War in Europe

Vladimir Putin has escalated the conflict in Eastern Ukraine with new incursions of tanks backed with artillery, anti-aircraft missile systems and up to 15,000 Russian troops. Intent on seizing as much territory as possible, he is banking on the US/European coalition responding with another slap on the wrist. Each weak response has only made Putin bolder. But where he may miscalculate is that the coalition is aware that its “stick-and-carrot” policy has failed and will be looking for a new approach.

Willingness of the Europeans to endure immediate economic pain in the belief that this will avert a long-term calamity is yet to be tested. Success will depend on France, Spain and Italy’s support for their Northern and Central European neighbours, who face a more immediate threat.

A significant step-up in sanctions is likely and the initial response from European markets will be negative. Sanctions are a two-edged sword and likely to hurt Europe almost as much as they do Russia. But NATO rearmament in the medium-term would somewhat offset the initial cost. Never underestimate the stimulus effect of war on local industry — provided the war is fought outside one’s borders

Germany’s DAX is running into stiff resistance as it approaches 9750. And 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero warns of selling pressure, threatening a reversal. Retreat below 9250 would strengthen the signal and failure of support at 8900/9000 would confirm a primary down-trend.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9000 – ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 8000

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 reversal below 3100 and 13-week Twiggs Money Flow below zero would add further weight to the (bear) signal.

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50

* Target calculation: 3000 – ( 3300 – 3000 ) = 2700

The S&P 500, unfazed by recent developments in Europe, broke resistance at 2000 to signal an advance to 2100*. A 21-Day Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero indicates rising (medium-term) buying pressure. Reversal below 1990 is unlikely, but would warn of another correction.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 2000 + ( 2000 – 1900 ) = 2100

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), shown here on a ten-year chart, indicates low risk typical of a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

Shanghai Composite Index, responding to PBOC stimulus, is testing resistance at 2250. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Breakout would confirm a primary up-trend, signaling an advance to 2500*. Respect of resistance is less likely, but would suggest further consolidation.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 2250 + ( 2250 – 2000 ) = 2500

The ASX 200 is testing resistance at 5650. Continued strength in US and Chinese stocks would improve the chance of an ASX 200 breakout, suggesting an advance to 5850*. Bearish divergence on 13-week Twiggs Money Flow — shown here on a monthly chart — continues to warn of long-term selling pressure. But failure to cross below zero would negate this and completion of another trough above zero would indicate that buyers are back in control. Reversal below 5450 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5650 + ( 5650 – 5450 ) = 5850

Let’s be clear about this: Russia is invading Ukraine right now | Vox

From Max Fisher:

…There’s more behind this confusion than just careful diplomacy. Russian President Vladimir Putin learned a crucial lesson from Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad last year, when the latter got away with using chemical weapons against his own people.

That lesson is this: the Western world can set all the red lines it wants — don’t use chemical weapons, don’t invade sovereign countries — but if you cross that red line just a little bit at a time, inching across over weeks and months, rather than crossing it all at once, then Western publics and politicians will get red-line fatigue and lose interest by the time you’re across.

Read more at Let's be clear about this: Russia is invading Ukraine right now – Vox.

ASX finds support

The ASX 200 found short-term support at 5630 and continuation of the US rally would see a breakout above resistance at 5650. Follow-through above 5680 would confirm the advance, offering a target of 5850*. Completion of another 21-day Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would strengthen the signal. Reversal below 5550 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support at 5360/5380.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5650 + ( 5650 – 5450 ) = 5850

Retreat of the ASX 200 VIX below 12 indicates low risk typical of a bull market.

ASX 200

Hang Seng leads Asian recovery

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index broke its 2010 high at 25000, confirming a primary advance and offering a target of 27000*. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow signals continued buying pressure. Reversal below 24000 is unlikely, but would warn of a correction to the rising trendline.

Hang Seng Index

* Long-term target calculation: 24000 + ( 24000 – 21000 ) = 27000

China’s Shanghai Composite Index continues to test resistance at 2250. Breakout would confirm a primary up-trend. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Reversal below 2150 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support at 1990/2000.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 2250 + ( 2250 – 2000 ) = 2500

India’s Sensex is retracing to test support at 26000. Respect would confirm the target of 27000*. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow continues to warn of selling pressure. Respect of the zero line would indicate that buyers have taken control, while a fall below zero would warn of a correction. Penetration of the secondary trendline is unlikely, but would indicate a correction to the primary trendline.

Sensex

* Target calculation: 21000 + ( 21000 – 15000 ) = 27000

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index recovered above 15500, suggesting continuation of the advance. Expect resistance between 16000 and 16300. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow warns of medium-term selling pressure, but respect of the zero line would indicate that buyers have taken control. Reversal below 14800 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support at 14000.

Nikkei 225

* Target calculation: 16000 + ( 16000 – 14000 ) = 18000

DAX surges

Germany’s DAX surged after a brief test of support at 9250/9300. Recovery of 21-Day Twiggs Money Flow above zero indicates short-term buying pressure. A trough above the zero line would reflect medium-term buying pressure. Expect resistance at 9700/9800.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9750 + ( 9750 – 9000 ) = 10500

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 also surged, indicating a test of 3250 on the weekly chart. Completion of a 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would indicate long-term buying pressure. Reversal below 3100 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support.

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50

* Target calculation: 3150 + ( 3150 – 3000 ) = 3300

The Footsie faces strong resistance between 6750 and 7000, as illustrated on the quarterly chart. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow oscillating above zero indicates a healthy up-trend, but this is a major psychological barrier to overcome. Breach of support at 6400/6500 is unlikely, but would warn of a reversal.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 700 + ( 7000 – 6000 ) = 8000

Dow signals fresh advance

Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered above 17000, signaling a fresh advance. Follow-through above 17150 would confirm a target of 17500*. Leveling off of 21-day Twiggs Money Flow in recent days, however, indicates (short-term) resistance. Reversal below 16950 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of 16750.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target calculation: 16500 + ( 16500 – 15500 ) = 17500

The S&P 500 is again testing resistance at 2000. Breakout would offer a target of 2250*. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow above its recent (July 2014) high would confirm buying pressure. Reversal below 1950 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of (primary) support at 1900.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 1500 + ( 1500 – 750 ) = 2250

Declining CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) readings suggest continuation of the bull market.

VIX Index

The Nasdaq 100 broke through the psychological level of 4000. Expect retracement to test the new support level. Respect is likely and would confirm another advance. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow above its recent (July 2014) high would confirm buying pressure. Reversal below 4000 is unlikely but would warn of a test of support and the rising trendline at 3750.

NASDAQ 100

* Target calculation: 4000 + ( 4000 – 3750 ) = 4250

Euro, Yen plunge against Dollar

The Euro broke support at $1.33, signaling a further decline against the Dollar with a target of $1.30*. Falling 13-week Twiggs Momentum, below zero, warns of a strong down-trend. Recovery above $1.35 is most unlikely, but would suggest that the down-trend is slowing.

Euro/USD

* Target calculation: 1.35 – ( 1.40 – 1.35 ) = 1.30

The recent rally of the Euro against the Russian ruble has faltered. An economic contraction and rising tensions over Eastern Ukraine both contributed. The Euro remains in an up-trend and recovery above RUB 49 would suggest another attempt at the previous high of RUB 51. But failure of support at RUB 46 would signal a primary down-trend. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum oscillating close to zero reflects current uncertainty.

Euro/Rouble

Vladimir Putin is attempting to exploit fault lines in the US/European alliance, targeting the powerful European farming and motor industry lobbies. Unauthorized incursions into Ukrainian territory by his white-painted “aid convoy” are another example, where the infringement is so apparently inoffensive that Angela Merkel will find it difficult to convince her European allies to escalate sanctions further. Failure to react will merely embolden Putin to conduct further minor infringements in defiance of the EU, confident in their response, until the Ukraine suffers “death by a thousand cuts”.

Putin

Only if the US/EU adopt an aggressive escalation, as suggested here on Defence & Freedom, are they likely to contain Russian aggression.

“…a defensive and reactionary game plan makes one predictable. The very existence of a crisis should be understood as a hint that someone used this predictability to predict the outcome of a produced crisis — and arrived at the conclusion that it’s a good idea. Aka failure of deterrence.”

Japan

As with the Euro, the Japanese Yen is also weakening against the Dollar. The Greenback broke resistance at ¥103.50, signaling a rally to test the 2013 high. Follow-through above ¥104 would confirm. Rising 13-week Twiggs Momentum above zero strengthens the signal. Reversal below ¥103 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support at ¥101.

USD/JPY

Australia

The Aussie Dollar, however, is holding its own — ranging between $0.92 and $0.95 against the US Dollar. The narrow band and 13-week Twiggs Momentum holding above zero both suggest continuation of the up-trend. Breakout above $0.95 would suggest a target of $0.97. Reversal below $0.92 is unlikely at present, but would warn of a decline to the band of support between $0.87 and $0.89.

Aussie Dollar

The ASX 200, retracing slightly from resistance at 5650, is also influenced by strong foreign investment flows. Indications are predominantly bullish, including 21-day Twiggs Money Flow forming troughs above zero. Follow-through above 5660 would signal another advance, with a medium-term target of 5850. Reversal above 5550 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5650 + ( 5650 – 5450 ) = 5850

Putin antics fail to impress markets

For all his macho posturing, Vladimir Putin has demonstrated an inability to move financial markets with his antics in Eastern Ukraine. His latest incursion towards Luhansk, with white-painted military trucks bearing aid to the rebel-held city, unchecked by the Red Cross, passed barely noticed. Instead markets are intently focused on nuances from a 68-year old Jewish mum at Jackson Hole, who also happens to chair the Federal Reserve.

I would have loved to call Janet Yellen a “grandmother”, but son Robert Akerlof — himself a PhD in Economics — does not claim any offspring on his CV. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Husband, George Akerlof, is a Nobel prize-winning economist and professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley.

The image below highlights the differences between the Fed and the ECB:

The Fed’s more stimulatory approach has paid dividends in terms of economic growth and employment while inflation expectations remain muted. The inflation breakeven rate — 10-year Treasury yield minus the yield on equivalent inflation-indexed securities — continues to range between 2.0% and 2.50%.

Inflation breakeven rate

The ECB’s more austere approach, on the other hand, has caused a world of pain.

Market update

  • S&P 500 tests 2000.
  • VIX continues to indicate a bull market.
  • DAX hesitant rally.
  • China bullish.
  • ASX 200 faces strong resistance.

The S&P 500 hesitated after making a new high on Thursday, but there was no dramatic fall in response to news from Eastern Ukraine. Expect retracement towards 1950, followed by another test of 2000. 21-Day Twiggs Money Flow is likely to re-test the zero line, but respect would indicate strong buying pressure. Breach of support at 1900, warning of a reversal, remains unlikely.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 1500 + ( 1500 – 750 ) = 2250

Declining CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) indicates low risk, typical of a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

Germany’s DAX rallied above 9300 on the weekly chart, but 13-week Twiggs Money Flow warns of continued selling pressure. Reversal below support at 8900/9000 would warn of a primary down-trend.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9000 – ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 8000

Shanghai Composite Index is testing resistance at 2250. Breakout would confirm a primary up-trend, signaling an advance to 2500*. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Respect of resistance, however, would suggest further consolidation.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 2250 + ( 2250 – 2000 ) = 2500

Tall wicks on ASX 200 daily candles indicate strong resistance at 5650. Respect would suggest retracement to 5550, while follow-through would be a strong bull signal, suggesting an advance to 5850*. Another 21-day Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would indicate long-term buying pressure. Reversal below 5450 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5650 + ( 5650 – 5450 ) = 5850

The Stock Market’s Missing Ingredient | Bloomberg View

Barry Ritholz discusses why military conflicts around the globe and civil strife in Ferguson, Missouri have little impact on market performance:

….None of this seems to matter to Mr. Market. He continues to power on, oblivious to issues that don’t affect corporate earnings. They have, by the way, been stellar, growing at a 9 percent annual rate. Meanwhile, interest rates are still low and inflation is subdued.

Rarely have conditions for market gains been so promising at a time when investor psychology has been so negative. Gallup reports that only 7 percent of those surveyed were aware of last year’s scorching [29.7%] gains in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

via The Stock Market's Missing Ingredient – Bloomberg View.

ASX 200 strong rally

The ASX 200 is rallying strongly, led by US and Chinese markets. Breakout above 5650 would indicate an advance to 5750. Completion of another 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would strengthen the signal. Reversal below the rising trendline is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support at 5050.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5550 + ( 5550 – 5350 ) = 5750

Retreat of the ASX 200 VIX below 12 indicates low risk typical of a bull market.

ASX 200

China leads Asian recovery

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is testing its 2010 high at 25000. Breakout would confirm a primary advance, with a target of 27000*. A 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough at zero indicates long-term buying pressure. Reversal below 24000 is unlikely, but would warn of a correction to the rising trendline.

Hang Seng Index

* Long-term target calculation: 24000 + ( 24000 – 21000 ) = 27000

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is testing resistance at 2250. Breakout would confirm a primary up-trend. Rising 13-week Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term buying pressure. Reversal below 2150 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support at 1990/2000.

Shanghai Composite Index

* Target calculation: 2250 + ( 2250 – 2000 ) = 2500

India’s Sensex recovered above 26000, offering a target of 27000*. Declining 13-week Twiggs Money Flow continues to warn of selling pressure, but respect of the zero line and recovery above 10% would indicate that buyers have taken control. Reversal below the secondary trendline is unlikely, but would indicate a correction to the primary trendline.

Sensex

* Target calculation: 21000 + ( 21000 – 15000 ) = 27000

Dow Jones Japan Index is testing resistance at 86/87 on the weekly chart. Breakout would suggest a primary advance. Reversal below 82 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support at 74.

Dow Jones Japan Index

DAX and Footsie test resistance

Germany’s DAX respected primary support at 9000, but the subsequent rally met resistance at 9250/9300. Failure to break through would warn of another test of primary support. 21-Day Twiggs Money Flow below zero indicates selling pressure. Breach of 8900 would signal a primary down-trend, while recovery above 9300 would suggest a rally to 9750.

DAX

* Target calculation: 9750 + ( 9750 – 9000 ) = 10500

The Footsie is testing resistance at 6750. Breakout would indicate a rally to 6900. 13-Week Twiggs Money Flow oscillating above zero indicates a healthy up-trend. Reversal below 6650 is less likely, but would warn of a correction to 6400/6500.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 6900 + ( 6900 – 6500 ) = 7300

Dow heading for 17000

Dow Jones Industrial Average is headed for another test of 17000/17100 after finding support at 16400/16500. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow above its July high would indicate that buyers are back in control. Breakout above 17100 would offer a target of 17500*. Reversal below 16400 is unlikely, but would warn of a test of the primary trendline at 16000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

* Target calculation: 16500 + ( 16500 – 15500 ) = 17500

The S&P 500 followed through above Friday’s high of 1965, suggesting another attempt at 2000. Completion of a trough above zero on 21-day Twiggs Money Flow would confirm buying pressure. Breakout above 2000 would offer a target of 2250*, but expect markets to remain cautious because of current geopolitical tensions. Reversal below 1950 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of support at 1900.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 1500 + ( 1500 – 750 ) = 2250

Low CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) readings are typical of a bull market.

VIX Index

Under What Circumstances Should You Worry That the Stock Market Is “too High”? | Brad DeLong

Brad DeLong discusses Robert Shiller’s CAPE ratio, a stock-price measure he helped develop:

….on average, at a ten-year horizon, for any CAPE ratio below 35 the S&P has delivered average real asset returns pretty much outclassing all other major asset classes…..

Thus you can see why I am relatively unsatisfied with Shiller’s writing:

“In the last century, the CAPE has fluctuated greatly, yet it has consistently reverted to its historical mean–sometimes taking a while to do so….”

Shiller’s rhetoric leads us to focus on graphs like this one of the Campbell-Shiller CAPE, and to think that what goes up must–someday–come down:

CAPE

But is there any reason to think that the central tendency of the CAPE today is the same as what it was in the 1880s or the 1950s? There is no unchanging machine buried in the earth for the past 120 years throwing dice to determine the CAPE. It would be much better to say that extreme values of the CAPE are followed by reversion not to but toward the previous historical mean. And dividends and earnings shift too. A much better graph than the CAPE graph is the cumulative reinvested return graph [on a log scale]:

Cumulative Reinvested Returns

It goes way up, and way down, but the dominant feature is not mean reversion but rather exponential growth…..

Read more at Under What Circumstances Should You Worry That the Stock Market Is "too High"? | Brad DeLong.

GOLDMAN: Here’s The Simple Reason We’re Probably Not About To Have Another Huge Crash | Business Insider

From Joe Weisenthal:

Historical analysis of past big busts done by top economist Jan Hatzius and Sven Jari Stehn shows that while there is growing risk of a stock market drop because of the big rally we’re missing one of the key preconditions needed for a true bust: high credit growth.

They write: “[C]redit growth is the most important predictor of house price busts, especially when we focus on busts that involve a recession. House price busts have also tended to follow periods of high inflation, high equity volatility and large current account deficits, although all of these effects become less pronounced when we focus on recessionary busts….”

via GOLDMAN: Here's The Simple Reason We're Probably Not About To Have Another Huge Crash | Business Insider.

SHILLER: The Market Is At One Of Its Most Expensive Levels Of All Time…| Business Insider

Joe Weisenthal on Yale Professor Robert Shiller’s CAPE pricing model:

So while it’s true that the market is very expensive right now, based on his measure, [Shiller] notes that it’s difficult to use this information to actually time the market. Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t mean it will go down. Furthermore, the market has been expensive based on his measure for the past 20 years excluding the period of the recent crash, which raises the question of whether there’s been some fundamental change to the economy or markets that would warrant higher valuations.

Read more at SHILLER: The Market Is At One Of Its Most Expensive Levels Of All Time, And There's One Thing Can Take It Down | Business Insider.

S&P 500 recovers but Europe remains weak

  • Europe continues to test support.
  • S&P 500 recovers.
  • VIX continues to indicate a bull market.
  • China bullish.
  • ASX 200 recovers.

Dow Jones Europe Index continues to test its primary trendline and support at 315/325. 13-Week Twiggs Momentum below zero warns of a primary down-trend. Breach of primary support at 315 would confirm.

Dow Jones Europe Index

The S&P 500 recovered above 1950, suggesting another test of resistance at 2000. Recovery of 13-week Twiggs Money Flow above its July high would suggest that buyers have taken control. Reversal below 1900 is unlikely, but would warn that the primary trend is slowing.

S&P 500

* Target calculation: 1500 + ( 1500 – 750 ) = 2250

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) remains low, suggesting a bull market.

S&P 500 VIX

Dow Jones Shanghai Index is testing resistance at 295. Breakout would confirm a primary up-trend. Respect of resistance, however, would indicate further consolidation.

Dow Jones Shanghai Index

ASX 200 recovery above 5550 also suggests another advance. Respect of zero by 13-week Twiggs Money Flow would strengthen the signal. Reversal below 5450 is unlikely, but would warn of another test of primary support.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5400 + ( 5400 – 5000 ) = 5800

ASX rallies

The ASX 200 rallied after a strong showing in US and Chinese markets. Recovery above 5550 would suggest an advance to 5750. Completion of another 13-week Twiggs Money Flow trough above zero would strengthen the signal. Reversal below the rising trendline now appears unlikely, but would warn of a test of primary support at 5050.

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5550 + ( 5550 – 5350 ) = 5750

Retreat of the ASX 200 VIX below 15 suggests low risk typical of a bull market.

ASX 200