Where Is All The Cash On the Sidelines We Keep Hearing About?

Ned Davis, founder of the very well-respected Ned Davis Research firm has some interesting thoughts on the suspected large amount of cash that is commonly reported to be on the sidelines and still waiting to be invested. Davis goes right to the data as shown in this MarketWatch piece by Mark Hulbert to find that there may not be as much “cash on the sidelines” as many would like to believe….

Davis looked for this cash in four areas. In each case, current levels are some of the lowest in history:

  • Money market funds. This is the most obvious place where cash would be stored. But as a share of the total market cap of the entire stock market, current money market fund assets are very low by historical standards: 11.3%. Before the 2007 market top, the lowest this share got was 12.7%. Davis calculates that the current percentage is in the historical zone associated with annualized stock market returns of only 0.4%.
  • Households’ free liquidity. Davis next focused on non-equity liquid assets, net of liabilities. As a percentage of the stock market’s total market cap, this free liquidity stands at 39.8%. That’s not only lower than what was registered at the 2007 top, it’s the lowest in 60 years with only one exception: the top of the Internet bubble. According to Davis, the current percentage is in the historical zone associated with minus 0.2% annualized returns.
  • M2 money supply. Davis expanded his net even more broadly. As a percentage of total market cap, however, M2 money supply also is lower than at any time since the 1920s — again with just one exception: the top of the Internet bubble. It’s currently in the historical zone associated with 0.8% annualized returns.
  • Credit balances in brokerage accounts. There was $285.6 billion of such balances at the end of March, which certainly looks like a big number. But Davis reminds us that there also is a record amount of margin debt in those same brokerage accounts — $476.4 billion. The net number is the lowest in history, according to Davis.

While Central Banks across the globe have been keeping the cash spigots on, providing stimulus to their respective financial markets, consumers don’t appear to have much left.

Source: A bullish argument for stocks turns out to be wrong (MarketWatch)

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.

Technical Market Outlook 4/27/2015

Well stocks appear to be ready to see some fresh air as many major indices are testing prior highs or have already broken out. When this type of price movement happens the first thing I do is turn to the market internals and measures of risk taking to see if there are signs of confirmation. I’ll dive into some of these today in this Technical Market Outlook.

Trend
What better place to start than the trend of the S&P 500 ($SPX). For the bulk of 2015 we have seen this major U.S. index rise and then quickly fall back to its 100-day Moving Average before making another attempt to advance. Each move created a slightly higher high and higher low, which is positive for trend followers, albeit the progress has been slow and choppy.

trend

Small(er) Caps vs. Large Caps
There are different ways to look at the ratio between small and large cap stocks. How you define ‘small’ is the key. In this chart I’m not looking at actual small caps but the smallest stocks in the S&P 500 ($SPX). The cap-weighted index is often controlled by what the largest of its holdings does. This can hide what the majority of the stocks are doing and in turn, not revealing any possible signs of weakness. By looking at the ratio between the Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight ($RSP) and the cap-weighted SPDRs S&P 500 ($SPY) we can see which one is leading, the larger portion of the index or the smaller capitalization companies.

In this chart we can see that the ratio between RSP and SPY has created a false breakout of its prior high set in 2014. When the black line is rising the smaller cap stocks are leading the overall index, a possible notion that traders are taking on more risk as they show preference for smaller company’s stocks. As the S&P 500 is just a few points away from a new high, the smaller portions of the index are beginning to drag.

RSP vs SPYBreadth
One of the more bullish charts for the advance in stocks right now is that of the Advance-Decline Line, a measure of breadth for the market. The Common Stock-Only NYSE Advance-Decline Line has continued to confirm the up trend in U.S. stocks. The A-D line for the S&P 500 also is very close to breaking out like its respective index. The Percentage of Stocks Above Their 200-day Moving Average has also made good progress as it digs itself out of the down trend that had been created. While not near its high, this breadth indicator has begun an up trend of higher lows and higher highs. From a breadth perspective, things appear positive for stocks.

breadthCommodities vs. Treasury’s
Back in December Jeffrey Gundlach did a webcast calling TIPS (Inflation-protected securities) for losers. A few days later Bill Gross did an interview with CNBC and said TIPS looked like an attractive opportunity. Once again, the Doubeline bond manager appears to be on the right side of this call as inflation has declined over the last several months. One way we can chart inflation is through the relationship between commodities and Treasury’s.

If commodity prices are rising at a faster pace than bonds, then it’s believed that inflation is also on the rise. As you can see from the ratio chart below, commodities have been under-performing the 10-year Treasury bond since early 2014, However, it seems we may be seeing a possible double bottom in this relationship, which would favor commodities over Treasury’s. At the same time momentum via the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is creating a positive divergence by putting in a higher low.

I’ll be watching to see if the ratio between $CRB and $UST is able to break above its prior high at 1.80. If this happens then we may begin seeing signs of inflation re-introducing itself. What would cause this? That’s not my concern nor on my radar. All I know is this setup may turn to be bullish for commodities after the terrible performance they have had over the last year.

comm vs treas

Momentum
While Breadth looks bullish for stocks, momentum has been unable to produce the type of movement we’d like to see. The daily Relative Strength Index (RSI) remains in a range between 60 and 40. The MACD indicator also has been making a series of lower highs. If the S&P does rise and high a new high this week, it will unlikely be accompanied by momentum which will cause many traders to pause.

momentum

Semiconductor’s
One of my most widely shared posts was on the significance of Semiconductor’s and how they have replaced Copper as an indicator of risk-taking for the market. I was fortunate enough to have it published in the Market Technician Association Newsletter as well as the Chart of the Day at Bloomberg.

As the global economy becomes more technologically focused the market has shifted from industrial materials to ones found in just about every electronic created – semiconductors. This is why I believe this index is important to watch for signs of confirmation in equities. Up until the last few months Semi’s had been marching instep with the S&P 500. But that has changed as they are well off their high as the S&P tests its own high – creating a bearish divergence. This has historically not been a great sign for stocks. Some of the previous downturns in U.S. markets have been led by this type of lack of confirmation in semiconductors. Are we approaching the same kind of weakness?

semi

Year-to-Date Sector Performance
2015 has continued to repeat ’13 & ’14 with strength coming out of the Health Care ($XLV) sector. Consumer Discretionary (Cyclicals) ($XLY) also have been performing well as they are the second best performing sector YTD. Utilities ($XLU)  and Financials ($XLF) are the two worst performers so far this year.

YTD sector
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.

Is This Cycle Foreshadowing A Turning Point In The Market?

Below is a chart of the S&P 500 ($SPX) going back to 1999. The red marker on the bottom shows a defined cycle with the same period between each peak and valley. I’ve marked blue dotted lines to show the bottom of the cycles. You’ll notice that the bottoms of many of these defined period cycles have marked important turning points in the market. Now, not every trough was deemed to highlight a peak or bottom in the S&P 500 but I find it interesting that many of them do. The last three cycle bottoms coincided with the 2011 high, near the 2012 low, and a short-term low after a few percentage points of selling in 2014. The lows also seemed to have marked the 2000 and 2007 peak in the equity index.

Keep Reading: Is This Cycle Foreshadowing A Turning Point In The Market? (See It Market)

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.