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Looking Past the Election

A look under the hood will show the BigFoot Database beginning to re-purchase into declining volatility and a possible break-out to the upside for the S&P 500.

Recall one of the big drivers of the BigFoot Algos is the presence of short-term volatility. When short-term volatility declines, it’s often a sign that markets are aligning for a positive advance.

Sure, the database is still pretty beat up, with approximately 46% of tracked symbols having buy signals. Still, this is up from the prior week’s 42% levels, showing signs the market is beginning to re-group at these levels in preparation for another move higher. It is the change in direction that raises the eyebrow…

How — or why — would this happen? Likely the markets are already looking past the election.

The headlines will suggest the market is banking on another round of stimulus from Washington. There’s also anticipation (or at least reporting) of a ‘blue wave’ ushering in both regime change in the white house and the Senate. If so, a round of government spending and higher corporate taxes is likely.

But it’s more complex than that. The markets aren’t tracking the headlines per se. In fact, headlines seem more inclined to sell an outcome than report the news these days. But the markets, ever single-mindedly seeking profits, are seeing the bigger picture for what it is: stimulus regardless of who is in the white house. So this is less a political prediction than a reality check. The Fed has suggested stimulus is required to keep the ship from capsizing. Now Washington is just jockeying for political points. If the market is correct, stimulus is a forgone conclusion. Now we’re arguing over when and how much.

So markets are less concerned in the short-term about Trump or Biden. They want to know when the money starts falling from the sky.

This doesn’t mean the markets don’t care who wins the election. It just means the markets aren’t looking out that far right now. “Free” money is a pretty powerful incentive to shorten time horizons. Longer-term the pace of growth for the markets will absolutely be impacted by one regime over another… but that requires too much thinking right now. We want to know where the next round of lighter fluid is coming from.

The technical picture suggests a break-out to all-time highs is possible this week. Futures are already indicating a higher open. And last week’s move in the SPX — while negative for the week — did little more damage than to allow some consolidation after the previous week’s break-out.

This isn’t to suggest a break-out to the upside is guaranteed this week. It’s simply to suggest that is what the pattern is indicating .

When looking at the numbers, the S&P 500 is now on the hunt to take out previous highs and extend toward the 3704 level. It seems unlikely to hit these levels this week – but perhaps in the next two weeks.

On the downside, look for 3440 or so for support. A breakdown below the lows of last week would signal a sideways move and would take the 3704 number off the table probably until after the election results are settled.

S&P 500 projections for the week of October 19, 2020

The wild thing about this market is it seems to have largely priced in the effects of Covid. It has more or less recoved its losses and moved back into the price channel established in 2019. We’ll see how the election plays out as to whether or not that longer-term pricing trajectory remains valid…

Updated 2020 Projections.
Note the S&P 500 has moved back into the original price trend channel.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Correction Territory

Don’t look now but the BigFoot Database is turning bearish.

Both the S&P500 and Nasdaq flipped sell signals in the last few days. Only the DJIA still shows a buy.

There’s been a 25% reduction in the number of long positions for the BigFoot database, as the system has silently declined from close to 85% long down to barely over 64% long today.

Compound all of this with the lousy open futures are indicating, and it’s a recipe for the major indexes to slip into correction territory this week.

This will officially ‘break’ the August trend the markets have been enjoying. In fact, several of the big tech names that lead the markets higher in the last rally are entering bear market territory.

While the fear for many is that the economy is going to break down (as we still see many supply chains broken), this is a premature call. In healthy markets, pull-backs are normal. It’s common for traders to sell off profitable positions and ‘rotate’ into other asset classes.

In periods of rotation, markets often pull back to other to previous high levels before the most recent trend. If you’ve ever been on one of our forum calls, you’ve seen this discussed in the technical market review. “Wave overlap” is a common indicator market technicians look for. It is the point at the top of bottom of a prior trend reversed course. When the most recent trend changes, it’s common for markets to move back to a prior high or low in order to ‘test’ buyers to see if those price levels will hold.

With election anxieties climbing, it is not surprising the markets are taking a breather and giving back some gains. The better question is, will this be the start of a the next bear market? Or are markets simply experiencing asset rotation?

This week will be a valuable data point. It will be the fourth week since the S&P 500 peaked and began its pull-back. It is also noteworthy that the downside projections alight with multiple prior wave peaks.

The extreme for the week is down near 3200. That’s a decline of about 3.5 percent; no fun, but survivable. That is also just a shade below the 10% retracement level, which would make the move an official correction.

Perhaps it’s a healthy move for markets. However, it’s a fairly extreme move. What the last several months have shown is that these markets can move in aggressive fashion. The declines in March happened in just a few weeks. So when it goes, it goes quickly.

And a four-week correction would be pretty quick. In fact, the SPX is already looking over-sold going into this week. So, while an outside possibility, there is still potential that some will ‘buy the dip’ at this point. Many of the large tech companies — the same companies that were viewed as the safe havens in the last pull-back — are trading at prices not seen since July.

So this week stands to be important in the analysis picture. To buy the dip or not? Given the nature of Washington, it may simply be that markets move sideways for the next several weeks. If markets find a foothold here, it sets up a sideways and somewhat range-bound scenario between now and the election.

Here are the critical numbers for the week:

Support: 3265 / 3218 / 3204

Resistance: 3343 / 3393

Odds are pretty good that things don’t melt down further from here… no guarantees of course. But there is a lot of support over 3200. A failure there and we’ll have more to discuss.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Tech Corrections

Let’s call this market pull back what it is: a pull-back in mega-cap tech.

Since Big Cap Tech has become the largest players in most of indexes, a pull back in this segment of the market has the affect of dragging down about everything. So, last week, down it went.

A quick look at the ETF ticker FDN and you’ll see that tech is officially in a correction (so more than 10% decline).

This is not to say other segments of the market are immune. Many sectors of the market dropped last week. But tech seems to be the tail wagging the markets.

Technically speaking (no, this is not a euphemism, we’re talking about using technical/quantitative analysis here), the markets may have found a foothold here. If so, look for volatility to remain, but we may see pricing begin to drive back toward SPX 2425 this week.

If you want to get into the details behind this number, it’s simply the nearest round number to a mid-point of about a calendar month of trade data. Last week markets traded up over 1.5 standard deviations from the 21-period trading average (trading days, so about a calendar month). When the selling started, the markets declined to about 1.5 standard deviations below the same period. So, for this week, look for things to oscillate back towards the middle… from over-bought to over-sold back to the middle of the range.

The S&P 500 50-day moving average is at 3331, That’s a likely area for support this week (even if the markets dip below it intra-day). If this support area fails there could be an extended slide lower. We will address this in next week’s blog.

For this week, look for volatility to remain, but for the bias to be slightly positive as large-cap tech looks to likely regain some of its lost ground.

SPX may move towards the 3425 range after shedding some volatility this week.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Listen to the Market

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the day is separating fact from opinion. Indeed, most stock market analysis is just opinion. Sure, the fundamental data is real. Earnings are earnings. Projections are projections. So, numbers be numbers. But what does the data tell us? And how does it inform as to where the markets are headed?

In the midst of a highly divisive social climate, much of our news has been colored with editorial. The major media resources require eyeballs to sell to advertisers. That means ratings. And that means appealing to an audience. You get the idea.

So discerning what is going on in the investment markets can be tough.

Dollar weakening? Commodities rising? Yields dropping? Do we have inflation on the horizon? Will we see a wave of evictions as renters default on payments? Will the real estate markets collapse as mortgages go unpaid as a knock-on consequence? Heck, are there even any jobs for the middle class to earn enough to pay rent?

And how about stimulus? Unemployment? Government programs and government shut-downs? What is essential in our economy? What is essential to Washington DC?

True enough, these are compelling questions. And they do matter. Ultimately, the answers will sway economic outputs and valuations for investors.

But today? It’s still a lot of noise and conjecture.

So what do we know?

We know what the market is signaling. Behind all the editorial chaos, major indexes have been climbing higher.

On any given day, there are pull-backs. But overall, the trend across most types of assets (except energy recently) have been recovering over the past three months.

The concept is fairly straight-forward. If the markets are a voting mechanism, investors are still voting in its favor. Sure, there are some bigger winners or losers out there. But overall, the trend has been recovery.

This trend is difficult to find confidence in given the general media narrative and backdrop of a pandemic. But make no mistake, since the March lows, this market has experienced an exceptional recovery.

The year-to-date figures for the major indexes are uninspiring. But the recovery from the lows is a different story. How one frames the story is important.

So, knowing there has been significant recovery from the lows, what now?

(In my opinion) There has been an underlying theme to this market for the past several years. Lots of variables underlie this theme, but in its simplicity, it’s only two things: don’t fight the Fed, and TINA (there is no alternative).

The Fed, really since the Bernake administration, has been highly transparent in its communication efforts. In effect, it has demonstrated it will take extraordinary measures to maintain a stable currency and economy. And, since Washington has been largely ineffective for the better part of a decade, the Fed has stepped in with significant monetary policy to bridge the gaps.

The transparency has been useful for the stock markets. It has also contributed to the TINA situation, since the Fed has taken such remarkable steps to keep treasury yields low. Investors have been left with limited options to place risk capital and expect any kind of return.

What this has done is kept a bid under the markets for a long time.

Today, we’re seeing interesting shifts in market behavior. For one thing, there are now winners and losers. The pandemic has seen to that, as ‘non-essential’ industries have been hammered (or perhaps eliminated) by government shut-down.

Expect airlines, travel, hospitality, and many small businesses to take years (or perhaps never) to recover from the Covid shutdown.

Meanwhile, other companies have thrived. The ‘stay and home’ economy has gone bananas (a technical term). And the largest of tech companies have grown into trillion-dollar behemoths.

So why discuss this at all?

Because the mega-companies have become such massive influences on the indexes… and also on politics and culture. They have massive and incredible sway over how everything now operates.

Understanding this can help us understand the future of the markets. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and the like do not require the consumer to walk into a store at all. So whether the economy shuts down or not, they survive. And they are all massive components in all the major indexes.

So, can markets keep going higher? Arguably, yes… despite the concept that we have major structural changes in our economy and many jobs are not only lost but gone.

Understand, bear markets are still possible. In fact, they’re probable. But it is also possible this market recovers and goes on to all-time highs (like the NASDAQ already has) before investors abandon some of the lofty names that have lifted the indexes in this recovery.

This is more of a mechanical issue than an economic issue. The money that is getting invested is likely going into these areas of the market.

At some point, valuations will be so stratospheric the bubble will burst… even for an Amazon or Tesla… but when is that day? You need go no further than the nearest financial media outlet to get opinions.

But what the markets are telling us today — from a technical perspective — is pretty straight-forward. Last week showed a possibility for correction. Instead, the markets has a weak break-out to the up-side. While we are over-bought by some measures, the trading pattern is indicating a move higher this week, with the possibility the S&P 500 will break above its all-time highs this week.

A close at new all-time highs will likely lead to further up-side from here.

For the upside, look for SPX 3400+ this week. For support, look at 3268.

Don’t get too invested in media headlines at this time. Until there is a material shift in information, the underlying thesis remains: the Fed is standing on the short end of the rate curve, and investors have nowhere else to go. That points to a higher stock market… (until it doesn’t, of course.)

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

 

Quick Update

I’m on vacation so I’ll keep this quick. And because I’m lazy today, I’m writing in the first person. Oh well, I guess it’s a bit editorialized… like everything else in the news these days, right?

So the markets are in an interesting spot. The S&P 500 looks like it’s close to an intermediate resistance level at 3275. If this is the case, we could see the markets move a bit above this but a pull-back toward the 3150 level may be in the cards.

Several of the signals in this market are indicating slightly over-bought conditions. We’ve also seen a lot more activity in the small and mid-cap spaces in the last few weeks. We’ve also seen big tech get knocked around some.

All of this gives the ‘feel’ that values are getting lofty again as money starts shifting around.

The Covid stuff, of course, continues to be meaningful due to the major policy decisions that are still hanging in the wind. Will we see an extension of unemployment benefits? More stimulus? If so, markets can go higher. If not, then it’s time to take a more serious look at the structural changes to our economy… because we’ve hidden those with a few trillion in spending. But they’re not gone…

So here’s the quick summary:

SPX has resistance at 3275… we’ll probably blow past this on Monday (based on futures), but that doesn’t mean we won’t re-trace later this week.

SPX support is at the 50-day moving average, just above 3140. It’s about 4% lower than Friday’s close.

Also, the market seems biased to the ‘close down’ stocks again. The cynic in me is not surprised for many reasons. I’ll spare you my political theories and keep to the numbers. Just look at big tech vs airlines if you want to get a sense of which way the wind is blowing… for now.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

Resistance Test Ahead

The S&P 500 is poised to test it’s June 8th resistance area this week. This could be a significant ‘tell’ for the markets if we’re able to finish the week above the 3233.13 intra-day high hit six weeks ago.

While major indexes have climbed for the past several weeks, the underlying technical data has been less confirming of this pattern. Many stocks, still above their 200-day-moving-averages have slipped below their respective 50-day-moving-averages. This subtle show of disorganization ‘under the hood’ of the major indexes is a small cause for concern.

On the other hand, looking at the BigFoot database, we now see 85.65% long signals on 11,375 tracked positions. The BigFoot Algos used to populate this database use volatility as a component of their decision process. So a high long percentage indicates that over 85% of the stocks being tracked are either buy or hold recommendations by the Aglos.

If there was pause to be had, it’s because the market seems to be reaching a point of agreement: volatility is low, the trend is positive, and the major indexes (not including the Nasdaq, which is already at fresh highs) are looking to test their prior high-water marks.

Points of agreement in the market can be a sign for concern if sentiment shifts suddenly. If you get more sellers than buyers in a market, prices can shift more violently. Of course, what causes something like this to occur is as much superstition as it is data. Are we simply “due” for a correction? No… but that doesn’t preclude it either.

If the technical pattern for the SPX means anything, it looks like more up-side on the horizon. The index put in a significant amount of support at the 3062 price area. A close above the 3233 area mentioned earlier would indicate a potential re-test of the all-time highs for the index.

The only issue here is that the SPX is less and less a reflection of the market at large. We’re beginning to see the mega-caps occupy such a significant portion of the index they are able to hide the activity of many smaller cap players in the index.

The phenomenon is being exaggerated as the mega-caps continue to grow. So we may be in a position of having to start tracking additional indexes to better discern the behavioral patterns of this market.

If one thing is certain in investing… markets change. Principles may not. But tactics must adapt as exploits are worked out of the system.

But for now, we work with what we’ve got… For this week, look for a sideways pattern with a bias to the positive. It’s unlikely to be a straight line up as earnings season is delivering a bag of both winners and losers. The SPX looks poised to challenge 3275/3300 this week.

We’re nearing the end of round 1 of government stimulus in the midst of the Covid crisis. The first round was fairly easy – everything was a mess and officials just wanted to do something… anything… so money was thrown around like confetti. This time around, there is more politics at play. And since political rallies are out, you can bet stimulus will be leveraged as a form of voter influence. So what stimulus looks like, how soon it gets delivered, or even if it gets delivered, are questions the market must sort through.

The Fed has shown it is committed to keeping the bond markets placated for now. But even that has supply/demand limitations. So don’t think the Covid stuff is in the rear view mirror just because major indexes have mostly recovered (look at the Russel value indexes if you want to see where the damage is).

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by BigFoot), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from BigFoot. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. BigFoot is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the BigFoot’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.