Sunday, October 31, 2010

Expecting Fireworks

It seems apparent that there will be no real price movement in stocks until after some news events this week as far as elections and the FOMC meeting. I really don't see the elections as much of a market moving event unless the Constitution party wins a majority in both houses and in addition Obama decides to step down after it occurs because he can't work with people who are sticklers on the Constitution.

But I could see the FOMC verbiage about QE 2 lead to a significant price reaction. My belief based on technical analysis and sentiment analysis is that the market is set to make a swift retracement of recent gains, and possibly resumption of a longer term "secular bear market." So even if the announcement sounds good, it may get sold at least short-term.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

RSI and Total Put/Call Ratio Divergence

The list of divergences in the current market are about maxed out. Just about every measure of market strength is showing bearish divergence. Let's look at a few more....

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The total put/call ratio often diverges with price at market highs. It does often at lows also, but more so at larger degree lows. The chart above shows (in RED) times when the put/call ratio was starting to pick up even as prices moved higher. When this occurs noticeably within a wave up, it often results in a sharp correction. It also shows (in GREEN) times when the market was falling to new lows but the put/call ratio was not, indicating a lessening of fear and a change in underlying sentiment. Emotion/sentiment leads price. And price leads fundamentals. But everything known about the market boils down to one end result -- the market price. So price is the most important thing to study, but if you can find ways to measure the emotional component, you can then often be tipped off to when the emotional current is weakening, etc, and price should follow suit in the future.
Click on Chart to Enlarge

The RSI has formed a nice bearish divergence set-up on the major market averages. As the market have pushed higher the last week or so, the RSI has not, making a distinct lower peak. One way to use RSI to take a trade set-up like this, is to sell short when the RSI breaks below the most recent trough - in this case where I have the horizontal dashed line on the RSI chart.

The largest decline seen in this leg up in the S&P 500 has been 2.3%. So a 2.8% decline would be about 1.2 times as big as that. Assuming the highs on Monday are not exceeded, a 2.8% decline would put the S&P around 1162. So that is another sensible entry method for taking a short position in the market. In both cases the stop would go a tick/penny above the high for the rally.

Also note the shooting star candlestick on Monday which is a top reversal candlestick pattern. While there has been no follow through, we might be a little more forgiving given the upcoming events next week (FOMC and elections). It just seems that the market is not going to do much until then.

So to recap some of the last couple weeks posts and add some new info.....

1) There is bearish technical indicator divergence with price
2) There is bearish divergence in breadth (McClellan Osc, Adv/Dec, TICK, etc)
3) There is bearish divergence in volume (down vol, etc)
4) There is bearish divergence in the put/call data
5) There is bearish divergence in volatility (VIX)
6) There is bearish divergence in new highs-new lows
7) The S&P/Dow are not confirming new highs with the Nasdaq 100 which is a non-confirmation of sorts

Also of note is that the AAII survey is about as bullish as it has been in several years, which doesn't necessarily mean a major decline, but should indicate a pullback ahead at least.

So there is no question in my mind that the market is set-up to correct from here. Maybe it won't, but I think the odds of a "sell the news" type of response to upcoming news are a lot higher than a rally on the news.
Click on Chart to Enlarge

The TLT ETF is showing a nice bullish divergence today on the 120 min chart above. If it moves higher then that would typically correspond with a move down in stocks.

Now longer term I think that bonds will fall, but the negative correlation has not really broken down yet between stocks and bonds. So in addition to the overvalued stock/bond ratio, this price pattern may suggest bonds move up from here (and stocks down probably). There is no confirmation of a move up yet though...I'm just noting the set-up right now.

TBT Exit

The exit price on TBT was 34.48.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TBT Follow Up (and More)

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The stock to bond ratio on is showing stocks overvalued relative to bonds currently. Typically stock will back off at extremes like this. With the overall correlations, it would be likely for bonds to rally during that time. Now I do believe that we will see most bonds fall if stocks correct, but usually the US Treasuries rally as stocks correct. That correlation has been weakening of late, but not enough that I think it makes a lot of sense to bet against bonds right now.

On that note, I am going to post an exit order on the TBT trade which is inverse to bonds.

Trade Action:

Place a GTC sell limit order at 34.42 for TBT.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The S&P 500 touched the 88.6% retracement yesterday and then reversed to form a shooting star candlestick. There was no downside follow through today, but with the time being stretched for this move, it may stick as a reversal. The gap at 1202 was not filled which leaves some upside chart headroom. Now the Dow 30 came within 10 point (a fraction of a percent) from the April high yesterday also before reversing to form a shooting star.

The gap yesterday had some characteristics of an exhaustion gap up. It was fairly large relative to the gaps in the trend, and it occurred on a notable news item (the G20 meeting announcement). So as long as Monday's highs hold, I respect it as a valid reversal.

One thing that has been missing that may be significant as a topping sign is that the OEX put/call ratio jumped to 1.51 today which is as high as it has been in a couple months. Remember that the OEX put/call ratio is typically a smart money indicator. So it usually jumps up near highs.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Waiting on the G20?

Click on Chart to Enlarge

This chart here shows the VIX on the top and the NYSE down volume in the main pane. Both typically move inversely to stock prices. It is interesting to note that divergence appears at turning points in this chart. Even though volatility is languishing and the market is holding up or advancing, the down volume is starting to pick up. This likely indicates the early phase of selling into the highs by institutional players.

As a side note, the price range in the equity markets (and some others) was tiny today. It seems that the markets are awaiting something from the G20 meeting as far as currency policies go. Let me make it clear that the sentiment stage is set for a huge move up in the US Dollar relative to other currencies. So my assumption is that this will occur and use whatever spark necessary. I expect the US dollar to take off to the upside next week and stocks to start down. Keep in mind that the "currency wars" theme has been headline news everyday recently, it is the focus in the G20, and it made the cover of The Economist recently. Those are all signs that the current trend is ending. Think opposite the crowd.

Also, I will go into more detail on this later.......But if the market is topping out here and embarking on a significant decline, there should be high probability of large gap downs in this next leg down as it unfolds, and probably a swoon event more severe than any seen in the last couple years.

My suggestion on an investment basis is to be 100% out of stocks. The best buy opportunity I think is the US Dollar. I also believe natural gas will probably be a good investment play at these levels. It seems to me that the carry trade is largely responsible or at least correlated with the natural gas decline. So when the carry trade gets unwound and the US Dollar rises, I think natural gas will too. Stay away from gold now as well too. It is way overbought and may be set for a much larger decline than the recent pullbacks over the last year or two.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

SPX Update

Click on Chart to Enlarge

There are several things today that suggest maintaining a stance that a market high is imminent is sensible. The chart above shows a compelling time relationship in that on Monday the advance since July will be 1.618 time as long as the fall from April to July, AND the time of the current leg up will be equal to the time of the last two "waves" (early July to early Sept). So maybe this week is it as far as the advance goes.

Now the Dow 30 is very close to the April highs. It is only about 0.5% shy. A nice topping scenario may be for it to double top today or tomorrow, while the S&P still lags below the April highs.

There are several little non-confirmations or divergences happening today to that suggest the rally is ending. Neither gold nor silver nor the Euro are making new highs this morning while stocks are. Given the correlations and % declines, it looks like those markets may have already topped, and that this is a last gasp in stocks. Also the VIX is not making new lows compared to last week. That has often happened at the end of a leg up in stocks as sell.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

USD Index Reversal Pattern

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Today the US Dollar Index provided several significant cues that it is making a trend reversal.

-made a bullish MACD cross on the daily chart
-formed a bigger white candlestick than any since the decline began in June
-the % advance is significantly larger than any any since the August top suggesting a new leg up has begun

Again the intermarket correlations suggest that the US stock market will likely decline if the US dollar does continue to rise. I think we will see a significant correction in stocks.

If the S&P 500 falls to 1154 or lower, that should be 1.2 times larger than the biggest decline since Sept. That would be good confirmation that a correction is underway in stocks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Equity Put/Call Ratio and Flash Crash

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The chart above is really for the Elliott Wave enthusiasts. It is the equity put call ratio with a 5 day average overlaid. Occasionally on the chart you can make out a little 5 wave push in one direction on the 5 day average. At which point the trend reverses and corrects. The current set up has a nice correction after the 5 wave push which retraces just a little over 61.8%. Maybe there will now be another move higher?

Also the 5 day average now sits at 0.52 which is where it bottomed in Oct 2009 and Jan 2010. It also hit that low level in March and April of this year and continued for a bit before correcting. So this dumb money measure is starting to hit extreme levels corresponding with market tops.

Also, I'm sure many of you know the market flash crashed again today after hours. It put the S&P 500 down to about 1065. But then all the trades were canceled. I read a few things on this and some people noted that a similar thing happened soon before the May 6th flash crash. I don't know if this means anything, but it makes you wonder if the machines are about to go for a spin again.

As another side note, AAPL was down 6% after hours on earnings. It has a 20% weighting in the Nasdaq 100, so we should see a decent gap down tomorrow. Personally, with the past stats on market performance after AAPL earnings when overbought, it wouldn't buy the gap down.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New SDS Trade

New Blog Trade:

Buy SDS on the open Monday morning 10/18/10. I will post the blog entry as the opening price.

Market Showing Increasing Signs of Intermediate Term Top

A reasonably strong case could have been made the last couple weeks for a more significant pullback than we have seen. Now this past week's data makes it a very strong one. There was a big drop in "smart money" confidence this past week as measured by Also, the intermediate term models from are now basically all overbought (they weren't last week).

When Oct. option expiration has occurred when the S&P futures were within 2% of a 3 month high it has always led to a pullback of a couple percent or so. Also the VIX made a bollinger band sell signal last week. It closed below it, and now is back inside. I have noted in the past the cyclical tendency for the market to rise into options expiration for the last year and a half, and then to fall or consolidate in the couple week following OpEx. So they expired Friday and look set to pull back soon this time.

The DIA (Dow 30) made an outside day reversal bar, and bearish engulfing candlestick. The Nasdaq composite made a hanging man top reversal candlestick. These need some confirmation to the downside for more confidence, but there is at least a hint of topping here. The US Dollar Index has formed a nice bottom reversal candlestick pattern amongst great bearish sentiment. This should be a catalyst for the stock market to decline.

The largest decline in the S&P since the early Sept. low has been 2.3%. So any decline larger than that would give added evidence that a larger correction will play out based on the tendency for trends to experience uniform corrections. The rule I have suggested in the past is to look for a move 1.2 or 1.25 times larger than any prior counter trend move. Currently this could require a 2.8+% decline to hit that threshold.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

There are a few basic time relations that I look for that relate a move to its prior moves. One of them is that often one move may take the time of the two prior moves combined. This seems more often the case if the prior 2 moves were similar in time. There are time relations as well, but as pertains to the current situation, this is the longer time relation and is coming up the first couple days of this week.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Here is the Shooting Star in the Nasdaq Composite.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Here is the DIA bearish engulfing outside day. It is occurring right at a fibonacci confluence area and at the time relation mentioned above.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The NYSE McClellan Oscillator is showing some continuing strong bearish divergence on this move up. That basically means the amount of stocks driving the market higher is narrowing. Fewer and fewer stocks are holding up with the market. That is a signs of a tired leg up.

Cobra's Market View notes that the institutional selling is starting to perk up and is forming a bearish divergence right now. The charts he mentions are from So this fits in with the diverging McClellan Oscillator.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

This is the US Dollar Index chart showing the nice candlestick reversal pattern after undercutting a prior wing low. The FXE (Euro Dollar) ETF made a bearish engulfing pattern Friday, and the UUP (US Dollar Bull ETF) made a bullish engulfing. These may reverse and drive the stock market lower.

On account of these I am posting a new inverse ETF trade on SDS.

Changes to Blog Layout

I am going to make some changes to the blog layout this week and also to the trading strategies. It was my original intention to continue with the current format throughout the end of the year, but for several reasons and feedback from readers, I am going to make the changes now.

Basically I am going to return to posting only trades on the stock indexes. And I will only have one trade going at a time. In think this will help to regain a high level of focus which has waned with following several different markets.

Basically the goal will be to outperform the S&P 500 compared to buy and hold. I will not post trade % allocations unless specified, just simply the trades and then track the performance on a cumulative basis. The individual reader needs to be responsible for money management strategies and diversification if desired. I will just focus on the trades and high quality set-ups.

I will still put educational material on the blog about other markets at times, but most content will be focused on short to intermediate term trades and set-ups on the stock indexes. All currently open trades will still be tracked until exit.

Your feedback or comments are welcome. I am willing to iron out some details of the format/layout over the course of the next few weeks dependent on feedback.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SPX Update

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The S&P 500 pushed above 1175 today and closed above that level. The RSI became overbought today in the process. So while anything can happen, the chances are that the market uptrend is tired and will reverse significantly soon. Imprint the way the market "feels" to you right now, so that in the future you can remember the feeling associated with what happened in the market.

I like the fact that 1175 was taken out to the upside, but I would prefer things not go higher given my current positioning in the market. If the market were to top right here, that would be a fairly nice Gartley pattern. Given the position of the Euro, USD, and gold, I think the possibility is distinct of a rather large correction from these levels.

Now from a harmonic pattern perspective, a bearish Gartley top like this, will often lead to a major prolonged move down. So be aware of that possibility if things level off and reverse from here. I personally would trim down investment longs significantly if your time frame allows.

There still has been no candlestick reversal pattern yet on the daily or weekly chart. It would be nice to see that for some confidence that a high is being put in.

On a side note, maximum pain theory would suggest that options should expire a little below 1150 on the S&P 500 based off of today's data. So we may see a pullback into Friday on that account.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

There are a couple high profile stocks that I believe will help us to know what the market will do from here. First is AAPL. It formed a very narrow range doji after a gap up today on a wider range day in the general market. There is a strong bearish divergence on the RSI and AAPL is at a Fibonacci resistance area. A downer tomorrow could confirm a bearish reversal pattern.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Another one to look at is GOOG. It touched up today on a tight harmonic resistance zone and the daily RSI is showing divergence within this last leg up. The rally since July is a nicely formed ABC pattern with great harmonic proportions. This has sell written all over it in flashing lights. Now it may be best to wait for some type of initial confirmation that this outlook is correct, but I think the odds are high these will reverse to the downside.

On another note, BIDU, another high flyer is not confirming the new highs over the last couple weeks. It is still stuck below. Sometimes the leading stocks give you reliable tells on the market. It looks to me like this may be one of those times.

Quick Note

The S&P 500 exceeded 1175 this morning and is thus far holding up. A reversal this afternoon could form a bearish candlestick pattern, but right now it seems unlikely that will be the case.

Of note, the Nasdaq 100 QQQQ set a new yearly high today above the April high. This has created a kind of non-confirmation between it and the other indexes. We probably shouldn't read too much into this, but it may be a bearish sign.

The next unfilled gap on the SPY etf is at 120.35. That is higher than I would like to see the market go if a top is forming here, but it is within reach now.

Bond Update - IEF and TLT

Click on Chart to Enlarge

This chart is IEF, a 7-10 year bond ETF. Notice is has made new rally highs recently. But there is a great bearish divergence on the MACD indicator. This is a nice bearish set-up.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Now this is TLT which is longer term bonds (20+ years). Notice it has not made new rally highs with IEF. In the past this has often led to bond market weakness over the coming weeks.

I am inclined to stay with the current TBT trade because these charts and technical analysis lead me to believe that bonds will fall from here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Updates - S&P, US Dollar, VIX, VIX/VXV

Click on Chart to Enlarge

This is the S&P 500 cash chart. Today the market formed a doji candlestick right at the upper channel line of the channel drawn. I noted yesterday that the 78.6% retracement level of the decline is at 1175. That is a little overhead from here. A doji means that the market is in a state of balance. After a sustained trend that can indicate a turning point. However, if there is no reaction to the downside from here, then it may not mean a lot.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

This chart is the US Dollar index. Of significance is that the dollar index was up today. It has been so negatively correlated with stocks recently, that I wonder if it is a tell that these markets may be at a turning point. A close above the 5 day EMA would be a first early signal that the current trend is weakening or reversing. Again, sentiment is very negative against the dollar, and it is due to rally. So even if it doesn't from here, keep it on the radar.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

The VIX made a big move today. It gapped down and opened below the lower bollinger band. That doesn't happen too often. The last 2 times were mid Jan 2010 and mid April 2010 - not good times to be long. Times before those over the last couple years were generally near short-term highs at least, though not all were at intermediate term highs.

At times the VIX will diverge with stocks before stocks turn. So maybe the VIX will bottom but prices may move higher a bit before topping. I don't know - just stating some past tendencies.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Now this chart gets my attention!! The VIX/VXV ratio, which is short-term volatility divided by longer term volatility, is at a new low. The VXV is only about 3 years old, but today is the lowest ratio since the VXV inception.

This ratio has been good at highlighting rally highs over the last few years. There was one exception in July 2009 which threw me off, though in retrospect, it occurred after a correction rather than at a high, so that should maybe have been somewhat discarded. But looking at the chart above, the prior lows in the ratio were April and January of this year, early August of this year, and May 2008. Those were all times which saw significant corrections.

So, while there are not a huge amount of indicators screaming market top here, there are some high quality ones, and some confirming sentiment amongst related markets like the US Dollar, Euro, and gold. In addition, the market still may be forming a nice harmonic/fibonacci topping pattern.

Don't be surprised to see this market begin a significant pullback very soon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bearish Gartley Pattern on SPX @ 1175

As of right now with the SPX pushing above the 1160 level, I would expect a move to 1175 before any reversal down. The 78.6% retracement of the entire April-July correction is at 1175 and the high of the bounce after the "flash crash" is at 1174ish. This is somewhat compelling in that most Elliott wave enthusiasts seem to believe that the move down from April to July 2010 was a "leading diagonal" in Elliott Wave Principle parlance. According to the experts, a leading diagonal is often retraced 78.6%. Even if the market does not top at that level, I would be somewhat surprised if it doesn't oblige or entice sellers at least temporarily at that level.

Also the market right now is in the wide price range of the mini crash in 2008 on the day of Lehman bankruptcy (Sept 29 2008). So I think this area (1100-1200) is a key level for the market. If the market pushes to new highs (above the April 2010 highs) then it would seem to me that the market accepts that those issues are behind us.

As of now there is no reversal candlestick pattern on the daily or weekly chart of the S&P 500. So for intermediate term bets to the downside, it would be nice to see something along those lines.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gold and Silver

If anyone was riding the gold and silver train up, I think this should be your exit. As long as they close around where they are now (1:30 ET) then they will form wide range bearish engulfing patterns.

I don't necessarily have a great reason to believe this will be a major top and lead to a bear market, but at least for the intermediate term, the sentiment is too bullish on silver, gold, and the Euro and way too bearish on the US dollar. So I think there will be a substantial reversal in all those markets.

I still believe the stock market will correct from near these current levels, but there are admittedly few sentiment extremes to note.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Click on Chart to Enlarge

If the market is topping it here, it would be a nice harmonic pattern. The size and time consumption of what I have noted as wave "c" above is almost the exact same as wave "a". There are several fibonacci time relations pointing to late Sept/early Oct for a turn present on the chart above as well if you look at in depth.

Assuming the market does reverse down from here, one key will be to see if the market retraces more than 61.8% of the Sept rally. I have the retracements drawn on the chart. 61.8% would be a little below 1090 as of now.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

One thing I often look at is what sectors are not confirming new rally highs, and in particular I look at the financial sector in the current market environment. You can see it is not confirming new highs on this rally the last week or so. When that has happened in the past, the market has usually been near a new correction.

If these charts mean anything, I would expect the market to fall this week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stocks, Silver, Gold - Topping I Think

Click on Chart to Enlarge just noted this today. There was a huge jump in the net short level of commercial hedgers, which are typically "smart money," on Nasdaq 100 futures this week. Looking at the chart you can see it hasn't paid to be long the market after similar past spikes.

This data fits right in with my posted outlook that the S&P 500 (or markets in general) is likely topping at the 1160 area. Also the sentiment is very bearish on the US dollar and it should be primed for a good move higher, which typically will coincide with a falling stock market in the current market environment.

On other notes, sentiment on silver is very excessively bullish, and other than long term holders, I would definitely exit silver stocks or ETF's, etc. Sentiment on gold is starting to get too bullish and should be due for a pullback soon. I may post a chart of this, but in case I don't, if you look at the price of gold divided by the euro (i.e. FXE etf) you can see that the price of gold is not at new highs relative to the Euro, even though it is against the US dollar. In the past this has been a tell that gold should move down and the US dollar up over the coming weeks. So that adds to the technical and sentiment evidence .