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Posts Tagged ‘stock market rally’

Those of you who have been reading my analysis are probably wondering when I am going to throw in the towel and just admit that the bear market is over and start talking about buying stocks again.  Well, I hate to disappoint you.  It is not going to happen yet.  Let’s take a much bigger picture look at what is occurring.  First, we are in a financial crisis produced by the bear market and those don’t just go away without a strong fight. 

Second, how could a 40% plus rise in stocks not mean the bear market is over?  Well, let’s take a look at history for that answer.  In 1929, a bear market started as a result of a credit/debt crisis.  There are many similarities between that period and today.  The big difference is the type of debt crisis.  The bear market eventually bottomed in 1932 after an 86% decline.  The first “crisis” decline in 1929 saw the market drop -44%.  Following that -44% decline, the stock market went up 46% over the next 147 days.  If you compare that to today, we are going through a similar experience.  The crisis of last year resulted in a -48% decline.  Thus far we are a little over a 40% increase in the stock market over 137 days.   This is not in any way unprecedented.  The problem for stock market investors in 1929 was what followed the 46% increase.  Following that incredible stock market rally was an -82% loss over the next 3 years. 

Third, the market has been rising over the past two weeks as a result of earnings season reports.  Over 70% of the companies of the S&P 500 have reported better than expected profits.  However, a closer look would reveal that the vast majority of these “profits” were due to cost cutting and not real growth.  These are clearly not sustainable. 

Fourth, Wall Street is beating the drum that the recession is just about over.  The index of leading indicators came out last week “and is rising at a rate that has accurately indicated the end of every other recession since the index began being compiled in 1959” (Dallas Morning News).  Is that really valid when we are dealing with the worst recession since 1929 when no leading indicator index was even around? It is important to compare apples to apples.  Wall Street has a history of claiming the recession over prematurely many times before.

Finally, unemployment is a major crisis and there is nothing in the works to fix it.  Of course, you can always get a job working an Obama induced construction job. 

Let’s not get to ahead of ourselves.  I was premature to write that the stock market rally was nearing the end.  Obviously it still has more to go.  I don’t think that I am wrong to suggest the bear market is over.

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Well, I took the wrong time to take a vacation. A great deal of very important things occurred last week in the stock market and investors should be extremely cautious.  This morning I will take some time to get you caught up on what is occurring with price levels as well as what I believe to be a fundamental shift in the stock market. The stock market has been in a stock market rally from the middle of March at least until June 11. Since June 11, the S&P 500 has declined -7 %.

One of the themes that I have written about since the low in the stock market in March is the overall future direction of the stock market. If you ask most people on Wall Street, they will say the worst is behind us and we have started a period of recovery. I have argued the opposite. I feel that we are in a long-term bear market that started in 2000 and could last as long as 18 to 20 years (based on history).  Concerning out current situation, my analysis would suggest we have been in a bear market rally. This is a period of time where the stock market stops declining and starts what looks like a period of prosperity and recovery for investors.

These are mean periods of time for investors because they fool the vast majority of people into believing that the worst is behind us. When you look at how far up the stock market went in a small amount of time, it certainly would appear that the worst is behind us. At the same time, it also looks just like a typical bear market rally and not the start of a period of recovery.

Since the March low in the stock market, the question has been how long and how far the stock market will go up. It is a little too early to declare that the stock market rally is over. However, the evidence is building. The problems are becoming much too loud to ignore. So, let’s start with the evidence. We always want to look at price levels of the stock market. Price levels are determined by where the stock market closes at the end of each day. They can tell us a great deal about the level of risk that we are facing.

If we manage to stay above certain price levels, then stock market investors should feel comfortable with taking risk by investing in stocks. However, if the market closes below certain price levels, then the probability increases that stock investors will lose substantial amounts of money. On June 11th, the S&P 500 reached its highest price level since the March low. That closing price level for June 11th was 944 on the S&P 500.

As of last Friday, we were at a price level of 879. The price level of 878 is the first level of risk for the stock market. Last week the S&P 500 fell below that level but has not closed below that level. Remember that the closing level is the most important one to watch. Once that level is broken, the next danger zone lies between 814 and 779. If you are heavily invested in stock, you do not want to see the S&P 500 fall below 779. In that event, I would think that the next price level down could be as low as 719 all the way down to 666.

The price level of 666 is extremely important because that was the March low of the stock market. In the event that would happen, that would be a considerable low and loss to stock market investors. For now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Keep in mind that investing in stocks is all about monitoring your risk. One of the best ways to do so is by monitoring price levels.

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One of the most important aspects of determining risk in the stock market is watching price levels.  A price level is where the stock market closes at the end of the day.  If the S&P 500 ends the day at 895, that is the price level that we want to analyze.  Think of price levels as road markers.  If you are making progress and passing up important road markers, then you are making progress.  If you are not able to pass up important road markers, then you are losing ground. 

899 on the S&P 500 is an important price level.  The stock market fell below that price level yesterday, which is a warning sign.  You don’t want to stay below that level.  Now, the stock market will struggle to end a day back over that price level.  If it fails to do so in the near future, we might be looking at a significant decline.  The longer we stay below that price level, the greater the risk that the stock market rally that started in March is over.  As I have written since that rally started, we are always trying to answer one question.  Is this a pause in the bear market or is the worst behind us?  I still feel that this is a pause.

The next days will give us some clues.  Today is somewhat of a waste because the Federal Reserve Board is giving their Fed statement.  The market behaves very erratically on Fed Day.  Tomorrow’s reaction to the events of today will probably be more telling.

For those of you that follow technical analysis, there are two different moving averages – the simple and the exponential.  The price level of 899 represents the 200 day simple moving average.  The EXP 200 day moving average is 941.  The S&P 500 failed miserably at trying to close above that level.  While traders where cheering that the S&P 500 rose above the simple 200 day MVA, I think that many missed that the 200 day EXP MVA was a failure and a huge warning sign.  

Incidentally, the 200 EXP MVA gave its first warning November 7, 2007, when the S&P 500 was over 1500.  These moving averages are great indicators of bear and bull markets.

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Wall Street (which drives me crazy) calls even the smallest bit of good news “green shoots.”  The analogy is that grass starts to grow in the form of a “green shoot.”  Well, I have many “green shoots” in my yard right now.  Unfortunately, these green shoots are weeds more than anything.  John Mauldin made a very good observation in his latest writing.  He said:

“My premise for uttering the heresy “This Time It’s Different*” is that the fundamental nature of the economic landscape has so changed that comparisons with post-WWII recoveries is at best problematical and at worst misleading.”

His point is that Wall Street is looking at this recession through the lens of past recessions since WWII.  It is like comparing apples to oranges when you think of what makes up the problems that we face today.  Last week, the S&P cut their investment ratings on 22 banks.  Banks depend on strong investment ratings so that they can attract investor money.  The Consumer Price Index saw its largest drop since 1950.  Once again, it looks a lot like deflation more than inflation.  The reality is that there is a higher probability that we are in the throws of a deflationary problem which is something that only time can solve.  The problem with the weeds in my yard is that I cannot do anything about them unless I want brown spots all over my yard.  I will have to wait until next year and make sure that they don’t come back.  This is unlike any recession since the 1930’s. 

This week will have some interesting events.  The Federal Reserve Board meeting, that always makes for an interesting day.  The Treasury is set to sell billions of dollars of Government Bonds on the open market.  It will be interesting to see how interest rates hold up.  Once again, a rising interest rate environment is the last thing that a debt laden economy can handle.

As I write, the S&P 500 is below a critical price level of 900.  If the market were to close below that level, we would want to watch the next couple of days very carefully.  Once again, we want to evaluate whether this stock market rally is the beginning of a new bull market or nothing more than a bear market rally.  It is my view that this is nothing more than a bear market rally.  Thus, you want to be monitoring your risk very closely right now.  I will update more frequently this week as it warrants.

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Well, the results of the stress tests were revealed this past week.  It turned out to be much ado about nothing.  In fact, most of the banking stocks went up on the news.  It does leave the question as to what the Obama Administration is really trying to accomplish through a process that didn’t make much sense.  For now, we will leave speculation for speculation’s sake.

I found it interesting as to the criteria that was used in stress testing the banks.  They were looking for how the banks would react to the worst case economic situation.  Over the weekend, Alan Abelson wrote about the criteria in his article in Barrons:

“The “worst-case scenario,” as the cliché goes, that the Fed crew was able to dream up was one in which the unemployment rate, already a hair under 9%, would rise to 10.3% next year, housing prices would fall another 22%, and the economy — which has been shrinking at more than a 6% annual rate the past two quarters — would contract at a 3.3% pace.”

Well, I think that we could easily see 10.3% in unemployment.  Of course, that is dependent on how aggressive the Government gets with their monthly job “estimate.”  A decline in growth of 3.3% is also not unlikely.  That scenario would produce 599 billion dollars of loss for the banking system.  Now can you imagine the armageddon outlook if you were to come up with a realistic worst case scenario?  

Then there were the unemployment numbers.  I wrote about the numbers in detail on the Prudent Money Blog this morning.  It is funny that no one is writing about the creation of the 226,000 jobs out of thin air estimated by the Government in the jobs report.  Can the Obama Administration really pull off this illusion making everyone think that everything really isn’t that bad?

Well, the stock market certainly thinks so.  The market continued the rally this past week.  Thus far, the S&P 500 is up 40% from the price level of 666.  This falls right in line with what happened in the 1929 bear market.  The major stock market rally in that bear market was up 46%.  Keep in mind that even with this stock market rally, we are still a little bit over -40% from the highs in October 2007. 

I put together a very detailed analysis in my recent letter to my clients.  After going through that process, I have some very strong technical evidence that this is nothing more than a bear market rally and its days are numbered. 

Keep in mind that everything gets exaggerated in this type of bear market.  The moves both up and down are much bigger.  Guard your risk very closely!

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Well, yesterday continues a strong performance for the stock market.  Remember we are still focusing on one question.  Was the low in the stock market in March the bottom of the bear market and the start of a new bull market or was the stock market rally that started in March nothing more than a bear market rally?  This is one of the most important questions to continue exploring at this juncture. There are huge risks for either answer. 

If you are not properly invested and this is the new bull market, then you are really missing out on recouping your losses.  If this is nothing more than a bear market rally, then the potential for extreme losses for stock market investors still lie ahead. 

For those of you who read my daily outlook blog, you know that I believe this is a bear market rally and a great opportunity for those who are heavily invested in stock to take advantage of this big move in the market and reduce your risk by selling stocks or stock mutual funds. 

As I started writing last week, my indicators are flashing caution right now and suggest that the risk continues to climb for anyone invested in stocks.  The market is truly ignoring some negative items.  Growth for the economy was announced yesterday much worse than expected.  We had -6.1% growth last quarter and the growth numbers for the first quarter were revised and reflect a worse first quarter than originally reported.  The last 6 months were the worst since 1958.

Foreclosures are climbing.  Swine flu should now be on every investor’s radar as this is just about to be classified as a pandemic.  The first of what I believe will be two automakers declared bankruptcy this morning.  The Government is going to be selling 71 billion dollars worth of government securities next week (read: printing money).  Finally, unemployment continues to weaken as evidenced in this morning’s new weekly jobless claim numbers (another record). 

All of this is occurring, and the consumer confidence number increased by 50% with the highest read since November 2005?  Are you kidding me?  As I have written many times, there is a great deal of evidence that exists that economic numbers are doctored.  There is just no plausible explanation for a rise by that much during a time with this much negativity.  However, keep in mind, we just “celebrated” (it certainly seems that way) President Obama’s 100th day in office.  It sure would be fitting for the stock market to have made money in his first 100 days as well as a huge rise in consumer confidence due to everything he has done in office.  HMMMMM…I follow this data very closely and it doesn’t add up.  It looks more and more like an organized PR campaign.  Let’s just all hold hands and believe there is no risk and the government will take care of everything.  If you are not paying attention to what is occurring out in front and behind the scenes please start doing so. 

Agree or disagree and think I am a conspiracy nut, things don’t add up.  I am just writing what I am seeing and staying away from the kool-aid that is being consumed in mass quantities.  For now, be careful with your risk.

with your risk.

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The stock market rebounded nicely this morning and is back over 841.  This could potentially be a tough 2 to 3 weeks for the stock market.  We really need to watch closely so that we can stay on top of the main question concerning the market right now. Was the end of the bear market in March and this is the start of a good time to be in stocks or is this stock market rally that started 6 weeks ago nothing more than a typical “bear market” rally?  If it is the latter, you really need to consider reducing risk if you have not already done so.

It always comes back to the banks.  The tech stocks were the poster children of the last bear market and the banks and financial services companies are the poster children for this bear market.  As I wrote this morning in my Prudent Money Blog, the Government actions of wanting to assume more and more ownership in the banks is making the markets nervous.

The upcoming release of the stress test for the banking system really has the markets on edge.  Hal Turner wrote over the weekend that the stress test has been leaked and the results are horrible.  Who knows if that is a rumor or not?  The bottom line risk is getting high and we need to watch those price levels of the market. 

So we have had one very bad day on Monday followed by a good day on Tuesday.  Today will probably tell us in the short-run what the next few weeks will look like.

 

 

 

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