I have long been interested in shorting Herbalife (HLF) for fundamental reasons. But I don’t like to trade fundamentals, so I was quite pleased to see the chart of HLF scream “short!” this week. The stock spiked over 10% yesterday before selling off in the afternoon. The selling has continued early today. We’ll see how the rest of the week plays out, but right now it looks like a giant “bearish wick” (both daily (yesterday) and weekly) at the 200 day moving average and downward resistance trendline. Seems like a good spot to short.
It looks like it is time to bounce again. This is the adjusted rising wedge for SPY. This current bounce appears to be taking place where the adjusted support looks to be. I am tired of this game.. but it appears the S&P is ready to cycle through another rally mode. Global economic data looks terrible to me, but the stock market(s) disconnected from economic data a few year ago in my opinion. So rallying despite bad data is nothing new. I have entered some long positions, but am mostly a bemused bystander by now as I believe we are well into bubble territory.
I am sorry that I have posted so sparingly of late. I am quite ambivalent regarding the market. I still think we are in a topping process. I still think if looking at the long-term picture, market sentiment shows in the chart as a rising wedge: i.e. consolidation of bulls in an unbalanced position. Some technical analysts that I really respect have mentioned the prospect of an upside breakout, which would be a big deal. It would make the notion of a “topping process” only plausible in the most ridiculous hindsight down the road. That said, I still see this as a time to put money someplace safe. Whatever that means, these days. Here is the S&P rising wedge.
The same pattern is still present in both the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones.
Treasuries are very interesting to me as well. Going back almost a decade, there is a rising channel in place. A month or two ago, the 30 year ETF (TLT) hit the upper line of resistance and has since pulled back sharply. A sharp decline in TLT price would seem appropriate for a breakout in equity prices.
I continue to be amazed by what I see as market blindness. Short-sighted pursuit of market profit, regardless of risk. It seems to me that the various Central Banks have driven any authentic “price discovery” from the markets. I do not know what will act as a catalyst to break that confidence, but I do believe that when it breaks, the fall will be further than faster than anticipated. But I am not willing to bet on such a fall right now. Nothing is broken just yet, and the bulls have command.
I haven’t posted in a while as despite all of the volatility, nothing has changed in a sense. The U.S. indexes have been unable to push decisively higher and appear to be continuing the topping behavior witnessed over the last year. The S&P is marginally below support of the multi-year rising wedge I’ve been following, but there has not been a decisive breakdown.
Small caps (IWM) have been interesting as they appears to be capped on the underside of a rising wedge.
But the most interesting action appears to be in commodities and foreign markets. First, commodities. In general, they have been eviscerated. The commodities basket ETF, DBC, makes the point with a picture:
Copper, which I first shorted back in 2013, has finally broken down good and proper.
Of course, the plunge in oil makes copper’s slide look like a tiny divot. I don’t have a strong feeling about oil. Natural gas, however, has the makings of a long term inverted hand-and-shoulders pattern. Very interesting.
There are also interesting patterns to be found in many of the foreign markets that have been battered in recent months.
First, have a looked at the emerging markets basket ETF, EEM:
Brazil (EWZ) also appears to be at support.
And China (FXI) looks to have broken out, pulled back to support and then surged to a new high. A pretty decent looking pattern if you are looking for a proven breakout.
I have been harping all year that signs of a major top abound, and the scene continues to unfold. I have no conviction at the moment as to whether we bounce a little here or continue lower. In the big picture, I remain exceedingly confident that we are witnessing a major topping process. In the short term, I could imagine us bouncing here. I am net short, but have covered my VXX positions and bought a little XIV (inverse VIX) as a hedge of sorts. Today, even with the market very red, VIX underperformed significantly. It may be that fear is overblown for the moment.
Here is a long term look at the S&P. For those of you who have been following along on my blog, you’ve been seeing this rising wedge since early 2013. We had a significant violation of support in October. I suspect that softened the ground and we will see another significant breach by the end of January, if not much sooner.
Here is a short term look at the S&P (futures). We see that the support line was violated once again and the 50 day moving average was also violated in the last week.
The Nasdaq has markedly outperformed for years. It has hit has an intermediate support line and pulling back from resistance. If the air starts to come out of this equity bubble, I expect Nasdaq would significantly underperform as traders sell winning positions in tech to cover losses in energy and high yield.
Here is VIX. It is at levels that have often proved to be tops for fear. VIX also put a sizable wick onto the chart today.
One commodity that I have been long (options) for awhile appears to finally be breaking out: wheat. It is approaching the 200 day moving average, which should act as resistance, but it has been beaten down for so long that would seem to have plenty of room to run if it gets some momentum.
Good luck trading in these volatile markets!
It looks to me like the charts of major U.S. indexes are in the clear for the moment. I still believe we are in the final inning(s) of a major top and macro-economic and socio-political warning signs seem to be flashing everywhere, but based on my read of the major U.S. index charts, it seems like markets may grind higher into the end of 2014. Most resistance was taken out two weeks ago. Last week, markets nudged higher. Here is a chart of the S&P futures, on a weekly basis. While it is not facing resistance at the moment, it’s worth noting the divergence of rising prices alongside weakening moneyflow over the last two years.
The Nasdaq is similarly comfortable, having broken through the bottom trendline(s). It doesn’t appear to be facing resistance at the moment.
Stepping back from the relative peace of the broad U.S. indexes, it’s worth noting that Russell small caps have reached the underside resistance of a multi-year rising wedge that recently broke. This is a significant test, and may foreshadow weakness in the broader indexes should small cups struggle here (as shorts might expect).
Another source of potential risk worth keeping an eye on is the broader context of global equities. VEU, the Vanguard Global Equity fund, continues to show weakness.
One final note is on QCOM. I pointed out a massive 20 year pattern in QCOM a few weeks ago, suggesting that it looked awfully bearish. Late last week, QCOM dropped 10% after rallying to the underside of its broken long-term (20 year) support. It’s a large Nasdaq leader that is worth keeping a continuing eye on.
We saw another week of wild volatility in the U.S. markets. The S&P has rallied more than 5% in the last week and a half. The big daily and weekly wicks that formed the week before last has seen significant upside follow-through. The markets have bounced all the way back to an area that could present serious resistance. Both the 50 and 100 day simple moving averages are around S&P 1960, as is the underside of the broken multi-year rising wedge resistance.
Looking at a weekly chart of the full rally from 2009 through present, the rising wedge is pretty clearly evident. However, where one draws the lower support line is debatable. You can cut out minor breaks in 2011 and 2012 and hug the 2013 bottoms to get a line fairly close to where I’ve drawn it. You could liberally include all intra-day bottoms and have the support below 1900 (where I’ve made a dashed gray line). Or you could draw that support line any number of places in between.
It seems to me that there are dueling reads in play. Last week’s large bullish wick on the weekly chart, coming at the 50 week moving average, would seem pretty bullish. Sentiment readings got quite bearish (which is bullish) as well during the big fall earlier this month. My view is that in the larger picture, the rising wedge is broken and I am viewing this rally as a Bull trap. I have not sold all of the long positions I opened last week, but I have started to add shorts. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a clear sense for how much upside I would need to see before reversing my bearish view. Another very strong bullish week would surprise me, as would a rally to new highs. A marginally bullish week or two here would not surprise me. But first lets see how this resistance area plays out in the coming week…
The last few days witnessed small caps outperform the larger market, a signal that has foreshadowed rallies all year. We got a large reversal on Wednesday, another very nice reversal on Thursday and big upside follow-through (so far) on Friday. Over the last few days I have covered my shorts and gone long. Given that I am very bearish mid/long term and believe “the top is in” so to speak, this strikes me as slightly crazy behavior on my own part, but I do love gambling and so far it has worked out okay.
On to the charts. Here is the short term S&P Futures chart. I have spot-shadowed three targets that strike me as likely areas of future resistance: (1) the 200 day simple moving average (red dashed line), (2) a continuation of the steep downtrend that preceded the sell-off (black solid line), and (3) the 50 day simple moving average (blue dashed line). I would note that I think (4 – not highlighted) the underside of the broken long term resistance is a possibility is a possibility given how beautifully the reversal pattern is shaping up in the weekly chart. That scenario would have the S&P push past (3) and re-test old highs late in the year, hitting the underside of the old support trendline.
When we pull back to a weekly perspective, we can see a “doji star” with a large bullish wick created this week by the S&P. It did so right at the 50 week simple moving average. On a weekly basis, we’d want to see positive follow-through next week to confirm the reversal.
In keeping with the idea that stocks may rally from here, the 30 year Treasuries ETF (TLT) looks like it topped this week. This week’s reversal put a huge bearish wick on TLT’s weekly chart, and the ETF will likely close the week just under trendline resistance. It is a very bearish configuration for TLT in my opinion. That said, the support trendline isn’t far off, so we’ll see how those elements interact. Maybe it will fall to where both the 50 and 200 SMA’a are dancing, about 8% lower.
I will note one other asset that looks interesting: gold. It has broken long term support and may be forming a (bearish) descending triangle pattern, but for now a multi-year support level is holding, and that level is also a 50% retracement of the 2005-2011 bull market.
Good luck trading in these volatile waters!
**UPDATE : Small caps notably under-performed the broader market Friday. Also VIX rallied a bit, suggesting that despite the big jump in the broad market, risk appetite remains muted. The big question for Monday and Tuesday will be: was this rally just a short squeeze?
A mea culpa may be in order. I may have been too hasty or at least too enthusiastic in my belief that a rally was at hand. Years of BTFD conditioning will do that, I suppose. Last week’s beautiful reversal hammer has not seen the necessary follow-through thus far this week. [I have updated these charts to reflect Friday’s action] Given this week’s action, the S&P has broken its long term support trendline. As was the case last week, watching follow-through action will be critical. This week has seen the kind of manic activity common to bear markets. But with the late week selloff, the major longer term supporting trendline was cleanly broken. The S&P is still sitting around the 200 day moving average, and should have some support, but I will be viewing a bounce back above 1950 from here as a selling/shorting opportunity.
The break looks cleaner on the long-term weekly chart. I have spotlighted the severe intraweek break that occurred in 2011. But the market ralled by week’s end, creating a large bullish wick that proved to portend the gains that followed. The bullish wick from last week has not been followed by supporting action though, and this week’s breakdown may portend significant downside.
Support for the idea of a significant breakdown can be found in the price action of commodities and other equity markets around the world. Vanguard’s All-World equity index (VEU) has very clearly topped and remains in full retreat (this chart is actually a bit old and VEU is at 47 as I write).
Crude oil may now be breaking support as well. The IMF has cut the global growth forecast. These news bits just add to a picture of expectations that have been steadily raised over the last five years with both bulls and bears growing increasingly bullish. If they are indeed disappointed, the fall could be pretty swift. If the fall is swift, selling could be dramatically exacerbated by the collective leverage in play. The current negative credit balance exceeds that of both the 2000 and 2007 stock market bubbles.
So, it looks like the first top I called was the right one, and the reversal pattern last week may have been a head fake. If this breakdown holds, a significant pullback could finally be at hand.
**UPDATE: S&P closed Friday down 20 or so. That breakdown is in play for the weekly chart. I see this is very bearish for the mid/long term. The next breakdown to watch for is the “death cross” of the 50 day MA crossing under the 200 day. That would be few weeks off, and the S&P may bounce around her for a little while first. It is sitting near the 200 day moving average, so I might expect a bounce early next week, but would imagine it as a selling/shorting opportunity, rather than a bullish bounce. I would probably need to see an engulfing candle or something like that for me to view this week’s action as bullish in any way for the longer term.
Many months ago I noted a very long term rising wedge in QCOM. A pattern as old as any I ever remember noticing. I didn’t bother posting it (or trading it), because it’s seemed so unlikely to me that QCOM would seriously break down. However, I see it’s down 3% today… down to $70. I don’t know what follows for it and don’t have a position, but I thought I should at least post these charts so you can see the pattern in play. Here is the short term look.
Here is the remarkable (to me, at least) long term perspective: