S&P 500 hesitates at 2450

The S&P 500 hesitated at 2450, short of its target of 2500*. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of medium-term selling pressure. Expect stronger resistance at 2500.

S&P 500

Tech stocks are advancing at a rapid pace, with the Nasdaq 100 approaching 6000 after only breaking 5000 in January. Rising troughs on Twiggs Money Flow signal strong buying pressure and there are no signs of a ‘blow-off’.

Nasdaq 100

Stage III of a bull market can last several years.

Bearish outlook for the ASX

Iron ore rallied slightly during the week. But this is a bear market. Expect resistance at $60 to hold and breach of support at $50 is likely, signaling another decline.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is testing support at 2750. Breach is likely and would signal a primary down-trend.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

Banks are also under pressure, with the ASX 300 Banks index consolidating between 8000 and 8500. Breach of 8000 is likely and would confirm the primary down-trend.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 displays a broadening wedge consolidation. A failed down-swing, recovering above 5800 without reaching the lower border, would be a bullish sign. But this seems unlikely with a bearish outlook for the two largest sectors.

ASX 200

Europe: Mild correction

Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 is undergoing a correction to test medium-term support at 3500. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates moderate selling pressure but long-term troughs above zero suggest a bull market. Respect of support is likely and would signal an advance to the 2015 high at 3800*.

DJ Euro Stoxx 50

* Target calculation: 3650 + ( 3650 – 3500 ) = 3800

Footsie hesitates as Sterling tests support

Brexit uncertainty is likely to continue for an extended period, with Sterling testing primary support at 1.13 against the Euro. Breach would signal a test of the 2016 low at 1.10.

GBPEUR

The FTSE 100 retraced to test support at 7400, with bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow indicating medium-term selling pressure. Respect would confirm the target of 7700*. But breach of the rising trendline is as likely, and would warn of a test of primary support at 7100.

FTSE 100

* Target: 7400 + ( 7400 – 7100 ) = 7700

Canada: TSX 60 testing 900

The TSX 60 continues to test support at 900 after a breakout in December 2016. Follow-through below 890 would confirm a primary down-trend. Falling crude oil prices and exposure of banks to precarious housing prices are driving selling pressure.

TSX 60 Index

India: Sensex tests support

India’s Sensex continues to test medium-term support at 31000. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow indicates medium-term selling pressure. Respect of support would offer a target of 32000*. Completion of a second narrow consolidation, after the first between 29000 and 30000, would signal a strong bull market. Breach of support, however, would warn of a correction to 30000.

BSE Sensex

* Target: 29000 + ( 29000 – 26000 ) = 32000

Gold-Oil ratio warns of further easing

I don’t attach much significance to the Gold-Oil ratio on its own but it’s back in overbought territory, above 25.

Spot Gold/Light Crude

The chart below — plotting inflation-adjusted prices (over CPI) — far better depicts the relationship between gold and crude oil. Each major spike in crude prices over the last 50 years has been followed by a rising gold price.

Spot Gold/Brent Crude

Falling crude prices are likely to weaken demand for gold over the next few years, both through lower inflation and declining foreign reserves of major oil producing nations.

Gold finds support at $1250

The Dollar Index continues to test support at 96.50. The primary trend is down and breach of support is likely, signaling a decline to test the 2016 low at 92/93.

Dollar Index

Spot Gold found support at $1250. A weaker Dollar and rising political uncertainty both favor an up-trend but rising interest rates are expected to weaken demand. Respect of support at $1250 would confirm the up-trend, while breach of $1200 would warn of another decline.

Spot Gold

Crude headed for $30 if OPEC fails to deepen cuts

Crude could fall to $30/barrel next year — and stay there for two years — according to Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of consultants FGE.

Nymex Light Crude breached support at $45/barrel, signaling a primary decline. Expect further support at $40 but penetration of this would target the 2008 low at $30 and the 2016 low at $25 a barrel.

Nymex Light Crude

Debbie Flintoff-King – 1988 Olympic 400m Hurdles Final

A mate I swim with mentioned that his sister was Debbie Flintoff. I didn’t recognize the name. Obviously missed this memorable performance:

 

Westpac Leading Index counters jobs surge

In stark contrast to the buoyant recent ABS jobs numbers, the Westpac Leading Index slowed:

From Matthew Hassan at Westpac:

The six month annualised growth rate in the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity relative to trend three to nine months into the future, eased from 1.01% in April to 0.62% in May.

…..The index is pointing to a clear slowing in momentum. While the growth rate remains comfortably above trend, the pace has eased markedly since the start of the year….

Read more at Westpac.

Moody’s downgrades Australian bank credit ratings

From Mathew Dunckley and Clancy Yeates at SMH:

Credit rating agency Moody’s has downgraded a dozen Australian banks, including the big four, citing increased risks in the nation’s increasingly indebted households.

Moody’s stripped the big four banks – the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) – of their Aa2 long-term rating and placed them on the next level down at Aa3….

“In Moody’s assessment, risks associated with the housing market have risen sharply in recent years. Latent risks in the housing market have been rising in recent years, because significant house price appreciation in the core housing markets of Sydney and Melbourne has led to very high and rising household indebtedness,” the statement said.

Source: Moody’s downgrades Australian bank credit ratings

Gold and the Dollar test support

The Dollar Index is finding support at 96.50/97; the latest long tail on the weekly chart signaling buying pressure. But the primary trend is down and breach of support would signal a decline to test the 2016 low at 92/93.

Dollar Index

Spot Gold is testing support at $1250. Fundamentals, like a weaker Dollar and rising political uncertainty, still favor an up-trend. Respect of support at $1250 would confirm. Breach of $1200 is unlikely but would warn of another decline.

Spot Gold

S&P 500 stays on course

The S&P 500 continues to advance, with a short-term target of 2500*. Bearish divergence on Twiggs Money Flow warns of rising selling pressure. While secondary (medium-term) in nature we should expect stronger resistance at 2500.

S&P 500

Bellwether transport stock Fedex is advancing strongly after breaking out above $200, signaling rising economic activity in the economy.

Fedex

Stage III of a bull market can last for several years.

Strange week on the ASX

Strange week on the ASX, with strong jobs numbers from the ABS causing a surge in the Aussie Dollar and a more optimistic outlook on the ASX.

But Iron ore continues to fall, headed for a test of 50.

Iron Ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index respected resistance at 3000 and is headed for a test of primary support at 2750. Breach would confirm the primary down-trend.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 300 Banks index respected resistance at 8500 and is likely to test primary support at 8000. Again, breach would confirm the primary down-trend.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 has formed a broadening wedge consolidation, in a down-trend. Declining Twiggs Money Flow indicates some selling pressure. Expect a test of primary support at 5600. Again, breach would warn of a primary down-trend. But a failed swing (that respects 5700) would warn that all bets are off and the index may be preparing for a rally.

ASX 200

Australia: Jobs surge

The May 2017 ABS Labour Force Survey surprised to the upside, with employment increasing by 42,000 over the previous month (full-time jobs even better at +52,100). These are seasonally adjusted figures and the trend estimates are more modest at 25200 jobs.

Australia Jobs and Unemployment

Seasonally adjusted hours worked also jumped, reflecting an annual increase of 2.3%.

Australia Hours Worked and Real GDP

The Australian Dollar surged as a result of the impressive numbers but Credit Suisse warns that there may be some issues with the latest strong NSW estimates:

By state, the gains in full-time employment were particularly strong in NSW…..

But beware the sample rotation bias ….the ABS has confessed that for the sixth time in seven months, it has rotated the sample in favour of higher employment-to-population cohorts. Officials report that this has had a material impact on the NSW employment outcomes.

If the numbers are correct, there are only two areas that could account for the job growth: apartment construction and infrastructure. The former is unlikely to last and the latter, while an important part of the recovery process, are also not a permanent increase.

I would prefer to wait for confirmation before adjusting my position based on a single set of numbers.

One swallow does not make a spring, nor does one day.

~ Aristotle

The Myth Of The “Passive Indexing” Revolution | RIA

From Lance Roberts at RIA:

While the idea of passive indexing works while all prices are rising, the reverse is also true. The problem is that once prices begin to fall the previously “passive indexer” becomes an “active panic seller.” With the flood of money into “passive index” and “yield funds,” the tables are once again set for a dramatic and damaging ending.

Source: The Myth Of The “Passive Indexing” Revolution | RIA

The dangers of passive investing

There is a lot to be said for passive investing.

Key Takeaways from Morningstar’s Active/Passive Barometer Report:

  • Actively managed funds have generally underperformed their passive counterparts, especially over longer time horizons.
  • Failure tended to be positively correlated with fees.
  • Fees matter. They are one of the only reliable predictors of success.

Prof. Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Dow Wall Street, writes in the WSJ:

During 2016, two-thirds of active managers of large-capitalization U.S. stocks underperformed the S&P 500 large-capital index. When S&P measured performance over a longer period, the results got worse. More than 90% of active manager underperformed their benchmark indexes of a 15-year period.

…..In 2016 investors pulled $340 billion out of actively managed funds and invested more than $500 billion in index funds. The same trends continued in 2017, and index funds now account for about 35% of total equity fund investments.

Volatility is also near record lows as the market grows less reactive to short-term events.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX)

Lower fees and lower volatility should both improve investment performance, so what could possibly go wrong?

Investors could stop thinking.

If passive funds are the investment of choice, then new money will unquestioningly flow to these funds. In turn the funds will purchase more of the stocks that make up the index.

Prices of investment-grade stocks that make up the major indices are being driven higher, without consideration as to whether earnings are growing apace.

And the higher index values climb, the more investment flows they will attract. Driving prices even higher in relation to earnings.

More adventurous (some would say foolhardy) investors may even start using leverage to enhance their returns, reasoning that low volatility reduces their risk.

The danger is that this becomes a self-reinforcing cycle, with higher prices attracting more investment. When that happens the market is in trouble. Headed for a blow-off.

Investing in passive funds doesn’t mean you can stop thinking.

Don’t lose sight of earnings.

When prices run ahead of earnings, don’t let your profits blind you to the risks.

And start thinking more about protecting your capital.