Weekly Technical Market Outlook 3/3/2014

You think we’ll hear much about Russia this week? Probably. The great aspect of using technical analysis is we don’t need to immerse ourselves in the headlines or know the intimate details of when country is currently invading another country. If the market feels this information is important than it will show up in the price action. It can be easy to get caught up in flashing “breaking news” events and attempting to dissect the impact it will have on price movement. While the situation in Ukraine is important and will affect hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives, we must categorize that in a different part of our thought process and allow our chosen strategy or lens to lead our bias.

Equity Trend

Little needs to be said about the current trend of the equity market. It’s still positive as we hit new highs last week in the S&P 500 ($SPX).

equity trend

Equity Breadth

We had a good week in market breadth last week with the Advance-Decline line continuing to head higher. While we saw some consolidation and an eventual new high in the S&P, the Advance-Decline Line, which measures the number of NYSE stocks heading higher vs. those in the red, has almost gone in a straight line up. As expected, the Percentage of Stocks Above their 200-day Moving Average has broken out of its multi-month range as it tries to kiss 75%.  However, there is one measure of breadth that is still concerning….

equity breadthBelow is a chart of net number of stocks making new highs vs. new lows and then taking a 5-day total to show what’s taken place in a single trading week.This chart shows the last 11 years and I’ve drawn trend lines on the breadth measure to show negative divergences. In 2005 and 2006 we saw the net numbers of new highs and new lows kept hitting resistance while price advanced. This lead to breadth making lower highs, diverging from price before a top was set in 2007. We also had a notable divergence of lower highs going into the short bear market in 2011. Last year with the equity market challenging 30% gains, the new highs-lows indicator mimicked the action in ’05/’06 – hitting resistance. However towards the end of 2013 and into the first two months of ’14 we have begun seeing lower highs once again.

While the previously mentioned measures of breadth are showing signs of confirmation for the new high in the S&P, this measure is not. Is this a sign of future weakness to come in to the market?  Maybe. Although its hard to make that argument with the Advance-Decline line showing such strength, which it was not doing going into the 2007 high.

New High Low 5 day

Equity Momentum

The two more traditional forms of momentum, The Relative Strength Index (RSI), and the MACD, are both not confirming new highs. However, the RSI indicator is still rising and could be just ‘late to the party’ before reach ‘overbought’ status and showing confirmation. The Money Flow Index, which incorporates volume into the momentum calculation has reached an ‘overbought’ status, something we haven’t seen since last October.

equity momentum


To keep with the theme of divergences, I want to take a moment and look at the bond market. Below is a chart of the S&P 500 ($SPX) with the ratio between the High Yield Corporate Bond ETF ($HYG) and 20+ Year Treasury ETF ($TLT) in the second panel and the 10-year Treasury Yield ($TNX) in the bottom panel.

It’s often said that the smartest traders are in the bond pits. This may be why we look to bonds to confirm what may be taking place in the equity markets. If the smartest guys (or gals) on The Street are bond traders, then they aren’t showing the same level of excitement as equity traders right now.

One way to measure ‘risk appetite’ is by looking at the relative performance of high yield debt compared to safe-haven Treasury bonds. When this ratio (green line) is rising we know that traders are showing a bias towards high yield bonds which means risk-taking is still in vogue. We also want to see the 10-year yield move with the equity market to help confirm an advance. Right now, neither of these are occurring. It appears bond traders are showing more signs of concern than what’s taking place in equity price action, which raises a yellow flag for the new high we hit last week. Treasury bonds are being favored over high yield and the 10-year yield has been heading lower – both measures diverging from recent equity price action.


60-minute S&P 500

As I mentioned last week, the 50-1hr Moving Average would likely be a good place to look for support on any dips. The divergence that was taking place in the Relative Strength Index was able to be worked off as the RSI indicator broke above 70 with the S&P hitting a new all-time high. The MACD is still showing a divergence on the short-term view, refusing to cooperate with the bulls. I’m writing this on Sunday night and if the futures market is giving us any indication to how trading will be today (Monday), we’ll be cutting right through previous support like a hot knife in butter.

60 min sp500

Last Week’s Sector Performance

Two weeks ago the strongest sectors were health care ($XLV), utilities ($XLU), and energy ($XLE), all of which showed relative weakness during trading last week. The materials sector ($XLB) was the strongest sector last week, with consumer discretionary (cyclicals) ($XLY) and consumer staples ($XLP) rounding out the top three.

week sector perfYear-to-Date Sector Performance

For the first time in 2014, healthcare ($XLV) has pushed its way to the top spot in sector performance, showing a repeat of 2013. Utilities ($XLU) still appears to be a trader favorite as it is the second strongest sector YTD. Consumer staples ($XLP) continues to stray from the pack of low beta sectors, as its the worst relative performer in 2014.

ytd sector perf

Major Events This Week

While Russia invading Ukraine will likely hold as the major headline this week, as we approach Friday the focus will shift to the Non-Farm Payroll report.

Monday: ISM Manufacturing Index and Construction Spending
Tuesday: None
Wednesday: Beige Book
Thursday: Jobless Claims and Factory Orders
Friday: Non-Farm Payroll


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 1/27/2014

Last Monday I didn’t write a complete Technical Market Outlook from the lack of price action. This wasn’t the case with last week as we saw the global markets bleed red with domestic markets get lead lower largely by the Transports ($IYT).

In Friday’s report, SentimenTrader noted that when the Transportation Average has closed down 3% or more after hitting a new 52 week high, the data is pretty bearish. Jason goes back to 1900 and there have been eight other instances of this occurring. The median loss one month later has been 4.2% and down 5.2% three months later with the index down a median of 15.3% six months later. Now it doesn’t mean that’s where we are headed but the historical data is definitely leaning bearish for the transport industry. While this is pretty gloomy there are some charts I want to look at that show we may have at least put in a short-term low as traders appear to have shown signs of capitulation.

With that, let’s dig into the important charts for this week…

Equity Trend

This is one of the things I find so interesting about technical analysis. With the panic selling that was taking place on Friday, we ended up closing just a few hairs above our 12 month trend line (green dotted line). Obviously we are now under the 20-day Moving Average (red line) and the 50-day Moving Average (not shown) but until we break the 2013 trend line and begin to see the creation of lower highs and lower lows, the current up trend remains intact.

SPX Trend90% Down Days

It’s often said that when we see 90% of the stocks traded (issues) and 90% of the volume down in a single day that this is a sign of capitulation. While we didn’t see 90% of both volume and issues down on Friday we did see 90% of volume and over 80% of issues lower.

The chart below shows past examples over the last two years where we’ve seen at least 90% of volume and 80% of issues down in a single day. You can see that the market reaction over the following couple of weeks/months has been fairly positive. Now if you were to extend the chart and look at the Financial Crisis in 2008, you’d seen this type of action almost on a daily basis and obviously didn’t lead to higher stock prices. Are we seeing the same type of deterioration in the financial markets as during one of the worst periods in recent history? Few would argue yes. So while it’s possible we see some continued weakness, it does seem, based on this set of data, as well as the 40% move in volatility ($VIX) that nearly every weak hand was folded as traders were quick to head for the exits in fear of losing their precious 2013 gains.

80 90

Equity Breadth

The selling on Thursday and Friday didn’t seem to have much impact to the Advance-Decline Line. While the S&P 500 ($SPX) is back to late-December levels, the A-D Line is nowhere near its December levels. The Percent of Stocks Above Their 200-day Moving Average however wasn’t as lucky. This measure of breadth is now back under the falling trend line but still well above the December low. While we saw some negative movement in breadth, it’s by no means signaling a breakdown in the equity market, at least not yet.

breadthEquity Momentum

While the past few weeks had been enough time for the Relative Strength Index (RSI) to catch up with the equity market and slightly break into ‘overbought’ territory, the negative divergence in the MACD held out and helped pull stocks lower last week. The RSI is now testing the lower level of its bullish range, and I’ll be watching to see if buyers are able to step in this week and push momentum, at least the RSI indicator, higher and keep it from getting ‘oversold’ by breaking under 30. We haven’t seen much movement in the Money Flow Index as it’s stayed fairly constant with a slight negative bias.


Along the same lines as the charts above, we saw signs of excessive fear in the $VIX curve. Below is a chart of the ratio between the 1-month Volatility Index ($VIX) and the 3-month Volatility Index ($VXV). Typically we see the $VIX trade at a discount (read: less than 1) to $VXV. This is normally due to traders being more fearful of market events further in the future than in the current trading environment. However, when we see large swings in the $VIX that show traders paying higher prices for current protection compared to protection from volatility 3-months away it pushes the ratio shown on the chart above 1 (which is called backwardation). Historically we have normally seen a short-term bottom put in for the equity market on past instances of backwardation in volatility. You can see a few examples of this in the chart below, when the $VIX has entered backwardation the S&P 500 ($SPX) has rallied.

VIX backwardationBonds

Make sure you check out my post from last week where I discussed The Bond Chart I’m Watching Right Now.

S&P 500 60-Minute

The resistance I’ve been watching over these past couple of weeks has held strong as the Relative Strength Index (RSI) began to break down and create a slight negative divergence (lower high while $SPX tested the previous high) on the 60-minute chart. The RSI has now broken below 30 and is ‘oversold’. How long momentum stays ‘oversold’ could give us a clue to how strong the sellers are in keeping equity prices depressed.

60min chartLast Week’s Sector Performance

It’s to no surprise that we saw two of the low-beta sectors show relative performance strength (meaning how the sector performed against the S&P 500). Utilities ($XLU) and consumer staples ($XLP), while down on an absolute basis, lead the nine S&P sectors for the week. Materials ($XLB) and industrials ($XLI) were the weakest sectors for last week.

Last weeks perfYear-to-Date Sector Performance

While we haven’t had very much data to look at for our YTD performance, I think it’s still important to see which sectors are leading as we get into 2014. Like last year, health care ($XLV) continues to be the strongest sector for this year with utilities ($XLV) coming in a close second. Like in the weekly data discussed above, materials ($XLB) are the laggard for 2014 so far.

YTD performanceMajor Events This Week

These are the economic reports I think traders will be watching this week. The bulk of the news coverage will likely be around the FOMC announcement on Wednesday as well as the GDP data on Thursday.

Monday: New Home Sales
Tuesday: Durable Good Orders and Case-Shiller Home Price Index
Wednesday: FOMC Announcement
Thursday: GDP and Jobless Claims
Friday: None

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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.