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...
Wondering why stocks are surging this morning - aside from Fischer's comments, OPEC rumors, Greek bank recaps, and JPY ignition? Perhaps it is the veritable swarm of professional technical analysts out with notes warning of significant problems ahead. From John Hussman's refined Hindenberg Omen and Carter Worth's "sell stocks, breadth is a problem," to Oppenheimer's warning of "seasonals and weak internals," and Louise Yamada's "stocks are vulnerable, keep cash on sidelines" warning - it appears today's early bounce is as much about contrarian oversold bounce as it is about any macro news. But with 73% of the largest 1000 stocks at least 5% off their highs, stocks remain fragile as they push back towards highs.
"Increasingly concerned about the markets, I’ve taken more aggressive action than in 2007, the last time I soured on the equity markets. Let me explain why and what I’m doing to try to profit from what may lie ahead."
This negative breadth signal has an ominous long-term track record. The 59 occurrences all took place in 4 distinct periods, though most of them happened within 2 clusters: August 1972 (13), November 1999-March 2000 (44), September 2007 (1), July 2015 (1)
When we noted the stock market’s weak internals yesterday, we weren’t sure if things could get any worse – and by how much – with the major averages still able to hold near 52-week highs. Well, the answers were “yes” and “a lot”... yesterday, July 20, 2015, was the thinnest new high on record in the U.S. stock market.
Bad breadth is everywhere in US equity markets...
As we await the final capitulation by the ECB, EU and IMF to provide Greece another bailout (or not), we have assembled a list of reading for you that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Greece.
"You're cruisin' for a bruisin'." - Kenickie, Quote From "Grease"
"...excluding Energy and rate sensitive sectors such as Telecom and Utilities, which have been bringing down the average, most sectors continue to show very strong breadth. In particular, Healthcare, Consumer Discretionary and Financial stocks continue to show very strong uptrends."
"We have a problem with this, and that is central bank hubris. They now think that they are omnipotent, because, essentially the government has said we are going to pass over all control of the economy to the central banks, they say to everybody else including financial market participants that “you don’t know, you don’t understand, we have our models and they are right”. And that kind of hubristic approach is when you sow the seeds of your own destruction."