Back to top of range: time for caution

The U.S. markets have rallied with the S&P topping 2000 as I suggested may happen a few weeks ago.  The S&P has been trading within the rising wedge that we’ve been following here for quite a while.  The end of the pattern is near… by early 2015 at the latest, it would seem.  I would be surprised to see such a long-standing, well-defined pattern fizzle into nothing.   But we shall see.

One note is that I am waiting until at least the middle of next week to add to short positions.  There has been a trend of equity inflows on the first of the month (next Tuesday will be the first trading day of September) and we may see a pop that day.  Many major market turns have come near seasonal dates in March and September, so it may be worth waiting until later in the month to short.

Here is how I see the S&P pattern (actually S&P futures, which has a slightly cleaner pattern than SPY):


We are back to the top of the range. 


The last couple of pivot points have been led by VIX (XIV, the inverse of VIX, is actually what I have traded with) and small caps (IWM/RWM) diverging from the S&P.  Once again those two have recently started diverging from the S&P, in this case, by underperforming.  

First, small caps (IWM):


Then, XIV (inverse of VIX) has also under-performed lately:


Some of the securities that i have bullish on appear to be hitting resistance.  

Brazil (EWZ), which I think still looks to be in a healthy bullish channel longer term, may be due for a pullback or some consolidation after the run-up of recent weeks.  Given the pullback that I expect to see in U.S. markets, I am taking profits in EWZ at this time with the thought that I will buy back if its works its way back to the bottom of the channel.


30 year Treasuries (TLT) have rallied in the last week and are hitting significant resistance.  Like EWZ, TLT appears to be in a longer term bullish channel, so the rally may not be finished, but it seems likely to pause here. 


I may have saved the best, or at least most telling, for last.  VEU, which is the Vanguard international equity ETF, has a multi-year ascending triangle in place.  That is a bullish pattern, and we are at the top of it, ready to break out.


In the shorter term, however, there is a 2-3 year bearish rising wedge in place… and there may be the beginning of a breakdown / downtrend in place there.


It will be very interesting to see how this resolves.

Hold loosely to your beliefs, and good luck trading!


Predictably Irrational Bounce

August 11, 2014 8 comments

A world hankering for war?  No problem.  Despite rising geopolitical tension, it looks like the U.S. markets may be done with negativity for now.  Though the longer term patterns remain bearish, and I still believe the end is in sight, it looks to me like there is another push higher (maybe to S&P 2000?) in the cards.  Let’s look at some charts.

First, the S&P (SPY), which never got down to its support line, but did post a nice reversal pattern last week.


Here’s a closer look at last week’s SPY reversal:


The most interesting chart to me is the inverse-VIX ETF that I had been short, (XIV).  I closed my short on Friday and opened a long position today.  We’ll see how that goes…



Small caps (IWM) seem to have found support and may be moving into a sideways channel.  I still expect to see it break down to new lows, but I am open to being wrong.


Nasdaq is one of the most interesting charts because it barely budged off its highs!  Wow.  I wonder if it’ll push to that upper line?



With bulls still running amok and geopolitical risks rampant, it seems like a good time to stay nimble regardless of bull/bear bent.

Updating the Selloff

The last trading day of July sure was interesting, as U.S. indexes plunged lower.  I thought I’d do a quick whip-a-round of various chartological implications.

The primary point is that U.S. indexes appear to be pulling off their highs, which has two meaningful points: 1) there is room for additional weakness before support, and 2) No major support is broken or threatened in the S&P or Nasdaq.  Yet.  First, the S&P (SPY):


And Nasdaq (QQQ):


Weakness is more noteworthy in the Dow Jones (DIA), which is threatening to break a long-term support trendline:


Small caps (IWM) have already broken support and failed on the bounce-back to resistance.  The big question is whether it will push below its lows from a few months ago:


Also very noteworthy is the weakness evidence in Junk bonds (JNK), which have now broken the rising support trendline from 2010 lows.


All told, this adds up to significant reason for additional caution in my opinion.  It does not, however, indicate “the sky is falling.”  This may be a garden variety pullback.  However, small caps and junk bonds have a history of successfully forewarning of danger when risk appetite starts drying up.  Europe bears very close watching as weakness in the some of the charts I recently identified like Switzerland (EWL) and Spain (EWP) continue to accelerate to the downside.



Cautionary Indicators Continue to Abound

I have been quite quiet of late, largely because there has been little activity of note in my opinion.

In general, I see U.S. markets near the end of their multi-year rally (I am currently positioned pretty heavily short, though I wouldn’t be altogether surprised if this slow creep higher continues into 2015), and I see signs of similar exhaustion in the European indexes.  I see emerging markets as demonstrating relative strength, with precious metals serving as a wild card with significant potential upside.  However, I would be mildly surprised to see precious metals move higher alongside an equity breakdown.

So let’s look at some charts.  First the U.S. big boys.  The S&P (SPY), though this is actually the e-mini Futures chart, remains in the final stages of a rising wedge that has been over five years in the making.


Nasdaq (QQQ) is near resistance of a multi-year rising channel.  it could rally a bit before hitting the resistance of a decade+ rising wedge.


Junk bonds (JNK) have flashed weakness of late.  They are frequently an early harbinger of equity breakdowns.  Even more telling than the action in junk bonds is the pronounced weakness from small caps (IWM).  Ace technical analyst Chris Kimble recently noted that small caps have broken support relative to the S&P for the first time in over a decade.  Small caps broke support of a multi-year rising wedge earlier this year.  They have since rallied back to the underside resistance where they were recently rejected, forming a double-top to boot.  Shorting small caps (via the inverse ETF, RWM) is my largest position at the moment so I feel pretty strongly about this particular play at the moment.


That summarizes my caution regarding the U.S. markets, though I see very similar patterns in Europe.

Switzerland hit a resistance trendline over 15 years in the making, and looks to be breaking down from a recent multi-year rising wedge.


But the national ETF that I am most interested in shorting is Spain.  It broke down from a rising wedge at a 50% retracement of the 2007-high to 2012-low.  It rallied last week and is approaching an underside test of the trendline it broke.  I will be looking to short there.



On to bullish charts!

Since the spring I have been keying on emerging markets.  EEM continues upward since breaking above resistance a few months ago.


The same positive behavior is also visible in the Brazil ETF, EWZ.


Perhaps most surprising to me is the bullish action from China (FXI) last week.  A very strong break above resistance would seem to bode well for China, and perhaps copper (JJC) and the global economy as well.


We are moving into a time of the year that has historically been quite volatile.  Time will tell if that trend shows itself this year.

Whatever the case, I will try to hold my beliefs loosely.

SPY at upper trendline of long term Rising Wedge

Most of the bearish chart configurations that appeared in the spring have flittered away harmlessly.  The breakdowns that were teased never came to fruition.  There  is one major index that remains in the long term pattern that (still) portends trouble: the S&P.  SPY has formed a clear rising wedge from the 2009 bottom.  SPY is currently testing the upper bound of that pattern.


The SPDR Financials ETF (XLF) remains an interesting short candidate to me.  I was duped into declaring early victory a month ago and XLF has since rallied.  But it continues to contend with 50% retracement Fibonacci resistance from its 2007-2009 decline.  It is also at the very end of a multi-year rising wedge pattern.


Another interesting short candidate to me is LLL.  It has been in a steep rising channel for over a year.  A rising channel is typically a bullish pattern, so I am not overly bearish… but flat revenue and profit growth for years, and a double in price over the last 12 months.  It seemed tempting.  The doji top a couple weeks ago looks like (at least a temporary) top.



JCP Breakout

I posted a bullish note about JCP a few days ago on Stocktwits, but forget to put it elsewhere!  Drat.  Anyway, it’s a pretty nice inverse Head-and-Shoulders that would seem to portend the prospect of much greater upside in the longer term, even with today’s earnings jump.  It’s interesting that the after-hours rally hits $10.62, which is awfully close to the that upper line of resistance in the chart below.  If we hit that price today, I will sell and look to buy back.  Once that trend line is broken, I think JCP can probably run a good bit higher.


**UPDATE: So far, JCP has sold off and sold off some more.  it is re-testing the support trend line and 50 day moving average.  It has since now held and rallied from those levels.  Another stock I’ve been following, ACI, has broken the various support trend lines that I drew.  It is retesting its lows of 2014.  GDXJ has also broken down.

Warning Bells

Signs are aplenty that the market is flirting with a major breakdown.  The next couple of days should be telling.  QQQ was rejected at resistance in the form of both trendline and 50 day MA.  QQQ has now completed the right shoulder of a pretty textbook Head and Shoulders pattern.



Small caps (IWM) are threatening to break support.  Here is the IWM chart:


Perhaps more telling is the action in Treasuries, where TLT is breaking above resistance.


And finally, Financials may finally be breaking.  Both a rising wedge and a Head and Shoulders top are in place as bearish harbingers for XLF.  A test of 200 MA (the dashed blue line) should be a pretty big deal as there is a good bit of support around there.



Emerging Markets are… emerging, again?

While the U.S. markets continue to churn sideways, flirting with the possibility of a major top, international markets are showing much greater cause for bullishness.  Of this group, India is probably still my favorite, though it has already made significant gains since I first mentioned it a couple of months ago.  The India ETF I’ve been tracking, EPI, is only now breaking above its 200 day moving average.  This, after forming a pretty textbook inverse Head and Shoulders pattern.  Given some consolidation, I imagine there’s plenty of upside left in the longer term.

The iShares Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) is also breaking above trendline and 200 day moving average resistance, and perhaps resolving a multi-year pennant pattern to the upside.

Brazil (EWZ) has been downtrending for years, and appears to have solidly broken above its trendline resistance.  It has a little ways to go before reclaiming its 200 day moving average.

Broadening the picture to include the entire ex-US world, a representative ETF, CWI, shows a multi-year ascending triangle and appears to be attempting to break out.


Switzerland facing multi-year resistance

The Switzerland ETF (EWL) presents us with an unusual picture: it is the only security I have noticed that has a beautiful trend line running from the 2000 market top, to the 2007 top, and now in play for a possible 2014 top.  Here is decade-plus chart of EWL.


It is worth noting that EWL has not broken down, nor shown any particular weakness at present.  However, it has formed a textbook rising wedge over the last couple of years as it now hits the decade-plus trend line of major tops.


It adds up to an interesting situation that bears close watching, imho.

As an interesting aside, have you noticed the action in SPY?  Despite all the grief about crushed small caps and technology darlings, SPY is actually working on a fourth straight up-week!  It is coasting squarely in the middle of its ever narrowing (rising wedge) range.  Interesting.


Conversely, small caps are testing the support at what may be the neckline of a Head and Shoulders pattern.


It’s been another interesting week.  It feels like this major cross-roads has been happening in slow motion for months now.  Only time will tell if this is the formation of a major top, or the base before one final push higher.  In my view, either way, the end of this bubble is in sight. Only time will tell what shape it takes.


Devon (DVN) Breakout?

Devon (DVN) reported good earning and is being rewarded.  On the chart, this isn’t just any old good day though.  It looks like DVN is attempting to break out of a pennant pattern that dates back to 2008.   I noted the technical support in a post last year, and the upside may prove to be higher than originally imagined.


The chart I posted last year shows that the support line actually dates back to the early 90’s.

***UPDATE: Upon looking more closely at these charts, I noticed that my trendline changed bewteen 2012 and 2014!  Notice that the 2009 bottom hits support in the 2012 chart, but does not hit support in the 2014 chart.  So I went back and redrew the lines.  In this chart, the 2014 line is red-dashed.  The original 2012 line is black solid.  In this picture, DVN is not a breakout candidate yet.



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