Tag Archive: The Stock Market

US Stock Market – How Bad Can It Get?

In view of the fact that the stock market action has gotten a bit out of hand again this week, we are providing a brief update of charts we have discussed in these pages over the past few weeks (see e.g. “The Flight to Fantasy”). We are doing this mainly because the probability that a low probability event will actually happen has increased somewhat in recent days.

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US Stock Market – The Flight to Fantasy

The chart formation built in the course of the early February sell-off and subsequent rebound continues to look ominous, so we are closely watching the proceedings. There are now numerous new divergences in place that clearly represent a major warning signal for the stock market. For example, here is a chart comparing the SPX to the NDX (Nasdaq 100 Index) and the broad-based NYA (NYSE Composite Index).

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Stock and Bond Markets – The Augustine of Hippo Plea

Most fund managers are in an unenviable situation nowadays (particularly if they have a long only mandate). On the one hand, they would love to get an opportunity to buy assets at reasonable prices. On the other hand, should asset prices actually return to levels that could be remotely termed “reasonable”, they would be saddled with staggering losses from their existing exposure. Or more precisely: their investors would be saddled with staggering...

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US Stock Market: Conspicuous Similarities with 1929, 1987 and Japan in 1990

There are good reasons to suspect that the bull market in US equities has been stretched to the limit. These include inter alia: high fundamental valuation levels, as e.g. illustrated by the Shiller P/E ratio (a.k.a. “CAPE”/ cyclically adjusted P/E); rising interest rates; and the maturity of the advance. Near the end of a bull market cycle there is always the question of when a decline will begin, and above all, how large will it be.

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Update on the Modified Davis Method

Frank Roellinger has updated us with respect to the signals given by his Modified Ned Davis Method (MDM) in the course of the recent market correction. The MDM is a purely technical trading system designed for position-trading the Russell 2000 index, both long and short (for details and additional color see The Modified Davis Method and Reader Question on the Modified Ned Davis Method).

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US Equities – Retracement Levels and Market Psychology

Following the recent market swoon, we were interested to see how far the rebound would go. Fibonacci retracement levels are a tried and true technical tool for estimating likely targets – and they can actually provide information beyond that as well. Here is the S&P 500 Index with the most important Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline shown. So far, the SPX has made it back to the 61.8% retracement level intraday, and has weakened a...

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What Kind of Stock Market Purge Is This?

Down markets, like up markets, are both dazzling and delightful. The shock and awe of near back-to-back 1,000 point Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) free-falls is indeed spectacular. There are many reasons to revel in it. Today we shall share a few. To begin, losing money in a multi-day stock market dump is no fun at all. We’d rather get our teeth drilled by a dentist. Still, a rapid selloff has many positive qualities.

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Seasonality of Individual Stocks – an Update

Readers are very likely aware of the “Halloween effect” or the Santa Claus rally. The former term refers to the fact that stocks on average tend to perform significantly worse in the summer months than in the winter months, the latter term describes the typically very strong advance in stocks just before the turn of the year. Both phenomena apply to the broad stock market, this is to say, to benchmark indexes such as the S&P 500 or the DJIA.

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US Stocks – Minor Dip With Potential, Much Consternation

On January 31 we wrote about the unprecedented levels – for a stock market index that is – the weekly and monthly RSI of the DJIA had reached (see: “Too Much Bubble Love, Likely to Bring Regret” for the astonishing details – provided you still have some capacity for stock market-related astonishment). We will take the opportunity to toot our horn by reminding readers that we highlighted VIX calls of all things as a worthwhile tail risk play....

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How to Buy Low When Everyone Else is Buying High

The common thread running through the collective minds of present U.S. stock market investors goes something like this: A great crash is coming. But first there will be an epic run-up climaxing with a massive parabolic blow off top. Hence, to capitalize on the final blow off, investors must let their stock market holdings ride until the precise moment the market peaks – and not a moment more. That’s when investors should sell their stocks and go to...

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Too Much Bubble-Love, Likely to Bring Regret

Readers may recall our recent articles on the blow-off move in the stock market, entitled Punch-Drunk Investors and Extinct Bears (see Part 1 & Part 2 for the details). Bears remained firmly extinct as of last week – in fact, some of the sentiment indicators we are keeping tabs on have become even more stretched, as incredible as that may sound. For instance, assets in bullish Rydex funds exceeded bear assets by a factor of more than 37 at one...

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The FOMC Meeting Strategy: Why It May Be Particularly Promising Right Now

As readers know, investment and trading decisions can be optimized with the help of statistics. One way of doing so is offered by the FOMC meeting strategy. A study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2011 examined the effect of FOMC meetings on stock prices. The study concluded that these meetings have a substantial impact on stock prices – and contrary to what most investors would probably tend to expect, before rather than after...

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Punch-Drunk Investors & Extinct Bears, Part 2

For many years we have heard that the poor polar bears were in danger of dying out due to global warming. A fake photograph of one of the magnificent creatures drifting aimlessly in the ocean on a break-away ice floe was reproduced thousands of times all over the internet. In the meantime it has turned out that polar bears are doing so well, they are considered a quite dangerous plague in some regions in Alaska.

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Punch-Drunk Investors & Extinct Bears, Part 1

We didn’t really plan on writing about investor sentiment again so soon, but last week a few articles in the financial press caught our eye and after reviewing the data, we thought it would be a good idea to post a brief update. When positioning and sentiment reach levels that were never seen before after the market has gone through a blow-off move for more than a year, it may well be that it means something for once.

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2018: The Weakest Year in the Presidential Election Cycle Has Begun

Our readers are probably aware of the influence the US election cycle has on the stock market. After Donald Trump was elected president, a particularly strong rally in stock prices ensued.  Contrary to what many market participants seem to believe, trends in the stock market depend only to a negligible extent on whether a Republican or a Democrat wins the presidency.

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Why Monetary Policy Will Cancel Out Fiscal Policy

Good cheer has arrived at precisely the perfect moment. You can really see it. Record stock prices, stout economic growth, and a GOP tax reform bill to boot. Has there ever been a more flawless week leading up to Christmas?

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How the Asset Bubble Could End – Part 2

There is just one more positioning indicator we want to mention: after surging by around $126 billion since March of 2016, NYSE margin debt has reached a new all time high of more than $561 billion. The important point about this is that margin debt normally peaks well before the market does. Based on this indicator, one should not expect major upheaval anytime soon. There are exceptions to the rule though – see the caption below the chart.

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How the Asset Bubble Could End – Part 1

We recently pondered the markets while trying out our brand-new electric soup-cooling spoon (see below). We are pondering the markets quite often lately, because we believe tail risk has grown by leaps and bounds and we may be quite close to an important juncture, i.e., the kind of pivot that can generate both a lot of excitement and a lot of regret all around.

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The Stock Market and the FOMC

As the final FOMC announcement of the year approaches, we want to briefly return to the topic of how the meeting tends to affect the stock market from a statistical perspective. As long time readers may recall, the typical performance of the stock market in the trading days immediately ahead of FOMC announcements was quite remarkable in recent decades. We are referring to the Seaonax event study of the average (or seasonal) performance across a...

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The Santa Claus Rally is Especially Pronounced in the DAX

Every year a certain stock market phenomenon is said to recur, anticipated with excitement by investors: the Santa Claus rally. It is held that stock prices typically rise quite frequently and particularly strongly just before the turn of the year. I want to show you the Santa Claus rally in the German DAX Index as an example. Price moves are often exaggerated in the German stock market, which leads to quite pronounced – and hence profitable –...

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