Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The S&P is consolidating in a triangle pattern. Also notice that resistance has again rejected the rally. The market looks headed for a test of the lower trend line. Whether it breaks that lower trend and heads down will probably depend on whether the BKX breaks down to new lows and another bear leg down.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I'm going to go over the carry trade a little more today. Notice in the first chart that no sooner did the yen start to strengthen than the Nikkei entered a bear market. Massive monetary inflation has been holding up the Japanese market just like it has the US markets. Once the BOJ took away the punch bowl things started to go sour.
Now let's take a look at the second chart. You can see for the last couple of years the US and Japan have been busy devaluing their respective currencies. We can see that in July that changed. The BOJ stopped running the printing presses. The US on the other hand turned on the presses full blast.
I think there are two reasons why this happened. The first one is shown in the bottom chart. Oil, good ole energy, the life's blood of any economy. What happened in July? Well oil priced in Yen was back nearing all time highs. Japan has the same problem we do. Liquidity is leaking into the commodity markets.
Japan's recovery from a decade and a half recession has been very fragile. What they don't need is escalating energy costs to force the economy back into recession. That's exactly what's been happening though as long as they have been following the Fed model of printing troubles away. Which actually just creates more and bigger troubles.
Now for the second reason that made this change in monetary policy possible. Japan held their elections in July and the ruling party was defeated. They lost the majority vote in the lower house. Now what do politicians do when they first come to office and don't have to worry about getting re-elected for a couple of years? They try and fix some of the problems of course. That's why the year after elections is often a year when the markets struggle. AKA 2001!
So now the new ruling party in Japan has 3 years before the next election. It's pretty obvious they are more concerned right now with keeping inflation from crushing their economy than trying to help US politicians get elected next year. I would look for the Yen to continue to strengthen and the carry trade to continue to unwind for a while.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Since June we've watched as the Yen carry trade has unwound. Also since that time the market has struggled matching the Yen tit for tat. As the yen sold off the market recovered if it strengthened the market waned. We are now at an interesting junction in not only the Yen but also the dollar. The Yen has now become oversold. In an up trending market oversold conditions should be bought. That would suggest that we are going to see the up trend resume soon. If the correlation holds then the market is probably going to fade again. Take special note that the week before last even though the Yen weakened the market still sold off hard. That would suggest to me that any strength in the Yen now is going to be deadly for the market. Now let's look at the dollar. The dollar is in a secular bear market no thanks to the Fed who seem to be determined to reduce our currency to the approximate value of a sea shell. Take note that the dollar is now overbought. Overbought conditions in a down trending market should be sold. On top of that looking at the weekly chart we see the dollar right up against the descending 20 week moving average that has tended to reject rallies this year.
It looks to me that conditions are ripe for a reversal of these two trades. The end result should again be pressure on the stock market and a boon to gold.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Somehow investors have gotten the impression that every bull market will continue higher until the public enters the market. I think this is a fallacy inspired by the recent bubbles in Tech and real estate. In the top chart we see the secular bull market that started in 82. I've marked the 4 year cycle lows. Note that only twice did we see the public come into the market. The first time was prior to 87 as the first phase of the secular bull was topping. Keep in mind this was nothing compared to what happened in 99 & 2000. The fifth year decline came along and wiped out Joe Sixpack. That cured him from wanting to invest in stocks for the next 10 years or so. It wasn't until after the 98 cycle low that the public had forgotten 87 and was ready to pile into a "sure thing". The public only piles into an asset class as it enters into the final bubble phase. I see the rational used that this market can't be topping because the public isn't in yet. I think it's way too late for us to expect the public to pile in. That happened in 2000. The market isn't in a bubble it's in a secular bear market. I have a feeling that to expect every bull move in the stock market to draw in the public is just ridiculous. History shows that it only happens rarely.
Now let's look at Gold. I think that the first phase of the secular bull ended in 06. The public was starting to take notice of gold as it made the parabolic rise into the May top. Unfortunately we then saw the fifth year decline and that cured the public of wanting to invest in Gold. Witness that Gold recently touched the $850 level and nobody is talking about buying Gold or Silver. If anything they think Gold is in a bubble. Hardly :) Gold will be in a bubble when everyone is buying it not when everyone thinks it's too expensive.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
All during the commodity bull platinum has been the strong sister in the precious metal sector. It has already broken out to new all time highs. Both Platinum and Gold are consolidating in triangle patterns after the powerful fall rally. The positive take away is that triangles usually break on the flat side. In the case of Platinum a break of the flat side would be up. If Platinum breaks up it will take the rest of the precious metals with it. At the moment silver is struggling but I have a feeling that some of this may have to do with the industrial component of silver and an economy that is slowing and may be heading into recession. If gold and Platinum move up though I expect silver to follow. I'll be watching Platinum in the coming days to get an idea what's going to happen to gold and silver.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
With today's decline the S&P closed back below support in the 1490 area. Now this level again becomes resistance. The S&P also broke the intermediate term up trend line on today's decline. I mentioned before that V shaped rallies are prone to failure and it looks like the odds are good that this one is going to fail. Amazingly enough the VTO signal from from Oct. 19th would have closed profitable on Dec. 6th. Not by much but it was a profitable trade.
Let's just say I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Fed comes out and cuts another 1/4 point in the next week and the market trades back above resistance. Heck they can't seem to make up their mind what they are going to do from one week to the next. One week it's the economy is softening and they will need to cut aggressively. Then the next week they cut small and still seem worried about inflation (rightly so IMO. In the long term if they let inflation get out of control now it will do much more damage than the credit crunch) Keep in mind we still have positive seasonality through Dec. and many short term levels are already severely oversold. A bounce in the next day or two wouldn't be unexpected.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Let's take a closer look at this supposed bull market from 02 till the present shall we. First off notice the strong dollar as the bear market commenced. It wasn't long after 911 that Greenspan realized that just cutting rates wasn't going to do the trick and the serious currency devaluation began. By this time the bear was firmly in place and it took over a year of massive currency debasement to halt the bloodletting in the stock market. In the bottom chart we can see that oil started to respond to the printing presses almost immediately. The smart money was already on board the commodity ship. As we progress through the cycles we see two times where the Fed tried to drain liquidity from the system and both times the markets stagnated. One of these was right before the 04 elections. Whew that was almost a major mistake. However we can see that Greenspan got with the program just in time to salvage the market and get Bush re-elected. Then in 05 we see another attempt to drain liquidity from the market and again stocks stagnated. Back to pumping again as this was about the time the public started to get fed up with the Iraq situation and Bush's ratings were in the dumps. Up goes the market except now we are starting to have a real problem with energy prices. As a matter of fact energy prices are starting to trump stock market gains. Something needs to be done before the mid term elections. Next we see a concentrated effort to move energy prices lower. The stock market suffers to some extent during this campaign even though the Fed never really drains liquidity from the system. Once the energy markets are brought back in check the Fed goes back to the printing presses just in time to levitate the market into elections. All's well. Well sort of. Right after the elections the pressure is released from the oil markets and wow look what happens. Like a spring that's been compressed and suddenly released the energy markets rocket upward gaining almost 100% in less than a year. All that liquidity that was being held in the paper markets drained right back into commodities. Now we come to July and Aug. Something big happened here IMO. The dollar was allowed to break through to new all time lows. Now the currency was in uncharted territory. There was no support under the dollar at all. Instead of the market continuing higher as its done for the last 5 years that the Fed has been busy devaluing the currency all of a sudden the market changed character. Volatility started to spike upwards and the markets are swinging wildly back and forth. In the meantime oil just kept climbing straight up. The massive amounts of devalued dollars the fed has been pumping into the markets is almost immediately draining off into commodities. We see the same picture in the gold market. A straight shot up from the Aug. lows. Now the Fed is again embarking on an even more massive liquidity pump. Not only are they printing money but they are lowering rates to make that money even cheaper to borrow. How will they ever keep all this liquidity out of the commodity markets? If they can't keep it out then what is going to happen to the price of oil, gas, gold, silver, natural gas, food, etc. in the coming months? Just what we need as the economy slows, skyrocketing prices for everything we need to live. Do us a favor Bernanke and raise 50 not cut 50.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Taking a look at the chart this just doesn't look like a major correction to me. Notice how gold typically just collapses after a powerful run? Silver BTW tends to fall apart even worse because it's an even thinner market. This looks more like a consolidation from the Sept. and Oct. rally to me. This also looks like we may be setting up for another rally of similar proportions. I'm really in no hurry to buy the general market but I will commit my capital to PM as they are in a secular bull market. If I'm wrong in the short term it doesn't matter as the bigger overall trend will eventually correct any short term timing mistakes.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I like the action in GLD and SLV. GLD has held above the 50 DMA and it worked off the overbought condition from Sept./Oct. Last Tuesday GLD took in another 18 tons of gold. It has now surpassed the physical gold holdings of the central bank of China. Despite the strength in the dollar gold has not been able to break through support. The XAU is starting to look like it wants to break out of the consolidation to the upside. I have no desire to chase the market rally as I feel it's ultimately doomed to failure. I am willing to commit capital to a secular bull market that's pulled back and consolidated since the larger overall trend is in my favor. Stops are very close on this one. A close below support would probably signal the correction isn't done yet and one could exit with minimal losses.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
I find it's often helpful to look at really long term charts and get away from the short term noise. We can see here that the last time the 90 DMA turned down sharply and moved under the 200 DMA was the fall of 2000 as the bubble was in the process of bursting. For the last several months we have been watching the bursting of another bubble. The credit bubble. The market may still bounce into the end of the year. The odds are still in favor of that scenario but I think the catalyst is now in place for the markets to move down into the 4 year cycle low.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
11/13/07 ---- 37.02
11/6//07 ---- 35.53
10/30/07 ---- 30.58
10/9/07 ---- 36.46
I'm going to try and explain what's happening in the COT's that has me concerned. Let's start on 9/18 we see a combined contract (S&P, Nasdaq, Dow & Russell large and e-mini) net long position of 64 billion dollars. The next week on 9/25 that position was almost cut in half. A move like this almost never happens in the COT. It's something that needs to be taken notice of. This happened as the market was rallying. It's not unusual for the commercials to add to hedges as the market rises. So the direction of the move wasn't surprising it was the one week rate of change that was unusual. The next big move came on 10/16 when the commercials dropped their long position by 26% from the prior week. As you can see on the chart this corresponded very closely to the market turning down. Last week they dropped another 24%. Now the first two reductions in longs make sense to me. The commercials usually sell into strength so they were just doing what they do, hedging their longs as the market rallied. The last one is very strange. They dropped a huge amount of longs as the market was going down. Now let's look at the data from 10/16 to 11/27 a little closer. Granted they did increase longs a bit as the market declined but notice they aren't anywhere close to the 64 billion that they had on 9/18. Does anyone remember what happened on 9/18? That's right the Fed cut interest rates. The very next week (correction: the chart has the week of 9/18 marked and it should be the next week)all those longs that had been building up for months got basically cut in half. Hmm??? They then increased longs slightly as it became apparent the Fed would cut again. This time however the increase never came close to the 64 billion we saw before the first cut. Now it's widely believed the Fed is going to cut again but instead of building long positions the commercials are drastically trimming longs and they are doing it as the market has moved down. This is completely out of character with what the smart money normally does. Hopefully this clarifies what I mean when I say the COT has been giving warning signs for a while now.
Friday, November 30, 2007
First off let me say the odds are stacked in favor of the bottom being in. No doubt about it. We are entering one of the most seasonally positive times of the year. We just came off some pretty severe breadth and sentiment extremes. We should be set up for a nice rally.
Here's my problem or problems I should say. First off if we were to make new highs then this would move the bull up to the second longest 4 year cycle in history. Second we obviously have the catalyst in place for the 4 year cycle low to happen with the credit crunch and subsequent damage to the financial sector. On top of that we can add the spike in oil that has always preceded or accompanied recession in the past. A bond market that is saying something ugly is coming. Widening credit spreads between T-bills and the 2 trillion dollar commercial paper markets. BTW I have trouble seeing the Fed cutting especially 50 if the market is rallying big into Dec. 11th. And the biggie. Almost everyone thinks the bull market is back. Can it really be that easy? The biggest financial crisis in years and all we get is a meager 10% correction and then it's back to the races with a 5% move in 4 days.
First off I don't know about you but the markets have never been that easy for me. Another thing I don't recall is bull markets moving straight up like a rocket. Don't bull markets climb a wall of worry? I'll tell you what does jump straight up and that is oversold rallies in bear markets. That's how the bear keeps everyone on board for the full trip down. You don't believe me? Just look at the 2000-2002 period. Heck just look at the BKX for that matter. It's obviously in a bear market and we continually see these big rallies that ultimately fail as investors continue to try and pick the bottom. BTW everyone seems to be calling the bottom in the banking sector also.
Some of the biggest one day and one week rallies in history occurred right in the middle of one of the nastiest bear markets.
Now let me state again the odds are highly in favor that we've put in an intermediate bottom. Let's just say I'm still a bit skeptical.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
As one might expect I received quite a number of e-mails the last two days from investors freaking out about their short positions.
Now let me reiterate again that I'm not going to be like 99% of the other bloggers and newsletter writers on the Internet. I'm not going to brag about how accurate my calls are and what a great record I've got yada yada yada. Sure it's great for subscriptions but I didn't really start this to sell subscriptions. I started the blog to help novice and intermediate level investors improve their investing skills. (Many are the days I wish I'd never started this. It's become a monster that's eating up way too much of my time.) Sure I've had a few good calls lately. I can tell you unequivocally that it was luck. Pure D luck. I'm going to tell you a secret. No one, not me, not Trade, not F-Trader, not Pattern Guy, not Mr. T, not Richard Russell, not John Hussman, not Dennis Gartman, not Warren Buffett, no one can see the future. I've guaranteed before that I'm going to be wrong on probably 40-50% of my calls. Over the long haul trust me I'm correct in telling you this. It is just senseless to search the newsletter world or Blogosphere looking for someone to confirm your bias.
So how does this relate to position sizing you ask? Well here's what I see happening. From the amount of e-mails I've received quite a few investors are now on the short side. Which by itself is not a problem. Maybe I'm right about the 4 year cycle low and maybe I'm wrong. The problem is that these investors shouldn't be freaking out about a 4% bounce after the market has dropped 10%. At most they shouldn't have more than a 4% drawdown on their account and that's only if they went short at the exact bottom. If you were watching your position size you should only be down 1% or at most maybe 2%. That's nothing to freak out about.
I'm going to say it again. There's going to be huge money to be made in the commodity bull market but you can't make it if you get a case of the stupids and lose everything trying to bet too big on the decline. Big money is never ever made in bear markets, unless you take on leverage, simply because markets can only go down 100% and realistically a bear market is probably going to drop no more than 20-30%. Bull markets can easily go up 1000%.
Here is my motto and has been for several years. "If the market is going to take away any of my money it's going to have to fight me tooth and nail to get it and you better believe it's not going to get very much at any one time."
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
"You find out who's been swimming naked when the tide goes out." - Warren Buffett
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I've posted two long term charts of the Nikkei and the S&P showing the 3 year cycles in the Nikkei and the four year cycle in the US markets.
In the first chart we see the secular bear in the Japanese market. It started with a 2 1/2 year decline from the late 89 peak to the 92 bottom and an initial loss of over 60%. What followed was a series of right and left translated cycles until the bottom in 03. That's a 13 year bear market. Notice the right translated cycles end very quickly and the left translated ones tend to just grind lower. Also notice the first counter trend rally ended in a right translated cycle and a vicious waterfall decline. The remaining cycles were all left translated and each successive 3 year low ended lower than the preceding one. The current cycle looks to be a left translated cycle or possibly a very shortened right translated cycle. It's also entirely possible the secular bear market in Japan isn't over yet. The slowing US economy has the potential to drag down the rest of the global economies. The action in the Nikkei is becoming rather ominous.
Now let's look at the US market. Here we see the same series of cycles only the US cycle is a 4 year cycle. We also see that right translated cycles have ended in violent moves downward even in a secular bull market. We see the cycle that topped in 2000 was a left translated cycle that ended the great secular bull market that started in 74. The normal 2- 2 1/2 year decline that followed is typical for first legs down in secular bear markets. During this decline the S&P lost almost 50% of it's value. We now have the third longest 4 year cycle in history. This cycle is now coming to an end and it's doing it in the overall context of a secular bear market. It's probably discounting a recession. Maybe even one that's already started. By the action in the Nikkei and China it may very well be discounting a global recession. This has the potential to be a very wicked bear move if it ends like other right translated cycles have ended and if it is in fact discounting a global recession.
The bond market dwarfs the stock market. It's also generally considered that bond traders are a more savvy lot that stock traders. You don't really find Joe Sixpack trading bonds. These markets are the dwelling place of institutional investors aka the smart money. When the bond market starts talking it's usually a good idea to listen. Well the bond market lately has been doing more than talking it's screaming at the top of it's lungs. Notice how the bond market rolled over in early 2000 just prior to the market topping out. This is usually the case about 90% of the time. Bond traders will spot problems on the horizon before stock traders and start allocating capital to "safe" investments. Now take a look at the 3 month T-Bills. What we see happening in the last few months is an unprecedented flight to safety. This move even makes 98 look tame. Remember the upheaval in 98 produced a 20% correction in the market. What does the current state of the bond market say about the future I wonder?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
BTW If you are reading this on Thur. then you are obviously a fanatic about the markets. Get out of here and go enjoy Thankgiving with your family :)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Despite today's little rally attempt the markets are not on solid footing. Looking at the point and figure charts we see a descending triple bottom breakdown, another descending triple bottom breakdown and another descending triple bottom breakdown. The test of the Aug. close might have failed today but I doubt that will be the last test and I'm not so sure the next time it's going to hold. All three charts are now in down trends until otherwise notified.