"Our “Japanification” theme argues for big, fat, volatile trading ranges being the norm. The rallies (Japan rallied +20% every year during the 1990s (Chart 8) and the fades are always driven by Policy (panic & complacency), Profits (troughs & peaks in PMI’s) & Positioning (fear & greed). As bulls begin to dominate, confidence in the macro improves & the Fed starts to talk-up prospect of rate hikes, we would use Q2 to add to volatility exposure." - BofA
The problem with forward earnings estimates is that they consistently overestimate reality by roughly 33% historically. The illusion of“permanent liquidity,” and the belief of sustained economic growth, despite slowing in China, Japan, and the Eurozone, has emboldened analysts to continue push estimates of corporate profit growth higher. Even now, as the earnings recession deepens, hopes of a sharp rebound in profitability remains ebullient despite the lack of any signs of economic re-acceleration.
The rally since February has done very little “wrong” in terms of its quality of advance. Sure, many folks would have liked to have seen more volume accompanying the move. We have pointed out some preliminary evidence of complacent or overly bullish sentiment, at least on a short-term basis. Now, we are beginning to see the until-now stellar rally breadth begin to show cracks. However, for the first time since mid-February, the breadth situation is not looking quite as sweet as it was.
The S&P 500 is stalling below 2085 as daily momentum for price action and especially market breadth is waning. Similar to early November, confirmation of a near-term S&P 500 peak could come on a close below rising channel support near 2028 with daily Williams %R moving out of overbought. This would place the focus on the 200 and 100- day MAs near 2017 and 1997, respectively, which are ahead of chart support at 1969- 1947.
Market breadth momentum contonues to weaken as the S&P 500 grinds higher, setting up a bearish outcome similar to the early November 2015 top. As BofAML's Stephen Suttmeier warns a break below channel support at 1989 would signal an interim top.
Last week’s stock market breadth was extraordinarily positive; similar signals historically have seen the market either launch higher or flame out, depending on the prevailing climate.
While the S&P 500 held support at January low (1,812) yesterday (and October 2014's Bullard bounce lows), BMO's Russ Visch warns "it may not hold in the days ahead" due to weak market breadth.
What goes up, comes down considerably faster...
"We had a hard landing in the stock market already. We had a hard landing in commodities. [So yes], we could have a hard landing in the economy. China has a colossal credit bubble and no one knows how it's going to unwind."
With the market now back to oversold conditions and redemptions complete, it is now or never for the traditional “Santa Rally.” Statistically speaking, the odds are high that the market will muster a rally over the next couple of weeks. While the short-term trends are indeed still bullishly-biased, the longer-term analysis (monthly) reveals a more dangerous picture emerging.
If there is one chart that tells the 'truth' about the US equity 'market' it is this. Not only has breadth collapsed back to Black Monday lows (despite elevated index prices) but yesterday's exuberant rip higher diverged dramatically from a very significant drop (3 decliners for every advancer) in overall market breadth. Yes, it's Fed week, and OPEX, but the underlying support for the ponzi is waning rapidly.
Government interference by both central banks and regulators (the latter are desperately fighting the “last crisis”, bolting the barn door long after the horse has escaped, thereby putting into place the preconditions for the next crisis) has created an ever more fragile situation in both the global economy and the financial markets. As the below charts and data show, price distortions and dislocations have been moving from one market segment to the next and they keep growing, which indicates to us that there is considerable danger that a really big dislocation will eventually happen.
"Deteriorating market breadth and herding into an ever-narrower number of stocks is classic market top behavior. Currently, there are many other warning signs that are also being ignored. The merger mania, the stock buyback frenzy, the year-over-year declines in corporate sales and falling earnings for the entire S&P 500 index, the plunges this year in the high-yield and leveraged loan markets, the topping and rolling over of the massive (record) level of stock margin debt... and I could go on."
The mainstream media is increasingly suggesting that we have once again entered into a 'Goldilocks Economy.' The problem is that in the rush to come up with a 'bullish thesis' as to why stocks should continue to elevate in the future, they have forgotten the last time the U.S. entered into such a state of 'economic bliss.' You might remember this: "The Fed's official forecast, an average of forecasts by Fed governors and the Fed's district banks, essentially portrays a 'Goldilocks' economy that is neither too hot, with inflation, nor too cold, with rising unemployment." - WSJ Feb 15, 2007. Of course, it was just 10-months later that the U.S. entered into a recession followed by the worst financial crisis since the 'Great Depression.'
It’s quite easy to get carried away with the drawing of conclusions based on a few technical chart patterns (and we are not doing that here!), but this chart is just too ugly to at least go unmentioned.