Breadth For The 9 S&P 500 Sectors

Below are the charts showing price (most charts are price only and not dividend adjusted outside of $XLF, which is divided-adjusted) as well as the sector’s respective Advance-Decline Line. The Advance-Decline Line is one of the most commonly used tools to measure the breadth, which is just a fancy way of saying participation, within a market. A-D Lines simply measure the cumulative number of underlying stocks that are rising or falling. When a sector is hitting new highs, ideally you want its breadth measurement to also be in a strong up trend and hitting new highs. It’s when these two diverge that we see a warning sign that the trend may be changing as the level of participation by individual stocks is not showing strong support.

Health Care
The SPDR Health Care ETF ($XLV) is currently trading in a consolidation pattern with resistance around $71.50 and support of a rising trend line connecting the prior higher lows. The A-D Line for Health Care is near a new high and has shown a solid level of support by the underlying health care stocks.

Consumer Staples
$XLP has been in a down trend since its mid-2016 peak, however price has recently broken above the declining trend line as buyers have re-entered the market for consumer staple stocks. The A-D Line for $XLP has been showing a greater sign of strength having risen back to its prior high and is ready to potentially breakout.

Utilities
The utilities sector ($XLU) has been improving since November but still well off its mid-2016 high. Breadth has maintained its up trend for $XLU, not putting in any lower lows like price has over the last 6 months.

Materials
The materials sector has been in an up trend since its early-2016 low and is currently testing a trend line off its intermediate low from November. $XLB’s A-D Line test its prior high but was unable to break out like price had last month.

Consumer Discretionary
$XLY has been setting new highs after putting in an intermediate low in November. However, its Advance-Decline Line has not been able to breakout quite yet – still sitting under its prior August high.

Energy
$XLE had a strong 2016 after declining for several years. However, it’s A-D Line has not been seeing the same level of strength, creating a bearish divergence since for the last several months. While the sector has been rising, it appear many individual energy stocks have not been as lucky.

Financials
Financials have been one of the strongest sectors since the November U.S. election. Price has been attempting to set a new high and the sector’s A-D Line has been support of that attempt, remaining strong and confirming price’s advance.

Industrials
Similar to $XLF, Industrials have been quite strong since the November election with price hitting new 52-week highs. $XLI’s A-D Line has continued to confirm the moves made in price.

Technology
Finally, the last of the S&P sectors and one of the strongest of the group. Technology has continue its up trend and practice of hitting fresh new highs. Fortunately, the A-D Line has continued in its up trend as well. While the A-D Line hasn’t quite broken out like $XLK has most recently, it is very close to doing so.

Update: While Real Estate has been added as a sector, I unfortunately am unable to find an advance-decline line for it, so it has to be left out of this post at this time.

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.

Health Care Sector Tests Bull Market Support

The Health Care sector has been one of the strongest performers during the bull market that began in 2009. Being that it provided consistent relative outperformance while also holding a title as a defensive sector gave many investors an increase in confidence in having exposure to this space inside their portfolios. However, recently the performance for health care has begun to decline – notably due to the weakness experienced in the biotech industry.

Below is a weekly chart of the Health Care Select SPDR ETF ($XLV) going back to mid-2009. The setup here is quite simple… In 2010 and 2011 when the equity market as a whole sold-off $XLV found support at its 100-week Moving Average. Currently we have price back to this previously important level of support. Because this is a weekly chart I’m more concerned with where we close on Friday than I am with intra-week price movement.

Each of the prior declines in the Health Care sector were preceded by a bearish divergence in momentum as shown by the dotted lines on the Relative Strength Index (RSI). The selling wasn’t strong enough to push the RSI indicator into ‘oversold’ territory, in fact both instances saw the indicator bottom out around 34. Once again we saw this summer a bearish divergence created as $XLV put in a higher high in price while momentum setup a lower high. Momentum is now back to the level that saw price bottom out in ’10 and ’11, will the same type of bounce occur here?

XLV

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.

Which Sectors Are Leading the Market?

With the increase in volatility over the last several weeks, I think it’s time to check back in on sector relative performance. While the U.S. equity market as a whole has gotten rocked since it’s August/September high, understanding what the underlying sectors are doing and what’s leading can be a great tool to stay in control. Over the last 30 days, the S&P 500 has lost 3.5% of its value, Utilities ($XLU) and Consumer Staples ($XLP) are actually positive and the Energy sector ($XLE) is down over 10%. While the S&P 500 ($SPY) often garners the most attention, we can’t lose focus of the nine S&P sectors that make up the index.

Health Care ($XLV) has been a consistent leader this year, spending the bulk of the last 30 weeks in the ‘Leading’ category of the Relative Rotation Graph (shown below). The Relative Rotation Graph (RRG) plots the sectors using their the trend of their relative performance against the S&P 500 as well as the momentum of that trend. Historically the sectors have moved in a clockwise fashion as they go in and out of favor relative to the index and as the momentum of their relative performance rises and falls as well.

About three weeks ago we saw that the Technology sector ($XLK) began to turn lower but remained in the ‘Leading’ category. Since then, and over the last several weeks, this once leading area of the market has shifted into the ‘Weakening’ category throttled by the decline in the momentum of its relative performance.

It’s also important to note the strength out of Financials ($XLF), and Consumer Staples. In a post on September 29th I highlighted the ratio between $XLP and the S&P 500, which was seeing a bullish divergence in momentum and ultimately led to the defensive sector outpacing the market for the last several weeks. Energy ($XLE) has continued to sink deeper into the depths of the ‘Lagging’ category with the momentum of its under-performance intensifying.

RRG chart

2014 has seen the theme of defensive strength with Utilities, Health Care, and Consumer Staples, leading the way for the bulk of the year. This likely worries equity bulls as traders steer away from the higher beta components in favor of the perceived safer sectors.

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.