The Bears Are Baffled!

What is historically one of the weakest months of the year for stocks, the S&P 500 (chart) closed the week and halfway point of the month at an all time high of 2500. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) also closed the week at a record high, along with the tech-focused Nasdaq (chart) and last but not least, the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) appears to be closing in on a new record high as well.

The bear camp has to be completely exhausted. I mean how in the world can you have the confidence to short this market? Not even the continuation of North Korea’s missile launches can slow down one of the most significant bull markets in history. Now seemingly we need to throw out all traditional metrics, seasonalities, geo-political risks, price to earnings ratios etc. This market has been immune to any risks. I have never seen anything like this. What’s more, there are survey’s out there that indicate that professional investors are the most pessimistic about the markets since before the election. You know what that means? Stocks tend to act the opposite of street sentiment.

Over the years and as most of you know one of my favorite technical indicators and one of the preferred technical indicators of money managers and institutional trader alike is the relative strength indicator. This indicator has been a trusted source to spot overbought and for that matter oversold conditions. The problem I have encountered this year is when indexes or individual equities have reached an overbought condition according to the RSI, the pullbacks that ensue have not provided the proper risk reward to any short thesis. The retracements are so shallow and short-lived that it is not worth putting the trade on. So needless to say, this strategy is on hold for now.

I am not sure what will be the catalyst for stocks or indexes to begin trading on pure fundamentals and not on the oversupply of liquidity and low interest rates. Until then, I will be very cautious in using the traditional metrics and/or technical indicators to base my decisions off of. Good luck to all ūüôā

~George

Record Close! Sure Doesn’t Feel Like It…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) ended the month of April at a closing record finishing at 16,580.84. The Nasdaq (chart) closed the month out down 2%, the S&P 500 (chart) finished the month slightly up and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) lagged the markets closing down 4% at 1,126.85. Stocks have see-sawed all year long which is why for me, it does not feel like a record close. Another reason why we don’t feel like we are in record territory is we are seeing a lot of momentum stocks begin to lose their mojo, in particular Amazon (NasdaqGS: AMZN), Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX) and biotech momentum favorite Biogen Idec (NasdaqGS: BIIB) just to name a few.

That said, as Q1 earnings reporting season continues, companies continue to produce better than expected profits for the most part, which is one of the reasons why stocks have shown impressive resilience. The vitality of corporate America is quite remarkable considering the paltry 0.1% annualized growth rate our economy experienced in the first quarter. So now that we are in May, will the old adage “sell in May and go away” apply this year? I am not so sure. Let’s not forget interest rates remain near record lows, the Fed is still buying bond assets to help stimulate the economy albeit at a slower pace, and the technicals of the market are not in bad shape.

Let’s take a gander at the current technical setup of the aforementioned key indexes.¬†The two technical indicators I pay the closet attention to is the¬†Relative Strength Index¬†a.k.a. the¬†RSI,¬†and the¬†moving averages. Out of hundreds of technical indicators available, I have found that these particular indicators work the best for me. In technical analysis, I like to keep things simple and not place too many indicators into the mix. It also helps that certain high profile market technicians, computerized trading models and certain institutional investors utilize the RSI and moving averages as their core technical indicators in their trading models. ¬†Time and time again when I see that the¬†Relative Strength Index¬†(RSI)¬†of a given index or equity is in an overbought or oversold condition, the majority of the time the asset or index reverts back to the mean. Typically the same rings true with the¬†moving averages, whenever a stock or index bumps up against or comes down to its moving average, typically the stock or index finds support or resistance. Let‚Äôs break this down in more detail. Pertaining to the¬†(RSI),¬†The¬†RSI¬†is designed to demonstrate whether or not an index or stock is overbought or oversold, depending on certain value levels. According to the¬†RSI¬†principle, the 70 value level or greater, is an overbought condition and the 30 value and below is an oversold condition. As of right now, the aforementioned indices are hovering around the 50 value level +/- which is not indicating an extreme condition either way. Looking at the¬†moving averages,¬†of these four indexes, 2 of the 4 remain above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages and as you can see with the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart), this index has recently been finding support and bouncing off of its 200-day moving average,¬†which clearly demonstrates the powerful support that moving averages can provide.

So again, I am not so sure if the “sell in May and go away” will apply this year based on how the technical set-up appears, how corporate America is coming in with their surprising earnings report cards and a continuing accommodative Fed. Good luck to all and happy trading in the month of May ūüôā

~George

Let’s talk technicals…

As certain stocks and markets continue to unexpectedly plow to new 52 week highs, I think it’s time to look at the technical aspect of the indexes. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) finished up 0.51%, the Nasdaq (chart) +1.84%, the S&P 500 (chart) +0.87% and the Russell 2000 (chart) +2.29%. I do not remember a time when equities have behaved this well in the month of August, albeit on very low volume.

Now to the technicals. I typically refer to two of the more popular technical indicators that certain market technicians, program trading models and even institutional investors utilize, and they are, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and the Moving Averages technical indicators. The RSI is designed to demonstrate whether or not an index or equity is overbought or oversold, depending on certain value levels. According to the RSI principle, the 70 value level or greater, is an overbought condition and the 30 value and below is an oversold condition. Pertaining to the moving averages, the 50-day and the more closely monitored 200-day moving average, are the key markers that market technicians and program trading models look for and potentially act on.

In looking at the four major averages, they are all currently trading considerably above their respective 50-day and 200-day moving averages. However, both the Nasdaq (chart) and the S&P 500 (chart) is on the cusp of breaking through the 70 value level on the RSI. Furthermore, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) and the Russell 2000 (chart) are not too far behind trading around the 65 value level. This is an indication that the markets are potentially becoming overbought and are due for some type of pullback. Please keep in mind that stocks can remain overbought or oversold for extended periods of time. That said, when the RSI on a given equity or index begins to trade at or above this key level, a reversal of some sort typically occurs. Now there are many other factors and technical indicators to refer to when analyzing market conditions, but my preference is to keep it simple when looking at the technicals, and the RSI and moving averages indicators do it for me. Good luck to all.

Have a great weekend ūüôā

~George