been Replaced

6. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 9/29/2014

7. Head & Shoulders Pattern in Small Caps

8. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 6/9/2014

9. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 7/28/2014

10. Market Stats, Fun Facts, and Why You Can Ignore Them

11. Using Sine Waves With Trend Analysis

12. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 12/15/2014

13. We Haven’t Seen A Market Top Yet

14. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 10/13/2014

15. Weekly Technical Market Outlook 9/15/2014

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer. Connect with Andrew on Google+, Twitter, and StockTwits.

Weekly Technical Market Outlook 12/29/2014

Welcome back. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and was able to spend time with family and friends. While trading was a shortened week, the major indices were able to continue their drift higher.

Trend

Of course with the march higher in the S&P 500 ($SPX), the trend remains positive. While we often draw trend lines connecting lows, the chart below shows a trend line connecting the highs over the last year. You’ll notice we are bumping up against this level of potential resistance. We’ll see if traders deem this important based on the price action we see this week.

trend

Breadth
One of the biggest developments that took place last week was the final confirmation in the Common Stock-Only Advance-Decline Line. I had been discussing the divergence in this measure of breadth for the last several months. I’ve noted that the bulk of the other large-cap Advance-Decline Lines had already confirmed. We also saw the small-cap and mid-cap A-D Lines hit new highs as well. The Percentage of Stocks Above Their 200-day Moving Average while making improvement, remains in an established down trend.

breadth

Santa Claus Rally
Many traders have been tweet, writing, and discussing the historical seasonal advance in stocks, dubbed the “Santa Claus Rally.” Ari Wald, who serves as the Head of Technical Analysis at Oppenheimer wrote an article on the subject for The Technical Analyst. Ari turned his focus away from the crowd’s focus of how great Santa is for stocks and looked at what if Santa doesn’t show up. He writes, “However, performance in the next 1 to 2 quarters has tended to be below average when the S&P 500 closes lower during the SCR. For instance, the S&P 500 has averaged a 1.4% loss and a 0.6% loss in the subsequent 3 and 6 months, respectively, following a negative SCR, versus an average 2.8% gain and 5.3% gain, respectively, following a positive SCR.”

So while traders will be disappointed if they don’t get the juiced up gains many are expecting this week. It seems they take out their frustration on stocks during the following couple of months.

santa clauss

Momentum
While breadth has now confirmed the rally in stocks, momentum continues to show a bearish divergence. The Relative Strength Index ans the MACD indicators remain below their prior highs. This isn’t that surprising since the bulk of the bounce off the December low spanned just a couple of days. It’s tough for indicators like the RSI and MACD to snap back as fast as price as, which is why this current divergence is not a huge concern to me at the moment. However, as I wrote about on Dec. 18th, the longer-term view of momentum still favors the bulls.

momentum

Is January Dangerous? 
Dana Lyons, who I’ve mentioned a couple of times on the blog, has continued to produce some great charts and tables. Recently Dana showed this table that goes back to 1900 and marks the number of highs and tops seen in the Dow. You’ll notice that December has seen the fewest short-term (3 month) peaks while January has seen the most short-term and longer-term (12 month) highs going back to 1900. We often hear that October is one of the most ‘dangerous’ months for stocks but Dana’s data shows that it’s actually January that’s seen the most bearish turning points for stocks.

January Dana

Last Week’s Sector Performance
While a shortened week, Utilities ($XLU) remained the best performing sector relative to the S&P 500. Consumer Discretionary ($XLY) which has not had a great year was the second best performing sector followed by Technology ($XLK). Health Care ($XLV), likely lead by biotech, had the worst week, giving reprieve to the Energy Sector ($XLE) for once, which was the second worst performer.

sector week

Year-to-Date Sector Performance
Utilities, Health Care, and Technology remain the best performing sectors relative to the S&P YTD. As oil prices have continued to decline the Energy Sector remains the worst performer.

Sector YTD
Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer. Connect with Andrew on Google+, Twitter, and StockTwits.

Does Momentum Favor the Bulls or Bears?

Momentum can be an excellent tool for understanding the movements in the market and the ‘health’ of a trend. I like to see momentum for a market reflect the price action – hitting new highs and staying in its own version of an up trend. I often look for divergences in momentum, signs where price is heading one direction but momentum is going the opposite direction as warning signs of a potential change in trend for price.

Each Weekly Technical Market Outlook post I write shows the daily chart of the S&P 500 ($SPX) and three momentum indicators, the Relative Strength Index (RSI), MACD, and the Money Flow Index. However understanding what’s happening on higher time frames can be just as important, if not more so, when analyzing the market. With that, lets check in on the weekly and monthly charts.

First up is the weekly chart of the S&P, along with the RSI and MACD indicators. Since the 2011 near-bear market the Relative Strength Index (RSI) has been in a bullish range. We’ve seen this measure of momentum continuously hit ‘overbought’ levels while holding above 40 on downturns. This tells us that momentum is strong and the trend in price should remain intact.

Recently the RSI and began making a series of lower highs as price as continued to advance. The first lower high was followed by a near 10% drop in the S&P back in October. Since then, the market has rallied and hit new highs and the divergence has steepened. While this bearish divergence is considering, the indicator remains in a bullish range as holds above its prior lows.

When looking at the MACD indicator, which is another well-known measure of momentum, it also has been experiencing a bearish divergence. The difference between the RSI and MACD divergences is the MACD downturn has been with us for all of 2014. So far the S&P has seen 3 distinct lower highs in the MACD, which is more than we saw going into the 2007 peak.

SPX weekly

The monthly chart of momentum for the S&P 500 can cause confusion for some traders. Many will look and see that we’ve been ‘overbought (over 70 on the RSI) for almost the entire year and point to that as a reason to be bearish. But we know better! being ‘overbought’ just means that momentum is strong, it doesn’t require the price to go down substantially. Going into the 2007 peak, the monthly RSI began making a lower high. We aren’t seeing that type of bearish action in the latest set of data. While the peaks in the momentum indicator are not all exactly to the same level, in my opinion they are still showing strong signs of positive momentum. I’m currently watching to see if a break under 70 falls under the prior August 2013 low and if it’s then followed by a clear lower high on any rebound we see soon follow.

The MACD indicator has done a nice job highlighting the slow grind higher in momentum. With the recent weakness in December the fast line (black line) is close to crossing below the slow line (red line) which many traders view as a bearish signal. While I’m not overly concerned with the absolute level of the MACD, it’s interesting to note that we are currently seeing stronger momentum based on the currently monthly reading than at the 2000 and 2007 highs.

SPX MonthlySo what is momentum telling us? In my opinion, the weekly and month charts have continued to confirm the bull market and the up trend in U.S. stocks. While the divergences that are taking place in the RSI and MACD on the weekly chart are concerning and could lead to a protracted downturn, the fact that the Relative Strength Index remains in a bullish range is a positive sign in my eyes. We’ve yet to see a breakdown on the monthly chart, which would likely occur, but of course is not a requirement, ahead of a major market high.

Understanding what’s taking place on the higher time frames can give us clarity and a break away from the noise that takes place on the intraday and even the daily charts.
Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer. Connect with Andrew on Google+, Twitter, and StockTwits.