Where will the market go from here: two arguments

Today, I’d like to contrast and compare some potential positives and potential negatives when we assess market and its forward performance potential. I will then outline our approach at ValueTrend to the current market conditions.

The negatives

Bad news point #1: First up is the technical trend profile. I won’t spend long on this one, because you know this already- but the trendline beginning in 2020 is broken. The SPX is now below support of 4300. Its below its 200 day (40 week) SMA, as it has been for some time – and we are witnessing a “death cross” as the 50 day breaks below the 200 day SMA (note: this is not hugely significant as a predictive indicator, but its worth noting nonetheless).

The SPX is not just breaking its trend – it’s declining on volume. More importantly (see my Online Technical Analysis Course) the A/D line in the bottom pane is trending down for the first time since the COVID crash of 2020. That combination of big volume with declining A/D insinuates that money is leaving the market.

 

Bad news point #2: The chart below is courtesy Scott Bauer of Prosper Trading. It contrasts rate rising vs rate falling environments. While at first glance, one might conclude that rate hike cycles tend to coincide with rising markets. True. But I do think we have to pay attention to the 1999-2001 period, where rates rose and markets fell. This was followed by soft markets between 2001-2004 while rates fell. Investors as long in the tooth as I am will recall that 1999-2004 (rising, then falling rates) was the boom, bubble and bust era of way overvalued tech stocks from their uber-weightings in the index. Thrown into that mix was the terrorist act of 9-11 in 2001.

Could we draw a similar conclusion to now? After all, we have just experienced a boom and bust of overvalued tech stocks that led into a bubble  on some of them (TSLA, FAANGs, and stay-inside stocks like PTON and ZM).  And now, like in 2001, we are witnessing a hostile act of war – this time in Europe by Russia.

Bad news point #3: Energy spikes have consistently marked either large drops, or the end of bull markets. Please refer to this blog for greater detail. Below is a chart from that blog, noting spikes in WTIC. Each of these oil price spikes corresponded roughly with stock market pullbacks. Anyone unaware of the recent spike in oil prices?

 

The positives

Good news point #1: The SPX was parabolically overbought, leading us into the recent correction. As the market corrects, it brings us closer to the longer termed trendline that marked the bull market that began after the 2008-2009 crash. If one were to estimate the point of trendline and market price intersection, it might be reasonable to suggest a pullback to about 4000 as a final stopping point to stay on point within the large uptrend line. That’s less than 10% away from current pricing. You’ll note on the chart that even the COVID crash – beyond a spike – held the line. So, officially, the bigger picture for the bull is not over – by any means.

 

Good news point #2: Most sentiment indicators are approaching, at, or recently hit their “buy” zones. Things like a spiking VIX and the Smart/Dumb money compilation show capitulation is nearing. This means the market is getting too pessimistic. I won’t repeat these indicators that I use in the Bear-o-meter, which I talked about last week. A few “new” sentiment examples include:

The NAAIM National Association of investment Managers net equity exposure is nearing an approximate level of being “too low” in equities. This is a contrarian indicator showing that hedge fund managers and “ordinary” managers are becoming overly pessimistic. Note how low equity exposure tends to swing back up quickly (indicating a re-entry by managers) when they get too under-exposed. Key points on the chart where exposure was too low occurred:

  • During the 2008-9 crash,
  • During the summer of 2011 (when markets fell 25%),
  • During the 2015 selloff, and
  • During the 2020 COVID crash.

Note how the current exposure indicator is getting down to those same levels.

 

The AAII (American Association of Individual Investors) isolates individual investors and their outlook. The chart below isolates the bear-count.  Too many investors have entered the “I hate this market” zone. That’s normally a sign of good things to come for the markets, as you will note in prior correction bottoms. Here’s the chart:

 

Conclusion

As always, the market is a paradox. On the one hand, you have some conditions of a bubble-burst environment with rising rates and a war type event as we saw in the 1999-2004 era. We see a neartermed chart breakdown (200 day SMA and 4300 support). And we see the historic tendency for oil peaks to coincide with corrections or bears.

On the other hand, we have long termed charts suggesting that, sure, the market could pull back to 4000 to bring back the overdone parabolic move last year. But once that is done, we have a pretty strong trendline that should support prices. We also have a ton of sentiment indicators showing us that dumb money hates the market. And that is almost always a good sign for positive returns.

At ValueTrend, we have a process where we do not predict. We are, however, prepared. Our preparation involves following some rules. These rules include allocations (cash, sector, beta) and strategies to leg out or in in steps rather than leaping in or out via emotionally reactions. Again, I implore you to take my online course for more on that strategy.

As disciplined traders, we have begun to slowly sell out of this market based on the 3+ day break of 4300. We were at 11% at the end of last week, and are now about 15-16% cash as of today. If things move back over the 4300, we will leg in, one step at a time. You can’t predict, you can prepare.

BTW–the TA online course has caught the eye of an educational marketing company. I am meeting with the representative this week, but they are suggesting that the course be marketed by them on a wider scale at somewhere near $500/ student. While I have not made any decisions on this, I would suggest that anyone who has an interest in taking it, and has not bought it at its current price of $100 – do so sooner rather than later.

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12 Comments

  • Congrats on catching the eye of the ed marketing firm! Perhaps there is a new career focus? jk! Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Thanks Leon–nope, not gonna give up my day job. Too much fun doing the real thing vs. just talking about it! Trading has been my life for 32 years. Like it is with bike racing for me, too. You can’t stop a lifetime athlete or a lifetime trader from doing his/her thing! Its an addiction.

      Reply
  • I completed the course and almost finished the book. They are great and I love the pragmatic approach yet I’m struggling a bit in that it still seems a bit like fuzzy logic to me. For example, how did you come up with the 4000 value for the SP500? I mean sure it could pull back to 4000 but also to 3600 or 3900. I selected a long-term log chart on Yahoo and when I draw a trend line along all the lows since 2011/16/18 and I project the graph down to the trend line where they would meet in the future it’s at around 3800 by about June. This seems plausible based on the current environment and everything you have posted recently.

    Do the charting sites you recommend do automatic trend lines or do you always eyeball it and draw it yourself?

    I used to see you on BNN until I cut the cord and it’s great to see you this active on your blog. Looking forward to future blogs. Great to see you have links here to your appearances.

    Reply
    • Thanks George
      I drew that trendline on a longer termed chart, and yes it is “rough”–that’s why I say “around 4000”–aka not too precise. The point being that its not got a long way to fall, even if your target is more on-point. Markets do, BTW, seem to like round numbers so 4000 may be a psychological support area too. But its horseshoes and hand grenades’–close is ok.

      Reply
  • WTI Oil?

    There has been a thesis expounded over the past 2 years that Oil supply is going to remain scarce for some years to come due to (a) severe lack of investment, (b) newfound restraint by US shale producers + Opecs ‘true’ lack of spare capacity (c) and increasing global demand.

    Obviously the latter point of global demand will fade somewhat if we enter a recession, however the first and second points seemingly could still hold water.

    While it looks like the easy Oil money has been made, are you out of the commodity trade and staying out? Or taking this latest pullback as a buying opp?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • I agree that oil has longer termed upside despite that its overbought right now. For that reason we reduced but did not eliminate our postion, and largely have focused on “gassy” oil stocks rather than pure oil.

      Reply
  • I notice Nat gas is coming into its strong seasonality period. Since we are heading into spring I am not sure why since heating demand will drop significantly. Is it due to a/c demand?

    Reply
    • Thackray’s guide: “Nat gas prices tend to rise from mid-March to mid-June ahead of summer cooling demands”
      So, yes you are correct. Remember, seasonal patterns show when to buy as AHEAD of the demand, then have you sell AT the peak of demand

      Reply
  • Hi Keith

    For the students of your online class; will we continue to have access when/if you hand it over to the marketing company?

    Hoping yes, I like to review from time to time
    Carey

    Reply
    • Yes absolutely Carey– you bought it and you can access it no matter what the price changes to
      I anticipate the course will be up and completely accessible to everyone for at least all of 2022.
      The marketing firm I spoke yesterday, they to promote it and charge just under $500 but that does not affect you or your access–I will announce the price change which only affects future buyers. I will give blog readers some heads up in case someone hasn’t bought it so they can pick it up at $100, then the door will shut on that price.

      Reply
  • I work in the film industry, your last paragraph sounds like the start of so many distributor (marketing) horror stories. I know you’re more business savvy than your average filmmaker but still, take 10 minutes and watch the video below to get a sense of how these companies work (start at 3:10). The speaker is a Canadian and played an important role in developing Barney/Bob the builder/Thomas the tank engine, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiLdKCYlS1M&t=938s

    Also consider a cap on their costs, meaning that beyond a 5% limit, every expense has to be approved by you (see Hollywood accounting).

    Reply
    • Thankyou for this skip–really appreciate you looking out for me. Listened to the video.
      The difference here is that they are not taking over the course, they simply market it via various internet advertising strategies. I hooked them up with my “regular” marketing person, and she has my back (15 year relationship)–so I am letting her carry on the conversations and give me input. But the basic difference here is the firm does marketing only, and does not have any rights to the course. The firm charges for it, with a 3-month refundable trial to see if it actually generates sales outside of what I have done with blog readers.
      My producer was the one who told them about me, as he felt the course was good enough to become a bit more “viral”

      Reply

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