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Tricks, Not Treats

Apparently the markets were in the Halloween spirit last night and decided to play a trick on us, dropping close to six percent across the board. Ouch!

This massive spike in volatility has blown up a lot of technical patterns. September started the mess with more than a 10 percent pull-back from peak to trough prices. From September 24th to October 12th the S&P 500 began the climb out of the slide, nearly recovering all of September’s losses.

Those last two weeks though. Yikes. The SPX gave up all the nearly all of the gains to re-test the September lows… and although the intra-day lows didn’t quite dip lower, this trend is anything but over.

This week is likely to be messy. Only the boldest of analysts would try to call anything this week. And that is probably more bravado than skill, as the data is all over the board.

And, of course, there’s another tiny little detail we’re watching (where is the sarcasm font when you need it?): the election.

It’s entirely probable the election will not be decided this week. Across the country there are legal battles over the deadline for mail-in ballots and how they should be counted. Any close race in a key battleground state is likely to be met with lawsuits.

With this much unknown it is silly to try and call the outcome. History has show that polling data is not meaningful enough to get a good handicap on an election. And covid has changed the way we vote. In some areas its reported that mail-in ballots have exceeded total ballots cast in 2016. So, who knows?

Given the radical uncertainty this week, to call it a sideways pattern is a cop-out. But to put numbers to this seems equally silly. The ‘support’ level for the SPX is at the 200-day moving average, down at 3129… that’s over four percent lower than Friday’s close. Resistance is an equally silly number, up at the 50-day moving average at 3402, over four percent higher that Friday’s close.

So, plus or minus four percent… it sounds outlandish, but those are the numbers. It shows just how tough it is to handicap this market in the short-term (especially given an election during a pandemic in the midst of government lockdowns, stimulus, and quantitative easing).

So, for the week, the professional advice is: hang in there. This could be a wild ride.

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.

Pushing the Pause Button

Last week the S&P 500 managed a mixed bag – down for the week, with positive trading days both Thursday and Friday. What does it mean?

Technically, it looks like the up-trend has been interrupted by a sideways trend.

A couple weeks ago, when markets were aggressively recovering from the September slump, we discussed a possible push to new highs… OR… and this is the gotcha, we could see a side-step if you will — a sideways market with little significant commitment either way.

The up-trend was primarily driven by the hope for more stimulus. As those hopes have faded, a bit more of a wait-and-see attitude has emerged. This makes sense given the election is now just over a week away. (Markets aren’t known for their patience, but in this case, the policy differences between the two candidates are night and day, so absent a really good reason to ignore it, we may as well pay attention).

The underlying disposition of the BigFoot database contintues to improve. However, that rate of change has also slowed dramatically. So at this point, the momentum has stalled.

Given this stall, there’s little that would appear to drive the markets materially higher or lower for the week. That sets up a sideways range that likely stays between 3517 on the high side, and 3375(ish, this number is a little more vague) on the low side.

The bigger concern this week is some form of noteworthy bad news. Given the minimal downside support right now it’s possible the 50-day moving average would fail and the index could take a more aggressive rip down to the 100-day moving average at 3300. That’s close to a 5-percent decline. It’s a lot — but not for a year like 2020. Fortunately the odds of that happening still look pretty low. But… did we mention 2020?

More than likely this week will drift sideways and we’ll see a spike up in volatility. With the election being too close to call — and polling data becoming the next back-up plan if we run out of toilet paper — the markets are looking less at who is predicting what outcome and more at outside systemic threats. Of course, the thing about looking for black swans (systemic threats) is, by definition you don’t know they exist until after you find them. So it’s not particularly clear how one watches out for them.

On this we seem to have learned the hard way: every time you challenge 2020 by suggesting it can’t get worse… Never mind. Let’s not jinx it.

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.

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.

Reading Between the Lines

Reading the headlines you’d assume the markets were gearing for a collapse. After all, just about ever superstitious thing you can think of is lining up. It’s a month before elections, there are protests (and riots) all over the place, hurricanes – POTUS even got Covid.

A look under the hood at the BigFoot Database is similarly concerning. The total percent long for the database is now under 42%. That’s slightly more than a 50% reduction off peak numbers that crested 84% long.

The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 both have sell signals. The DJIA just tripped a wait signals.

All three major indexes dipped into correction territory in September.

And, of course, there are all the structural problems in education and the economic supply chain resulting from Covid shut-downs.

So things have gotta be bad, right?

Well, yeah… but that doesn’t mean the stock market has to go down.

This week there is a key technical area for the S&P 500 to watch: 3427. .. or if you want to split hairs, 3426.96. This was the closing price for the index on September 4th, just two days after the markets had set new all-time highs then aggressively sold off.

If the SPX manages to close above this key level any time this week, it would likely signal a re-test of the all-time highs for the index.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but keep in mind the stock market is a forward looking mechanism that is trying to handicap the future. In that respect, it is already looking as far ahead as it can – including past the election. So what we’re really looking for is a signal that expectations are going to change.

The technical data, so far, does not indicate those changes. In fact, the price movement seems to be consolidating around the current levels. Futures have indicated a positive open for Monday, and it appears the momentum is shifting back toward the up-side.

Even the BigFoot Database, while negative, is in a fairly extreme condition. Remember, part of what triggers a sell signal in the system is a negative volatility spike. If volatility drops, those signals will stabilize and potentially flip back to the buy side.

So keep an eye on 3427 on the S&P 500. That is the critical resistance area for the week. Support should show up at 3323. And, if trends hold, volatility could actually decline (again, counter-intuitive in this media cycle, but a possibility nonetheless).

In the FWIW, the President having Covid is probably less of an event than the media has let on too. We will discuss more about this in our upcoming forum call this Thursday. Catch you there… (and if you’re not on the list and would like to join the call, ping us at customerservice@bigfootinvestments.com and we’ll get you a link).

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.

Retrenchment

Thank you Veterans.

And for the rest of us market jocks, what’s the scoop for the week?  Look for retrenchment above SPX 2750.  In fact, look for 2800 this week as markets seek to find footing.

While the 200-day moving average should form some support, futures trading has been eradic over the weekend.   At first, futures showed a higher open.  But things swung to the downside as Europe opened and oil prices pushed higher.

This kind of pricing behavior is not necessarily predictive of anything other than folks repositioning over the weekend.  And since the range for the repositioning was relatively narrow, it may simply be noise.  Given last week’s strong move higher — after a 10% correction for most indexes — and a ‘nearly’ completed election — it looks like the markets are poised to start reclaiming some of their last ground from October.

One of the growing concerns is in the housing market.  Keep an eye on that in the coming months.  While stocks remain attractive relative to everything else, the housing market slow-down may be a sign that this almost-10-year economic expansion is feeling the affects of higher interest rates more than folks may care to admit.

It may sound funny, because mortgage rates in the 5’s are still historically low.  But, compared to mortgage rates in the 3’s, they’re some 30% higher than they used to be.  For folks that have never known higher borrowing costs in their lives (save credit cards), this could be a legitimate point of contention.

As a housing market aside, it’s going to be very interesting to follow what comes out of the massive forest first in California.  Not only has there been loss of life.  There’s been massive loss of property (which may actually be stimulative for the housing market).  There’s been massive strain on infrastructure.  And it’s called to the forefront some of the questionable Federal forest management policy that’s lead to these massive fires.  (Admittedly, this is something personal for me as the Pacific Northwest experiences fires every summer.  However, with only 4 million or so people in Oregon, there are not enough votes to seem to move the needle much in Washington.  But have this happen in California, and now we have your attention.)  Federal changes in forest management could potentially unlock a lot of value in timber.  If this were to happen, the housing markets would need to be reexamined.

Look for some early volatility this week as markets find their footing.  As long as the SPX stays above 1750 or so a recovery trend is still probable.  A close below this level and we’ll have to reconsider whether the Santa Clause rally is really coming to town.

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.

Guess Week

Markets are yet to commit to anything from a technical perspective.  The SPX downtrend may extend toward 2532 (February’s SPX low), or it could rebound toward the 2800 resistance level.  That’s an election for you.  At this point, things are so tight we have little more than a guess to go on.

So for the week, hang on tight.  We could see anything.

Next week, we’ll get back to work.

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

Last week the SPX officially crossed into correction territory.  For those of you unclear what that means, it was a full 10% drop from the high-water mark set at the beginning of October.  This also send the major indexes into negative territory for their year-to-date return figures.  So it’s been a rough month.

Is there an end in sight?  Maybe.  But it’s always tricky catching a falling knife.

Currently, futures are pointing to a higher open this week.  But frankly, there’s little reason for markets to move significantly higher at this point given this week is election week.  Now next week on the other hand?

At this point there are no well defined support or resistance numbers, as the markets do not seem to be playing by technical levels at this point.  A different set of trading algo’s seems to be driving the day – that of underlying moving averages.  And there are lots of individual positions out there we negative moving price averages.

Post-election is an appropriate time to take stock of where we’re at and whether or not there’s much chance to salvage 2018.  For the time being, expect continued volatility.

On the plus side, at least the futures are indicating a higher open for today.  The question is, will this be another dead-cat bounce, or the beginning of a bottom to this market?  We shall see…

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.