Weekly Technical Market Outlook 12/1/2014

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Technical Market Outlook post, but I’m back and ready to run through some charts.

We’ve seen the U.S. equity market continue to grind higher, being led by large caps ($SPY) with Small Caps ($IWM) under-performing over the last couple of weeks. Bond traders have still shown a lack of interest in risky assets, and international markets have remained in the shadow of the S&P 500, all while commodities have disappointed. Spot gasoline prices took a fall on Friday, dropping 9% and Crude Oil fell even harder, down over 10% for the day.

Trend
As the S&P 500 ($SPX) continues to hit new highs, the up trend remains in tact. We also have the 20-day and the 100-day Moving Averages upward slopping which is a good sign for equity bulls.

TrendBreadth
In my opinion, breadth is currently a mixed bag. The chart below shows the NYSE Common-Stock Only Advance-Decline Line, which has broken above its falling trend line but has yet to make a higher high and confirm the rise in the equity market. We also have the down trend in the Percentage of Stocks Above Their 200-day Moving Average. However, the Advance-Decline Line for the NYSE has hit a new high, which was helped by its inclusion of some bond funds. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Advance-Decline Lines have also confirmed their respective index’s move.

With three of the four major A-D lines hitting new highs, this is likely to be viewed by most in a positive light. While I had been cautious of the advance due to a lack of breadth confirmation, the measurements mentioned above have eased the bulk of my concerns.

breadthBreadth Part Two
On October 15th, just as the S&P 500 was finding a bottom I wrote a post called “We Haven’t Seen A Market Top Yet.” In that post I showed the following chart, which has a unique measure of market breadth. The blue line on the chart measures the S&P 500 components relative to their respective 52-week high and low. Rather looking at just whether stocks are rising or falling like the Advance-Decline Line; this indicator is more concerned with where the stocks are relative to their prior moves which can give us a better idea of market internals to some degree.

In my October post I wrote that in 2007 we saw much more deterioration in this breadth measurement compared to where we were at the September ’14 high. I wanted to see if the divergence widened when the market rose and tested or made a new high. Well now that this has happened I wanted to check back in with this breadth indicator. Unlike in 2007, more S&P 500 components have gotten closer to their respective 52 week highs. We are currently testing the September level and the indicator is back in a health range, well above were we were at the ’07 peak.

While there are still signs that things maybe extended, I do not believe we are currently seeing the same level of corrosion in breadth like we were in prior market tops.

relative to 52wk

Momentum
The divergence in the Relative Strength Index that sent up a warning flag in September is no longer present as the momentum indicator has once again broken above 70, and is now giving an ‘overbought’ reading. As a reminder, being ‘overbought’ while can lead to short-term weakness is a longer-term positive as it shows strength within a market.

The MACD has also cleared out its divergence, however one piece of the MACD that does have me concerned about the short-term is the histogram. Like in March and August/September of this year, the histogram has been diverging from price and is almost negative. The Histogram of the MACD indicator is simply the difference between the ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ lines represented. This type of divergence often gives an early warning to a crossover of the MACD lines, which is bearish for price.

momentum

Energy Sector
The slide in the Energy Sector ($XLE) has been picking up steam, down nearly 8.5% year-to-date. Back in July when it seemed like everyone loved the energy space and thought $XLE could do no wrong, I wrote about whether the sector was due for a pullback. The RSI indicator was at its highest level ever, price was the furthest above its 200-day Moving Average since the 2011 and 2008 peaks, and price was testing a long-term level of potential resistance. That day ended up marking the peak for $XLE and it hasn’t looked back since.

Now, we have another interesting chart for the energy space, this time relative to the S&P 500. Below is a monthly ratio chart of $XLE and $SPY. Since the inception of these two ETFs we have never seen the Relative Strength Index (RSI) fall below 30, until now. Momentum has just been getting pounded as the U.S. equity market rises and energy gets destroyed. Looking at the prior lows in 1999, 2000, and 2003 we can draw a trend line that may act as support if we see the relative performance between these two continue to favor $SPY.

xle spy60-Minute S&P 500
It’s been interesting to watch the intraday movement of the S&P 500 since the prior low. Price has been able to hold above the 50-1 hour Moving Average since it last crossed above it in October. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) has also done a great job at holding support near the 50 level, which is where we find it after the close on Friday. The MACD has been declining for the bulk of the advance. I would not call this a divergence since the decline does not include any significant swings in price for the S&P. I’ll be watching to see if the RSI continues to hold support and if price also remains above its Moving Average.

60 minYield Curve
As I’ve discussed multiple times, the bond market is either disconnected from equities or is not feeling the same level of jubilance as stock traders. The yield curve does a good job at depicting this. Over the last 25 weeks, the Rate of Change for the bond curve is down nearly 22%, a level we haven’t seen since the 2011/2012 lows. A declining yield curve can be trouble for the financial sector. While financials have not been a star performer this year, they have been able to outpace the broader index YTD. The yield curve is likely on everyone’s radar and the repeated drumbeat of new lows is becoming hard to ignore.

yield curveSector Relative Rotation Graph
Below is the RRG for the nine S&P sectors. This graphic shows the trend in performance as well as the momentum of that trend for the sectors relative to the S&P 500, for more information go here. In the current depiction of the RRG we can see the strength in Utilities ($XLU) and Consumer Staples ($XLP). While Health Care ($XLV) has been a leader this year, it has begun to see its trend momentum weaken as it nears the ‘Lagging’ category. The Financial ($XLF), Consumer Discretionary ($XLY), and Material ($XLB) sectors are also experiencing weakened trend momentum.

sectors rrgLast Week’s Sector Performance
While it was a shortened week with no doubt lower volume due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we still had some trading days to look back at. For the week, Consumer Discretionary and Technology led the way relative to the S&P 500. With Energy of course being the worst performing sector followed by Materials.

last week sectorYear-to-Date Sector Performance
Looking at the last 11 months of 2014 the sector leaders have rarely changed. Health Care is back in the top spot followed closely by Utilities and Technology. Energy holds the up the rear along with Materials, Consumer Discretionary, and Industrials as the four sectors still under-performing the market YTD.

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.

Weekly Technical Market Outlook 9/22/2014

When a doctor is attempting to diagnosis a patient he or she will attempt to collect as much information as possible regarding the patients symptoms. Based on the different aliments, the doctor can then make their diagnosis. I think right now the U.S. equity market is showing some negative symptoms. This doesn’t mean we need to call the morgue but there seems to be something happening based on the internals and the information price action is providing us. While the current deterioration is concerning, we are close to finishing out one of the historically weakness months of the year and are approaching the strongest six-month period for stocks.Will that be enough to correct the concerns shown on the charts? We’ll see.

Since the short-term low on Sept. 15th we’ve seen price advance to hit new highs. However at the same time we’ve seen the number of stocks making new 52-week lows on the NYSE also climb higher right along with price. Normally we see this data set decline when price is heading higher. While the S&P 500 ($SPY) was just a few points away from its record high, we saw the number of new 52-week lows hit its highest level since December 2013! And this all happened on the largest amount of volume on the S&P 500 since March.

Trend

With the new high in the S&P 500 ($SPX) the trend remains positive. The major index has now climbed back above its 20-day Moving Average and remains above its 100-day MA and long-term trend line.

trend

Breadth

As many noted last week, breadth for the equity market has begun to struggle. The support that has now become resistance (dotted red line) for the Common Stock-Only Advance-Decline Line remains above the indicator as the A-D line approaches its long-term trend line (solid red line). While breadth remains in an up trend, it’s begun the process of changing trend as we now have a lower high and we may see a lower low if it can get back to 9,800.

I also want to note, although they aren’t shown on the chart, that the Volume A-D Line, the S&P 500 A-D Line, and the more widely discussed, NYSE A-D Line have also not confirmed the most recent high in the S&P 500.  While each measure I just mentioned varies in its degree of divergence, its interesting that warning signs are going up on each of them.

breadth

S&P 500 Relative to 52-Week High-Low

I’ve shown a similar chart like this before, except it was for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today I want to look at the S&P 500. In the bottom panel is an indicator created by DecisionPoint that looks at the average ‘score’ of each of the S&P 500 stocks based on their relative position vs. their 52-week high and low. For example, if it’s at a 52-week low it’ll earn a ‘score’ of 0, if a stock is in the middle between its respective high and low then its score would be 50, and so on.

I use this tool for two purposes. One, to look for potential signs of mean reversion, as stocks tend to pull back on the short-term when the average score gets above 80 and puts in a short-term low when its falls under 60 during a defined up trend.

Second, for divergences with price. During the last two years, as shown on the chart below, we’ve seen the indicator consistently touch the 80 mark as price ebbed and flowed higher. However, most recently the average score for the S&P 500 stocks has drifted lower, forcing the indicator to divergence from price. The most recent new high saw the average score for the index right around 75. This is another potential sign that participation in the equity market is beginning to wane.

Relative to 52wk

Momentum

Another example of the increasing number of divergences can be found on the chart I show each week for momentum. The bearish divergence that started a couple of weeks ago is still ‘in play’ and became more severe as another lower low was created this past week in the Relative Strength Index (RSI). The MACD indicator, which also has been diverging from price, has yet to have its histogram break back above zero.

While we did see the RSI indicator hold its mid-point (50) during the most recent short-term drop, which is positive for the ‘health’ of momentum. The divergences that continue to plague the U.S. stock market continues to issue yellow flags for the current up trend. I’ll be watching to see if price confirms these warning signs or if they go ignored and price keeps heading higher.

momentum

Crude Oil

Last week I wrote a post about Gasoline, looking at the latest price action, COT data, Sentiment, and Seasonality. As it appears gas prices may be heading higher, crude oil ($CL_F) also seems to be finding some support.

Below is a weekly chart of the United State Oil Fund ($USO) going back to mid-2010. By connecting the series of higher lows since 2012 we can create a trend line that price is currently testing. At the same time the Relative Strength Index in the top panel of the chart is also testing support based on two prior lows.

It’s always interesting to see two markets that are connected like Gasoline and Crude Oil begin to show similar signs of bottoming out based on different sets of data. We’ll see if the oil bulls come back to the table and take price higher or if support gives way and oil continues to fall.

USOVolatility

I often look at the relationship between the 1-month and 3-month Volatility contracts as they enter and exit backwardation and contango. But today I’ve flipped the ratio, with the follow chart showing the S&P 500 and the 3-month $VIX divided by the 1-month $VIX. The ratio between these two contracts is now near the higher end of its range over the last year. While it has gone higher, traders are currently pricing in much less volatility in the short-term relative to 3-months out. I’ve put a blue line to show the current level compared to past instances. Is this a sign of too much optimism?

VXV VIX

Relative Rotation Graph – Sectors

Last week we looked at the Relative Rotation Graph for the nine S&P sectors. Go here to see last week’s chart and get a better explanation of what’s being shown. I highlighted last Monday that Financials ($XLF) appeared to be strengthening, and it seems that continued during trading last week as the momentum of the trend in relative performance increased for the sector. Health Care ($XLV) also saw an increase while Technology ($XLK), which is still firmly in the ‘leading’ category, saw its momentum of the trend in relative performance drop by a few points. Energy ($XLE) also continues to decline, seeing the largest move of the nine sectors.

RRG

Relative Rotation Graph – International

I normally only show the S&P sectors on the RRG, but I found the graph for international ETFs pretty interesting too. While I’ve shown multiple charts in this post pointing out the weakening internals for the U.S. equity market, that does not seem to be persuading traders from showing favor to domestic markets relative to international.

Nearly every country-specific ETF is in the ‘Lagging’ category or is moving towards it. The two countries that are currently showing strength compared to the S&P 500, Mexico ($EWW) and Hong Kong ($EWH), have begun to decline and are heading towards ‘Weakening’ and we currently have no Int’l ETFs in the ‘Improving’ category. I find this very interesting as traders are being very apparently in their bias for U.S. markets.

RRG intl
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.

The Dow Jones Average’s Battle For New Highs

I apologize for the lack of content on the blog or on Twitter.  But I’m now back from vacation and while I had a great time spending last week with my wife’s family in New England, it’s always nice to be home. 

Even while the bears sound off on the volume last week, we saw the S&P ($SPY) trek higher and make fresh highs.  While volume can be an important tool, we’ve been seeing decreasing volume for nearly the entire bull market off the 2009 low, which makes it a tough bell to ring to signal the end of the run. As The S&P and Nasdaq continue marching, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DIA) remains under its prior high.

Those that follow Dow Theory, while among other things, look for the Transports and Industrials to confirm each other’s moves. Yesterday we had the Transports squeak out a new high on both a closing and intraday basis.

It’s not very much of a surprise that the Transports are attempting to set a fresh high while the Industrial Average remains a couple dozen points below its own. Since October 2012, the Transports have been outperforming its Dow counterpart.

Now that we’ve seen $TRAN breakout I’ll be watching if $INDU follows, as it has done for the bulk of the bull market. The Dow Industrial Average is close enough to its prior 52-week high that a divergence does not look likely, but we’ll let price confirm these expectations.

Dow

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.