Bullish or Bearish? Week of Sept. 20, 2021

WHAT THE INDICATORS ARE SAYING

This is what the technical indicators are telling us this week: 

One-week trend = LOWER. The bears took control again last week. SPX fell from 4458 to 4432, an annoying 26 point drop. Futures are LOWER (and moving even lower) on Sunday night. However, in the morning anything is possible. 

SPX 20-day moving average (WEEKLY): Downtrend. SPX is slightly above its 20-day moving average but headed lower. The bulls are desperate to stop the indexes from falling further. The indexes are weaker than two weeks ago but not in imminent danger yet.

RSI: (S&P 500) @63.27 (WEEKLY) = Slightly Overbought. RSI fell dramatically from an extreme 73 reading two weeks ago to “normal” overbought levels. The bulls are bruised but they are still in the game.

MACD (WEEKLY) = Slightly bearish. For the first time in months, MACD fell from its neutral reading and is leaning bearish. It’s too early to proclaim anything except that MACD detected weakness. We will watch it for clues.

Daily Intraday Volatility (VIX) = 20.81 = VIX is still on the low side but a smidgen of fear creeped into the markets over the last two weeks. Nothing to write home about but interesting to watch.

Comment:  The reversal I warned about arrived last Tuesday. The market rallied hard last Monday but gave up its gains the rest of the week. In the past, the bulls typically took back control after even one bad week. This time they struggled.

The market is a little skittish but I looked at the calendar: The Fed is meeting this week and the bulls are looking for Fed Chair Powell to save them. Typically, the markets rally before and right after the Fed meeting, especially when Powell hints that everything is fine and low interest rates will continue as far as the eye can see.

The skunk at the party this week is inflation, and everyone is seeing it. The Fed is pretending there is no inflation and that everything is under control, and for his sake I hope it is. It is guaranteed that questions about inflation will be asked. Powell will have answers.

As you see at the top of this blog, RSI is slightly overbought, MACD dropped a little, and VIX is saying that traders are getting a tiny bit cautious (they are buying more put options for protection). Nothing to worry about yet but be on guard.

Bottom line: No one knows nothing, so don’t even try to guess. The market is not as bullish like in the old days, momentum is weakening slightly, and investors are cautiously optimistic. Jerome, the ball is in your court. We can’t wait to hear your soothing words.

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Stock evaluation program from Barchart: https://bit.ly/3v9Nj9G 

For daily results of multiple indicators, read Yardeni Research: https://goo.gl/eT3fzA

For insightful analysis of the stock market, read Lance Roberts’ latest newsletter:www.realinvestmentadvice.com

For insightful analysis of economic conditions, read Wolf Richter: https://wolfstreet.com

Bullish or Bearish? Week of Sept. 13, 2021

Notice: My publisher, McGraw-Hill, informed me that two of my books, Understanding Options, and Understanding Stocks, have sold more than 100,000 copies each. They are putting a special “sticker” on the cover of each book advertising that fact. (I want to thank all readers for helping to make this happen.) 

WHAT THE INDICATORS ARE TELLING US 

This is what the technical indicators are telling us this week: 

One-week trend = Lower. The bears took control all week. SPX fell from 4535 to 4458, a painful 77 point drop. Futures are HIGHER on Sunday night, but in the morning anything is possible.

SPX 20-day moving average (WEEKLY): Uptrend. SPX is still above its 20-day moving average. To breach the short-term 20-day MA, the market will need to keep falling. We are not there yet.

RSI: (S&P 500) @65.69 (WEEKLY) = Slightly Overbought. Not surprisingly, the market fell last week after RSI hit extreme overbought levels. Criticize technical analysis if you want, but RSI was right on target, warning us of trouble. Now RSI has fallen to only slightly overbought. RSI is telling us the market is not out of the woods yet.

MACD (WEEKLY) = Neutral. Yawn, nothing to see here. The weekly MACD is giving mixed signals. MACD is above its zero line, which is bullish. The MACD line is even with its 9-day signal line, a neutral reading. Note: MACD does not work well when SPX volatility is low (and the indexes are at all-time highs). However, MACD still works with volatile individual stocks. 

Daily Intraday Volatility (VIX) = 20.95 = Wow! VIX actually popped last week as a touch of fear entered the market. The VIX is still on the low side even though it’s out of the basement. This means more fear is possible, but not guaranteed.

Comment:  With last week’s low VIX and high RSI, it was obvious that trouble was coming, and it arrived. Five down days in a row. The bulls did a good job of preventing a massacre, but the bears finally flexed their muscles. We shall see if it’s a the beginning of a downtrend or a five-day wonder.

The algos, using the S&P futures contracts, are doing their best to convince everyone that last week was an outlier. Futures are a bit on the sleepy side but they are higher on Sunday night. It will be fascinating to see if the bullishness can carry into the morning. All eyes will be watching the opening bell.

I can tell you this: If the market opens higher and reverses direction during the day, that would be a negative sign. The bulls need a strong showing this week to keep the bears away.

I am watching RSI, which is still overbought. According to classical technical analysis, it was not a great sign when RSI sliced through the 70 on its way to 65. Keep your eyes on the major indicators for clues, and any signs of a reversal.

Bottom line: The bulls are desperate to take back control after losing five precious days. Let’s wait and watch to see if they succeed.

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Stock evaluation program from Barchart: https://bit.ly/3v9Nj9G 

For daily results of multiple indicators, read Yardeni Research: https://goo.gl/eT3fzA

For insightful analysis of the stock market, read Lance Roberts’ latest newsletter:www.realinvestmentadvice.com

For insightful analysis of economic conditions, read Wolf Richter: https://wolfstreet.com

Bullish or Bearish? Week of Sept. 7, 2021

Notice: My publisher, McGraw-Hill, informed me that two of my books, Understanding Options, and Understanding Stocks, have sold more than 100,000 copies each. They are putting a special “sticker” on the cover of each book advertising that fact. (I want to thank my readers for helping to make this happen.) 

WHAT THE INDICATORS ARE TELLING US 

This is what the technical indicators are telling us this week: 

One-week trend = Slightly Higher. The bulls kept control during the week, bringing the market to extremely overbought levels. SPX rose from 4509 to 4535, a mild 26-point advance. The indexes remain at all-time highs. Futures are relatively FLAT on Monday night. In the morning, we will have a better idea which way the market winds are blowing during this shortened week.

SPX 20-day moving average (WEEKLY): Uptrend. SPX is above its 20-day moving average and is still in a strong uptrend. To paraphrase what I wrote last week, “The short-term trend looks wonderful. Unfortunately, moving averages don’t predict the future.”

RSI: (S&P 500) @73.53 (WEEKLY) = Extremely Overbought. If you believe in technical analysis and RSI, you may be shocked at these extremely overbought readings. While indexes can stay overbought for long time periods, the potential for a major pullback is high. No one can predict the day or time of the reversal, but it is guaranteed to catch everyone by surprise when it happens.

MACD (WEEKLY) = Neutral. Nothing to see here. The weekly MACD continues to give mixed signals. MACD is above its zero line, which is bullish. The MACD line is even with its 9-day signal line, a neutral reading. Note: MACD does not work well when SPX volatility is low (and the indexes are at all-time highs). However, MACD still works with volatile individual stocks. 

Daily Intraday Volatility (VIX) = 15.68 = How low can the VIX go? Let me count the ways. A super high RSI and a low VIX is a dangerous combination. Unless the algos have negated technical analysis (some traders claim that’s exactly what has happened), then the stock market is in for a world of hurt.

Comment:  I never thought RSI could get this overbought on the weekly SPX, but it’s happening. I feel sorry for anyone shorting the indexes as the pain must be excruciating. I suggest watching The Big Short this week as a reminder of how crazy things can get before it all comes crashing down. While you should not fight the tape, caution is advised.

No one can predict crashes, corrections, or bear markets. All we can predict is that they do occur every few years. Our last bear market was in March 2020, and it lasted less than a month. In theory, this bull market could continue for another year or so. Anything is possible.

Nevertheless, the extreme RSI reading is a huge warning sign that can’t be ignored. As it turns out, many people are ignoring the signs. As we enter the typically rough September-October time period, don’t forget how overbought this market is, and let’s see who wins the month: technical analysis or the algos. (So far, the algos are winning.)

Retail investors are riding the trend higher fueled by low interest rates and a friendly Fed. The scary part for me is how so many investors are oblivious to the risks. It’s as if people are just “throwing caution to the wind” and buying anything that moves higher no matter how overpriced.

Bottom line: The trend says we’re going to the moon, but the overbought-oversold indicators say the party has been going on way too long. Avoid predictions and follow the facts (and not your emotions). As for me, I wouldn’t be betting big on either side.

___________________________________________________________

Stock evaluation program from Barchart: https://bit.ly/3v9Nj9G 

For daily results of multiple indicators, read Yardeni Research: https://goo.gl/eT3fzA

For insightful analysis of the stock market, read Lance Roberts’ latest newsletter:www.realinvestmentadvice.com

For insightful analysis of economic conditions, read Wolf Richter: https://wolfstreet.com