Stocks have been on a tear since the end of June with the key averages gaining close to 10% or more since coming off of their late June lows. That’s right double digit gains in a little over a month lead by the Nasdaq (chart) which is almost up 13%, followed by the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) up 12.35% and both the S&P 500 (see chart below) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart below) closing up nearly 10% in that same time period. Part of the reason why the tech focused Nasdaq has led the charge is the stronger than expected and recently announced quarterly earnings results out of Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN) Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB) and Google aka Alphabet (NasdaqGS: GOOGL).
So the question now is after such dramatic double digit gains in the aforementioned indices and in such a short period of time, is it time for a pause and/or a retracement? As you all know by now, the first thing that I look at when it comes to accelerated gains in any stock or index is the relative strength index also known as the RSI. The relative strength index is a technical indicator to determine overbought or oversold conditions, click here for the complete definition. The RSI is also one of the favorite technical indicators used by market technicians, certain money managers and even select algorithms have the RSI programmed into their model. That said, the Nasdaq has now hit the 70 value level of the RSI which is an overbought level according to the RSI while the other key indices are not too far behind. Please note that indexes and stocks can remain overbought for extended periods of time.
So what does all of this mean? Well I think the set-up now is a little spooky. Not only are we at or approaching overbought conditions according to the relative strength index, but we now find ourselves in the month of August. August historically tends to be one of weakest month of the year for equities. In fact, over the past seven years the key indexes have fallen each year during this time period. History doesn’t always have to repeat itself, but the current set-up bodes well for a softer month ahead. We will see. Good luck to all 🙂