When it comes to 2016, Goldman says that it is "deja vu all over again", and that the S&P 500 index will tread water for a second consecutive year. Specifically Goldman says that its "year-end 2016 target of 2100 represents a 1% price gain from the current index level (2089), which itself is just 1% above the year-end 2014 level of 2059." Here are the reasons why Goldman expects all the main themes from 2015 to be repeated in the coming year, and why the one can just sell on December 31, 2015 and go away for the next year:
"From July through October, hedge fund favorite stocks posted their worst relative returns outside of 2008."
- US dollar sell-off: Nov’15 Global FMS shows “long dollar” most crowded trade
- EM rally: China deval complicates rally but humiliated EM ripe for bounce as Fed hike expectations peak
- Positioning less "bearish": risk rally is "narrow" and vulnerable to quick profit-taking in event-rich December: deteriorating RSP/SPY ratio
"Clients are quick to point out similarities between the current low breadth environment and the narrow breadth regime that emerged during the tech bubble in the late 1990s. Our Breadth index currently equals 1, one of the lowest levels in the 30- year series. The typical episode lasted four months, with past episodes ranging from two months in 2007 to a high of 14 months during the tech bubble."
As Strategas notes "any way we look at it, market breadth remains narrow," but, as Dana Lyon's details, everyone's favorite high-beta squeeze index - Nasdaq - is perhaps the most troubling. Since the initial spike off the September lows, rally participation among all stocks has been lackluster; the Nasdaq provides us with more evidence of this... In fact, over the past month, the cumulative number of daily advancing stocks minus declining stocks on the Nasdaq is actually negative.
With 1998/99 analogs abounding, we thought it worth looking at a more ominous similarity. The breadth of the US equity market is "narrowing" dramatically; and bad breadth was a big flashing red feature of 1999.
The Nasdaq was the last great hope holding on to positive returns in 2015... until this morning.. and as Nasday went red YTD, panic-buying ensued slamming TRIN near record highs...
With indicators from macro-fundamentals (e.g. retail sales, core capex, inventory-to-sales) to market-oriented measures (VIX levels and backwardation, HY credit spreads, commodity prices) all flashing various colors of dead canary in the coal-mine red, we thought today's colossal spike in the Arms (TRIN) Index was a notable addition.
"The combined levels of bullish optimism, lack of concern about a possible market correction (don't worry the Fed has the markets back), and rising levels of leverage in markets provide the 'ingredients' for a more severe market correction. However, it is important to understand that these ingredients by themselves are inert. It is because they are inert that they are quickly dismissed under the guise that 'this time is different.' Like a thermite reaction, when these relatively inert ingredients are ignited by a catalyst, they will burn extremely hot. Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly what that catalyst will be or when it will occur. The problem for individuals is that they are trapped by the combustion an unable to extract themselves in time."
Momentum traders - relying on the 'trend is your friend' theme - may have a rude awakening soon as momentum stocks trade at a stunning 50% premium to the market (vs an average 20%). As BofAML notes, high growth, high multiple names that have been leading the market over the past year are showing some signs suggest we are close to a tipping point. The growth-to-value spread is at its highest since the peak of the dotcom bubble in 2000 and, as Subramanian ominously notes, when momentum ends, it ends badly - with an average loss of 25% over the next 12 months.
Another day, another technical breakdown, only this time not for the US but for the entire world. As BofA points out, "the weekly global A-D line shows a 2011-style breakdown", which it notes "is a market risk", although it remains unclear if central banks, and China's National Team in particular, use technicals when deciding to manipulate stocks.
Based on data for the week ended August 7th, the Major Trend Index dropped to a NEGATIVE reading of 0.90, led by declines in both the Attitudinal and Momentum/Breadth/Divergence work. The topping action evident in the MTI and other disciplines is consistent with either a severe correction, or a cyclical bear in the near future. We’ve therefore cut net equity exposure in both the Leuthold Core and Leuthold Global Funds to 38%, down from 48% in late July, and 61-62% in late June. A further reduction is possible in the days ahead.
The US equity market struggled last week but the S&P 500 held the rising 200-day MA once again, but as BofAML notes, the much broader-based NYSE stalled at 200-day MA resistance last week. The NYSE has a potential head and shoulders top as well as a breakdown for the NYSE stocks only advance-decline line through the March low. Similar to the NYSE Comp, the Russell 2000 also shows a potential head and shoulders top with a breadth breakdown a big risk to 1200 support...