posted on 13 November 2016
by Lance Roberts, Clarity Financial
Review & Update
Let me pick up with where I left off last week:
Well, following a 700-point plunge during election night on Tuesday, rally we did.
Last week, I detailed the various levels of overhead resistance to any rally that must be defeated to reinstate a more bullish market.
The post "Trexit" rally that started on Wednesday took out the first two levels of resistance with some ease. However, the "sell signal" remains intact with the market now back to extreme oversold levels as shown by the red circles at the top of the chart.
The good news is the market is holding above the downtrend resistance line currently which puts all-time highs as the next logical point of attack if this bull market is to continue.
However, is we step back to a longer-term (weekly) picture we get a little clear picture about the overall directional trend of the market.
I like weekly charts because the "noise" of daily volatility in price action is removed. As shown in the chart above, the "sell signal" remains intact but, as opposed to the daily chart previously, the reflexive move has only taken stocks back to retest the underside of the longer-term bearish "downtrend" line.
This suggests, the current move may be near its limits and the short-covering frenzy seen on Wednesday and Thursday of this past week is near completion. As I stated last week:
That advice seems salient once again this week.
4-Standard Deviations Ain't Sustainable
Standard deviation is a statistical term that measures the amount of variability or dispersion around an average. Standard deviation is also a measure of volatility. Generally speaking, dispersion is the difference between the actual value and the average value. The larger this dispersion or variability is, the higher the standard deviation. The smaller this dispersion or variability is, the lower the standard deviation. Chartists can use the standard deviation to measure expected risk and determine the significance of certain price movements.
This assumes, of course, that price changes are normally distributed with a classic bell curve. Even though price changes for securities are not always normally distributed, chartists can still use normal distribution guidelines to gauge the significance of a price movement. In a normal distribution, 68% of the observations fall within one standard deviation. 95% of the observations fall within two standard deviations. 99.7% of the observations fall within three standard deviations. Using these guidelines, traders can estimate the significance of a price movement. A move greater than one standard deviation would show above average strength or weakness, depending on the direction of the move.
Furthermore, since prices can only move, or deviate, within a limited range from their moving average, this analysis can help determine the extent to which a move is completed.
The move following the election took the Dow Jones Industrial Average to 4-standard deviations of its moving average. A feat that has only been rarely witnessed previously and has been coincident with short to intermediate-term corrections or worse.
This suggests the massive short covering rally following the election may have run its course and we will once again be forced to return our focus back to Fed rate hikes, earnings, and economics. The problem, of course, is those points don't support asset prices at current levels.
Breadth, as I will discuss in a minute, also remains an issue. As Dana Lyon's pointed out this past week:
While I went through each sector last week, I need to run through them again to show you where the rally did, and did not, occur.
Sector By Sector
I have modified the charts from last week to include 2,3 and 4 standard deviations from the 50-day moving average. I think you will find some of these charts quite interesting.
The energy sector is closely tied to the underlying commodity price. Given the ongoing structural dynamics of the commodity, there is still an unrealized detachment between energy sector fundamentals and the markets.
Over a month ago, I warned the OPEC agreement would fail and oil prices would once again approach $40. There is still more correction to occur in this sector so underweight energy exposure remains advised for now.
However, energy stocks did bounce, as expected from their oversold lows but the move looks complete for now. Downside risk remains, so caution is advised.
As I stated last week:
That move came quickly with the majority of the move now completed. Look for pullbacks or consolidations to add trading exposure at this point. There is a lot of uncertainty going forward based on the outcome of the Affordable Care Act, so long-term investors should be cautious as premiums being paid in many areas are still exceptionally elevated.
Well, that was certainly not to be the case as talk of a repeal of Dodd-Frank sent financials into orbit. At 4-standard deviations above the mean, the move is likely complete for the time being so serious profit taking is advised. Look for the sector to reverse and consolidate before rebalancing the position to target allocations in portfolios.
Of course, the election of Trump also means a potential for infrastructure spending which gave a lift to the sector. However, like financials, the move is extreme. Take profits and reduce weightings until a correction and consolidation occurs.
Same as with industrials, and all for the same reasons.
As opposed to the moonshots by Materials, Industrials, and Financials, the Utilities sector is pushing extreme oversold levels. There is a reasonable trading opportunity in Utilities which will coincide with a reversion in interest rates and a rotation within the overall market.
As with Utilities, the Staples sector has also reached extreme oversold levels. These extremes tend not to last long and are good trading opportunities. This does NOT mean these sectors are ripe for a long-term move so caution is advised.
As discussed with Staples above, the Discretionary sector had reached very oversold levels last week and hopes of a stronger economic recovery under a Trump administration gave the sector a boost. The sector is currently running into heavy overhead resistance, so trading positions should be watched closely.
As I stated last week:
That advice turned out well as technology broke support and headed lower to extreme oversold levels. For now, be cautious as the longer-term bull trend has been broken. Use rallies back to the trend to reduce exposure to the sector.
From last week:
That advice remains the same this week as the dollar continues to strengthen under a perceived resurgence in economic growth in the U.S. The sector IS extremely oversold, however, use rallies to reduce exposure to emerging markets. The continued strength of the U.S. dollar will continue to negatively impact emerging markets. "Trump's Wall" also does not bode well for Mexico as one of their top-5 inputs into GDP is remittances from the U.S.
As with Emerging Markets, International sectors also remain unfavored in allocation models. The long-term downtrend remains intact and is currently very overbought. Underweight the sector, take profits, and focus more on domestic sectors for now.
From last week:
The "Trump rally," as stated at the beginning this missive, did resolve the resistance at the 50-dma. However, the downtrend and overall corrective process remains intact currently. With the market back to an extreme overbought condition, this is a good opportunity to rebalance portfolios and reduce risk in sectors that have gotten extremely ahead of themselves.
Small cap stocks have been grossly underperforming the broader market as economic and earnings weakness tends to show up in these smaller capitalization companies first. While the economic and earnings backdrop have not changed, short-covering caused small-caps to reverse from extremely oversold to overbought in the course of just three days. Take profits and rebalance sector weightings accordingly.
As with small cap stocks above, mid-capitalization companies also responded to the short-covering "feeding frenzy" over the last three days. While not as overbought as small-caps currently, the same advice of rebalancing remains as the economic and earnings backdrop remains a concern.
REIT's have been under a tremendous amount of pressure in recent weeks due to the rise in rates. However, with interest rates now EXTREMELY overbought, the risk-reward setup to add REIT's to portfolios is positive. Positions can be added, underweight for now, with stops set at $77.
Overall, the market back drop is very fragile and narrow. A few sectors have pushed the overall market higher, but now those sectors are pushing extreme conditions. Opportunities exist in the beaten down sectors which should see a benefit from sector rotations during a "risk off" transition in the market.
Importantly, despite the optimism the markets exhibited following the Presidential election, there is a long, long way to go before we see ANY policy changes and even a longer period before we see any actual results. The markets have gotten quite a bit ahead of themselves currently as earnings remain weak, a stronger dollar and higher rates will weigh on economic growth and the current bull market is extremely extended.
So, caution remains advised for now. Let's give the market another week to shake itself out before we start making any drastic changes. This will allow us to make sure we aren't being "head faked" into making an emotionally driven investment mistake.
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