Some great trades can come when different sets of data align themselves at the same time. I often look at and write about price, relative strength, Commitment of Traders (COT) report, and seasonality when viewing a sector or asset class. Seasonality can be a great resource for screening and finding the bullish and bearish periods of time based on historical. However, 2014 has been a great example of why we can’t rely solely on seasonality.
However, when we look at the overall U.S. equity market, seasonality hasn’t been as helpful. We came into this year with the 2nd and 3rd quarters being historically the worst quarters in the Presidential Cycle. Over the last three months the S&P 500 ($SPY) is up nearly 6%. Looking at one-year seasonality, May to October hasn’t been the stronger period of trading. But 2014 has seen new all-time highs even during this bearish timeframe.
If all we looked at was the historical seasonality of the market and used that solely as our bearish/bullish bias, then so far this year would leave us scratching our heads in confusion. However, price is what pays and must always be respected. Each week in my Technical Market Outlook post I start with the overall trend of the U.S. equity market and then take a look at breadth and momentum to understand the ‘health’ of the trend. This helps keep us honest and check our emotional bias at the door. While seasonality is currently saying we should have a bearish slant, price is saying something different which makes seasonality a secondary indicator.