The Stock Market

     

 

Which Disturbance in the Farce can be Profitably Ignored Today?

There has been some talk about submerging market turmoil recently and the term “contagion” has seen an unexpected revival in popularity – on Friday that is, which is an eternity ago. As we have pointed out previously, the action is no longer in line with the “synchronized global expansion” narrative, which means with respect to Wall Street that it is best ignored.

 

Misbehaving EM currencies – the Turkish lira has become quite unruly of late, which is bad juju for a country with a huge balance of payments deficit and an external debt-to-GDP ratio of well above 50%. Arguably the zaftige move in the Chinese yuan is the more important event though. If it breaches the red resistance line in the chart above, the yuan will be at a new 10-year low. Oh well, who cares? Not the US stock market if recent headlines are any indication.

 

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Closing the Affordability Gap

Up until recently, the Seasonax app was only available to users of Bloomberg or Reuters terminals, putting it out of reach of most non-institutional investors. This has now changed. A  HYPERLINK “https://app.seasonax.com/”web-based version has become available which anyone can use, and it comes at a much lower price point as well. When visiting the site where the app is hosted, this is the welcome screen:

 

Featured patterns at the Seasonax web app page

 

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The Big Picture

The diverging performance of major US stock market indexes which has been in place since the late January peak in DJIA and SPX has become even more extreme in recent months. In terms of duration and extent it is one of the most pronounced such divergences in history. It also happens to be accompanied by weakening market internals, some of the most extreme sentiment and positioning readings ever seen and an ever more hostile monetary backdrop.

 

Who’s who in the zoo in 2018

 

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A Walk on the Wild Side

 

“Never play cards with a man called Doc.  Never eat at a place called Mom’s.  Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.”

– Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side

 

Fresh Fruit or Rotting Vegetables?

A subtle gas seems to always be vented into the atmosphere at the sunset of an extended bull market.  As the light fades, an odor that’s indiscernible from that of fresh fruit or rotting vegetables wafts down Wall Street.  You can almost smell it.  But what it is you smell is too faint to accurately characterize.

 

DJIA, daily; quo vadis Industrial Average, and what’s that odd smell? At the peak in late January the  weekly chart of the average sported an RSI of 92 – an all-time record “overbought” condition. A few other indexes (particularly the Nasdaq and small cap indexes) have reached new highs in the meantime, but broad-based and large cap indexes have failed to confirm these moves. [PT]

 

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The Details Plotted

In the last issue of Seasonal Insights I showed you the statistics associated with the popular truism “sell in May and go away” in the countries with the eleven largest stock markets. The comparison divided the calendar year into a summer half-year from May to October and a winter half-year from November to April. In all eleven countries, the winter half-year outperformed the summer half-year. As announced on that occasion, here are the details for all countries that were reviewed.

 

October meeting after not selling in May

 

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A Truism that is Demonstrably True

Most people are probably aware of the adage “sell in May and go away”. This popular seasonal Wall Street truism implies that the market’s performance is far worse in the six summer months than in the six winter months. Numerous studies have been undertaken in this context particularly with respect to US stock markets, and they  confirm that the stock market on average exhibits relative weakness in the summer.

 

Look at the part we highlighted – it is downright eerie, Mark Twain somehow knew! [PT]

 

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In Other Global Markets the “Turn-of-the-Month” Effect Generates Even Bigger Returns than in the US

The “turn-of-the-month” effect is one of the most fascinating stock market phenomena. It describes the fact that price gains primarily tend to occur around the turn of the month. By contrast, the rest of the time around the middle of the month is typically far less profitable for investors.

 

Good vs. bad seasonal timing…   [PT]

 

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Battle Over Trendline Support Continues

Here is a brief update of our recent series of observations on the stock market. First of all, the SPX has just tested its major trendline for the third time after making yet another lower high – it is back below the 38% retracement level after a failed attempt to break through the 50% level. The same applies to NDX, DJIA and NYA as well, but the RUT (Russell 2000) continues to outperform all the big cap and broad-based indexes noticeably.

 

SPX, daily: another downturn from a lower high, but the major trendline – and incidentally the 200-dma, which is situated very close to it – continues to hold so far. This chart, as well as those of the other major indexes, continues to look dangerous. The danger is mitigated by the outperformance of the RUT, as funds slosh around from one corner of the market to another (there doesn’t seem to be enough liquidity to keep all the plates in the air concurrently).

 

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A Well Known Seasonal Phenomenon in the US Market – Is There More to It?

I already discussed the “turn-of-the-month effect” in a previous issues of Seasonal Insights, see e.g. this report from earlier this year. The term describes the fact that price gains in the stock market tend to cluster around the turn of the month. By contrast, the rest of the time around the middle of the month is typically less profitable for investors.

 

Due to continual monetary inflation in the fiat money system and the “survivor bias” inherent in stock market index construction, nominal stock prices are rising 67% of the time. Nevertheless the long term uptrend in nominal prices is subject to countless recurring seasonal patterns. The market as a whole on average tends to generate the bulk of its gains only at certain times.  [PT]

 

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A “Typical” Correction? A Narrative Fail May Be in Store

Obviously, assorted crash analogs have by now gone out of the window – we already noted that the market was late if it was to continue to mimic them, as the decline would have had to accelerate in the last week of March to remain in compliance with the “official time table”. Of course crashes are always very low probability events – but there are occasions when they have a higher probability than otherwise, and we will certainly point those out when we see them. Anyway, something else is evidently happening. Here is a chart of the SPX that shows the important trend-line which was so far successfully defended:

 

According to the “keep it simple” chart, this was just a run-of the mill correction, very similar to every other correction seen since the 2009 low. But is that really the case?

 

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SPX Trendline Battle, Relative Strength in RUT

We reviewed the daily charts after yesterday’s close and noticed that the Russell 2000 Index, the NYA and transportation stocks all exhibited relative strength (the same holds actually for the DJIA), particularly vs. the FANG/NDX group. This is happening just as the SPX is battling with an extremely important trendline. As we pointed out before, relative strength in the RUT in particular served as a short term reversal signal ever since the sell-off started in February. The question is if this signal will continue to work. Here is an updated chart:

 

The SPX, the RUT and the RUT-SPX ratio. Relative strength in the Russell persists, and it has acted quite firm over the past several days in the face of growing weakness in the big cap tech sector. On previous occasions this has indicated an imminent short term upside reversal. At the same time, the SPX is sitting on the decisive trendline recently discussed by Dimitri Speck in connection with “crash analogs”. Interestingly, the Modified Ned Davis Method flipped to a 50% net short position on the Russell last Friday – will it be whipsawed again?

 

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A Word on 1987 Analogies – Why Even Bother?

As our friend Dimitri Speck noted in his recent update, the chart pattern of the SPX continues to follow famous crash antecedents quite closely, but obviously not precisely. In particular, the decisive trendline break was rejected for the moment. If the market were to follow the 1987 analog with precision, it would already have crashed this week. Nevertheless, we wanted to show one more parallel in connection with the previously discussed “flight to fantasy” effect. As we mentioned when we posted this chart, the divergent DJIA/NDX peaks we could recently observe happened in 1987 as well. Here is a chart of the event:

 

Divergent highs and lows in the NDX compared to the DJIA in 1987. The similarity with the recent divergence at the peak – which took even almost the same time to develop (DJIA peak on Jan 26 vs. NDX on March 12) – is quite glaring. It is one of several reasons why we believe the January top in the major benchmark indexes may turn out to be a significant one, regardless of whether an 87-style crash wave develops.

 

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