Bull or Bear Market? (Week of April 27, 2015)

Each weekend, I study market behavior using sentiment and technical indicators. My goal is to use clues, observation, and indicators to analyze underlying market conditions. If you can determine the current market environment, it may help you to create profitable trading strategies.

RELEASED: Understanding Options (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Understanding Stocks (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Start Day Trading Now (Adams Media), and Predict the Next Bull or Bear Market and Win (Adams Media): http://bit.ly/1bl0ZNk

My latest book (eBook) has been released: Prepare Now and Survive the Coming Bear Market. Amazon: http://goo.gl/2wWC8X Nook: http://goo.gl/VQstmr  Smashwords: http://goo.gl/eBpYBT 

 

AAII survey (4/22/2015)

31.5% Bullish. 45.3% Neutral. 23.2% Bearish. 

Bearish: If sentiment is over 50% bullish.

Bullish: If sentiment is over 50% bearish.

 

Investors Intelligence (4/21/2015)

52.5% Bullish.  15.2% Bearish.

Bearish: If sentiment is over 60% bullish. (Note: Percent of bears is still at historic lows. 13.3 % is the 1987 low.)

Bullish: If sentiment is over 60% bearish.

 

VIX: 12.29 (on 4/24/2015)

Bearish: Less than or near 12.

Bullish: Greater than or near 40.

 

RSI (S&P 500): RSI is at 59.49 (on 4/24/2015)

Overbought (i.e. Bearish): When RSI rises to 70 or above.

Oversold (i.e. Bullish): When RSI falls to 30 or below.

Note: RSI can remain overbought or oversold for extended time periods.

 

Moving Averages (daily): The S&P is above its 50-, 100, and 200-day moving averages and pointing up

Bearish (Short-term Downtrend): Index crosses under 50-day, 100-day, or 200-day MA.

Bullish (Short-term Uptrend): Index crosses over 50-day, 100-day, and 200-day MA.

 

MACD (S&P 500): MACD is above its zero line and above its red 9-day signal line. (Note: I’m using the settings, 19,39,9, recommended by Gerald Appel, MACD’s creator.)

Bearish: MACD line crosses below 9-day (red or gray) signal line. MACD line (black line) crosses below zero line.

Bullish: MACD line crosses above zero line. MACD line crosses above 9-day signal line. 

 

Bonds: U.S. 10-year yield is at 1.92% (on 4/24/2015).

Note: 3.0% or higher is significant (consider selling bond funds as yield rises). 3.5% or higher and risk increases (for bondholders). 

 

Analysis: After a strong start, the indexes appeared to struggle all week, although the S&P still managed a 1.75% gain. The trend is up but many technical indicators are warning of overbought conditions. Although the market can still climb higher, in the short-term it is on borrowed time. Sentiment indicators haven’t changed much: Retail investors are more neutral than bullish. The financial media is still bullish and in general, everyone is complacent. Very few see any danger signs, which in itself is a danger sign. 

Opinion: By the numbers, the bulls won the week. If you look deeper, however, the rallies were tepid and unenthusiastic, and the market internals (measured by the NYSE Tick, for example) were weak. It’s hard to convince most investors that the market is on a slippery slope because as long as the indexes go higher, all appears to be well. Dow 18,000, S&P 2100, and Nasdaq 5,000. What could go wrong? 

This is another important week. As I wrote last week, we need to see the indexes fly past these price levels and stay there. Personally, I’d be surprised if the market suddenly bolted higher. In fact, if the market continues to struggle at these price levels, it’s likely there will be a major retreat soon. Buyers are not rushing in at these levels, and yet, investors are not selling. I’d characterize the market as in a standoff. Putting all the indicators and clues together, the edge goes to the bears.

It is going to be a fascinating week. Watch and see how the market handles these elevated price levels. We’ll know soon enough if this is the top of the market, or if there is room to run. The wild card: The Fed will not raise interest rates anytime soon, and they will let everyone know at a most opportune time. 

Bottom line: I see many danger signs, but most investors are oblivious. 

Bull or Bear Market? (Week of April 20, 2015)

Each weekend, I study market behavior using sentiment and technical indicators. My goal is to use clues, observation, and indicators to analyze underlying market conditions. If you can determine the current market environment, it may help you to create profitable trading strategies.

RELEASED: Understanding Options (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Understanding Stocks (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Start Day Trading Now (Adams Media), and Predict the Next Bull or Bear Market and Win (Adams Media): http://bit.ly/1bl0ZNk

My latest book (eBook) has been released: Prepare Now and Survive the Coming Bear Market. Amazon: http://goo.gl/2wWC8X Nook: http://goo.gl/VQstmr  Smashwords: http://goo.gl/eBpYBT 

 

AAII survey (4/15/2015)

32.1% Bullish. 45.1% Neutral. 22.8% Bearish. 

Bearish: If sentiment is over 50% bullish.

Bullish: If sentiment is over 50% bearish.

 

Investors Intelligence (4/14/2015)

50.5% Bullish.  13.9% Bearish.

Bearish: If sentiment is over 60% bullish. ( Note: Percent of bears is still at historic lows. 13.3 % is the 1987 low.)

Bullish: If sentiment is over 60% bearish.

 

VIX: 13.89 (on 4/17/2015)

Bearish: Less than or near 12.

Bullish: Greater than or near 40.

 

RSI (S&P 500): RSI is at 48.88 (on 4/17/2015)

Overbought (i.e. Bearish): When RSI rises to 70 or above.

Oversold (i.e. Bullish): When RSI falls to 30 or below.

Note: RSI can remain overbought or oversold for extended time periods.

 

Moving Averages (daily): The S&P is below its 50-day moving averages and pointing down

Bearish (Short-term Downtrend): Index crosses under 50-day, 100-day, or 200-day MA.

Bullish (Short-term Uptrend): Index crosses over 50-day, 100-day, and 200-day MA.

 

MACD (S&P 500): MACD is above its zero line and slightly above its red 9-day signal line. (Note: I’m using the settings, 19,39,9, recommended by Gerald Appel, MACD’s creator.)

Bearish: MACD line crosses below 9-day (red or gray) signal line. MACD line (black line) crosses below zero line.

Bullish: MACD line crosses above zero line. MACD line crosses above 9-day signal line. 

 

Bonds: U.S. 10-year yield is at 1.85% (on 4/17/2015).

Note: 3.0% or higher is significant (consider selling bond funds as yield rises). 3.5% or higher and risk increases (for bondholders). Note: Bonds keep rallying. 

 

Analysis: The indexes seesawed back and forth last week until Friday, when the market sold off over 1% by the end of the day. It was an orderly selloff as most investors still have a bullish bias (although some retail investors say they are getting more cautious). Based on technical indicators, it is too early to say if Friday’s selloff was meaningful. We’ll need to watch what happens this week to see if the short-term downturn continues. The financial media does not see any danger signs, although Greece is in the news along with earnings. It will be interesting to see how the markets react to current events.

Opinion: With Greece looming in the background and earnings announcements about to take center stage, it could be a wild week. Bullish investors are convinced the market can go nowhere but up, so we’ll soon see if they are right.

There is a lot of conflicting data and news this week, so it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. At this writing, the odds favor the bears, but that could change if bad news is ignored. Monday will tell us a lot, and according to the S&P futures, the opening will be slightly positive.

Last week, I suggested that you watch what happens when the Dow hits 18,000 and the S&P hits 2100. As you may have noticed, the indexes crumbled soon after hitting these targets. That was a very negative sign. All we can do now is wait to observe what happens if the indexes try again.

Bottom line: If the market is in the danger zone, as I believe, then it will be a very rough week for the bulls. On the other hand, if the bull market is intact, as most financial pros believe, then we’ll be back at Dow 18,000 and S&P 2100.

Bull or Bear Market? (Week of April 13, 2015)

Each weekend, I study market behavior using sentiment and technical indicators. My goal is to use clues, observation, and indicators to analyze underlying market conditions. If you can determine the current market environment, it may help you to create profitable trading strategies.

RELEASED: Understanding Options (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Understanding Stocks (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Start Day Trading Now (Adams Media), and Predict the Next Bull or Bear Market and Win (Adams Media): http://bit.ly/1bl0ZNk

My latest book (eBook) has been released: Prepare Now and Survive the Coming Bear Market. Amazon: http://goo.gl/2wWC8X Nook: http://goo.gl/VQstmr  Smashwords: http://goo.gl/eBpYBT 

My latest MarketWatch column (4/6/2015): http://goo.gl/85ErSa

 

AAII survey (4/8/2015)

28.7% Bullish. 47.2% Neutral. 32.0% Bearish. 

Bearish: If sentiment is over 50% bullish.

Bullish: If sentiment is over 50% bearish.

 

Investors Intelligence (4/7/2015)

50.4% Bullish.  14.2% Bearish.

Bearish: If sentiment is over 60% bullish. ( Note: Percent of bears is still at historic lows. 13.3 % is the 1987 low.)

Bullish: If sentiment is over 60% bearish.

 

VIX: 12.58 (on 4/10/2015)

Bearish: Less than or near 12.

Bullish: Greater than or near 40.

 

RSI (S&P 500): RSI is at 57.20 (on 4/10/2015)

Overbought (i.e. Bearish): When RSI rises to 70 or above.

Oversold (i.e. Bullish): When RSI falls to 30 or below.

Note: RSI can remain overbought or oversold for extended time periods.

 

Moving Averages (daily): The S&P is above its 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages and pointing up

Bearish (Short-term Downtrend): Index crosses under 50-day, 100-day, or 200-day MA.

Bullish (Short-term Uptrend): Index crosses over 50-day, 100-day, and 200-day MA.

 

MACD (S&P 500): MACD is above its zero line but even with its red 9-day signal line. (Note: I’m using the settings, 19,39,9, recommended by Gerald Appel, MACD’s creator.)

Bearish: MACD line crosses below 9-day (red or gray) signal line. MACD line (black line) crosses below zero line.

Bullish: MACD line crosses above zero line. MACD line crosses above 9-day signal line. 

 

Bonds: U.S. 10-year yield is at 1.95% (on 4/10/2015).

Note: 3.0% or higher is significant (consider selling bond funds as yield rises). 3.5% or higher and risk increases (for bondholders). 

 

Analysis: The VIX got frothier but sentiment surveys pulled back a little. The trend is up based on moving averages, and although the market showed topping behavior, it rallied to 2100 on the S&P and over 18,000 on the Dow. We’ve been here before. Perhaps we’ll soon see what this market is really made of. If it’s a strong bull market, it should climb higher. If it’s in the danger zone, it will retreat once again. It’s impossible to predict which way the market will go this week.

Opinion: Although I still believe the market is in the danger zone and that it will end badly, I cannot predict when this will happen. It was interesting to read that many influential and successful investors and traders have been warning of a market correction or crash. I might have been early but it’s good to know that others see many of the same red flags. 

A few who have given recent warnings include legendary hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, former CEO of Pimco Mohamed El-Erian, hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, hedge fund manager Andy Redleaf, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, billionaire investor Sam Zell, hedge fund manager Cripsin Odey, and famed money manager Stan Druckenmiller (who has been warning of a financial catastrophe for a while).

Thanks to the Zero Hedge website, we have the fascinating transcript of Druckenmiller’s speech to the Lone Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Florida. Below is the shortened version, but the full transcript appears at the end of the webpage. Druckenmiller is warning of a huge correction, although he is not shorting (in January). Why not? Because he can’t predict when the wheels are going to fall off, but he knows they will.

Here is the shortened transcript (1/18/2015):

http://goo.gl/m8MYgO

It could be two months, a year, or even longer when the markets unravel, and when they do, it will catch most investors by surprise. I personally believe we are closer to a correction than not, but it’s best to watch and wait for stronger signals. Right now, the market is vulnerable to selling pressure but it will take an unknown catalyst to cause most investors to pull the sell lever. At the moment, investors are blissfully making money without a care in the world. As you know from studying market history, that is exactly when you should be most on guard.

I personally sleep very well at night knowing I am not buying into this market at all-time highs. Nevertheless, it’s not easy being on the sidelines while others are making money (especially if you are managing money for impatient clients). 

Bottom line: Let’s see how the indexes perform this week, and if they can surpass their all-time highs. I am looking to see if 2100 holds on the S&P 500. 

Bull or Bear Market? (Week of April 6, 2015)

Each weekend, I study market behavior using sentiment and technical indicators. My goal is to use clues, observation, and indicators to analyze underlying market conditions. If you can determine the current market environment, it may help you to create profitable trading strategies.

RELEASED: Understanding Options (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Understanding Stocks (McGraw-Hill, 2E), Start Day Trading Now (Adams Media), and Predict the Next Bull or Bear Market and Win (Adams Media): http://bit.ly/1bl0ZNk

My latest book (eBook) has been released: Prepare Now and Survive the Coming Bear Market. Amazon: http://goo.gl/2wWC8X Nook: http://goo.gl/VQstmr  Smashwords: http://goo.gl/eBpYBT 

My latest MarketWatch column (4/6/2015): http://goo.gl/85ErSa

 

AAII survey (4/1/2015)

35.4% Bullish. 32.0% Bearish. 

Bearish: If sentiment is over 50% bullish.

Bullish: If sentiment is over 50% bearish.

 

Investors Intelligence (3/31/2015)

54.5% Bullish.  14.2% Bearish.

Bearish: If sentiment is over 60% bullish. ( Note: Percent of bears is still at historic lows. 13.3 % is the 1987 low.)

Bullish: If sentiment is over 60% bearish.

 

VIX: 14.67 (on 4/3/2015)

Bearish: Less than or near 12.

Bullish: Greater than or near 40.

 

RSI (S&P 500): RSI is at 47.48 (on 4/3/2015)

Overbought (i.e. Bearish): When RSI rises to 70 or above.

Oversold (i.e. Bullish): When RSI falls to 30 or below.

Note: RSI can remain overbought or oversold for extended time periods.

 

Moving Averages (daily): The S&P is slightly below its 50-day moving average and slightly above its 100-day moving average. 

Bearish (Short-term Downtrend): Index crosses under 50-day, 100-day, or 200-day MA.

Bullish (Short-term Uptrend): Index crosses over 50-day, 100-day, and 200-day MA.

 

MACD (S&P 500): MACD is above its zero line but below its red 9-day signal line and pointing down. (Note: I’m using the settings, 19,39,9, recommended by Gerald Appel, MACD’s creator.)

Bearish: MACD line crosses below 9-day (red or gray) signal line. MACD line (black line) crosses below zero line.

Bullish: MACD line crosses above zero line. MACD line crosses above 9-day signal line. 

 

Bonds: U.S. 10-year yield is at 1.90% (on 4/3/2015). Note: Bonds continue to party. 

Note: 3.0% or higher is significant (consider selling bond funds as yield rises). 3.5% or higher and risk increases (for bondholders). 

 

Analysis: At first glance, the clues and indicators appear to be neutral. On the other hand, because of the poor jobs numbers on Friday, the futures are pointing down, which could lead to an ugly week. In addition, a Bankrate survey came out last week, and 85% of professional Wall Street investors believe the market will be higher next year than this year. These are the type of numbers you see at market tops. In addition, according to the latest ICI numbers, investors have been panic buying equity ETFs. There was an increase of 58 billion dollars in domestic equity ETF purchases for a total of 1.28 trillion dollars. All of this tells me that professional investors are afraid of missing out of this bull market, and are pouring money into the stock market. Conclusion: Red Alert.

Opinion: I just finished a column for MarketWatch (see link above). In the column, I laid out the facts, and they are not pretty. The ugly job numbers, the high sentiment from Wall Street pros, the blowoff top on March 20, and the weak rallies all point to a rocky April.

Of course, beginning on Monday morning, a rush of buyers will enter the market and try to limit the damage. Look for how the market closes at the end of the day, and if it is on higher volume. If the market plunges on higher volume, that is a bearish sign. If not, the week might be saved. 

The longer it takes for the market to top out, the more severe the downturn. If the pros are right and the bull market still has legs, then the S&P must climb above 2100, which it hasn’t done in a while. In addition, the indexes must climb above their moving averages and stay above. We’re not seeing that right now, which is why this week is so important.

As I’ve said for months, this is the time to move some money to cash, to protect your profits, and not participate at these all-time highs (my opinion only). If the indexes could surpass the all-time highs on strong volume (and a strong NYSE Tick), I’d be impressed. So far, this hasn’t happened. No matter how much spin you hear (i.e. any pullback is a buying opportunity), be very careful this month. If I’m right, April Fool’s Day will last longer than a day.